I was sitting in a class on how to build support for making social change, and one of the discussions we had is a comparison of the differences between the civil rights era environment and today’s civic environment. This made my mind leap into making a list of a score of dozen ways to be an empowered citizen and an empowered consumer.
Writing this post, I realized that this list is a micro version of Gandhi’s Constructive Program. In the period between civil Disobedience Campaigns, Gandhi kept his followers engaged and progressing by building a sustainable community-based economy to replace the imperial system which oppressed them.
Sadly, despite the fall of the Soviet Union, Schell’s arguments for the only path to a safe world still hold. He sees nuclear weapons as the greatest “predicament” that mankind has faced. With the benefit of current knowledge, I would argue that global climate change has overtaken nuclear weapons as humankind’s worst self-imposed threat. Yet even at number two, the abolition of nuclear weapons must be accomplished for our survival. I would also argue that the two are intertwined under former US President Eisenhower’s “military-industrial complex.” Continue reading Schell: Complete Disarmament is the Only Sane Path→
Composer and musician Philip Glass made a statement at Lincoln Center. His opera, Satyagraha, about Gandhi and nonviolent social change, had just been performed. Glass used The People’s Mic (Mic Check) to make comments to the assembled Occupy Wall Street activists and opera goers. Below are three videos from different perspectives, and the full text.
Philip Glass at Lincoln Center Video
An activist perspective. Trying to get the folks who watched the opera about Gandhi to “cross the line” and join the people:
In this short 2-page essay on Gandhi’s Faith in Nonviolence. He starts out from the universal concept of the “law of love” is the solution to the “law of destruction”. He then applies it India by explaining how phenomenally successful nonviolence has been, and how quickly and widely it spread through the country. Continue reading Gandhi’s Faith in Nonviolence→
The fourth chapter of The Power of Nonviolence: Writings by Advocates of Peace brings us to Henry David Thoreau‘s seminal 1849 essay on Civil Disobedience. This is the essay that turned words into action. It turned the future into right now. This essay educated two of the most powerful leaders of the 20th century, Gandhi and King. It provided the foundations for their nonviolent movements.
Like many of his fellow transcendentalists, Thoreau was an abolitionist. He reacted strongly to President Polk’s incitement of the Mexican War in 1846. The war was intended to annex territory for slavery. Congressman Abraham Lincoln’s outspoken opposition to the war essentially ended his political career for 8 years.
Thoreau took it a step further. He saw that living in a the the free state of Massachusetts and speaking out against slavery did not absolve him of involvement in the war, and in furthering slavery. Thoreau saw that his support of the government — his payment of taxes — made him complicit. Despite having coined the phrase in the beginning of this essay that teeters between libertarian and anarchist: Continue reading Power of Nonviolence Thoreau CD: Peace Book Chapter 4 10/10/11→