By Gene Sharp
"Non-violence", "nonviolent resistance", "satyagraha" and "pacifism" are words now frequently found in such newspapers as the
Manchester Guardian, The Times, and the New York Times.
The Negroes of Montgomery, Alabama, conduct a year-long nonviolent bus boycott. Danilo Dolci is jailed for leading hungry Sicilians in a nonviolent demonstration. Jehovah's Witnesses continue to gain adherents to their creed, which includes refusal of military duty. The word "pacifism" appears frequently in news reports from Germany.
The crew of the ketch Golden Rule go to prison for attempting to stop U.S. nuclear tests by sailing into the Pacific "proving grounds". The Welsh Nationalists use nonviolent resistance in addition to educational and electoral methods in their struggle for Welsh self-government. Young Frenchmen begin their fifth year in prison as war resisters.
London newspapers headline the arrest of 45 opponents of nuclear weapons for civil disobedience in non-violently "invading" a rocket base site in an effort to halt construction. In India, Vinoba Bhave redistributes land by "looting with love". A Mennonite father refuses to send his children to an Ohio school because they will be taught war-like and un-Godly ideas. Commander Sir Stephen King-Hall lectures to top British naval, army and air-force officers on "The Alternative to the Nuclear Deterrent: Nonviolent Resistance". Women of Budapest Stop Russian tanks by lying down in front of them.
Film star Don Murray, as a religious pacifist, helps resettle World War II refugees still without homes. South African "Black Sash" women keep silent vigils to defend the Constitution. Hundreds in Britain march four days in rain, snow and sun to the Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Research Establishment in protest against nuclear weapons. The All-African Peoples' Conference in Accra pledges support for nonviolent resistance, including civil disobedience, movements for the liberation of Africa.
Although almost everyone says the world must end war forever or be destroyed, the ideas and ideals of "nonviolence"1 and methods of nonviolent social action are still espoused by only minorities. But they have now risen to sufficient prominence that they must be reckoned with in world thinking and events. Gandhi is in large degree responsible for this. The impact of "nonviolence", however, is now felt in many parts of the world and arises from diverse sources. This increased awareness of "nonviolence" has come despite (or because of) the fact that many of the ideas, ideals and methods of "nonviolence" run counter to established orthodoxies and socially approved behaviour. They also stand in contrast to modern developments of violence: totalitarianism and nuclear weapons.
Despite this growing awareness of "nonviolence" there is widespread confusion about just what "nonviolence" is. All the above examples and many more have been labeled with the terms "nonviolence" and "pacifism". This lack of clarity has its effect on the groups promoting nonviolent approaches, on criticisms by their opponents, and on the thinking of still others. The usual degree of misunderstanding which may result from a varied and imprecise use of terms becomes plain confusion when the phenomena concerned are relatively little known. When these phenomena include unorthodox ideas, beliefs and methods of resistance―each of which may be associated with strong emotions among both proponents and opponents―the confusion may become chaos.
At first glance, all that is "not violence" may seem to be of a single kind. In a society where such systems of ideas, beliefs and behaviour are usually regarded as esoteric, "crack-pot", impractical, dangerous or simply strange, few people undertake a sufficiently serious examination of these phenomena to make them aware that quite different types of belief and behaviour are involved. "Pacifism", "passive resistance" "nonviolence" and the other terms are commonly used either as broad generalities (glittering, scathing or just vague) or with a wide variety of more specific meanings for the same word. A failure, however, to discern the very real differences among the various types of "nonviolence" and to exercise more care in the use of the terms may have a number of undesirable consequences. Two of these are that evaluation of the merits and demerits of those approaches will be seriously handicapped, and that research in this area will face unnecessary difficulties.
Persons rejecting violence on grounds of principle have rarely analyzed the relation of their particular belief systems to others also rejecting violence. They have failed to do this largely because such analysis has seemed to them irrelevant: their duty was to follow the imperatives of their beliefs. However, some of them have recognized differences in motivation and behaviour among those rejecting violence.
For example, Guy F. Hershberger, a Mennonite, distinguishes between "nonresistance" and "modern pacifism". Non-resistance, he says, describes the faith and life of those "who cannot have any part in warfare because they believe the Bible forbids it, and who renounce all coercion, even nonviolent coercion". Pacifism, he says, is "a term which covers many types of opposition to war".2
Some Western pacifists3 have seen Gandhi's approach as sufficiently different from their own that they have felt it was not genuinely "pacifist". Reginald Reynolds writes: "A reading of 'official' [British] pacifist literature from, say, 1920 onwards would reveal some odd things which many pacifists would prefer to forget. People accepted as 'leading pacifists' were, as late as 1930, writing abusive articles about Gandhi and defending British Rule in India. Such articles and letters could be found in The Friend (weekly unofficial paper of the Quakers), in Reconciliation (monthly organ of the Fellowship of Reconciliation), and in No More War (the monthly organ of the [No More War] movement)."4
Western pacifists have sometimes distinguished between the "religious" pacifists and the "nonreligious" pacifists who base their pacifism on "humanitarian" or "philosophical" considerations. This distinction has also been made by non-pacifists.5 Pacifists have also recognized differences among themselves in their response to military conscription. There have been: (a) the "absolutists" who believe in civil disobedience to such laws and refuse cooperation with the administrative agencies for military conscription even to obtain their personal exemption from military duty where the law allows for such exemption; (b) those who refuse entry into the armed forces (even as non-combatants) but are willing to cooperate with the conscription system to obtain their exemption from military duty and are willing to perform alternative civilian work where such alternative is allowed; and (c) those who refuse to bear arms but are willing to perform noncombatant (e.g. medical) duties within the armed forces.6
Although Gandhi never wrote systematic treatises on "nonviolence", he did distinguish between two or more types of "nonviolence".7 After first calling his South African protest movements "passive resistance", he discarded the term and adopted a new term, satyagraha.8 "When in a meeting of Europeans I found that the term 'passive resistance' was too narrowly construed that it was supposed to be a weapon of the weak, that it could be characterized by hatred, and that it could finally manifest itself as violence, I had to demur to all these statements and explain the real nature of the Indian movement. It was clear that a new word must be coined by the Indians to designate their struggle."9 Gandhi also seems to have assumed an implicit distinction between Western pacifism and satyagraha, although explicit statements to this effect are difficult to find. Bharatan Kumarappa, in an introductory note to a small collection of Gandhi's writings prepared for the World Pacifist Conference in India, December 1949―January 1950, writes: "It is a far cry....from pacifism to Gandhiji's idea of nonviolence. While pacifism hopes to get rid of war chiefly by refusing to fight and by carrying on propaganda against war, Gandhiji goes much deeper and sees that war cannot be avoided, so long as the seeds of it remain in man's breast and grow and develop in his social, political and economic life. Gandhiji's cure is, therefore, very radical and far-reaching. It demands nothing less than rooting out violence from oneself and from one's environment."10
The American sociologist Clarence Marsh Case in his study of such phenomena explicitly recognizes differences between various types,11 although he makes no attempt to develop a typology. He uses the terms "nonviolent resistance" and "passive resistance" interchangeably.12
Political scientist Dr Mulford Sibley has distinguished three types of "nonviolence": Hindu pacifism (satyagraha), Christian pacifism, and revolutionary secular pacifism.13 This classification, however, did not purport to encompass the field of "nonviolence" and was limited to those modern types of pacifism containing political theory. Professor Leo Kuper of the Sociology Department of Natal University has distinguished between nonviolent resistance movements aimed at achieving their goals by means of embarrassment and conversion of their opponents respectively;14 but, again, this does not purport to be a full typology.
