Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea

Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea, first published as Nonviolence: Twenty-Five Lessons from the History of a Dangerous Idea, is a book by Mark Kurlansky. It follows the history of nonviolence and nonviolent activism, focusing on religious and political ideals from early history to the present. (Source: Wikipedia)

Kurlansky summarizes the Twenty-Five Lessons as follows:

  1. There is no proactive word for nonviolence [in English].
  2. Nations that build military forces as deterrents will eventually use them.
  3. Practitioners of nonviolence are seen as enemies of the state.
  4. Once a state takes over a religion, the religion loses its nonviolent teachings.
  5. A rebel can be defanged and co-opted by making him a saint after he is dead.
  6. Somewhere behind every war there are always a few founding lies.
  7. A propaganda machine promoting hatred always has a war waiting in the wings.
  8. People who go to war start to resemble their enemy.
  9. A conflict between a violent and a nonviolent force is a moral argument. If the violent side can provoke the nonviolent side into violence, the violent side has won.
  10. The problem lies not in the nature of man, but in the nature of power.
  11. The longer a war lasts, the less popular it becomes.
  12. The state imagines it is impotent without a military because it can not conceive of power without force.
  13. It is often not the largest, but the best organized and most articulate group that prevails.
  14. All debate momentarily ends with an enforced silence once the first shots are fired.
  15. A shooting war is not necessary to overthrow an established power, but is used to consolidate the revolution itself.
  16. Violence does not resolve; it always leads to more violence.
  17. Warfare produces peace activists. A group of veterans is a likely place to find peace activists.
  18. People motivated by fear do not act well.
  19. While it is perfectly feasible to convince a people faced with brutal oppression to rise up in a suicidal attack on their oppressor, it is almost impossible to convince them to meet deadly violence with nonviolent resistance.
  20. Wars do not have to be sold to the general public if they can be carried out by an all-volunteer professional military.
  21. Once you start the business of killing, you just get deeper and deeper without limits.
  22. Violence always comes with a supposedly rational explanation, which is only dismissed as irrational if the violence fails.
  23. Violence is a virus that infects and takes over.
  24. The miracle is that despite all of society’s promotion of warfare, most soldiers find warfare to be a wrenching departure from their own moral values.
  25. The hard work of beginning a movement to end war has already been done.

Extinction Rebellion statement on the UN IPBES 2019 Global Assessment on Biodiversity

“In recent weeks, the environment has risen to the top of the political agenda and the truth is beginning to be spoken. This has culminated in the UK Parliament declaring an Environment and Climate Emergency – two days after Scotland and Wales.”

“However, too much of the focus has been on greenhouse gases and climate change. We also face an ecological crisis – the sixth mass extinction – which is as dangerous for our planet as climate change. The UN IPBES report on biodiversity released on Monday shows that our way of life is causing nature to collapse.”

“The UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report is the most damning of its kind and reveals our consistent and extensive failures to address the accelerating loss of biodiversity. It is both shaming and shocking. Little or no progress has been made towards halting extinctions, loss of habitat or restoration of ecosystems, within safe ecological limits or sustainable production and consumption.


Dr Alison Green, National Director (UK) Scientists Warning and spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion

“The report delivers a stark message that humanity is engaged in the mass annihilation of other species with whom we share our home.” Read more . . .

UK Parliament declares climate change emergency – less than a week after XR thrashes London

This from the BBC: “MPs have approved a motion to declare an environment and climate emergency.”

“This proposal, which demonstrates the will of the Commons on the issue but does not legally compel the government to act, was approved without a vote.”

“Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who tabled the motion, said it was “a huge step forward.”. . .

Addressing climate protesters from the top of a fire engine in Parliament Square earlier, Mr Corbyn said: “This can set off a wave of action from parliaments and governments around the globe.

“We pledge to work as closely as possible with countries that are serious about ending the climate catastrophe and make clear to US President Donald Trump that he cannot ignore international agreements and action on the climate crisis.”

“. Read more HERE (BBC) and HERE (Guardian) . . .

Tragedy in the Heartland: The American Farm Bureau and Climate Change

On March 16, a bomb cyclone slammed the Mid-West, flooding over a million acres of farmland.

“We’re talking about an event here of historic proportions, circumstances that nobody ever recalls ever happening in their lifetime,” said Steve Wellman, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture director and third-generation farmer.

Many farmers are still not able to work their land, and many will not be able to plant their crops this year because the land is too wet or still underwater. It may be years before the situation returns to normal—for some, perhaps never.

Unfortunately, when it comes to climate change, most farmers have been hoodwinked by the Farm Bureau and the fossil fuel industry. Inside Climate News published a thorough discussion of this tragedy HERE.

“In this series of articles, InsideClimate News explores how the farm lobby has wielded its influence to undermine climate treaties and regulations. In tandem with fossil fuel allies, it sowed uncertainty and denial about the causes of global warming and the urgency to bring it under control. Embracing taxpayer-funded subsidies to insure farmers against the mounting risks, it has nurtured an unsustainable consolidation of agriculture that discourages climate-friendly farming.”

Inside Climate News is a Pulitzer Prize-winning, non-profit, non-partisan news organization dedicated to covering climate change, energy and the environment.

Most Teachers Don’t Teach Climate Change; 4 In 5 Parents Wish They Did

After reading this report on NPR’s Morning Edition, I began to think climate change education was in the same league as sex education. But these results will shift very quickly, and those who still deny climate change at the end of 2019 will be looking for ways to rationalize their position, even though the evidence will be staring them in the face. It is already staring them in the face.

At this late date, we would probably have to halt education altogether if we wanted to keep children from seeing what’s going on with climate change. How do you respond to a child who asks, “Why is the water coming up through the street drains?” “Why is grandpa’s rice farm under water? What happened to those people’s island homes? Why are all those people walking with big packs on their backs? Why are the coral reefs so white? Why are there so few glaciers left in Glacier National Park? Why did all those bats die in Australia?”

Whether the topic is animals, energy, or hurricanes and wildfires, “When they read information, through their research, put out by reliable scientists, they arrive at climate change again and again.”

NPR Poll on Climate Change Education

‘We Are Burning It Up’: Protestors Block Parts Of Speer For Global Warming Movement

Click on the link below to watch (and read) the CBS Channel 4 News Report on Saturday’s Extinction Rebellion (XR) non-violent, civil disobedience action, blocking parts of Speer Blvd for 20 minutes. I was honored to serve as spokesperson for the event.