The Success & Failure of Non-Violence

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Philosophy Now
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The Success & Failure of Non-Violence

Post by Philosophy Now » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:46 pm

Yoav Tenembaum asks when a policy of non-violence is feasible.

http://philosophynow.org/issues/85/The_ ... n-Violence

spike
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Re: The Success & Failure of Non-Violence

Post by spike » Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:57 pm

As the author writes, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi were both successful in their non-violence movements because they focused on simple issues; both simply wanting social justice for their people. Another reason for their success is that a majority could easily identify with their hopes and values. In contrast, pacifists failed in their non-violence movements because their vision was too broad — world peace. Expecting world peace was not realistic, especially at the time, whereas King's and Gandhi's visions were in comparison parsimonious in expectation. Personally, a social justice was easier to relate to than world peace.

I am thinking that King and Gandhi also succeeded because of the era they lived in. The world was changing and so was the thinking. The world had just gone through a very violent time, WWII, and thus had grown weary of violence and wiser to its futility.

Another thing that may have contributed to their success is that the world itself was beginning to set a standard of for non-violence with the establishment of non-violent institutions like the United Nations. The world was also entering a non-violent period known as the Cold War. The Cold War was basically a stand-off between two rival powers, the US and the USSR, who tried mostly through non-violent means to prevent the other from expanding worldwide in their influence. Had it not been that way, a non-violent stand-off between the two, it's most likely the Cold War would instead have been a 'hot war' due to their capacity for mutual destruction, since they matched each other weapon for weapon in mass destruction.

spike
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Re: The Success & Failure of Non-Violence

Post by spike » Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:57 pm

The author of this article in issue 85, Yoav Tenembaum, points out that democracy had somethings to do with the growth and success of the non-violent movements like those King and Gandhi pursued. Without democracy neither King's or Gandhi's non-violent efforts would have be possible. King's struggle occurred within the democratic environment of the United States. Gandhi's struggle was against a democratic occupier, Great Britain. In contrast, we have seen non-violent protest again non-democratic, authoritarian states being met with violence, such as that which occurred in China, in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989. Recently we have seen similar non-violent movements met with violence in the Arab Spring peaceful protests of this year.

Why non-violence movements have succeed under democracy is because democracy appeals to reason, and the idea that things can be litigated and achieved without violence. Democracy makes non-violence feasable. No nation that is democratic has ever gone to war with another nation that is democratic. That is because they have been able to work out any differences that exist between them non-violently.

Working things out no-violently is working things out politically, by political means rather than through warfare. Over the years we have seen more politicking between nations than warfare. That is because the world is becoming more democratic. As Carl von Clausewitz said, politics is war by other means, other means in reaching an end. Today non-violence is more the way to go and achieve desirable results. And so is politics.

For the Love of non-violence!

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Arising_uk
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Re: The Success & Failure of Non-Violence

Post by Arising_uk » Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:44 pm

Were Ghandi and King successful?

India doesn't seem to have followed his path and he was pretty much politically ousted straight away.

Has America become what King wished for?

All the little black boys and girls playing and being integrated with the white boys and girls?

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Re: The Success & Failure of Non-Violence

Post by duszek » Wed Jul 13, 2011 4:56 pm

How to deal with people we do not like ?

It is not realistic to try to like them. One would violate one´s soul that way.
My strategy is simply to avoid them and to leave the dealing with them to those who do like them.
Not everyone likes everyone and not everyone dislikes everyone.

And when you cannot avoid dealing with people whom you dislike you can simply be polite (in an artificial way).

spike
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Re: The Success & Failure of Non-Violence

Post by spike » Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:57 pm

Arising_uk wrote:Were Ghandi and King successful?

India doesn't seem to have followed his path and he was pretty much politically ousted straight away.

Has America become what King wished for?

All the little black boys and girls playing and being integrated with the white boys and girls?
I don't know what you are getting at here other than trying to be polemic.

Gandhi did achieve his non-violence goal of independence from Britain, which India got in 1947. King achieve his, culminating in the Civil Right Act of 1968 and the end of segregation against African-Americans. King's legacy is seen in America having a black president.

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Arising_uk
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Re: The Success & Failure of Non-Violence

Post by Arising_uk » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:01 pm

I don't think I'd use question marks if I was going to write a polemic Spike.

I think it debatable that Gandhi's approach was the one that achieved independence, as it didn't get it until the violence kicked in and, as you said, was more the result of the British being tired after the war with the Japanese.

I take your point with King but again would his movement have achieved the change without the Black Power and Panther movements?

Its again debatable that Obama is 'black' in the sense of actually being of two black parents but I accept your point. Although Kings dream of a colour-blind America appears far from achieved.

spike
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Re: The Success & Failure of Non-Violence

Post by spike » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:42 pm

Arising_uk wrote:I don't think I'd use question marks if I was going to write a polemic Spike.

I think it debatable that Gandhi's approach was the one that achieved independence, as it didn't get it until the violence kicked in and, as you said, was more the result of the British being tired after the war with the Japanese.

I take your point with King but again would his movement have achieved the change without the Black Power and Panther movements?

Its again debatable that Obama is 'black' in the sense of actually being of two black parents but I accept your point. Although Kings dream of a colour-blind America appears far from achieved.
I didn't say you were writing a polemic. I said you were being polemic, kind of a devil's advocate.