Theodore Paullin15 comes close to developing a typology of "nonviolence", although this was not his main intention. Paullin structured his discussion on the basis of six types resulting from a continuum "at one end of which we place violence coupled with hatred, and at the other, dependence only upon the application of positive love and goodwill. In the intermediate positions we might place (1) violence without hatred, (2) nonviolence practiced by necessity rather than because of principle, (3) nonviolent coercion, (4) satyagraha and nonviolent direct action, and (5) nonresistance."16 The nonviolence extremity of his continuum, "active goodwill and reconciliation", becomes the sixth type. Because Paullin's main objective in the booklet was to consider the application of "nonviolent means of achieving group purposes"17 his classification has suffered through lack of development and refinement. Some types of "nonviolence" have not been included,18 and some seem classified incorrectly.19 Paullin has, however, made a genuine contribution towards developing a typology.
The whole gamut of behaviour and belief characterized by an abstention from physical violence is hereafter described by the term "generic nonviolence". This is the sense in which the term "nonviolence" has been hitherto used in this paper.20 "Generic nonviolence" thus includes a wide variety of types of "nonviolence": all the examples briefly listed in the opening section of this paper and more. These vary widely on several points, such as whether "nonviolence" is viewed as intrinsically good or simply as an effective method of action, the degree of passivity and activity, the presence or absence of strategy, and whether the followers of the approach are "other worldly" or "this wordly". These phenomena have in common only the abstention from physical violence, either generally or in meeting particular conflict situations, or both. Not included in this broad classification are: (1) hermits and (2) cases of cowardice (both involving a de facto withdrawal, though for different reasons, from aspects of life involving physical violence rather than the offering of a nonviolent response in the situation); and (3) legislation, State decrees, etc. (backed by threat of physical violence, as imprisonment, execution, etc).
The term 'pacifism' as here defined, includes the belief systems of those persons and groups who, as a minimum, refuse participation in all international or civil wars or violent revolutions and base this refusal on moral, ethical or religious principle. Such persons and groups are here called "pacifists". "Pacifism" is thus a narrower term than "generic nonviolence", and is an intermediary classification including several of the types of generic nonviolence described below. These are indicated below after the typology.
Nonviolent Resistance and Direct Action
"Nonviolent resistance and direct action" is another intermediary classification, being both narrower than "generic nonviolence" and broader than the specific types. The methods of "nonviolent resistance and direct action" fall on a continuum between personal exemplary behaviour and verbal persuasion at one end and sabotage and physical violence at the other.
"Nonviolent resistance and direct action" refers to those methods of resistance and direct action without physical violence in which the members of the nonviolent group perform either (1) acts of omission―that is, they refuse to perform acts which they usually perform, and are expected by custom to perform or are required by law or regulation to perform; or (2) acts of commission―that is, they insist on performing acts which they usually do not perform, are not expected by custom to perform or are forbidden by law or regulation from performing; or (3) both.
These methods are "extra-constitutional": that is, they do not rely upon established procedures of the State (whether parliamentary or non-parliamentary) for achieving their objective. Such acts may be directed towards a change in, or abolition of, existing attitudes, values, social patterns, customs or social structure, or a combination of these. Such change or abolition may take place whether these attitudes etc. are of the society as a whole or of only a section of it. Such acts may also be directed, in defense of attitudes, values, social patterns, customs, or social structure, or a combination of these, against attempts of the opponent to alter or to abolish them, whether by the introduction of particular or general innovations or both.
In some cases of nonviolent resistance and direct action the primary intent is to change attitudes and values as a preliminary to changing policies. In other cases, the primary intent is to change policies (or thwart attempts to change policies) whether or not the opponents have first changed their attitudes and values. In other cases, the intent may be to change simultaneously attitudes and policies. Included in "nonviolent resistance and direct action" are those cases where violence has been rejected because of (1) religious, ethical or moral reasons; (2) considerations of expediency; and (3) mixed motivations of various types. Where the behaviour of the nonviolent group is primarily resistance, usually acts of omission, it can be described simply as "non-violent resistance". Where the behaviour of the nonviolent group is primarily intervention, usually acts of commission, it can be described as "nonviolent direct action"21. The types of generic nonviolence which are included in the category "nonviolent resistance and direct action"22 are indicated below following the typology.
The Types of Generic Nonviolence
In developing this typology, the writer has sought to observe the "natural" groupings or types as they seem to exist, rather than preselecting certain criteria and then seeking to fit the phenomena into the pre-determined categories. After a classification of the types had been made, the writer sought to examine what were the intrinsic characteristics possessed by the respective types which distinguish them from the others. The criteria which emerged include such factors as whether the motivation for nonviolence is expediency, principle, or mixed; whether the nonviolent group's belief system is "other worldly" or "this worldly": whether or not the nonviolent group has a program of social change; what is the nonviolent group's attitude towards the opponents; whether all or only some physical violence is rejected; whether the nonviolent group is concerned with its own integrity; and others. Following the description of the types of generic nonviolence, appears a chart listing the main criteria which emerged.
The nine types of generic nonviolence described below are: non-resistance, active reconciliation, moral resistance, selective nonviolence, passive resistance, peaceful resistance, nonviolent direct action, satyagraha, and nonviolent revolution.23,24 These are listed roughly in the order of increasing activity.25
There are no strict separations between some of these types, and particular cases may not seem to fit exactly into any one of them. This classification should be viewed simply as a tool to facilitate understanding and study of the phenomena, a tool which is neither perfect nor final, but may nevertheless be useful.
The examples cited and statements used as illustrations for the respective types have been chosen from those available to the writer on the basis of their adequacy as illustrations and because of the presence of suitable documentation. There is no pretence that the examples cited are geographically representative or exhaustive of the cases belonging to each type. Further research on each of these types could provide abundant additional examples and illustrative statements.
The non-resistants reject on principle all physical violence, whether on an individual, State or international level. There are various Christian sects of this type, such as the Mennonites and the Amish. They refuse participation in war; and also in the State by holding government office, voting or having recourse to the courts. They pay their taxes, however, and do what the State demands, as long as it is not inconsistent with what they consider to be their duty to God. They refuse to resist evil situations even by nonviolent techniques, and in times of oppression simply hold to their beliefs and follow them―ignoring the evil as much as possible, and suffering their lot as part of their religious duty.
The non-resistants are concerned with being true to their beliefs and maintaining their own integrity, rather than with attempts at social reconstruction, many even opposing attempts to create a good society here on earth. A common belief of the non-resistants is that it is not possible for the world as a whole to become free from sin, and therefore, the Christian should withdraw from evil. Such influence as they have on society results from their acts of goodwill (such as relief work), their exhortations and their example.
The non-resistants have their roots in early Christianity. With very few exceptions, the early Christians refused all military service and subservience to the Roman emperor. The crucial change began under the reign of Constantine, who was converted to Christianity in 312 A.D. and declared it to be the State religion in 321 A.D.26 After the main Christian groups began to turn towards the State for support and no longer refused participation in war, small heretical groups perpetuated the pacifist interpretation of Christianity. They were cruelly persecuted. Some of their names have been lost.
