Exploring solutions to mankind and societal problems through nonviolence means.
In this article, I examined: 1) the principles of Kingian Nonviolence. My analysis on the subject was based mostly on literature that centered around the lives of Dr. King and Gandhi; 2) I looked at how we can apply the practice and philosophies of Kingian nonviolence in solving our modern day conflicts.
The year 2020 has been a very tough year for everyone globally due to COVID 19 pandemic. A lot of lives were lost both rich and poor, colored and white, Christian and Muslim alike. Numbers of joblessness and homelessness skyrocketed. The gap between elite and ordinary casual workers widened. Information about Coronavirus Diseases 2019, commonly referred to as COVID 19 was first published by the World Health Organization on January 05, 2020. The publication came following the report from the Chinese government about the status of a patient of COVID 19, and the public health response on the cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan (WHO|Archived).
Due to the rapid spread of COVID 19, on March 11, 2020, Wealth Health Organization, also known as WHO made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic. Because it had spread and continued spreading rapidly all over the world(WHO| Timeline). The rapid spread of COVID 19 globally had two folded implications: First, it showed our connectedness as humans, how vulnerable and fragile we all are; 2) it was a reminder in my
opinion that not even our power, resources, and standing in the society can not save one from things that affect us all like this COVID 19 pandemic.
Furthermore, COVID 19 pandemic brought to light the system and level of oppression that exists globally. The pandemic exposed: 1) brutality by law enforcement worldwide; 2) dehumanizing treatment of citizens by the dictatorial government. We watched globally deep-rooted systems where: 1) the humanity of a person is upheld or violated depending on their skin color; 2) the cost of exercising civil and political rights could be death; 3) foreign-born mothers risked everything to find safety in the land of the free only to be separated from their children and be subjected without their consent to hysterectomy by immigration officers; 4) persons is criminalized base on their size, color, and appearance. These oppressions caught the attention of people to take action.
Motivated by love over hate, truth over lies, courage over fear, people globally marched to the street to demand change in those systems of oppression. The oppressed and other people of goodwill all over the world marched peacefully to the streets against: 1) human rights violation in the hand of dictatorial government; 2) against systemic racism in both public and private institutions; 3) against brutality, dehumanizing, and belittling of people of color in the hand of law enforcement( New York Time, 2020 ).
Those like myself that couldn’t participate in those matches were glued onto our television screens watching the demonstration unfold. All I could see in the eyes of protesters was: 1) hurt, shame, uncertainty, and loss of hope for ever waking up the next day safe either
from COVID 19 or as a result of law enforcement brutality; 2) passion and desire to be treated as a human being with dignity and respect. I watched protestors matched from point A to point B to make their presence known and felt. They sang and poured out loud their hearts to make their voice heard. They held hands to show that the problem they are protesting against might affect one directly, but it also affects all human race indirectly regardless of color, religion, and political affiliation. People of different color, religions marched side by side because they realized that solving systemic oppression that people were living under requires the contribution of all without regard to race, color, or religion.
Government response to demonstrators
Governments all over the world responded to those peaceful protestors with: 1) heavy deployment of heavily armed law enforcement personals consisting of Police, Military forces, and other security operatives; 2) Arrest and jailing of protestors; 3) in some countries, people suspected to have taken part in demonstration were kidnaped by security operatives and their where about is unknown up to now. These forms of government intervention affirmed how deep the adversarial armed method of conflict resolution is still rooted in our culture. In most, if not all circumstances, protests that were peaceful turned into violence whenever those heavily armed security and law enforcement intervened(Pozo, 2020).
The protestors pleaded with those deployed armed personnel to stop brutalitalizing them, humiliating and dehumanizing them. Some even went as far as inviting those armed security personnel to join the march against brutality by law enforcement, systemic racism, corruption, human rights violation and all other causes that led protesters to demonstrate.
