Should we or shouldn’t we?
The debate over nonviolent protest rages on
Gregg Reese OW Contributor | 2/9/2018, midnight
February 15, 2017.
Satyagraha (derived from Sanskrit and Hindi words meaning “holding onto truth”) is a concept introduced in the early 20th century by Mahatma Gandhi to designate a determined but nonviolent resistance to evil.
At this point in the millennium, incidents of armed strife can be found in any segment of the globe, with intolerance and political chicanery providing dissident accompaniment to these chaotic events.
In the United States, current events seem to be reversing the historical advances of the past. Activists including Antifa, and especially Black Lives Matter face-off against White supremacists, fascists, and others under the mantel of the “alt-right,” which views the multi-cultural transition of America and “political correctness” as a threat to their well being (and the erosion of the troublesome moniker “White privilege”). Thusly, the media is saturated with images suggesting that a “Cold Civil War” is underway, culturally and politically.
“So here’s a question respectable Black people aren’t supposed to ask:
What if retaliatory violence is part of the answer to the problem America faces today, wherein Black lives (and the lives of many other people of color) do not matter?”-from “And Why Shouldn’t Black America Revolt?” by Shannon M. Houston, in the July, 2016 issue of Paste Magazine.
In the above article, journalist Houston openly weighs in on the merits of retaliation in a hostile environment in which the institutions of authority (especially law enforcement) seem to be one-sided or even biased in their administration of justice. She does not express these views in a vacuum; these issues are discussed, examined, and dissected in print and on the Internet on a daily basis.
Countering these sentiments is a major contributor in the 20th century push to integrate the American South by way of passive resistance. To do this, he adapted a tactic of benignly converting the opposition that succeeded on the other side of the world, and achieving what the Indian Rebellion of 1857 (to which historians attribute 800,000 to 10 million deaths) could not do: Liberate the subcontinent of India from British rule.
For the Rev. James Lawson, a lifetime of contemplation, practical experience, and reflection has proven that violent solutions are a bankrupt enterprise.
Nucleus of the Movement
“An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.” — Victor Hugo
James M. Lawson seemed destined to stir the pot of passive resistance. The son and grandson of Methodist preachers, as a child growing up in Ohio he responded to a racial slur by physically striking the youthful offender. Going home to crow about it to his mother, he was surprised when she chided him on the futility of his actions.
An ordained minister while still in high school, he chose to decline the student or ministerial deferments he was entitled to, and at age 19 he opted to serve a prison sentence for avoiding the draft as the Korean War raged. Originally slated for a missionary role in the White-ruled African state of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), he was sent instead to India where he fell under the sway of satyagraha, the resistance movement championed by Gandhi.