In the Middle Ages and later there were many sects which sought a return to what they believed to be the basic gospel. Among these were the Albigenses or Cathari; "Christ's Poor"; the Waldenses, or "The Poor Men of Lyons"; the "Humilates"; the Bohemian Brethren, of the Church of the Unitas Fratrum: the revived Unitas Fratrum or the Moravian Church; the Schwenkfelders; the German Baptists or Dunkers; the Obbenites; the Mennonites; the Collegiants (which represented a movement for a creedless spiritual worship within the existing denominations); the Simonians; the Socinians; and the Brownists. Some of these were Anabaptist sects.
Hershberger describes these sects thus: "Alongside the mediaeval church there were certain small, intimate groups of Christians who refused to accept a compromise with the social order. They stood aloof and maintained that indifference or hostility to the world which characterized the primitive church. These groups are known as the sects. They generally refused to use the law, to take the oath, to exercise domination over others, or to participate in war. Theirs was not an ascetic emphasis on heroic and vicarious achievement. It was not an opposition, in most cases, to the sense life or the average life of humanity, but simply an opposition to the social institutions of the world.
"The sects generally emphasized lay religion, personal ethical achievement, religious equality, brotherly love, indifference to the state and the ruling classes, dislike of the law and oath, and the ideal of poverty and frugality, direct personal religious relationship, appeal to the primitive church, criticism of the theologians. They always demanded a high standard of moral performance. This made for small groups, of course, but what they lost in the spirit of universalism, they made up for in intensity of life. This tradition of the sects was carried down from the Montanists and Dontanists through the Waldensians to the followers of Wycliff and Huss to the Anabaptists."27
Describing one of the non-resistant sects, the Mennonites, C. Henry Smith writes: "They adopted bodily the faith of the peaceful type of Anabaptists, and that was a rejection of all civil and a great deal of the prevailing ecclesiastical government as unnecessary for the Christian". They "went no further, however, in their opposition to the temporal authority than to declare that the true church and the temporal powers had nothing in common and must be entirely separate; not only must the state not interfere with the church, but the true Christian must be entirely free from participating in civil matters. The temporal authority must needs exist, since it was instituted of God to punish the wicked, but in that work the Christian had no hand. This position they reached from a literal interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount, where Christ taught his disciples, among other things, to 'love their enemies' and to 'swear not at all'. Hence their position involved opposition to the oath, holding of office, and bearing of arms."28
In 1917 in America the general conference and various branches of the Mennonite Church united in addressing a signed "Appeal to the President" in which they said: "Because of our understanding of the teachings of Christ and New Testament generally against war in any form, we can render no service, either combatant or non-combatant, under the military establishment, but will rather be amenable to any punishment the government sees fit to lay upon us as a penalty".29
The nonviolence of this group, favouring the use of active goodwill and reconciliation, is based upon principle. It refers not only to outward actions, but to personal reconciliation and improvement of one's own life before attempting to change others. "Its proponents seek to accomplish a positive alteration in the attitude and policy of the group or person responsible for some undesirable situation; but they never use coercion―even nonviolent coercion. Rather they seek to convince their opponent.....They place their emphasis on the positive action of goodwill which they will use rather than upon a catalogue of violent actions which they will not use."30 A large part of the basis of this approach is the importance placed on the worth of very individual and the belief that he can change. Direct action and strategy are not involved. Tolstoy and many of his followers, and much of the present Society of Friends (Quakers), are proponents of this type of generic nonviolence. So also are many other individual pacifists.
Tolstoy rejected the use of violence under all circumstances and also private property and association with institutions which practise coercion over men. Tolstoy depended upon the power of example and goodwill to influence men. He sought a regeneration of society as a whole through the practice of love in all one's relationships, simple living, self-service, and the persuasion of others to follow this way of life.31 In Tolstoy's own words: ".....it is this acknowledgement of the law of love as the supreme law of human life, and this clearly expressed guidance for conduct resulting from the Christian teaching of love, embracing enemies and those who hate, offend and curse us, that constitute the peculiarity of Christ's teaching, and by giving to the doctrine of love, and to the guidance flowing therefrom, an exact and definite meaning, inevitably involve a complete change of the established organization of life, not only in Christendom, but among all the nations of the earth."32 "The time will come―it is already coming―when the Christian principles of equality and fraternity, community of property, non-resistance of evil by force, will appear just as natural and simple as the principles of family or social life seem to us now."33 "The Christian will not dispute with any one, nor attack any one, nor use violence against any one. On the contrary, he will bear violence without opposing it. But by this very attitude to violence, he will not only himself be free, but will free the whole world from all external power."34
George Fox and the early Quakers recognized religious experience as the final authority in religion, in place of the Scriptures which were the authority of the non-resistant sects and other Protestants. The Friends believe that the life of every person, however degraded, has worth and is guided by an Inner Light (sometimes called "the spirit of Christ"). This rules out any right to constrain men by means of violence. Also involved in it is the conviction that men should live the kind of life which removes the occasion for wars and builds a world of peace. Friends in general have not completely rejected the use of force by a civil government35 and often today work for the adoption of legislation and sometimes hold office, even as judges.
Early Quakers, believing in the imminence of the spiritual regeneration of the world, eventually identified themselves with the civil government, expecting to administer to affairs of state on the principles of love, kindness and goodwill. With most Quakers there was a fundamental difference between the use of force in personal relations and by the military on one hand, and by a civil government on the other. After some years of Quaker administration in Pennsylvania, the Quakers withdrew from the government. There is variation in opinion on the matter among present day Quakers, many of whom are not pacifists. Quakers have made large efforts at international relief and reconstruction, international conciliation and peace education, social reform activities and conscientious objection.
Quakers describe their belief in peace in such terms as these: "The conviction that the spirit of Christ dwells in the souls of all men is the source of our refusal to take part in war, and of our opposition to slavery and oppression in every form. We believe that the primary Christian duty in relation to others is to appeal to that of God in them and, therefore, any method of oppression or violence that renders such an appeal impossible must be set out on one side."36
"There is a right and possible way for the family of nations to live together at peace. . . . It is the way of active, reconciling love, of overcoming evil with good. We feel an inward compulsion, which we cannot disregard, to strive to follow the way of constructive goodwill, despite the sense of our own shortcomings and despite the failure, in which we have shared, to labour sufficiently for the Kingdom of God on earth."37"The fundamental ground of our opposition to war is religious and ethical. It attaches to the nature of God as revealed in Christ and to the nature of man as related to Him....The only absolute ground for an unalterable and inevitable opposition to war is one which attaches to the inherent nature of right and wrong, one which springs out of the consciousness of obligation to what the enlightened soul knows ought to be." This peace testimony "never was 'adopted'". For "it is not a policy; it is a conviction of the soul. It cannot be followed at one time and surrendered at another time.... The Christian way of life revealed in the New Testament, the voice of conscience revealed in the soul, the preciousness of personality revealed in the transforming force of love, and the irrationality revealed in modern warfare, either together or singly, present grounds which for those who feel them make participation in war under any conditions impossible." Friends "do not rest their case on sporadic texts. They find themselves confronted with a Christianity, the Christianity of the Gospels, that calls for a radical transformation of man, for the creation of a new type of person and for the building of a new social order, and they take this with utmost seriousness as a thing to be ventured and tried."38
Persons sharing the "active reconciliation" beliefs often prefer a rather quietist approach to social problems, disliking anything akin to "agitation" or "trouble". Some of them may thus oppose nonviolent resistance and direct action (including strikes, boycotts, etc.,) and even outspoken verbal statements, believing such methods to be violent in spirit, perhaps even immoral, and harmful in their effects on the opponent. They would prefer much more quiet methods, such as personal representations, letters and private deputations.