And you are right, that their non-violence did not happen in a vacuum. The world around them was being violent on the same issues of freedom and human rights while they pursued their no-violent approach. It, in a way, made for a good combination for really changing attitudes. A two pronged approach, so to speak, one violent and one non-violent.

Often it is said the violence accomplish nothing. But it sure gets your attention. The violence that happen around Gandhi and King while they were pursuing their non-violence gave them the stage for their movements. Their non-violence movements would have meant nothing if it wasn't first for the violence around them.

On this point of yours: "Although Kings dream of a colour-blind America appears far from achieved", America is far less colour-conscious today because of King's struggle. That certainly is a great accomplishment. And if you ask the majority you will hear that Obama is considered a black man.

Mark Question
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Re: The Success & Failure of Non-Violence

Post by Mark Question » Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:28 pm

spike wrote: I didn't say you were writing a polemic. I said you were being polemic, kind of a devil's advocate.

like this?:
"Although Kings dream of a colour-blind America appears far from achieved", America is far less colour-conscious today because of King's struggle.
which is witch, the one summoning "color-blinded" or the one mesmerizing "less colour-consciousness"?
1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4UhJpvi ... re=related
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xl2e69fE ... re=related
Their non-violence movements would have meant nothing if it wasn't first for the violence around them.
like soldiers are nothing without war? or firemen without fire? shall we praise wars and houses on fire?

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John
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Re: The Success & Failure of Non-Violence

Post by John » Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:50 pm

Arising_uk wrote:Were Ghandi and King successful?
Gandhi won 8 Oscars so that's pretty successful.

spike
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Re: The Success & Failure of Non-Violence

Post by spike » Thu Jul 28, 2011 2:53 am

MarK Question,

I don't think you have any idea what you are talking about. You are just a question mark as your name supposes.

Mark Question
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Re: The Success & Failure of Non-Violence

Post by Mark Question » Thu Jul 28, 2011 6:07 am

spike wrote:MarK Question,
I don't think you have any idea what you are talking about. You are just a question mark as your name supposes.
are you saying that you are more like unsuspective than devils advocate like chaplin seems to be when showing the good guy in the position of a agitator and god?

chaz wyman
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Re: The Success & Failure of Non-Violence

Post by chaz wyman » Mon Aug 01, 2011 11:41 am

I have to say that I thought this article was the most disappointing I have read in a long time.
It is thankfully short but this mild difficulty is turned into a major impediment by the overlong introduction.
One has to wonder who Dr. Tenembaum thinks his audience is? Why has he spilled ink in his opening remark by telling us all what every 11 year old school child knows about Gandhi and King?
So, after wasting 20% of his short allotment he goes on to make the most banal statements and empty platitudes mixed with unsubstantiated claims made with poor analysis.
Maybe he would have been better spending his opening 20% trying to support his false claim that non-violent action fails in totalitarian states when it actually succeeded in the Soviet Union and in India who despite the UK enjoying democracy, it did not apply in the Empire - as if the "British public" had anything to do with the result. These examples alone are enough to dismiss his claim that non violence is "futile", when in the long term they have been show to win out in the end.
Maybe his pessimistic view point will further encourage Palestinian freedom fighters in his own land to continue their violence - maybe that his what he is comfortable with?

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Re: The Success & Failure of Non-Violence

Post by the dankster » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:44 am

Arising_uk wrote:
Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:01 pm
I don't think I'd use question marks if I was going to write a polemic Spike.

I think it debatable that Gandhi's approach was the one that achieved independence, as it didn't get it until the violence kicked in and, as you said, was more the result of the British being tired after the war with the Japanese.
I'm not sure that suggestion is tenable at all. There was no meaningful violence until October 1943, and by that point self-rule had already been all but assured and all that was being negotiated was the time frame. On top of that, the efforts at violence were rather pathetic, the INA surrendered in 1945 having accomplished almost nothing on the battlefield. At most, it was the enormous pro-INA sentiments expressed by the Indian people, therefore demonstrating that continued British control over the population was unlikely to be tenable, that led the INA's mostly symbolic move to have any accelerating effect on the timeline at all.



Arising_uk wrote:
Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:01 pm
I take your point with King but again would his movement have achieved the change without the Black Power and Panther movements?
Yes, likely. Nearly everything King achieved occurred before the Black Panthers even formed. There is a strong argument that the rise and subsequent fall of the Black Panthers is what caused Civil Rights gains to stall out at that point.

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Re: The Success & Failure of Non-Violence

Post by the dankster » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:56 am

I found the final paragraph of the article to be especially problematic.

What justification is he using for making such strong declarations about how "pointless" nonviolence would have been in Nazi Germany because the Nazi leadership was murderous, as if unaware that nonviolence has been effectively used against quite murderous leaders in numerous other situations?

To make such a statement while not even acknowledging the many nonviolent tactics successfully used against Nazis and the sympathizers in Denmark, Bulgaria, the Netherlands at times, Norway...perhaps most poetically in Andre Trocme's efforts in Le Chambon... it just short-circuits a legitimate discussion.

The largest issue during the Nazi movement was the LACK of resistance. The Holocaust didn't proceed because people choose the wrong strategy to resist it, but because they didn't resist it at all. In places where it was consistently resisted, like Denmark, Bulgaria, and Le Chambon, it didn't proceed.

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