Wednesday, July 7, 2021

The Power of Nonviolence by Richard Gregg

 The Power of Nonviolence by Richard Gregg 

Nyack, N.Y.: Fellowship Publications, 1959

(15-16)  Hungarian successful nonviolent resistance to Austria by Ferenc Deak ending with a new constitution in February 1867 []

(29)  Late in 1940 the Nazis displayed the swastika emblem from a Danish public building.  According to a report in The New York Times, “the monarch protested that the act was contrary to the occupation agreement and demanded that the flag be removed.  The German military officials refused.  ‘I will send a soldier to remove it,’ the king replied, or so the story ran.  He was informed the soldier would be shot.  ‘I am the soldier,’ he retorted, and the Nazi flag was lowered.”

… When the Germans tried to compel the Danes to adopt the Nürnberg laws against the Jews, the Danes refused,  When the Germans ordered that all Danish Jews should wear a yellow star and that a Jewish ghetto would be established, King Christian announced that if this were done he would be pleased to move from his palace to such a ghetto and, accorded to and Associated Press dispatch of October 11, 1942, said, “If the Germans want to put the yellow Jewish star in Denmark, I and my whole family will wear it as a sign of the highest distinction.”  He attended in full uniform a special celebration in a Copenhagen synagogue.  All over Denmark opposition to the German plans of repression arose.
NB:   The Danes evacuated 7,220 of Denmark's 7,800 Jews, plus 686 non-Jewish spouses, to neutral Sweden before the Nazis could round them up.

(31)  Haaken Holmboe, Norwegian teacher who helped organize teachers’ nonviolent resistance in Quisling’s Norway
Editorial Comment:  Norwegian teachers refused to teach Quisling's new curriculum.  Hundreds were jailed and sent to concentration camps to do forced labor.  They held out for a year and returned to teaching while Quisling's Nazi curriculum was dropped.

(35)  This Norwegian nonviolent resistance was possible because all the people were self-respecting, self-reliant, self-confident, courageous, filled with a spirit of unity, independence and liberty, and felt urgently and steadily that they had to resist somehow.  It was unpremeditated and spontaneous.

(38)  The transportation committee [in Montgomery, AL] first organized a Negro taxi service but this was blocked by an existing law which required a minimum fare of 45 cents for any taxi ride.  Then a car-pool was formed and later was added to by station wagons bought and oeprated for the purpose by several of the Negro churches and by other contributors.
NB:  possibiity of swadeshi, reminder of credit pooling by original Populists

(39)  The insurance companies were pressured into canceling the insurance on Negro cars.  But this attack was defeated by getting insurance from Lloyds of London

(40)  The city [Montgomery, Alabama] brought suit in November 1959 to enjoin the operation of the Negro car pool.  The petition was directed against the Montgomery Improvement Association and several Negro churches and individuals.

(50)  Christ, searching for a change in men more profound and important than immediate external acts, told them to get rid of anger and greed, knowing, I believe, that if this took place, war would disappear.

Courageous violence, to try to prevent or stop a wrong, is better than cowardly acquiescence.  Cowardice is more harmful morally than violence.

(51)  The nonviolent resister seeks a solution under which both parties can have complete self-respect and mutual respect, a settlement that will implement the new desires and full energies of both parties.  The nonviolent resister seeks to help the violent attacker to re-establish his moral balance on a level higher and more secure than that from which he first launched his violent action.  The function of the nonviolent type of resistance is not to harm the opponent nor impose a solution against his will, but to help both parties into a more secure, relative, happy, and truthful relationship.

(55)  … in nonviolent resistance, both anger and fear are controlled.

(61)  William Alanson White:  “It follows, too, that no conflict can be solved at the level of conflict.  That is, two mutually opposed tendencies can never unite their forces except at a higher level, in an all inclusive synthesis which lifts the whole situation to a level above that upon which the conflict rose.”

(62)  Peace imposed by violence is not psychological peace but a suppressed conflict.  It is unstable, for it contains the seeds of its own destruction.  The outer condition is not a true reflection of the inner condition.  But in peace secured by true nonviolent resistance there is no longer any inner conflict;  a new channel is found, in which both the formerly conflicting energies are at work in the same direction and in harmony.

(63)  So love is a great principle in moral dynamics.  It does not suppress to thwart the energy behind fear and anger but uses it, and finds way to steer it into channels desirable to both parties to the conflict.  