Believers in "moral resistance"―a matter of principle―are convinced that evil should be resisted, but only by peaceful and moral means. The emphasis on individual moral responsibility is an important part of this approach. "Moral resistance" includes both a personal refusal of individuals to participate in evil―such as war or, earlier, slavery―and an imperative for individuals to do something actively against the evil, such as speaking, writing or preaching. Nonviolent resistance and direct action are not ruled out, though the major emphasis is usually placed upon education, persuasion and individual example. Believers in "moral resistance" in Western society, although lacking an over-all social analysis or comprehensive program of social change, generally favour gradual social reform through such methods as legislation, education and efforts to influence government officials.
The pacifism of various peace societies in New England during the middle of the last century was of this type. Adin Ballou and William Lloyd Garrison (of anti-slavery fame) were well-known spokesmen for these groups.39A part of the "Declaration of Sentiments" (written by Garrison) adopted by the Peace Convention, Boston, 18-20 September 1838 reads: "We register our testimony, not only against all wars, whether offensive or defensive but all preparations for war....Hence we deem it unlawful to bear arms or to hold a military office....As a measure of sound policy.... as well as on the ground of allegiance to Him who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, we cordially adopt the Non Resistance principle, being confident that it provides for all possible consequences, will ensure all things needful to us, is armed with omnipotent power, and must ultimately triumph over assailing force....
"But while we shall adhere to the doctrine of Non-Resistance and passive submission to enemies, we purpose, in a moral and spiritual sense, to speak and act boldly; to assail iniquity, in high places and in low places; to apply our principles to all existing civil, political, legal and ecclesiastical institutions.... We shall employ lecturers, circulate tracts and publications, form societies, and petition our state and national governments, in relation to the subject of universal peace. It will be our leading object to devise ways and means for effecting a radical change in the views, feelings and practices of society, respecting the sinfulness of war and the treatment of enemies."40
"The term non-resistance....requires very considerable qualifications. I use it as applicable only to the conduct of human beings towards human beings―not towards the inferior animals, inanimate thing or satanic influences.....But I go further, and disclaim using the term to express absolute passivity even towards human beings. I claim the right to offer the utmost moral resistance, not sinful, of which God has made me capable, to every manifestation of evil among mankind. Nay, I hold it my duty to offer such moral resistance. In this sense my very non resistance becomes the highest kind of resistance to evil....There is an uninjurious, benevolent physical force. There are cases in which it would not only be allowable, but in the highest degree commendable, to restrain human beings by this kind of force...as maniacs, the delirious, the intoxicated, etc. And in cases where deadly violence is inflicted with deliberation and malice of forethought, one may nobly throw his body as a temporary barrier between the destroyer and his helpless victim, choosing to die in that position, rather than be a passive spectator. Thus another most important qualification is given to the term non-resistance.....It is simply non-resistance of injury with injury―evil with evil."41
Garrison states his interpretation of "non-resistance" in these terms: "Non-Resistance is...a state of activity, ever fighting the good fight of faith, ever foremost to assail unjust power, ever struggling for liberty, equality, fraternity, in no national sense, but in a world-wide spirit. It is passive only in this sense―that it will not return evil for evil, nor give blow for blow, nor resort to murderous weapons for protection or defense."42
He illustrates the "moral resistance" attitude towards methods to be used in a social struggle in his speech at the New England Abolitionists Convention, Boston, 26 May 1858: "When the antislavery cause was launched it was baptized in the spirit of peace.... I do not believe that the weapons of liberty ever have been, or ever can be, the weapons of despotism. I know that those of despotism are the sword, the revolver, the cannon, the bomb shell; and therefore, the weapons to which tyrants cling, and upon which they depend, are not the weapons for me, as a friend of liberty. I will not trust the war spirit anywhere in the universe of God, because the experience of six thousand years proves it not to be at all reliable in such a struggle as ours....I pray you, Abolitionists, still adhere to that truth....Blood.....shall not flow through any counsel of mine. Much as I detest the oppression exercised by the Southern slave holder, he is a man, sacred before me....I have no other weapon to wield against him but the simple truth of God, which is the great instrument for the overthrow of all iniquity and the salvation of the world."43
A very large part of contemporary Western pacifists is of this type, although there is variation within the membership of most of the pacifist organizations. The U.S. Fellowship of Reconciliation (a religious, largely Christian, pacifist organization), for example, contains members sharing the non-resistance and active reconciliation positions, although it is probable that a very large percentage belong in the moral resistance category. The organization's Statement of Purpose largely reflects this position:
"Although members do not bind themselves to any exact form of words, they refuse to participate in any war or to sanction military preparations; they work to abolish war and to foster goodwill among nations, races and classes; they strive to build a social order which will suffer no individual or groups to be exploited for the profit or pleasure of another, and which will ensure to all the means for realizing the best possibilities of life; they advocate such ways of dealing with offenders against society as shall transform the wrongdoer rather than inflict retributive punishment; they endeavour to show reverence for personality―in the home, in the education of children, in association with those of other classes, nationalities and races; they seek to avoid bitterness and contention, and to maintain the spirit of self-giving love while engaged in the struggle to achieve these purposes."44
A non-Western example of "moral resistance" is the pacifism of the traditional Hopi Indian Nation. They are now seeking to spread their views which they believe may be helpful to other people. Dan Kachongva, leading adviser and spokesman of the traditional Hopis, says that people are turning away from the Life Plan of the Great Spirit. "Each and every human being knows these simple instructions upon which are based all the various Life Plans and religions of the Great Spirit", he said. The laws of the Great Spirit must be followed even though they might conflict with other "laws". All the various instructions of the Great Spirit came from "the seed of one basic instruction: 'You must not kill; you must love your neighbour as yourself'. From this one commandment to respect and reverence life, came all the other commandments: to tell the truth, to share what we have; to live together so we can help each other out; to take care of our children and old people, the sick and strangers, friends and enemies; to not get drunk, or commit adultery, or lie or cheat, or steal, or get rich, because all these negative acts cause fights and struggles which divide the community into groups too small to support and carry on the life stream."45
The chief characteristic of "selective nonviolence" is the refusal to participate in particular violent conflicts, usually international wars. In certain other situations the same persons might be willing to use violence to accomplish the desired ends. The two most obvious examples are the international Socialists, especially during World War I, and Jehovah's Witnesses. Also included are non-pacifist anarchists, objectors primarily concerned with authoritarianism, and other non-pacifists who believe that the manufacture and use of nuclear weapons can never be justified.
The international Socialists object to war because, they declare, it is a product of capitalism, and there is no reason why the workers of one country should fight the workers of another when the real enemy of the workers of all countries is capitalism. Most, but not all,46 of the Socialist objectors to World War I would have participated in a violent revolution of the working people to abolish capitalism, imperialism and greed, and to bring in the cooperative commonwealth. Their objections were intimately tied up with their conception of the class struggle. This conception is reflected in the 1917 St Louis Manifesto, overwhelmingly approved by the Socialist Party, U.S.A.
