The free man must be born before freedom can be won, and the brotherly man must be born before full brotherhood can be won. It will come into being only if we build it out of our very muscle and bone - by trying to act it out.
Gandhi once declared that it was his wife who unwittingly taught him the effectiveness of nonviolence. Who better than women should know that battles can be won without resort to physical strength? Who better than we should know all the power that resides in noncooperation?
To resort to power one need not be violent, and to speak to conscience one need not be meek. The most effective action both resorts to power and engages conscience. Nonviolent actions does not have to get others to be nice. It can in effect force them to consult their consciences. Nor does it have to petition those in power to do something about a situation. It can face the authorities with a new fact and say: Accept this new situation which we have created.
Of course it can be said of jails, too, that they try - by punishing the troublesome - to deter others. No doubt, in certain instances this deterrence actually works. But generally speaking it fails conspicuously.
Something seems wrong to most people engaged in struggle when they see more people hurt on their own side than on the other side. They are used to reading this as an indication of defeat, and a complete mental readjustment is required of them. Within the new terms of struggle, victory has nothing to do with their being able to give more punishment than they take (quite the reverse); victory has nothing to do with their being able to punish the other at all; it has to do simply with being able, finally, to make the other move... Vengeance is... Read more »