The words that were uttered by those protestors on the street still rings in my ears to date. Some of these words include: 1) “ You can shoot at us, but you can never kill us all”- National Unity platform supporters carrying out in Uganda against brutality by joint security forces brutality consisting of police and military; 2) “ I just want to live” – a young black man crying out against Police brutality in America. 3) “Life is worthless without Identity and belonging”. Hongkong is our identity, and it’s where we belong”- Hongkong nationals crying out against mainland Chinese government invasion of Hongkong.
Protestors were assaulted, injured, beaten, arrested, detained, and some convicted. Other protestors got kidnapped and their whereabouts are unknown to date. It was motivating and encouraging to watch protestors not backing down on their demand for change through peaceful means. Not even the brutality by law enforcement could stop the protestors from making their voice heard. They have shown courage over fear. In America, e.g., people took to the streets amidst police brutality to demand accountability for touring and killing fellow citizens by police officers(NPR, 2020 2020). They also demanded a change in the deep-rooted system of systematic racism that for decades has been belittling, dehumanizing, or humiliating people of color.
Another example was seen in China. Hong Kong citizens took to the street peacefully to resist oppression by the Chinese mainland government (CNN, 2020). Also in Uganda, the people went to the street to demand for the immediate release of the presidential candidate from National Unity platform which is one of the political parties in Uganda (The New York Times, 2020). In Nigeria, the citizens also took to the streets to demand the abolition of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Police Unit, also known as SARS (Maclean, 2020).
The involvement of armed personnel to curb protests and reaction by protestors against such action was a clear confirmation that violent conflict resolution does not provide any long-lasting and meaningful solution to the problem. One of the words uttered by those peaceful protestors to security forces brutalizing them that stakeout to me up to now, and inspired me to write this article was, “ can we all get along”?
Propose solution through Kingian Nonviolence action.
1. Introduction of Kingian Nonviolence
I wish to think that yes, we can get along. But using or resorting to violence only drives us apart. It only turns us against each other. Dr. King reminded us in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time (Nobel Prize, 2014). We need to apply a different means of solving our problems in a manner that respects and upholds our human dignity and pride. We can only do so when we reject methods that seek revenge, aggression, and retaliation. According to King, the foundation of which is Love(Nobel Prize, 2014). But how can we do that? The only way is to adopt and apply the Kingian nonviolence approach and philosophy.
Several scholars have defined Kingian nonviolence. Some of these Scholars include: Lafayet who defined Nonviolence as a way of life. It is assertive and aggressive toward changing institutionalized policies, practices, and conditions that deny people their dignity as human beings(LaFayette & Jehnsen, 1995). Dr. King in his Nobel Peace Prize, acceptance speech said
nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force that makes for social transformation(Nobel Prize, 2014).
Also, Oxford University defines nonviolence as a form of political action based on peaceful means to challenge a particular regime, policy, force, or power(Oxford University Press, 2009). It consists of omission, commission, and a combination of both(Chenoweth, 2011). The techniques of nonviolence include: social, political, and economic. Examples of these techniques include but not limited to boycotts, strikes, sit-ins, and protests. It involves the mobilization of the public to: 1) oppose or support policies; 2) delegitimize political opponents; 3) remove or restrict and dismantle sources of power(Chenoweth, 2011).
2. The development of practice and philosophies of Kingian Nonviolence The practice of Kingian nonviolence was developed from philosophies and personalities of individual leaders whose life has triumphed over violence and death. These individuals include: Mohandas K. Gandhi from India, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr from the United States, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, and other church institutions such as Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers.
Even though Dr. Martin Luther King is known for his work with the Civil Right Movement that has made nonviolence to be recognized as a significant alternative to effectively deal with conditions they face locally, nationally, and internationally, he was not the first. Dr. King’s nonviolent skills and methodology was inspired by earlier philosophers of the 20th century such as Gandhi who through a nonviolent approach, led India to independence from
British colonizers (Gardner & Laskin, 2011). Gandhi used a nonviolent approach of Satya Graha which translates as Truth-force. It comprises two things: 1) civil disobedience. It entailed breaking a law and courting arrest; 2) the non-co-operation(Gandhi Institution| Mahatma Gandhi and His Myths).