"The Socialist Party of the United States in the present grave crisis reaffirms its allegiance to the principle of internationalism and working-class solidarity the world over, and proclaims its unalterable opposition to the war just declared by the government of the United States....The mad orgy of death which is now convulsing unfortunate Europe was caused by the conflict of capitalist interests in European countries. In each of these countries the workers were oppressed and exploited....The ghastly war in Europe.....was the logical outcome of the competitive capitalist system....Our entrance into the European war was instigated by the predatory capitalists of the United States who boast of the enormous profits of seven billion dollars from the manufacture and sale of munitions and war supplies and from the exportation of American foodstuffs and other necessities....We brand the declaration of war by our government as a crime against the people of the United States and against the nations of the world."47
The same majority report also stated: "...the only struggle which would justify the workers in taking up arms is the great struggle of the working class of the world to free itself from economic exploitation and political oppression..."48
At a party State Convention in Canton, Ohio, Eugene Debs declared: "The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose―especially their lives."49 On trial in 1918 for violation of the U.S. Sedition Act on ten counts allegedly committed during that speech, Debs told the jury: "It (the St Louis Manifesto) said, in effect, to the people, especially the workers, of all countries, 'Quit going to war. Stop murdering one another for the profit and glory of the ruling classes. Cultivate the arts of peace. Humanize humanity. Civilize civilization."50
In Britain, the Independent Labour Party; in the United States, the Socialist Party, U.S.A., and the Socialist Labour Party; in Russia, the Bolsheviki; and in Germany, the group of Socialists led by Karl Liebnecht and Rosa Luxemburg opposed World War I. Most other Socialist groups abandoned the Socialist doctrine on war at that time. Only a few Socialists opposed World War II on similar grounds. The Socialist Party, U.S.A. (only a remnant of the earlier party), for example, tried to maintain a position of "neutrality" on the war, neither supporting nor opposing it, while some of its members gave full support, some gave critical support, and some opposed it. In most countries, Socialist groups fully supported the war. Jehovah's Witnesses51 also object to particular violent conflicts. They regard all governments that took part in World War II as being equally guilty. The existing governments of all nations are regarded as being ruled by Satan; the Witnesses declare that the existing governments have failed because they merely rendered lip service to morality. To support any such government is to support Satan and to deny God. The present wars are regarded as merely a sign of the end of an age and a preliminary worldly step before the righteous King Jesus soon returns to establish his heavenly rule on earth. The people of goodwill will survive the Battle of Armageddon, which will be fought by angels against Satan's organization, "carry out the divine mandate to 'fill the earth' with a righteous race"52 The Witnesses are not prohibited from using violence in their personal relationships or in resisting persecution, as they once were. If God were concerned with the present wars, as he was with some earlier ones, they would be willing to fight. The Witnesses were sent to conscientious objector camps, interned, imprisoned, or sent to concentration camps by both sides during World War II.53
Stroup, in his study of the movement, writes: "The law of God forbids the Witnesses to engage in war. The view has commonly been taken that they are pacifists. Such they are not, for they feel that they must often employ physical force to resist persecution, and they also believe that Jehovah has engaged in and encouraged wars between peoples. The Witnesses will not engage in the present war [World War II] because they think that Jehovah is not concerned with it; otherwise they would be quite willing to fight. Most of them believe that Satan is 'running the whole show' and therefore they will have nothing to do with it. This is similar to their attitude towards the first World War. The Witnesses were interned by both sides, because the Society boldly stated that the war was being fought by equally selfish interests and without the sanction of God. Their own fight, they declared, was not fought with 'carnal weapons': it was a battle of cosmic proportions with the adversary of every man, Satan."54
The position of certain non-pacifist but anti-war anarchists would come under this classification also. Their position is similar to that of the international Socialists, in that they under certain circumstances would be willing to use violence to abolish the existing order of society to bring in the classless, stateless, and warless society of their dreams. For example, both the principals charged with murder in the famous Sacco-Vanzetti case had gone to Mexico during World War I to avoid military conscription.55
In the last interview with W. G. Thompson before their execution, Vanzetti said "he feared that nothing but violent resistance could ever overcome the selfishness which was the basis of the present organization of society and made the few willing to perpetuate a system which enabled them to exploit the many".56
In his speech to the court on 9 April 1927, anarchist Vanzetti said: "....the jury were hating us because we were against the war, and the jury don't know that it makes any difference between a man that is against the war because he believes that the war is unjust, because he hates no country, because he is a cosmopolitan, and a man that is against the war because he is in favour of the other country....and therefore, a spy, an enemy....We are not men of that kind....We were against the war because we did not believe in the purpose for which they say that war was fought. We believed that the war is wrong....We believe more now than ever that the war was wrong, and we are against war more now than ever, and I am glad to be on the doomed scaffold if I can say to mankind, 'Look out....All that they say to you, all that they have promised to you―it was a lie, it was an illusion, it was a cheat, it was a fraud, it was a crime....' Where is the moral good that the war has given to the world? Where is the spiritual progress that we have achieved from the war? Where are the security of life, the security of the things that we possess for our necessity? Where are the respect for human life? Where are the respect and the admiration for the good characteristics and the good of human nature? Never before the war as now have there been so many crimes, so much corruption, so much degeneration as there is now."
Also included in the category of "selective nonviolence" are a number of individuals whose objection to participation in modern wars is not essentially an objection to violence per se, but rather to authoritarianism in government, institutions and even individuals. They have thus refused to cooperate with military conscription and have received the consequences of such non-cooperation. Norman Thomas58 mentions a type of "conscientious objection by radicals (which) was based rather on an objection to conscription rather than to killing" and Case says: "A type of objector....directs his protest against conscription in and of itself, without regard for the right or wrong of war in general or of the particular war in question."59 Their objection is to ordering individuals around, as contrasted to allowing their free action and development. They may, however, use violence in their personal lives. Some of these oppose participation in modern war because they view it as an extreme development of both regimentation and violence.
Those individuals who now believe that preparations for nuclear war cannot under any conditions be justified, though they believe that war with earlier weapons has, at least at times, been justified, are also included is this category of "selective nonviolence".
Passive resistance is a method of conducting conflicts and achieving or thwarting social, economic or political changes. It is preferred to violent resistance, not for reasons of principle, but because either the resisters lack the means of violence or are not likely to win by such methods. The aim is to harass the opponent without employing physical violence, and to force him to make the desired concessions whether or not he desires to do so. Passive resistance may be used as a supplement to physical violence, as a preparation for it, following its unsuccessful use, or as a full substitute for physical violence. "Passive resistance" denotes actions which are not primarily self-initiated, motivated or directed, but instead are mainly reactions to the initiative of the opponent. The attitude of the resisters may involve hatred. They are not concerned in a major way with their own character, spiritual condition or way of living, but mainly in combating what they regard as a social evil.
