Whether you're on the streets to chant down Babylon or to enforce the law, please remember that nothing is worse for democracy than violence.The best way for demonstrators to be effective is to practice respect for others. The best way for police officers to be effective is to practice respect for others.The two largest groups organizing opposition to the TABD have endorsed five action guidelines designed to ensure vigorous, peaceful demonstrations. The Cincinnati Direct Action Collective and Citizens for a Humane Economy have promised:
"1. We will not initiate violence toward any living being.
2. We will carry no weapons.
3. We will not bring or use any alcohol or illegal drugs.
4. We will not destroy property.
5. If arrested, we will encourage solidarity with all people participating in N16 actions and bystanders swept up in our actions."
If you think nonviolence is ineffective, you belong in a library — reading the history of the independence struggle in India, the civil-rights movement in the United States, the Solidarity movement that ended the Soviet bloc — not on the streets. Leave the demonstrations to smarter people. No one needs your rocks or your bad attitude.
If you're a police officer, please remember the demonstrators are working to protect your rights — and your mother's, your son's and your next-door neighbor's. The demonstrators are not your enemy.
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, took inspiration from Mohandas Gandhi (pictured), who in turn admired Henry David Thoreau. Following are the six assertions widely revered as the Principles of Nonviolence, adapted from King:
· Nonviolent resistance is not for cowards.
· Nonviolent resistance does not seek to defeat or humiliate an opponent, but rather to win his friendship and understanding.
· Nonviolent resistance attacks forces of evil — not people who are doing evil.
· Nonviolent resistance requires accepting suffering without striking back.
· Nonviolent resistance avoids not only physical violence but also violence of the spirit.
· Nonviolent resistance operates on the belief the universe is on the side of justice. ©