Robert T. Jones Talks on Kingian Nonviolence at Claremont Academy
On a snowy Tuesday in February, high school students at Claremont Academy listened with interest as Mr. Robert T. Jones spoke about his migration from tough Bronx kid to teacher of Kingian nonviolence.
The Associate Director of Multicultural Education at the College of the Holy Cross, Mr. Jones was trained in Dr. Martin Luther King’s methods of nonviolence by noted civil rights leader Dr. Bernard Lafayette. From 2008-2011, he worked with Dr. Lafayette teaching these methods to freedom fighters in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
Among those attending Mr. Jones’ presentation were students from Ms. Karen Henderson’s US history class. She reports they loved the talk.
“My students spoke about it throughout the day – in other classes, in the halls, and at lunch, and shared what they heard and learned with their friends. It was awesome!”
Mr. Jones talk included a review of the six principles of Kingian Nonviolence. Here they are:
- Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people. It is a positive force confronting the forces of injustice and utilizes the righteous indignation and the spiritual, emotional, and intellectual capabilities of people as the vital force for change and reconciliation.
- The Beloved Community is the Goal. The nonviolent concept is an overall effort to achieve a reconciled world by raising the level of relationships among people to a height where justice prevails and persons attain their full human potential.
- Attack forces of evil, not the persons doing evil. The nonviolent approach helps one analyze the fundamental conditions, policies, and practices of the conflict rather than reacting to one’s opponent or their personalities.
- Accept suffering without retaliation for the sake of the cause to achieve a goal. Self-chosen suffering or sacrifice is redemptive and helps the movement grow in a spiritual as well as humanitarian dimension. The moral authority of voluntary suffering for a goal communicates the concern to one’s own friends and community as well as to the opponent.
- Avoid internal violence of the spirit as well as external physical violence. The nonviolent attitude permeates all aspects of the individual, providing a mirror reflection of the reality of the condition. Actions must be guided by a high level of spirit and morality that avoids all forms and feelings of inner violence.
- The Universe is on the side of justice. Truth and justice are universal and human society and each human being is oriented to the just sense of order of the universe. The fundamental values in all of the world’s great religions include the concept that the moral arc of the universe bends toward justice.
Do Men Need Masculinity, Positive or Otherwise?
Ethan Hoffman, doctoral student of clinical psychology at Clark University, speaks on how men and boys can be more prosocial, and less aggressive, in resolving conflicts.
Thursday, February 15
143 Highland Street, Worcester, MA 01609
Bring a friend and join us for an informal evening of networking and resource sharing with peace and justice educators. Free appetizers!
Remembering Gene Sharp
Re-posted from David Cortright:
Gene Sharp, the pioneering and prolific scholar of Gandhian nonviolence and civil resistance, passed away this week at age 90. His life was dedicated to examining the ways in which nonviolent action achieves political change.
While studying Gandhi’s methods at Oxford in the 1950s, Sharp realized that it is not necessary to convert people to pacifism in order to organize effective nonviolent action. Many of those who followed Gandhi in the Indian freedom struggle did not accept his pacifist principles. They used his methods because they found them to be most effective for their strategy of winning independence from British rule.
This understanding of nonviolence as a superior method of political action was a key conceptual breakthrough. Nonviolent action is not only the right thing to do, it is also the most effective.
Sharp’s thesis on the superiority of nonviolent methods was later confirmed in the work of Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan, whose 2008 book Why Civil Resistance Works provides empirical data showing that campaigns utilizing nonviolent means are twice as effective as those that employ armed struggle.
Sharp devoted himself to the study of nonviolent action as a pragmatic means of achieving change. He published many important books and pamphlets, including his three-volume classic, The Politics of Nonviolent Action (Porter Sargent, 1973) and Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential (Extending Horizons Books, Porter Sargent Publishers, 2005). His booklet, From Dictatorship to Democracy, published originally by his Albert Einstein Institution in 1994, was subsequently reprinted and translated into more than two dozen languages, including Arabic.
The youth leaders in Egypt who led the revolution overthrowing the Mubarak regime in 2011 read and received training in Sharp’s work. This prompted the New York Times to credit the bookish octogenarian scholar with creating the playbook for revolution, a claim Sharp denied although he expressed satisfaction that the revolutionists found his ideas useful.
Sharp’s ideas and insights live on in the work of the Einstein Institution, the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict and in the work of peace studies and civil resistance centers around the world. Let us commemorate his life by re-reading his work and renewing our commitment to nonviolent action for justice and peace.
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