"Passive resistance" may be practiced on the local, regional, national or international level. A large number of strikes,60 boycotts,61 and national non-cooperation movements are of this type of generic nonviolence. The latter include, for example, the Hungarian resistance against Austrian rule, 1850-1867,62 and Egyptian non-cooperation against British rule, 1919-1922.63 Other examples are strikes in the political prisoner camps in the Soviet Union,64 and the 1942 Norwegian teachers' resistance which prevented the use of the schools for Nazi indoctrination and was the most important of several actions in halting Quisling's plans for instituting the Corporate State in Norway.65
"Peaceful resistance" is primarily a method of conducting conflicts and achieving or thwarting social, political or economic changes. In contrast to passive resistance, there is in it a relatively widespread recognition of nonviolent methods as being intrinsically better than violence and that they are exclusively the methods to be used in the struggle. Many, most, or even all, of the participants in "peaceful resistance" may adhere to a temporary nonviolent discipline only of the particular struggle. "Practical" considerations are still important. Nonviolent methods of resistance may be regarded as more likely to achieve the desired results than (1) violent resistance, (2) reliance on established governmental constitutional procedures, or (3) verbal persuasion without supporting action. But despite the limited nature of the adherence to nonviolence, a belief in the relative moral superiority of nonviolent over violent methods widely, and at times deeply, permeates the resistance movements. A slight variation on this is that the use of nonviolent methods of resistance may be regarded as intrinsically more "democratic" than either violent resistance or passive acceptance of what are regarded as social evils; hence the nonviolent methods may also gain an aura of "rightness" on this ground.
A widespread belief among the resisters in the relative moral superiority of nonviolent methods may have several causes. Where there is a distinguishable leadership in the movement, such a belief may arise from one of three causes: (1) an important section of the leadership may be pacifist―that is, they may believe in nonviolence as a moral principle; (2) although none of the leaders may be pacifists, some or all of them may believe that nonviolent methods are considerably morally superior to violent methods and that violence should be used only in the most extreme conditions (not likely to arise during the struggle in question); or (3) both convinced pacifists and persons believing in the relative moral superiority of nonviolent methods may be among the leadership.
Two further factors may operate whether or not there is a distinguishable leadership (and, if there is in addition to one or other of the causes mentioned above). These are: (1) there may be among the resisters a sufficient number of pacifists to enable them, through numbers or disproportionate influence, to "colour" the struggle and help maintain it on a nonviolent basis even under severe provocation; and (2) the resisters may have been so repelled by previous experience of extreme social violence that they are determined to conduct this struggle without violence.
"Peaceful resistance" is generally more active than "passive resistance". The degree of conscious use of strategy and tactics in peaceful resistance struggles may vary considerably. The "bias" in favour of nonviolent methods helps to keep the struggle nonviolent in spite of provocations and difficulties which might turn "passive resisters" to violence. This "bias" may also have certain social-psychological effects advantageous to the aims of the peaceful resistance movement. There is considerable variation in the degree to which peaceful resistance movements aim at changing the opponent's attitudes and values as well as policies.
The best examples of peaceful resistance are the Montgomery, Alabama, 1955-57 bus boycott and the resistance campaigns led or inspired by Gandhi in which most of the resisters and even part of the leadership were following nonviolent methods only as a policy for achieving the objective of the struggle. Although almost none of the participants or leaders of the Montgomery Negroes' bus boycott were avowed pacifists, the movement had a strong religious character. It was constantly emphasized that the nonviolent way was the Christian way, and that the Negroes should love the whites while refusing to ride the segregated buses.66
Nearly all of the resistance movements led or inspired by Gandhi are classified under "peaceful resistance" , although Gandhi's satyagraha is recognized in this typology as one of the nine types of generic nonviolence. This is because of the very real differences between these struggles and Gandhi's full approach. Gandhi called the types of nonviolence practiced in such resistance movements the "nonviolence of the weak" as contrasted to the "nonviolence of the brave" based on inner conviction.67 He believed that the former would achieve certain limited goals but its effect would not be so great as the latter's. In his later years, Gandhi distinguished more sharply between these, saying that the "nonviolence of the weak" was not genuine satyagraha.68 These movements include, for example, the 1928 Bardoli peasants struggle69 and the 1930-31 independence struggle.70
Other examples of "peaceful resistance" include: the 1952 South African "Defy Unjust Laws" campaign,71 the Korean resistance against Japanese oppression between 1919 and approximately 1921,72 the Samoan Islanders' resistance against New Zealand rule from 1920 to 1936,73 the 1953 strike at Vorkuta prison camp by 250,000 political prisoners in the Soviet Union74 and the 1956 Japanese resistance against construction of a United States Air Force base at Sunakawa, Japan.75
Nonviolent Direct Action
"Nonviolent direct action" is a method of producing or thwarting social, economic or political changes by direct nonviolent intervention aimed at establishing new patterns or policies or disrupting the institution of new patterns or policies regarded as undesirable or evil. The motivation of "nonviolent direct actionists" may vary from belief in nonviolence as a moral principle to adherence to a temporary nonviolent discipline as a practical method to achieve a particular objective. There is variation in the degree to which the act of intervention is intended to bring about a change in the opponent's attitudes or values or simply to produce a change in the policy in question. The direct action may follow investigation of the facts, discussion with those responsible for the policy found objectionable, negotiations, public appeals and publicity about the grievance. An act of self-purification", such as prayer, fasting etc., may or may not precede the direct action.
Examples of nonviolent direct action include: (1) the 1924-25 Vykom "Satyagraha"76 in South India in which the direct actionists attempted to end the prohibition against Harijans' (untouchables) using a road passing a Hindu temple by simply walking up it, and when halted by a police barricade, keeping vigil in shifts on the road day and night for fourteen months until allowed to proceed;77 (2) the Helegolanders' nonviolent seizure in 1951 of the island of Helegoland (off the coast of Germany) from the British Royal Air Force which had been using it for bombing target practice;78 (3) various projects of the Congress of Racial Equality against racial segregation and discrimination in the U.S.A. in which mixed Negro-White groups have politely insisted on equal treatment for Negroes often by waiting for hours for service, admission, etc. in restaurants, theatres and public transportation until the policy was changed, or it was closing time, or they were arrested, and returning repeatedly until Negroes received equal treatment;79 and (4) the "nonviolent invasion" in Britain by supporters and members of the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War of the North Pickenham rocket base in December 1958, using such techniques as lying in front of trucks and obstructing the use of the concrete mixer in efforts to halt further construction.80
Satyagraha is the type of generic nonviolence developed by Mohandas K. Gandhi. It means (approximately) "adherence to Truth" or "reliance on Truth"―Truth having the connotation of Essence of Being, or reality. The believer in Satyagraha, a satyagrahi,81 aims at attaining Truth through love and right action. Satyagraha is a matter of principle.82 It was developed by Gandhi through his searchings and experiments in his personal life, and his efforts at combating social evils and building a better social order. The satyagrahi seeks to "turn the searchlight inward" and to improve his own life so that he does no harm to others. He seeks to combat evil in the world through his own way of living, constructive work, and resistance and action against what are regarded as evils. He seeks to convert the opponent through sympathy, patience, truthfulness, and self-suffering. He believes that sufficient truthfulness, fearlessness and deep conviction will enable him to attack that which he regards as evil, regardless of the odds against him. He will not compromise on basic moral issues though he may on secondary matters. Gandhi left behind no systematized philosophical system. He dealt with practical problems as they arose and sought solutions for them within the context of his basic ethical principles: satya (truth) ahimsa (non-injury to living beings in thought, word and deed) and equality. The satyagrahi believes that means and ends must be equally pure. Gandhi regarded satyagraha as basically a matter of quality rather than quantity. When facing social conflict, he believed the satyagrahi's own inner condition was more important than the external situation. A basic part of satyagraha in Gandhi's view was a constructive program to build a new social and economic order through voluntary constructive work. This he regarded as more important than resistance. The Indian constructive program included a variety of specific measures aimed at social improvement, education, decentralized economic production and consumption, and improvement in the lot of the oppressed sections of the population. He believed that such a program gradually builds up the structure of a new nonviolent society, while resistance and direct action are used to remove parts of the old structure which are obstacles to the new one.