Both Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Gandhi’s pursuit of the Kingian nonviolence approach were influenced by their pursuit of truth, ethical background, faith, and conviction that violence is not a valid means of solving social problems(B. L. Jr & Jehnsen, 1995). Be as it may, one does not need to be religious in order to practice Kingian nonviolence. However, one ought to have love for humanity, and must be of morals.
Kingian Understanding and application of Love.
According to Dr. King, love means understanding and redemptive goodwill. He said there are three types of love: 1) earo love, which means yearning of the soul for the realm of the Devin; 2) philia love, which means intimate affection between personal friends. It is reciprocated in nature; 3) agape love, which means understanding and redeeming the goodwill of all men. Please note, agape is the only type of love referred to in the context of nonviolent resistance. Because this agape love by its nature is overflowing, spontaneous, unmotivated, groundless, and creative. It is not set in motion by the quality or function of its object.
Furthermore, agape is disinterested love. In it, an individual seeks not his own good, but the good of his neighbor. It begins with loving others for their own sake without discriminating between race, worth or religion. It makes no distinction between enemies and friends. Agape
love stamped from the needs of other people. Dr. King during his press release on racial justice gave an example of this characteristic by stating that “Negro must love the white man because he needs his love to remove his tensions, fears, and insecurity”. Also, agape love seeks to preserve and create community. It is: 1) the willingness to sacrifice in the interests of mutuality; 2) the willingness to go above and beyond to restore the community; 3) the willingness to forgive without limit and boundary.
Also, Agape love entails recognition of the fact that all life is interconnected or integrated. All humanity is involved in a single process and all men are brothers. It’s the ability to see that if you harm one, you harm yourself. Dr. King emphasized this love in his letter from Birmingham Jail that, “ In a real sense all life is interrelated. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be… This is the interrelated structure of reality(Letter from Birmingham Jail).” It’s the only cement that can hold broken communities together.
Principle of Kingian Nonviolence
In his book, stride to freedom, Dr. King laid out six principles to guide Kingian Nonviolence practitioners to intervene with compassion for the people in a conflict situation as a moral action. These principles include: 1) Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people, 2) The beloved community is the framework for the future, 3) Attack forces of evil, not the person doing it. 4) Accept suffering without retaliation for the sake of the cause to achieve the goal. 5)
Avoid Internal violence of the spirit as well as external physical violence. 6) The universe is on the side of Justice (M. L. K. Jr, 1987).
1. Principle One: Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people
Generally by nature, nobody either wants to be wrong or do something wrong. People however would see evil and be reluctant to fight it. Sometimes such evil is embedded into the law. I remember when I was practicing law in some law firm in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, the common words for condoning the evil that exists in the law was “ I know it’s unfair, but that is the law”. Such mentality is what Dr. King is challenging in this principle. His conviction that “an unjust law is no law” clearly explains his courageous personality to defy laws and court orders for the sake of exposing the evil that African Americans were living through(LaFayette & Jehnsen, 1995).
Dr. King emphasized that resorting to nonviolence because of: 1) cowardliness; 2) lacks an instrument of violence, is not truly nonviolent. According to Dr. King, nonviolence is for strong people because it does resist. To arrive at this principle, he made reference to Gandhi’s words that, “if cowardice is the only alternative to violence, it’s better to fight”(M. L. K. Jr, 1987, p. 26). He said nonviolence practitioners are passive physically but strongly active spiritually. Their mind and emotion are active and constantly seeking to persuade his opponents that he is wrong. Such takes courage to not keep quiet and allow evil to continue. Dr. King lived this principle. He disobey unjust laws, he never stayed silent about the evil black Americans were going through even though he was under constant surveillance by the FBI who considered
him to be a dangerous person( The New York Times, 2021). Authorities’ negative thoughts of Dr. King never forsaken his pursuit of a moral and just society for all.
