Non-Violent Revolution Is Possible
*Note: Here I speak only for myself. If you choose to comment, know that I will not approve any comment that is uncivil, misrepresents what I wrote, is off topic, is hostile, is overly long. Keep it brief, on topic, and address only me. Be kind. This is not a discussion board; it is a moderated blog where I express my opinions and allow the right kind of discussion. If you are not an evangelical Christian, this blog may not be for you, but feel free to ask questions for clarification.*
One of the most influential people in the development of my ethical thinking was Glen Stassen, now deceased, long-time professor of ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary, author of numerous books and articles especially on the subject of peacemaking. I never could tell whether he was a pacifist, but he definitely preferred non-violence over violence even in the most extreme situations. (For those of you old enough to remember, yes, he was the son of liberal Republican presidential candidate Harold Stassen.)
Please go to Youtube and watch his four minute talk about the peaceful revolution that brought down the communist government of East Germany. I happen to know that he was intimately involved in that—as an observer. In the Youtube search bar enter his name and Germany and peacemaking.
Some people even here seem to think that radical social reform requires violence; it does not. A dictator of the Philippines was brought down by a mostly non-violent revolution of peaceful demonstrations and simple non-cooperation with the government by the people.
Coercion does not have to be violent—against people or property. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that and used non-violent resistance effectively as did Gandhi in India.
I am not a pacifist, but I wish I could be one. I know what I would do if I had to to protect someone I love from being killed. So I can’t be a pacifist. But I’m glad there are pacifists around—to hold up before us the ideal of non-violence.
But my previous post of advice to leaders and participants of the current American protests against police brutality and systemic racism in American society was about realism. Random acts of violence will likely have the effect of helping the current president get re-elected because millions of Americans are more afraid of random violence and lack of police protection than they are of injustice. I’m not debating the “rights” or “wrongs” of that; I’m simply stating a fact.
Evidence strongly suggest, even proves, that radical social reform and even revolution can happen by non-violent means including without the destruction of property.