When social evils require direct and active challenging, Gandhi believed, the various methods of peaceful resistance and nonviolent direct action (in the senses in which the terms are used in this paper) provide a substitute for rioting, violent revolution or war. Gandhi has made a unique contribution in combining nonviolence as a principle with the techniques and strategy of resistance, forging it into a method of meeting social conflicts which was regarded as more influential than both individual example and persuasion without such supporting action and the previous forms of nonviolent resistance. Investigation, negotiation, publicity, self-purification, temporary work stoppages, picketing, boycotts, non-payment of taxes, mass migration from the State, various forms of non-cooperation, civil disobedience and the fast (under strict limitations) are among possible methods of action. The satyagrahi is always ready to negotiate a settlement which does not compromise basic principles.
Gandhi became convinced that satyagraha based on inner conviction was more effective than non-violence practiced as a temporary policy. He said of the "nonviolence of the brave": "It is such nonviolence that moves mountains, transforms life and flinches from nothing in its unshakable faith".83 Satyagraha when developed by Gandhi became unique among the existing types of generic nonviolence by being a matter of principle, a program for social reconstruction and an active individual and group method of attacking what are regarded as social evils.84
"Nonviolent revolution" is the most recent type of generic nonviolence. It is still very much a direction of developing thought and action, rather than a movement possessing a fixed ideology and program. "Nonviolent revolutionaries" believe that the major social problems of today's world have their origins at the roots of individual and social life and, therefore, can be solved only by a basic, or revolutionary, change in individuals and society.
There is general recognition among believers in this approach of four aspects of a nonviolent revolutionary program: (1) improvement by individuals of their own lives, (2) gaining the acceptance of such values as nonviolence, equality, cooperation, justice and freedom as the determining values for the society as a whole, (3) building a more egalitarian, decentralized and libertarian social order, and (4) combating what are regarded as social evils by nonviolent resistance and direct action.85 A major objective of nonviolent revolution is to substitute nonviolent, cooperative, egalitarian relationships for such aspects of violence as exploitation, oppression and war. The nonviolent revolution is to be effected largely (in the view of some) or entirely (in the view of others) without use of the state machinery. Some advocates of this approach place relatively more emphasis on achieving changes in policies, institutions, ownership, power relationship, etc., while others put relatively more emphasis on achieving changes in beliefs and attitudes as a preliminary to such social changes.
The nonviolent revolutionary approach has been developing at least since about 194586 in various parts of the world including Hong Kong87, Germany88, the United States89, India and England. Nonviolent revolution has a mixed origin. This may, for the purposes of analysis, be roughly divided into those in which ideological factors are predominant and those in which they are subordinate to "practical" efforts to find solutions to certain pressing social problems. The "ideological" and "practical" factors are, however, never fully separated. On one hand, the ideologies concerned propose solutions for problems, and on the other, the search for solutions for such problems at some stage inevitably involves consideration of ideological approaches per se, or methods of action which are closely related to them. On the ideological level nonviolent revolution has been developing through the interplay and synthesis of several formerly distinct approaches. These include (1) certain types of pacifism, largely "moral resistance" and the Tolstoyan and Quaker approaches ("active reconciliation"), (2) Satyagraha and (3) ideologies of social revolution (i.e. basic social change), including the socialist, anarchist and & decentralist approaches.90 In some way satyagraha is the most important of these91, largely because it combines a "pacifist" position with a method of resistance and revolution, thus serving as a bridge or catalyst between pacifism and social revolution.
On the "practical" level the nonviolent revolutionary approach has had origins in efforts to effect social, political or economic changes where parliamentary means are either non-existent or not responsive to popular control and where violent means are rejected either because the means of effective violent struggle are predominantly at the disposal of supporters of the status quo, or for other reasons. Nonviolent resistance and direct action have often appeared relevant in such situations. What seems to be an increasing reliance on nonviolent resistance and direct action by liberation movements is an illustration of this. Where nonviolent methods have been seriously used in such situations, there have often been ideological and programmatic consequences resulting from the combination of nonviolence and revolution. An associated factor in the development of nonviolent revolution is that common concern with pressing social problems (land in India, nuclear weapons in Britain, freedom in South Africa, for example) has brought pacifists, satyagrahis and social revolutionaries92 together to find and apply solutions for such problems. This interaction has contributed to the synthesizing of these approaches.
Because of the newness of this type of nonviolence, it is perhaps desirable to cite at greater length than usual examples of the thought which underlies it. These citations, largely from American and Indian sources, are to be regarded as only illustrative.
The Rev. Michael Scott has written: "There is the urgent need for a new revolutionary movement which will have the courage and incentive to use methods of nonviolent resistance not only against the manufacture of nuclear weapons but against oppressive legislation and violations of human rights and natural justice", and which would be capable of a strong "effectual fight against oppression and injustice", ignorance and poverty.93
Although the nonviolent revolutionary movement has never developed in the United States to anything approaching political significance, some of the clearest ideological statements of this approach have come from that country. For example, in 1946 there existed a Committee for Nonviolent Revolution which issued this policy statement:
We favour decentralized, democratic socialism guaranteeing worker-consumer control of industries, utilities and other economic enterprises. We believe that the workers themselves should take steps to seize control of factories, mines and shops. ....We believe in realistic action against war, against imperialism and against military or economic oppression by conquering nations, including the United States. We advocate such techniques of group resistance as demonstrations, strikes, organized civil disobedience, and underground organization where necessary. As individuals we refuse to join the armed forces, work in war industries, or buy government bonds, and we believe in campaigns urging others to do similarly. We see nonviolence as a principle as well as a technique. In all action we renounce the methods of punishing, hating or killing any fellow human beings. We believe that nonviolence includes such methods as sit-down strikes and seizure of plants. We believe that revolutionary changes can only occur through direct action by the rank and file, and not by deals or reformist proposals directed to the present political and labour leadership.94
A. J. Muste, in the period following the Committee for Nonviolent Revolution, was the leading exponent of the nonviolent revolutionary approach: "....mankind faces a major crisis. Only a drastic change, such as is suggested by the terms rebirth, conversion, revolution, can bring deliverance. Tinkering with this or that piece of political, economic or cultural machinery will not suffice....War and the war system, as well as social violence, are inherent in our present politico-economic order and the prevailing materialistic culture....War is not inevitable, though it is certain to come unless a revolutionary movement against war and materialism soon comes into existence."95 "A nonviolent revolution changes external relationships and managements but it is primarily an inner revolution, a rebirth of a man."96 ".....the present period is a profoundly revolutionary one and its problem is a revolutionary problem....This order is....bound to perish....because....the law of the universe that exploitation, hatred, tyranny are evil and cannot endure is being vindicated. Therefore, once again, as the ground is swept clear the chance to build a revolutionary new order presents itself to mankind....It is not our business to save either capitalism or Communism; either the Russian or the American power state; either the Western Capitalist culture or the present Communist culture. None of them now enshrines or allows for the flourishing of essentially democratic and humane values....in our age, whatever may have been the case in other periods..... violence must be rejected as a means for radical social change....Whether....we look at the problem of eliminating war or at the problem of radical social change (abolition of competitive nationalism, colonialism, dictatorship, feudalism, development of a non-exploitative economy, etc.) we must resort to nonviolence or we are lost. We need to build a nonviolent revolutionary movement....rooted firmly in local and national situations....not....abstract cosmopolitanism....[yet] genuinely internationalist in basis, composition and eventual structure."97
