Nonviolence is a philosophy, a lifestyle, a means of social, political and economic struggle as old as history itself. From ancient times to the present, people have renounced violence as a means of resolving disputes. They have opted instead for negotiation, mediationand reconciliation, resisting violence with a militant and uncompromising nonviolence and respect for the integrity of allhuman beings, friedns and enemies alike.
Nonviolence is a body or principles and a legacy of practice closely tied to pacifism. Pacifism leads us to a renunciation of ll wars, allforms of mass violence and all the structures of oppression that have plagued humanity since the dawn of creation. Nonviolence provides us witht the tools, the positive means to oppose and stop wars and preparations for war, to resist violence, to struggle against racial, sexual, and economic oppression and discrimination and to seek social justice and genuine democracy for the people throughout the world. In a very real sense, nonviolence is the leaven for the bread that is a new society free from oppression and bloodshed, a world in which persons can fulfill their individual potential to the fullest.
Nonviolent action is a technique used to control, combat and destroy the opponentís power by nonviolent means of weilding power. Nonviolent action is a generic term covering dozens of specific methods of protest, non-cooperation and intervention, in all of which the actionists enter the conflict by doing--or refusing to do --certain things without using physical violence. As a technique, therefore,nonviolent action is not passive. It is not inaction. It is action that is nonviolent.
Nonviolent action is not an attempt to avoid or ignore conflict. It is one response to the problem of how to act effectively in politics, especially how to weild power effectively. At times nonviolent activists appear to exacwebate social conflict, by committing civil disobedience, as in resisting military conscription or sitting in at a segregated lunch counter. This is a strategy Gandhi developed with real art-- civil disobedience. It puts Godís law first and foremost in any struggle. nonviolent actionrequires saints, giants of spiritual power to speak truth and to fearlessly confront the evils of our world.
There are many names given for the concept : Holy Disobedience,Responsible Disobedience, Dissent, etc. But we will use Kingís title taken from Romas, 12: 2 :
"Be not conformed to this world : but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind."