Nonviolence, Non-violence, or Both?

Nonviolence, Non-violence, or Both?

When many hear or speak about nonviolence, there is an important distinction to be made. Non-violence is simply the absence of violence. Nonviolence, however, is a systematic approach to achieving the beloved community as envisioned by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Beyond rejecting violence, nonviolence calls people to actively intervene in the face of injustice, taking progressive steps in social action. It is a powerful form of resistance that history has shown yields results, although the struggle continues.
The six principles of Kingian nonviolence
1. Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.
2. Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.
3. Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people.
4. Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform.
5. Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate.
6. Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice.

The six steps of nonviolent social change
1. Information gathering – understand all sides of an argument
2. Education – inform others through outreach and develop leaders
3. Personal commitment – check in with your motives and methods; if necessary, accept
suffering without retaliation
4. Negotiation – utilizing humility, confront your opponent, demanding just resolutions
which formalize the conflict
5. Direct action – when negotiations are not productive, introduce creative pressure to
force dialog
6. Reconciliation – create a path of action with opponent, with understanding

For more in-depth information, consult
Nonviolent direct action is a recognized, prominent Socialist Party strategy for total liberation! Explore its origins and get active today in your community!


Lauren Kozlow

joined SPUSA over a decade ago. She appreciates the intersection of socialism with the other facets of her life: animal rights, public libraries, and The Episcopal Church. She holds a BA from Boston University and a MLIS from Rutgers University. She works at Enoch Pratt Free Library and is an organizer with Direct Action Everywhere. She is married with two cats, Patience and Fortitude (named for the lions of the NYPL), and one human daughter.

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