(66)  Fear and anger are closely allied.  They have the same origin or purpose:  to separate a person from a living creature, force or situation considered by the person to be painful, threatening or dangerous to his comfort or well-being, the easy action of his instincts or his very existence.  If the person feels that he is stronger than the threatening force or situation, the emotion is anger, while if he estimates the danger as stronger than himself (including his skill), the emotion is fear.

…  Hate is a sort of deferred or thwarted anger.

(67)  We know that the elemental instinct of flight and its corresponding emotion, fear, can be controlled and disciplined by military training.
NB:  fight, flight, or freeze

… The new discipline probably is more quantitatively more difficult, because it involved control of both fear and anger, but it is not qualitatively or intrinsically more difficult, because both these emotions are similar in origin and in ultimate purpose, namely, human-preservation through individual self-preservation.

(71)  Violence is based upon fear and anger and uses them to the utmost.  We have seen that these two emotions are based on the idea of separation, of division.  Nonviolent resistance, on the other hand, is based upon the idea of unity.  The hypothesis of nonviolent resisters is that the strongest factor in human beings, in the long run, is their unity - that they have more in common as  a human family than as separate individuals.

(72)  War seeks to demoralize the opponent, to break a will, to destroy his confidence, enthusiasm and hope.  Nonviolent resistance demoralizes the opponent only to re-establish in him a new morale that is finer because it is based on sounder values.  Nonviolent resistance does not break the opponent’s will but alters it;  does not destroy his confidence, enthusiasm and hope but transfers them to a finer purpose.

(74)  Frederick the Great wrote, “If my soldiers began to think, not one would remain in the ranks.”  As soon as a soldier begins to think of certain sorts of things, he begins to be an individual, to separate himself from the mass mind, the will and personality of the army.  If, then, the soldier is made to think for himself in the midst of a conflict, a start has been made toward the disintegration of his morale.
NB:  The key is eye to eye contact, Auschwitz satyagraha, death march survivor, cops and a bathroom mirror during a Tompkins Square Park homeless riot... and other examples

(75)  The Duke of Wellington put it forcefully:  “No man with any scruples of conscience is fit to be a soldier.”  One of the most important elements in a soldier’s morale, as Hocking has indicated, is his consciousness of being a protector.  If he is deprived of that, he feels useless and perhaps a little absurd.

…Inaction is notoriously hard on a soldier’s morale.

(78)  In nonviolent resistance the suffering is itself a weapon or means of winning.
NB:  less suffering than determination, I believe

(86)  In quality a victory by nonviolent resistance is far more gallant and joyous than one by violence can ever be.  It requires no lying, distortion or suprression of the truth, no slaughter or threats.  It leaves no bad conscience or bad taste in the mouth.  The public opinion it gains is weighty and lasting.

Still another way in which mass nonviolent resistance operates is to end and clear away social defects, economic mistakes and political errors.  The semi-military discipline of the resisters, the getting rid of bad habits, the learning to struggle without anger, the social unity developed, the emphasis on moral factors, the appeal to the finest spirit of the opponents and onlookers, the generosity and kindness required - all these constitute a social purification, a creation of truer values and actions among all concerned.

(87)  When truth is more nearly approximated in action there is a tremendous gain in strength as well as a liberation.

(89)  Ghana, the new member of the British Commonwealth in West Africa, won its freedom in 1957 after a ten-year nonviolent struggle.  Its leader, Kwame Nkrumah, in his autobiography says explicitly that the campaign for freedom was “based on the principle of absolute nonviolence as used by Gandhi in India,” and “We repudiate war and violence."

(95-96)  Clausewitz’s principles of war have been summarized by a British writer [AA Walser]:  “Retaining the initiative, using the defensive form of action, concentration of force at the decisive point, the determination of that point, the superiority of the moral factor to purely material resources, the proper relation between attack and defense, and the will to victory.”

(97)  But psychologically, nonviolent resistance differs in one respect from war.  The object is not to make the opponent believe that he is crushed but to persuade him to realize that he can attain practical security, or whatever else his ultimate desire may be, by easier and surer means than he saw formerly.  The effort is furthermore to help him work out such new means, not rigidly or on any a priori plan, but flexibly in accordance with the deepest growing truth of the entire situation in all its bearings.  Nonviolence does not destroy the opponent’s courage, but merely alters his belief that his will and desire must be satisfied only in _his_ way.  Thus he is led to see the situation in a broader, more fundamental and far-sighted way, so as to work out a solution which will more nearly satisfy both parties in the light of a new set of conditions.