2. Principle Two: The beloved community is the framework for the future It is important to note that any method for solving societal problems that are: 1) violent in nature; 2) seek to revenge, humiliate, retaliate; and 3) which is aggressive only tear society apart. This is because the aftermath of violence is tragic bitterness(M. L. K. Jr, 1987). In order to realize our beloved community, we ought to distance ourselves from seeking solutions using any of the above-mentioned methods. We should apply methods that seek to win our opponent’s friendship and understanding.
There are several tactics nonviolence practitioners can use in a pursuit for finding answers to social problems. These include boycotts, strikes, sit-ins, protests, and noncooperation. While at it, nonviolent practitioners should be guided that these techniques are not the end goal, but are simply to awaken a sense of moral shame in the opponent. The end result should always be redemption and reconciliation.
This principle is also demonstrated by Gandhi’s peaceful resistance known as satyagraha. It is based on Gandhi’s belief that human beings are united by far more than they were divided. That when offered a chance to confront one another directly, human beings should be able to solve their differences in a nonviolent way that confirmed and strengthened the humanity of both sides through which both sides could negotiate constructively(Gardner & Laskin, 2011). His goal
was to reach solutions that respect the interest of both parties and leave them equally strengthened by their participation in the structured, at times virtually ritualized conflict.
3. Principle Three: Attack forces of evil, not the person doing it.
Every nonviolent practitioner must draw a distinction between evil and the person doing evil. This is important for the movement to ultimately realize its goal, which is to defeat the evil but not the person doing such evil(B. L. Jr & Jehnsen, 1995). Every nonviolence practitioner should be able to see the person perpetrating evil as a victim of that evil. To do so, the practitioner ought to put himself in the other person’s shoes and have empathy for the perpetrator of the evil.
If the evil is police brutality, tribalism, or racial injustice, a nonviolent practitioner should have the vision to see that the tension is not between the perpetrator of such evil and the victim of such evil. He/she should be able to see that: 1) the tension is between justice and injustice; 2) forces of light and forces of darkness(M. L. K. Jr, 1987). The end victory of the nonviolence movement is Justice and forces of the light. The nonviolent practitioner ought to defeat the injustice of police brutality but not police officers perpetrating the brutality, or defeat the forces of evil but not those perpetrating such evil.
4. Principle Four: Accept suffering without retaliation for the sake of the cause to achieve the goal.
This is a very difficult and yet crucial principle of the nonviolent movement. Many nonviolent practitioners fall short of this principle as was seen during the preparation for the Alabama match by Dr. King, and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He refused a lot
of people who couldn’t persevere blows without retaliation from joining the march. According to Dr. King, violence is a force of evil that can never be driven away by that same force. It can only be driven away by force of love (King Jr., 2000). He further continued to say, if you are a Christian, the easiest way of explaining this principle can be found in the biblical teaching of Jesus Christ. Whenever a person slaps your one cheek, turn for him the other cheek.
Before taking any action, it might be necessary for a nonviolent practitioner to reflect whether or not he/she is at peace with oneself. Because when you are at peace with yourself, you can understand and realize that unearned suffering is redemptive because suffering has tremendous educational and transformative possibilities. Gandhi said, “ things that are of fundamental importance to people are not secured by reason alone but have to be purchased with their suffering. He continued to say, suffering is infinitely more powerful than the law of the jungle for converting the opponent and opening his ears which are otherwise shut to the voice of reason”(M.L.K Jr., 2014, P. 27).
