Nonviolence is an wonderful technique of harmonizing relationships amongst people and all other creatures for the accomplishment of justice and the eventual well-being of everyone. Non-violence has emerge as a form of protest against the oppressive regime or the fight in opposition to something. It is not only the lack of violence but additionally the concept of causing harm. Non-violence is protesting against inhuman bylaws and suppressive conditions by expressing it in discipline for utmost impacts. The non-violent acts are seen in one’s acts, words, attire; it is clearly the way of life. Martin Luther King Jr and Gandhi are prominent human right activists who incorporated this approach in their protests and interestingly, a majority of their protest bore fruit.
Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948), was a human right activist who protested against the British imperial regime in India amid the twentieth century. With Gandhi, the concept of non-violence obtained an exceptional status. He put this concept into theory and also did adopt non-violence as a perfect way of life. Gandhi perceived violence negatively and established two kinds of violence; passive and physical. The act of passive violence is a daily thing; however, it might prompt physical violence. To him violence is from its Sanskrit origins, himsa, implying injury (Borman 6). Gandhi believed that a person who practices non-violence is blessed- bylaw of ahimsa, even if he is in the middle of aggravated situation.
Gandhi opposes violence since it brings about hatred. Authentic non-violence activists accept violence upon themselves without imposing it on others. Gandhi thought that perpetrators of violence are byproducts of societal disintegration. Violence cause bloodshed and non-violence is a better way to bring results and stop violence (Borman 8). This technique of non-violence is centered on love. Gandhi believed that non-violence is the mightiest force of power and is fundamentally based on love and truth. Martin Luther King Jr a phenomenal African American human activist also based his ideologies on Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence. He was a great admirer of Gandhi. In his writings, she stated that a courageous confrontation of evil is love and non-violence. Being a Christian, he asserted that the Christian principle of love working via the Gandhian technique of nonviolence was among the most potent weapons available to suppressed individuals in their fight for sovereignty.
While intellectually devoted to nonviolence, King never experienced the power nonviolent straightforward act personally till the commencement of the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955. Amid this boycott, he implemented Gandhi ideals. In spite of threats over his life and bombings of his home, he never retaliated with violence. Through leading this protest, King fully understood how non-violence could be a way of life (Ansbro 6). Maybe what also motivated him was that he was deeply rooted in Christian principles which emphasize on treating others with love. King was a man who trusted that people ought to be treated equally. He organized many protests to fight for equality of African American which really went a long way in combating the widespread racism. His style attracted many followers and achieved numerous milestones like the enactment of Voting Act which permitted the black Americans the rights to vote.
According to King, non-violence is for cowards. A person is passive and non-violent bodily however active spiritually. He is always looking for ways of persuading the opponent of benefits of the way of love, teamwork, and peace. The aim of non-violence is not about defeating or humiliating the opponent instead to win him to comprehend new ways to establish harmony and cooperation (Ansbro 8). The non-violent protestors attack the forces of evil and not individuals participating in injustice. Non-violent protestors accept suffering without any retaliatory attacks. To King and Gandhi, the suffering of activities had the power to convince their opponents. In non-violent protest, people learn to love others unconditionally with God’s overflowing love. Finally, non-violence is centered on the facts that mankind is fair.
Looking at the recent Mayday protests, there were cases of violence that occurred. The recent Mayday protests which took place on 1st may was marred by violence. Following the rough stance of President Donald Trump on the issue of immigration and deportation, the protests were opposing trump’s policies on immigration. Another issue was fighting for the improvement of labor rights for workers. Labor and immigrants’ rights activists, were protesting against President Trump’s Detention and deportation plan. Immigrants are major contributors in the labor force, especially in manual jobs. There were clashes between the pro-trump and anti-trump supporters.
In places like Portland, protestors threw rocks, bombs and other things at the police while others decided to fight the police. This is in contrast to the ideals of Martin Luther and Gandhi ideologies of non-violent protests. Some of the protestors were arrested. In Paris, the protest turned violent leading to injuries of the anti-riot officers. Comparing to the concepts of the two activist King and Gandhi, the Mayday protest would unlikely bring any positive impact. When people engage in violent acts, for instance in this case protesting against Trump stance of immigration, using violence will only harden his stance.
Trade unionists in major cities were fighting for improved labor rights of the workers. Adopting a non-violent approach would have been a better alternative. When protestors decide to employ force, it only turns into a supremacy showdown with the opponents trying to assert its power. The government might even decide to use force leading to further injuries (Yee n.p). Further violence leads to damage of property bring in huge losses to other people’s businesses. Therefore, employing violence is simply dangerous, innocent lives could be lost, and protestors’ agendas are likely to be heard or taken seriously.
There is a very high chance that peaceful march and protests are likely to yield results. Using violence gives the opponent the opportunity to quickly dismisses the protestors or makes arrests, in this case, the organizers of the protests. If it damages other people’s property, then it shall not gain support from the residents. King and Gandhi stated that non-violent technique is meant to attack the force of evil rather than the people itself and it should never inflict harm on others. Notwithstanding the probable injuries following a violent riot or protest, the government is likely to enact even harsher now. Violent protest discourages investors.
The Mayday protest may have had good intentions; however, the violence that took place in some cities is what hampers the effectiveness of such protests. It is highly advisable to adopt the ideologies of two great philosophers’ King and Gandhi who managed to bring equality and defeat British rule respectively by use of non-violence techniques.
Ansbro, John J. Martin Luther King, Jr.: nonviolent strategies and tactics for social change. Madison Books, 2000.
Borman, William. Gandhi and Non-violence. SUNY Press, 1986.
Yee, Jennifer. “On May Day, Protesters Take To The Streets Nationwide”. Nytimes.Com, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/01/us/may-day-loyalty-day-protests-trump.html?_r=0.