Nonviolence Quotes

"Those who profess to favor freedom, yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

-- Frederick Douglass, African-American abolitionist


"I Should Like To Be Able To Love My Country and Still Love Justice."

-– Camus


"Let Us Not Become the Evil That We Deplore."

-- Barbara Lee


"When I dare to be powerful-to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid."

-- Audre Lorde


"They have as it were two hands upon him - the one calming him, making him ask questions, as the other makes him move."

-- Barbara Deming, "On Revolution and Equilibrium"


“Nonviolence is the constant awareness of the dignity and the humanity of oneself and others; it seeks truth and justice; it renounces violence both in method and in attitude; it is a courageous acceptance of active love and goodwill as the instrument with which to overcome evil and transform both oneself and to others. It is the willingness to undergo suffering rather than inflict it. It excludes retaliation and flight.”

-- Wally Nelson


"It is one thing to be able to state the price the antagonist paid, another to be able to count you own real gains."

-- Barbara Deming


"Nonviolent action is a means of combat, as is war.   It involves the matching of forces and the waging of 'battle,' requires wise strategy and tactics and demands of its 'soldiers' courage, discipline and sacrifice.   This view of nonviolent action as a technique of active combat is diametrically opposed to the popular assumption that, at its strongest, nonviolent action relies on rational persuasion of the opponent, and more commonly it consists simply of passive submission.   Nonviolent action is just what it says: action which is nonviolent, not inaction.   This technique consists, not simply of words, but of active protest, noncooperation, and intervention.   Overwhelmingly, it is a group or mass action.

-- Gene Sharp


"Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky.   They are people who say:   This is my community, and it is my responsibility to make it better.   Interweave all these communities and you really have an America that is back on its feet again.   I really think we are gonna   have to reassess what constitutes a 'hero'."                      

-- Studs Terkel


"The criminal 'justice' system functions to alienate and isolate the accused individual, to destroy one's power   and purposefulness and to weave a web of confusion and mystification around any legal proceedings."

-- The Blockade the Bombmakers Hankbook, 1982


"The power of nonviolence is not circumstance-specific.    It is as applicable to the problems that confront us now, as to problems that confronted generations in the past.   It is not a medicine or a solution so much as a healing process.   It is the active spiritual immune system of humanity."

-- Marianne Williamson


"The major advances in nonviolence have not come from people who have approached nonviolence as an end in itself, but from persons who were passionately striving to free themselves from social injustice."

-- Dave Dellinger


"Every relationship of domination, of exploitation, of oppression is by definition violent, whether or not the violence is expressed by drastic means.   In such a relationship, dominator and dominated alike are reduced to things- the former dehumanized by an excess of power, the latter by a lack of it.   And things cannot love."

-- Paulo Freire


"No one has yet fully realized the wealth of sympathy,   kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child.   The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure."

-- Emma Goldman


"If you are going to hold someone down you're going to have to hold onto the other end of the chain.   You are confined by your own repression."

--Toni Morrisson.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote that the philosophy and practice of nonviolence has six basic elements. First, nonviolence is resistance to evil and oppression. It is a human way to fight. Second, it does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win her/his friendship and understanding. Third, the nonviolent method is an attack on the forces of evil rather than against persons doing the evil. It seeks to defeat the evil and not the persons doing the evil and injustice. Fourth, it is the willingness to accept suffering without retaliation. Fifth, a nonviolent resister avoids both external physical and internal spiritual violence - not only refuses to shoot, but also to hate, an opponent. The ethic of real love is at the center of nonviolence. Sixth, the believer in nonviolence has a deep faith in the future and the forces in the universe are seen to be on the side of justice.




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