Both Dr. King and Gandhi lived a life that exemplifies the emphasis that a nonviolence practitioner must be willing to: 1) accept suffering without retaliation. They did this by their willingness to go to jail where need be. Both Dr. King and Gandhi got arrested countless times and they always entered court chambers with pride; 2) accept blows from opponents without striking back. Throughout Gandhi’s practice of Satya Graha, he emphasized to his followers, “the rivers of blood may have to flow before we gain our freedom, but it must be our blood”.
To best explain this point, a reference should be made to Gandhi’s famous salt march. In 1930 he led his most famous action, the salt march with thousands of his followers to the sea to
carry out an act of great symbolistic importance, i.e., picking up grains of sand along the shoreline as means of defying tax that was imposed on salt. Law enforcement authorities responded with violence. Armed police struck down hundreds of advancing marchers(Gardner & Laskin, 2011). They fell to the ground without lifting an arm to fend off the blows. Police commenced to savagely kick the seated protestors in the abdomen and testicles and then dragged them by their arms and feet and threw them into the ditches. The British cruel and bloody quashing of peaceful protests became known all over the world and their moral hold all over India was permanently shattered and hence granting independence to India.
5. Principle Five: Avoid Internal violence of the spirit as well as external physical violence.
Unconditional love is the foundation of nonviolent resistance. When you love somebody whether that person is the perpetrator of the evil being protested against or not, you would not want to wish anything bad upon him(LaFayette & Jehnsen, 1995). Nonviolent practitioners must not only refuse to inflict physical and violent pain against their opponent but should not hold them in heart as well (hates). While resisting external physical force, he/she must also resist internal violence of spirit, e.g., holding grudges against the opponent or hating the opponent.
People fighting for human dignity must resist the temptation of becoming bitter or engaging in a hate struggle. Observant to this principle is in line with a moral standard bestowed upon a nonviolent practitioner(University et al., 2014). He/she must have enough sense of morality to cut off the chain of hate. Nonviolent practitioners should learn from the life trajectory of both Dr. King and Gandhi. Ethics of love was at the center of their lives, e.g., Gandhi used to
feel personally humiliated whenever he or Indians were not permitted to sit where they want to sit in trains, participate freely in the political & economic life of their country, India(Gardner & Laskin, 2011).
6. Principle Six: The universe is on the side of Justice.
A true nonviolent practitioner is future looking. The hope for achieving the goal of the resistance is what makes them persevere in suffering without retaliation(LaFayette & Jehnsen, 1995). Dr. King, Jr. demonstrated this principle in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. He delivered during the March in Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963. He called for civil and economic rights and an end to racism in the United States.
How to apply Kingian nonviolent resistance to conflict Resolutions
When we talk about applying nonviolent resistance to our situation, we ought to think differently. We ought to analyze conflict in a manner done by nonviolent philosophers mentioned throughout this article. We ought to move away from traditional conflict intervention of we vs them, or good vs. evil. We ought to approach conflict in a manner that seeks to understand the underlying causes of the problem and developed effective strategies to solve them. The strategies are founded upon the universal values of agape love, dignity and respect. It starts by understanding the level of a particular conflict.
Nonviolent practitioners should before prescribing any solution to a conflict, he/she ought to understand: 1) the nature and underlying causes of such conflict; 2) the level of the conflict; 3) what kind of solution best suits the conflict; 4) what is the long term goal of such solutions and
so forth. Examining and understanding the level of conflict is very paramount for the effective prescription of solutions to that conflict since each level of conflict requires different solutions. Here are the three levels of conflicts and their interventions as is understood and applied by earlier philosophers Dr. King and Gandhi of nonviolent resistance.
1. Stage One: Normal level of conflict
By nature, conflict is part of human DNA. We fight with ourselves every day about: 1) what to wear; 2) what to eat; 3) where to eat, etcetera. These kinds of fights are normal and it happens on a daily basis. It varies from person to person. It may arise from: 1) the role expectation of a person; 2) taste, and preference of a person; 3) hobbies, and so forth.
