Some Thoughts On 'Nonviolence'

Before any dialogue on 'nonviolence' can proceed further, I feel it is necessary for people to have a clear understanding and analysis of what violence really is. This is one of the activist community's greatest failings -- there has never to my knowledge been a really fair and full discussion on this issue. All I see is a great deal of moralizing -- and individuals or groups alienated from one another as a result. 

Violence is the product of an unequal power relationship where one party seeks to exercise domination over another -- while physical force is one component of this, it need not always be a factor. 

On the other hand, self-defense is the natural, inalienable right of all living beings, including the earth Herself... while this may involve forcible physical, verbal or other interaction, the purpose is to deflect or stop violence -- IT IS NOT VIOLENCE IN ITSELF. 

We are under no obligation to remain passive recipients of violence and abuse, no matter what the situation -- this is a blatant denial of our own worth as living beings, and only serves to reinforce destructive power relationships. In addition, this attitude is based on false assumptions about how individuals go on to conduct their other affairs -- it assumes that people will act the same way in all scenarios, and are incapable of flexible responses to various situations. 

I have heard much on the subject of verbal expression as well... while demeaning, insulting or threatening language is one thing, a strong expression of feeling involving a raised voice is certainly not an act of violence -- let's be perfectly clear about that. In fact is a much more violent act to insist on the supression of strong emotional expression, as these feelings are then turned inward and have an enormously destructive effect on the body, mind and spirit of the person -- they do NOT simply go away. In a sense, this is a total negation of what makes us human. 

I know I am in grave danger of being summarily ignored or even attacked for expressing these views -- but I am asking you to please not make this mistake and engage in a fair and open dialogue instead. And it is my wish that activists would give these issues a serious, open and fair analysis, without resorting to moralizing.