Protests vs. Nonviolent Campaigns

Protests versus Nonviolent Campaigns, Part 1

The end of Diane Nash’s 2020 talk at Notre Dame University was truly illuminating to me.

“There’s a huge difference between protests and a nonviolent campaign,” was what she said. “With protests, no matter how many people you have marching and saying I don’t like this or I don’t like that the powers that be don’t really care. They know that a lot they’re doing you don’t like, and they’re determined to do it anyway.”

“With a nonviolent campaign, you settle on an objective. You write it down and make sure that all of your constituents are in agreement about the objective. There are six steps you go through and put a community through a state through or a country through or whoever you’re working with through and the first step is education.”

“You gather all the information you think you’ll need to achieve your objective. You also look at how the oppressed are participating in their own oppression, so that at a later point you can withdraw it. That’s one of the principles of nonviolence. That principle is oppression always requires the participation of the oppressed. I’ll say that again: oppression always requires the participation of the oppressed. If the oppressed withdraw their participation from the oppressive system, the system will fall.”

“Let’s take the Montgomery bus boycott. Blacks thought for decades that whites were segregating them on buses. But if you think about it, Blacks got on the bus, paid their fare, and then walked to the segregated part of the bus. The day the Blacks withdrew their participation and decided they wouldn’t walk to the back of the bus was the day that system fell.”

To be continued…

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Marian Pierce