Practical Nonviolence

"Jesus did not say 'Like your enemies'.... Love is deeper than liking.
It's a concern for the genuine good of the person. We can love without liking."

Gerard Vanderhaar, Pax Christi Peace Ambassador, in Enemies and How to Love Them
"Forgiveness does not mean putting a false label on an evil act...It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The first essential characteristic of nonviolent action is that it is creative."

Hildegard Goss-Myer

1. Be clear about objectives.
Although the ultimate goal of a nonviolent person is peace on earth and a just society, any particular nonviolent action should remain focused on specific objectives - calming a disturbed person, for example, not necessarily winning an argument.

2. Don’t be frightened.
Fear is perceived, and encourages the opponent to continue the undesired activity. It is difficult not to be afraid in a confrontation, but not impossible. Breathe deeply, keep talking – slowly. Maintain eye contact without challenging the opponent. Encourage the opponent to talk.

3. Don’t be frightening.
The other person is likely to be frightened also. Make no abrupt gestures. Move slowly. Don’t say anything threatening, critical, or hostile.

4. Try to clarify the situation.
Do not hesitate to state the obvious. It helps, and sometimes can make things better quickly. “I can hear you okay. You don’t need to shout.”

5. Seek to befriend your opponent’s better nature.
This is the heart of nonviolent action. Even the most apparently brutal person has some spark of decency that the nonviolent person can try to reach. The goal is to help the opponent see that the intended attack is inconsistent with the kind of person that person wishes to be.

6. Be firm in the face of aggression.
The most frequent mistake nonviolent persons make is that they do not resist firmly enough. But it has to be played by ear. The best rule is to resist as firmly as possible without escalating the anger or the violence.

7. Keep talking; keep listening.
Keep the other person talking. Don’t argue, but at the same time don’t give the impression of agreeing with assertions that are cruel or immoral. The listening is more important than what is said. Keep the talk going and keep it calm.