Prevention is the appropriate response to a normal level of conflict. At this level, conflict can successfully be prevented by the use of effective nonviolent communication. Respond must be geared toward preventing conflict from escalating. Effective nonviolent communication does NOT accuse or fault the other, it does NOT disrespect. It does approach the situation from an inquisitive and learning perspective. It does not presume what the other meant, but asked for clarification. It also listened and acknowledged emotions. Forms of Such communication include:- tell me more, please clarify what you mean by that and so forth.
2. Stage Two: Pervasive level of Conflict
When conflict reached a pervasive level, it means such conflict has escalated beyond normal. At this level, an actual fight could be expected to disrupt. The conflict reaches this level because of long-standing unaddressed disagreement.
Intervention is the appropriate response to a conflict that has reached a pervasive level. Here is where nonviolence is needed the most to provide solutions so as to lower back the conflict to a normal level. What is of paramount importance here is: 1) a nonviolent practitioner has to pay close attention to emotions and the burning hidden tensions that have escalated the conflict to this level; 2) he/she ought to listen attentively to what disputing parties are saying and with love prescribe solutions that can lower the conflict level to a normal level.
3. Stage Three: Overt Level of Conflict
This is the last level of conflict. At this level, the conflict is at its peak and acted upon more frequently. Conflict becomes coverts due to culminating effects of numerous past unsolved events that have built up into a pervasive conflict climate. Sometimes, an overt level of conflict arises from intervention during the pervasive conflict that was not mutually satisfactory to all.
Management is the appropriate response to Over conflict. Response must be immediate. Conflict management techniques are the appropriate tools that ought to be applied. The intention here must be toward stopping whatever is happening immediately. Approaches that could be necessary for conflict management includes; 1) Separating conflicting parties from the conflict itself; 2) dialogue and negotiation with the conflicting parties to lower the conflict to pervasive and ultimately to a normal level.
Steps of conflict resolution through nonviolent resistance
LaFayette and Jehnsen, did a tremendous job outlining the steps of nonviolence intervention. They based their findings on Dr. King, Gandhi, as well as other nonviolent philosophers. According to them, it is important for a nonviolent practitioner to pay attention to different steps in order to effectively prescribe a solution to a particular conflict. They outlined 6 steps, as shall be discussed below:-
1. Step One: Information gathering
Before you prescribe any solutions to a particular conflict, the principle of nonviolent resistance dictates that you ought to know what the issue is in its entirety. A true nonviolent practitioner does not look at one side of the story but examines both sides. And it’s not enough to just act on information you collected before ensuring its authenticity. Gandhi exhibited this principle through his Satyagraha peaceful protest in India. Before he began his life of protest which included: 1) holding meetings; 2) launching organizations: 3) publications; 4) writing petitions and arguing cases; 3) researching/ looking for legal loopholes and maneuvers(Gardner & Laskin, 2011). He traveled throughout India to understand the condition the native Indians were living through under British rule.
2. Step Two: Education
It is very important for a nonviolent practitioner to draw a line between: 1) having information at hand; 2) understanding that information; 3) acting upon such information. This is where education becomes extremely crucial. Dr. King in his Pilgrimage to nonviolence demonstrated this in the following ways: 1) through his lived experience. He watched firsthand the systematic racism against black and other people of color and economic injustices that
exploited both blacks, people of color and the whites alike. He did not rush to campaigning against those unjust systems immediately.
Instead, he embarked on studying to understand capitalism and the socialist system in order to inform his later strategic interventions(University et al., 2014). He read various materials on the subject he was to fight motivated to fight against. He read literature from famous philosophers such as Thoreau, Rauschenbusch, Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Bentham, Mill & Locke, Karl Marx, and much more. His Intensed and adequate education background prepared him to be an effective, articulate, and courageous nonviolent leader. His deep moral can be attributed to reading of the work of earlier nonviolent activists such as Gandhi, and the religious leaders in the bible.