(103-104)  The nonviolent resister believes that a large part of the activities that the state are founded upon [is] a mistake, namely, the idea that fear is the strongest and best sanction for group action and association.

(104-105)  The struggle is fundamentally in the realm of ideas and moral principles, as Napoleon and other military writers have pointed out.  Since it is axiomatic among all warriors that the best form of defense is to attack, then the most efficient attack is not in the realm of material weapons but in the realm of ideas, feelings and moral principles.  I do not mean mere argument, though that is important, but still more by putting fine moral principles into action, by being strictly honest and candid with oneself as well as one’s opponents, admitting one’s past mistakes, first, unilaterally (every one of us has made mistakes), respecting one’s opponents and showing it in deeds, being willing to yield something - even something big and valuable, provided it is not a principle - being kind and generous to the opponents, stopping all threats and harsh holding-fast to the right.  This will be very difficult, a very high price to pay for peace.  But with all the load of past moral mistakes everywhere, we cannot have peace unless we are willing to pay a high price.

(105)  Peace, on the other hand, is not an institution.  Like happiness and liberty, it cannot be had by direct effort.  It is an indirect byproduct of other conditions, chief of which are mutual trust and a strong sense of the unity of mankind and its overriding importance.  Trust, in turn, grows out of deeds that reveal continuing intelligence, good will and desire to cooperate and promote the common welfare.  These underlying attitudes can be stimulated to grow.  Their growth can be begun unilaterally.  It is upon their developoment and growth that effort should be concentrated.  Once they are strong and permanent, peace will come automatically,

(107)  The advantages of nonviolent resistance is that it begins at home and can and needs to be practiced in all the small private relations bretween people as a preparation for and accompaniment of its use on a large scale.  Nobody can dodge the responsibility for its success.  The poorest and most insignificant can practice it as finely, successfully and usefully as prime ministers, presidents, financiers, labor leaders or other powerful persons.  Through nonviolent resistance we can reach an active, reasoned belief in the conditions that result in peace, conditions capable of continuous practice in all grades of life and all sorts of conflict, so as to educate everyone into a conviction that they give better results, more efficiently, than violence.

(122)  In conflict, what needs to be done is to change not people as such, but their attachment to certain ideas, sentiments, desires, and assumptions.  Such changes are not effected by killing or wounding the opponents.

(123)  In the persuasion of nonviolent resistance, there must be not only gentleness and love but also truth.  All human beings make mistakes.  Adherence to truth requires public admission of our mistakes.

(123-124)  There are other advantages in thus notifying the adversary in advance of what you are planning to do.  It shows a special kind of courage without threat.  It is a demonstration to the opponent and the public that you are truthful even when it is risky, and that you adhere to truth and trust it even at personal sacrifice or when it does not seem at first to be to the advantage of your cause.

(124)  Since trust is an essential prerequisite to persuasion, and truth creates trust, persistent devotion to truth at all costs is strongly persuasive.

(132)  The result of such interaction [search for common purpose] is not compromise but growth and adaptation, a change of character without loss of permanent integrity.

(147)  We who believe in nonviolence must change our habits before we ask an opponent to change his.

(148)  Hence nonviolent resisters in order to alter opponents must first subject themselves to self-discipline.

(151)  Stride Toward Freedom by Martin Luther King Jr
Conquest of Violence by Joan V Bondurant

(156)  Acquiring self-respect mitigates the resentment that is caused by humiliations, and thus makes self-control easier.  That is a great help toward success in using nonviolent resistance.

(163)  One of the hardest things which conscientious objectors during the world wars had to beat was a feeling of loneliness, a feeling that nobody agreed with them or cared about them.

(166)  Manual Work.  The beginning of action adequate to our problem is manual work.  Something all members of a team can work at together would be best, and that will be a service to the community.
NB:  swadeshi - not mentioned in the book or the index
barnraising, mutual aid and association

(167)  If believers in constructive, loving nonviolence will give their labor regularly and steadily to such repairs, sanitation work and cleaning-up, they will promote both individual and community morale and good feeling.

(182)  Danilo Dulci, Palermo (London:  MacGibbon & Kee, 1958) - Dolci was the Italian Gandhi

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