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.

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) . . .

‘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.

Today’s Extinction Rebellion US Press Release

Press Release
For Immediate Release
April 12, 2019

CONTACT:
Ruby Bristol, (541) 499-2522, climatenews@protonmail.com
Bea Ruiz, (510) 859-4540, xr@extinctionrebellion.us
ExtinctionRebellion.US | Twitter: @extinctionrebel #XRUS Facebook.com/ExtinctionRebellionUS/
Call to Action: https://extinctionrebellion.us/rebellion-week

Climate Rebels Take 30+ Actions Across the US – April 15 – 22
Groups declare non-violent rebellion to force government action on climate change

USA – Beginning Monday, April 15, Extinction Rebellion (XR US) will take action in large and small cities in the United States as one strand in an emerging, worldwide revolt to build the people power necessary to force governments to take action on climate change. In the U.S., actions may include lockdowns, road blockades, shutdowns, “die-ins”, and other forms of disruption — while advocating for a justice-based, healing vision for the future.

Extinction Rebellion’s International Rebellion will break out across every continent on Earth April 15 through 22, barring Antarctica. Rebels in 49 countries are demanding their governments take decisive action to implement systemic changes to stop global warming while there’s still time left.

“Governments have failed us. Those who are most vulnerable and least responsible for this crisis are the ones who are suffering the most. People are dying. Species are disappearing. Everything is at stake,” said Bea Ruiz, a national coordinator for XR U.S. “We are living through a time like no other and we won’t allow this destruction to continue.”

Ruiz continued, “It’s time to do what’s never been done before in the fight against climate change – a collective and coordinated international rebellion that will continue to escalate until our demands are met. Nothing can stop us, because together, nothing can.”

The wildly popular movement has grown exponentially since their initial Declaration of Rebellion in the United Kingdom in October, 2018. A month later, six thousand Rebels converged and peacefully blocked five major bridges across the Thames in London. They planted trees in Parliament Square and dug a hole there to bury a coffin representing the future, and then super-glued themselves to the gates of Buckingham Palace as they read a letter to the Queen.

The movement has spread to include hundreds of thousands of people around the world in six months in part because Extinction Rebellion doesn’t rely on false positivity or hope. XR communicates precisely about the climate emergency we face and then asks people to act accordingly. It’s working.

“People from all walks of life in the US are joining Extinction Rebellion,” said Christina See, a theatrical lighting designer and a New York City Coordinator for XR US. “I have never been involved in activism before. I came with feelings of grief, fear, and anger that have been building for years and I’ve transformed those feelings into action.”

One newcomer to XR and the fight for climate justice includes Mike Selmer, a 62 year-old cancer survivor and blue collar construction worker from Wyoming who has vowed to take action for his grandchildren.

“My generation has not come to grips with the climate crisis,” said Selmer. “It is our moral responsibility to create the circumstances that will allow those who follow us to succeed where we failed. That success will only come if all of us, young and old, take action to make it happen.”

Actions are planned in major cities from coast to coast, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, and smaller cities including Portland, Denver, and Austin.

Extinction Rebellion U.S. is one of 49 countries that form Extinction Rebellion International. XR US has four demands. They include not only the necessary target for reducing carbon emissions and expanding democracy to counteract the hold fossil fuel industries have over the US government, but also environmental reparations for disproportionately impacted communities, rights for Mother Nature, and respect for Indigenous sovereignty.

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Expressions of support for the international call to do whatever is necessary to non-violently persuade politicians to end their complacency and inaction have come from many hundreds of notables from all spheres. A portion of those include:

Greta Thunberg (Climate Activist), Dame Emma Thompson (Actor, Writer, and Activist), Radiohead (Musicians), Stephen Fry (Comedian, Writer, Actor), Rowan Williams (Former Archbishop of Canterbury), Ellie Goulding (Singer-songwriter), Simon Amstell (Comedian, Writer, Film-maker), Lily Cole (Model, Actor, Entrepreneur), George Monbiot (Journalist), Noam Chomsky (Linguist, Philosopher, Academic), Bill McKibben (Educator and Author), Vandana Shiva (Environmental activist, Author), Naomi Klein (Author, Activist) The YES MEN (Culture Jamming Activists), Gavin Turk (Artist), Nan Goldin (Artist), John Aitchison (Bafta and Emmy Winning Wildlife Cameraman).

A Strange Kind of Consolation

Chris Hedges: “Revolution is not about catharsis. It is not about joining a masked mob to “get off” on property destruction. That is protest as adolescent narcissism. It celebrates a self-destructive hyper-masculinity that also fuels many in the police and military. It alienates those within the power structures who, if revolution is to succeed, must be pried away from defending the ruling elites.”

“Yes, our cries were not heard. Yes, it may be futile. But the fight is what makes us human. It gives us dignity. It affirms life in the face of death.” Read more . . .

Why you’ll never meet a white supremacist who cares about climate change

Rebecca Solnit: “As the news of the Christchurch mosque massacre broke and I scoured the news, I came across a map showing that the Friday morning climate strike in Christchurch was close to the bloodbath.


Climate action has been and must be nonviolent. It is a movement to protect life.

I felt terrible for the young people who showed up with hope and idealism, wondered whether the killer or killers chose this particular day to undermine the impact of this global climate action. It was a shocking pairing and also a perfectly coherent one, a clash of opposing ideologies. Behind the urgency of climate action is the understanding that everything is connected; behind white supremacy is an ideology of separation.” Read more . . .