NON-VIOLENCE vs. VIOLENCE ???
Two key “themes” of world history are CONFLICT and POWER.
The first element of conflict is “WHO is your ENEMY?”;
second, are the “weapons” or “TOOLS” of POWER
For most of the course, we have studied conflict involving VIOLENCE.
We have recently examined the non-violent resistance of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Which “APPROACH” is the SUPERIOR form of POWER? – VIOLENCE OR NON-VIOLENCE?
PART ONE: HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES
Describe whether the following statement describes a perspective FOR or AGAINST violence, OR if it is “NEUTRAL” (neither for nor against) violence?
___ 1)”Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.”
___ 2)”Love thy neighbor as thyself.” – Jesus of Nazareth
___ 3)”Violence is as American as the Fourth of July and cherry pie” – H. Rap Brown
___ 4)”Violence is a descending spiral (downward cycle), initiating [in your enemy] the very thing it seeks to destroy.” – M.L. King, Jr.
____5)”Nonviolence is the law of our species as violence is the law of the brute.” – Gandhi
____6) “The dignity of man requires obedience to a higher law – to the strength of the spirit.”.
____7)”I will not tell a minority community that they cannot use violence to resolve their problems.” – Malcolm X
____8)”A revolution is necessary to open the eyes of America to the needs of its minority people.”
____9)”Through violence you may murder the LIAR, but not the LIE.” – M.L. King, Jr.
___ 10)”Blacks/browns must build their own power. The white man is not about to surrender his.” – Malcolm X
____11)”Returning violence for violence multiplies violence.” M.L. King, Jr.
____12)”Kill the slave master, destroy him utterly. Break his oppressive power by any means necessary.” – Malcolm X
____13)”Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – M.L. King, Jr.
____14)”Become the executioners of our executioners.” – Malcolm X
____15)”Burn baby burn.”
16)Which of the above best summarizes your attitude towards violence or non-violence?
17)Briefly explain or summarize your perspective.
PART TWO: NON-VIOLENCE vs.VIOLENCE –
WHO IS YOUR ENEMY?
The whole issue of non-violence versus violence depends on “the enemy”.
Gandhi helped lead India to national independence in 1947. This was after decades of non-violent protest and confrontation. Why did the British leave “voluntarily”?
The British and Indians shared some common ideals and values. Gandhi used British values to “defeat” the British.
The British had a “conscience”, some sense of shared ideals with the Indians.
The British used “gunboat” (violence or threat of ) and “dollar” diplomacy, but also practiced “moral” diplomacy. Even though the ‘tyrannical” British were “enemies” of Indian independence, Gandhi persuaded them to voluntarily leave India (eventually) as “friends”.
18)However, would Gandhi’s methods successfully “work” against totalitarian, “genocidal” dictators such as HITLER or STALIN?
Briefly EXPLAIN WHY or WHY NOT?
Gandhi and King: NON-VIOLENCE vs. VIOLENCE
___19)Gandhi and King gave us great insights into human nature and history.
These insights teach us of the superiority of NON-VIOLENCE. UTOPIAN IDEALS such as love, harmony and the “spirit” are potentially much stronger than the “external”, physical world of violence. We can “solve” the “problem” of violence. People are more than just “brute” animals. Our humanity, including reason and compassion, reveals our POSSIBILITIES and POTENTIAL.
Everyone has a “conscience”, an inner sense of right and wrong. Individuals have a moral imperative (command) to live the “superior” life of non-violence, to gain the “greater good” of a world of peace and harmony.
Violence violates both the physical, “natural” order (pain, destruction, death) and our transcendent, “spiritual” existence.(peace and harmony) Explain:
___20)Gandhi and King misunderstood basic concepts of nature, human nature and power.
First, nature and the “Law of the Jungle” teach us that we cannot entirely escape or “transcend” the LIMITATIONS of our “animal” nature.
People are not entirely “rational”. People are “anti-social”, inclined to conflict.
VIOLENCE is UNAVOIDABLE, part of both “nature” (the world we live in) and “human nature” (the world within us).
POWER CORUPTS. (is misused or abused) PEOPLE are the “PROBLEM”, NOT the “SOLUTION”.
Life’s CONTRADICTIONS DEFY SIMPLE “SOLUTIONS”. Our HUMANITY is also the source of our INHUMANITY. Life in this world is tragically “mixed-up.” Hope is mixed with hopelessness. Love and hate. Beauty and ugliness. Compassion mixed with cruelty. People are both free (unlimited) and finite (limited). Productive and destructive. Dignified and disgraceful. VIOLENCE BOTH DESTROYS and PROTECTS. Negative “bad” violence by one is sometimes needed to protect that person from the negative “worse” behavior of another. Briefly explain:
“I have been a ‘GAMBLER’ all my life. In my passion for finding TRUTH and in relentlessly following out my FAITH in NONVIOLENCE, I have counted no stake too great.” – Gandhi
___21)Gandhi and King were “HEROES” for living and risking their lives for the IDEALS of truth, love, dignity, respect, honor and justice.
They taught us of life’s “possibilities”, how the world can and should be. PEOPLE CAN CHANGE. Our “enemies” are ultimately within ourselves. We can change the world if we change ourselves.
There is HOPE FOR HUMANITY. Their non-violent, utopian worldviews provide ALL people with an alternative “reality” to the “temporary” negativity and “madness” of this world.
The “judgement” of both the inner “conscience” and “transcendent” ideals enable people to change. Gandhi and King nobly fought against the “nightmare” of hopelessness with “dreams” of hope. Explain:
___ 22)Gandhi and King were naïve FOOLS for “gambling” on “corrupt” humanity.
Malcolm X admired King for being a “glorious fool”. Both Gandhi and King were “dreamers”, guilty of “WISHFUL THINKING”, BRAVE BUT STUPID, BLIND to TRAGIC “reality”.
PEOPLE CANNOT CHANGE. History repeats itself. Pain, suffering, betrayal and death are the “norm”.
Both were BETRAYED, murdered and “sacrificed” by the SAME people they sought to “SAVE”.
Their lives exemplified the HOPELESSNESS of humanity and history.
The “CURE”? – ISOLATION or INTEGRATION?
Gandhi and King sought social tolerance and integration – all races living and co-existing freely amongst each other. Both sought “UNIVERSAL” values that applied to all and everyone.
The CRITICS of Gandhi and King thought social “ISOLATION” or SEGREGATION was better for society. The different races were in a state of “war”. Racial minorities would live together in homogenous societies, so they could protect themselves.
Do the following statements support “isolation” or integration”?
_____23)”Separatism, self-discipline and self-defense.”
_____24)”There will be no salvation [from racism] … through isolation /separation.”
_____25)”We need the support of the majority in order to realize our dream of equality.”
_____26)”Do not be deceived by integration. It is a way for whites to maintain their supremacy.”
_____27)”Blacks/browns should reject white culture and rediscover the African/Native past.”
_____28)”We shall overcome.”
_____29)”I see America through the eye of a VICTIM. I don’t see any American dream. I see an American nightmare.”
_____30)”I’m calling for a working unity of ALL peoples, black as well as white.”