Non-Violent Direct Action | what's left

Source: Sharp, Gene. The Politics of Nonviolent Action (3 Vols.), Boston: Porter Sargent, 1973. Provided courtesy of the Albert Einstein Institution.

Non-Violent Direct Action by Howard Zinn excerpted …

The problem with the use of violent confrontation strategies is that they quicklyescalate to the point where the parties' only concerns are victory, vengeance, andself-defense. In these cases, the moral arguments of people who are being unjustly treatedbecome irrelevant. What matters is that they have used violent strategies and theiropponent is, therefore, justified in a violent response. This problem is complicated bythe fact that both sides are usually able to argue that the other side started theviolence.


Nonviolent Direct Action - ibiblio

Practitioners of nonviolent struggle have an entire arsenal of "nonviolent weapons" at their disposal. Listed below are 198 of them, classified into three broad categories: nonviolent protest and persuasion, noncooperation (social, economic, and political), and nonviolent intervention. A description and historical examples of each can be found in volume two of The Politics of Nonviolent Action by Gene Sharp.


198 Methods of Non-Violent Action - A Force More Powerful

This definition is roughly in alignment with that of the leading researcher in the field, Gene Sharp, who writes: “Nonviolent action refers to those methods of protest, resistance, and intervention without physical violence in which the members of the nonviolent group do, or refuse to do, certain things. They may commit acts of omission – refuse to perform acts which they usually perform, are expected by custom to perform, or are required by law or regulation to perform; or acts of commission – perform acts which they usually do not perform, are not expected by custom to perform, or are forbidden by law or regulation from performing; or a combination of both.” (1980) Social Power and Political Freedom, Boston: Porter Sargent Publishers, p. 218.

198 Methods of Non-Violent Action - A Force More …

All of these forms of direct action are effective, Sharp asserts, because they diminishthe legitimacy, and hence the power of the opponent. "Nonviolent action tendsto turn the opponent's violence and repression against his own power position,weakening it and at the same time strengthening the nonviolent group. Becauseviolent action and nonviolent action possess quite different mechanisms, and inducediffering forces of change in the society, the opponent's repression. . . can never reallycome to grips with the kind of power wielded by the nonviolent actionists." (ThePolitics of Nonviolent Action, Part II. Pp. 111-113). Sharp compares this approachto the martial art of jiu-jitsu--in which the violent party loses its balance whenconfronted with nonviolent opposition.

How can the answer be improved?

Our definition is not located in the discourse of morality and ethics, although some people may choose to use nonviolent action for ethical reasons. Instead, we focus descriptively on what people do when they use this specific “technique of struggle.”

Non-Violent Struggle - Home | University of Colorado Boulder

: Gang members are involved in a broad—a broad range of criminal activity, including murder, extortion, narcotics trafficking, weapons trafficking, human smuggling and other crimes. … Make no mistake: Organized, violent, transnational gangs threaten the safety of our communities, not just in major metropolitan areas, but in our suburbs.