3. Step Three: Personal Commitment
It takes courage and deep commitment for one to be an effective nonviolent practitioner or believer. To persevere and continue being nonviolent for the sake of achieving the nonviolent action goal. It is a must for a nonviolent practitioner to FIRST examine how much they are willing to sacrifice. If one is halfway in, or not sure how much he/she is willing to sacrifice, it’s then better not to get involved altogether. Because nonviolent believers and practitioners are often the first target of brutality, arrest, and jailed. Gandhi, for example, was beaten, and In 1922, he was tried for sedition and sentenced to jail for six years. Furthermore, Dr. King, on the other hand, was a troublemaker in the eyes of the U.S. government. He was beaten, arrested many times, and charged for disturbing the peace and challenging contemporary conditions.
Both Dr. King and Gandhi evaluated their level of commitment before involving in a nonviolent movement. By the time Gandhi began his satya-graha peaceful protest, he made clear that those who felt discriminated against should refuse to obey such unjust laws but must commit to doing so nonviolently and must be prepared to accept consequences ranging from arrest to death(Gardner & Laskin, 2011). Indeed, his commitment to a peaceful resistance cost his life. He was shot dead in January 1948 by one of his own coreligionists, an overzealous Hindu named Nathuram Vinayak Godse(Gardner & Laskin, 2011). This was the same with Dr. King.
4. Step Four: Negotiation
Please note, even though nonviolent action dramatizes the situation to make it impossible or hard to be ignored. Its ultimate goal must be to draw the attention and interest of the parties to a sit down so as to negotiate solutions. The practice of negotiation is the art of bringing your views and those of your opponent to arrive at a just conclusion or clarify the unresolved issues. At this point the conflict is formalized. The goal of negotiation must be to reach solutions that respect the interest of both parties and leave them equally strengthened by their participation in the structured, at times virtually ritualized conflict.
5. Step Five: Direct Action
Negotiation is not the last option. But it can be the last step when a just and mutually satisfactory solution is reached during the negotiation. But once negotiations failed to produce a just response to the contested issues and conditions, direct action is the next step to be taken.
Direct action DOES NOT mean physical violence(M. L. K. Jr, 1987). Nonviolent direct action includes but not limited to boycotts, strikes, sit-ins, protests.
Furthermore, direct nonviolent action involves mobilization of the public to oppose or support policies, delegitimize political opponents, or remove or restrict and dismantle sources of power(Chenoweth, 2011). Before Dr. King engaged in direct action to demand voting rights for the Black Americans, he engaged in numerous negotiations with government officials including President Lyndon B. Johnson to sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But he was always told to wait. However, he and Black Americans could wait no more and that is why Dr. King took to the street to demand that African Americans be granted the right to vote (King (Jr.), 2000).
6. Step Six: Reconciliation
This is the last step. It can also be looked at as the closing stage of a campaign. At this stage, the opponents and proponents celebrate the victory and provide joint leadership to implement change. Dr. King’s nonviolent action that demanded for the civil rights, resulted in to the signing of civil rights Acts which ends racial segregation from all aspects of American lives. However, the civil rights movement did not only advocate for black rights. But it was about making the ideal of the constitution whole. All other rights that are seen in American history such as disability rights, gay rights came as a result of the civil rights struggles led by Dr. King.
Advantages of nonviolence resistance
1. It provides a holistic solution to the problem.
2. It viewed oppressed and oppressor as: 1) victims to the problem ; 2) parties that can jointly work out solutions
3. There is no winner or loser in nonviolence struggle
4. The solutions are long-lasting and it’s mostly accepted by all
5. Less destructive- physical structures (buildings, roads, etc)
6. Less expensive in terms of money and finances.
7. There are varieties of ways for people to participate.
8. It attracts more people since they have the liberty to continue and leave at any time. 9. Nonviolence is positive, powerful, and effective because it calls forth the very best in human spirituality and intelligence from the people or group that used it.
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