Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Before King Was Pacifist


From the site:

It is possible for someone to make a commitment to nonviolence as a point of personal principle without ever taking part in the kind of action that would make their convictions a matter of public consequence. Indeed, this is common, since most people prefer the comforts of private life to the tension of political conflict. Pacifists who do put their beliefs to the test might undertake civil disobedience individually—performing acts of moral witness that pose no real threat to perpetrators of injustice. It is only when the tenets of unarmed direct action are strategically employed, made into effective weapons of political persuasion through campaigns of widespread disruption and collective sacrifice, that nonviolence gains its fullest power.

Martin Luther King did embrace strategic nonviolence in its most robust and radical form—and this produced the historic confrontations at Birmingham and Selma. But it is important to remember that these came years after his initial baptism into political life in Montgomery, and that they might easily not have happened at all.

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