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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Non Violent Direct Action

"The problem with the use of violent confrontation strategies is that they quickly escalate to the point where the parties' only concerns are victory, vengeance, and self-defense. In these cases, the moral arguments of people who are being unjustly treated become irrelevant. What matters is that they have used violent strategies and their opponent is, therefore, justified in a violent response. This problem is complicated by the fact that both sides are usually able to argue that the other side started the violence...."


"Martin Luther King sums it up: "In any non-violent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self-purification; and direct action. People often ask, 'Isn't negotiation a better path than direct action?' The purpose of direct action is to facilitate negotiation."

An extract from a letter from Birmingham Gaol, April 1963.


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