In India the nonviolent revolutionary approach has taken two forms, often regarded by their respective advocates as distinct. One is the bhudan (land-gift) and related movements led by Vinoba Bhave. The other is the emphasis on civil disobedience, most clearly espoused by Dr Rammanohar Lohia and his Socialist Party of India, but also advocated at times by the larger Praja Socialist Party and other groups. Concerning nonviolent revolution, Dr. Lohia has written: "Hitherto, in efforts to bring about major social changes, the world has known the sole alternatives of parliamentary and violent insurrectionary means. A reliance on only parliamentary means has often left people without any means of direct control over social decisions when Parliament was not responsive to the public will, and parliamentary means have sometimes proved incapable of bringing about genuinely fundamental changes in society when required. The reliance upon the means of violent insurrection has, however, also been proved inadequate. Even apart from considerations of the morality of violence and its chances of success, the kind of society produced by a violent insurrection does not recommend such means. Now, however, a new dimension has been added by the addition of individual and massive civil resistance as another way of bringing about major social changes....All those desirous of maintaining methods of nonviolence must learn to be equally loyal to revolution....Where such subordination of revolution to nonviolence takes place, conservative maintenance of the existing order is an inevitable result, just as chaos in the beginning and tyranny afterwards are inevitable results if nonviolence is subordinated to revolution....Mankind will ever hurtle from the hands of one irresponsibility into another if it continues to seek and organize its revolutions through violence."98 Commenting on bhudan as a social revolution, the Indian economist Gyan Chand has written: "The target of collecting 50 million acres before the end of 1957 for distribution among the landless labourers has not been realized, and more than half of the four million actually collected have still to be distributed. And yet the movement is gathering more steam, has made Gramdans―voluntary extinction of property rights in entire villages―its immediate objective and attained a large measure of success in realizing it....A real recluse [Vinoba] has left the seclusion of his ashram and is using his piety, spiritual communion and comprehension of life and its essence for bringing about basic social changes and undermining the status quo―the network of property relations, the institutional framework and the whole complex of views, conventions, attitudes and norms and patterns of behaviour. Religion is being brought into action as a revolutionary force, as a means of awakening the people to the inequalities of the present economic relations and the urgent need of replacing them by new relations based on a genuine community of feeling and quest for equality in status, income and assignment of functions....
"From the very beginning the bhudan movement has been a movement for establishing a new social order....The collection and distribution of land, it was....very clearly emphasized, was....only the first step, in a succession of changes which were implicit in the concept of social revolution. Among them, a classless society, extinction of property rights and the elimination of acquisitive social relations had necessarily to be given a very high priority in the list of the new social objectives. The gramdan concept brings these social objectives to the fore, stresses their primacy and urgency and points to the need of making them all-embracing and the basis of the whole production organization of the community. This means that if extinction of property rights in land is realized, the very logic of the step would make its application to trade, industry and services unavoidable....
"The movement, relying as it does exclusively on change through assent, that is, on a completely voluntary basis and by nonviolent methods, makes democracy its substance and essential feature. Experience is beginning to show that the movement is gathering momentum and the imminence of radical social changes is becoming more and more obvious and inescapable; and that vested interests....are likely to see in the movement a challenge and a danger and to use all their strength for defeating the processes that it has set in motion. This resistance has, according to the premises of the movement, to be met by janashakti―the people's power―the power generated by the will to change and the support of the masses. If the full support of the people is mobilized through education and right guidance and can be sustained, it would create conditions for bringing into action the legislative power of the state in support of the people's will to change. The movement does not in any way preclude legislative action, but does not put its faith in it as the primary or the major instrument of social change. The State has no doubt the organized might of the community at its disposal, but if it is to be truly democratic it has to use this power as sparingly as possible and rely mainly on revolution from below―the upsurge and initiative of the people―for carrying out fundamental and social transformation."99
The incomplete nature of the ideology and program of nonviolent revolution is among the factors which have handicapped the spread of this type of generic nonviolence, especially in the West, but the general outline of its approach is sufficiently clear to justify its inclusion in this typology at this early stage of its development and to indicate that it may increase in prominence in the future.
Of these nine types of generic nonviolence, five fall within the definition of "pacifism" presented earlier in this paper; that is, their adherents refuse, on grounds of principle, participation in all international and civil wars and violent revolutions. These are: "non-resistance", "active reconciliation", "moral resistance", "satyagraha", and generally, "nonviolent revolution". These involve a belief in the intrinsic value of nonviolence, as does also "peaceful resistance". Six of the nine types of generic nonviolence emphasize the value of nonviolent behaviour as a method for achieving desired social objectives. These are: "moral resistance", "passive resistance", "peaceful resistance", "nonviolent direct action", "satyagraha", and "nonviolent revolution". There is thus overlapping between these groups, with "moral resistance", "peaceful resistance", "satyagraha" and "nonviolent revolution" emphasizing both the intrinsic value of nonviolence and nonviolent behaviour as a method.
Of the nine types, the following always fall within the area of "nonviolent resistance and direct action", as presented earlier in this paper: "passive resistance", "peaceful resistance", and "nonviolent direct action". Often included also would be "moral resistance", "satyagraha" and "nonviolent revolution". On some occasions believers in the approaches classified under "active reconciliation" and "selective nonviolence" might also undertake resistance which would fall within the scope of "nonviolent resistance and direct action". On rare occasions, believers in "non-resistance" might feel compelled to non-cooperate with what they regard as evil in such a way that their behaviour would come within the scope of "nonviolent resistance".
There are, of course, many other comparisons and contrasts which might be made among the nine types of generic nonviolence. Some of these will be suggested by the following chart which indicates in a brief way some of the main characteristics of the types of generic nonviolence. There are related questions which may arise in the minds of some readers, such as the relation between "persuasion", "conversion" and "nonviolent coercion" among the types of generic nonviolence, or an analysis of the various techniques which are used in nonviolent resistance and direct action. These, however, require separate treatment and lie outside the scope of this paper.
The writer's object has been simply to clarify, classify and define―and to illustrate these definitions, particularly where this may have been necessary to bring a sense of reality to descriptions of often relatively little known approaches. The writer does not regard this typology as perfect or final, but hopes that it may help in clarifying the existing confusion about these phenomena and may facilitate future study, research, analysis and evaluation of the various approaches within generic nonviolence.
The first version of this article was a chapter of the writer's M.A. thesis in sociology:
Nonviolence: A Sociological Study (Ohio State University, 1951). A slightly popularised revision appeared in Mankind (Hyderabad), December 1956, under the title 'A Typology of Nonviolence'. A pamphlet reprint of this, under the title The Meaning of Nonviolence, was issued in 1957 by Housemans Bookshop, London. The writer then made several major changes and additions, included documentation and completely re-wrote the paper. This revision was published in the American Journal of Conflict Resolution, March 1959, under the title The Meanings of Nonviolence: A Typology".
The present version is a further revision containing some new documentation, a more extensive introduction, and statements and descriptions illustrating the respective types of nonviolence within the text itself.