1. A Working Definition:
Nonviolence was described by Gandhi as "satyagraha" which means "truth force." Nonviolence is a creative, planned, positive active force which, because it does not use violence as a means of resolving conflict, is a truly revolutionary approach for those who seek social or political change.
When practicing nonviolence the means must be consistent with the ends. If we are working toward a nonviolent world, a world based on social justice, we must renounce the use of violence, terrorism and murder.
Nonviolence requires us to respect humanity and to value life. As we seek change nonviolently we approach our opponent with respect, openness and love. We know that each of us has a part of the truth and will benefit from our shared wisdom --- opponent and nonviolent actionist alike. To make this world "work" for all of us we must all be able to work together. We each have a piece of the puzzle and through nonviolence we may finally make the earth whole. Nonviolence seeks ultimately to transform our opponents even as we transform ourselves.
Nonviolence may be used as a tactic for a particular action or it may be an all encompassing way of life. Nonviolence can be and is effective in both cases. Using nonviolent means can be very demanding as it requires us to behave and believe in ways which are not traditional or easy for us and which often have implications beyond their tactical usefulness.
We must acknowledge our anger and realize that it is a valid part of ourselves and use it in a constructive way. It is a mistake to think that because we are nonviolent we have no anger. It is violence to ourselves if we don't constructively express our anger. Barbara Deming defines two kinds of anger. One is a concentration of one's whole self into the belief that things must change. This kind of anger brings about confrontation and shows respect for oneself and for the other. It says "I must change for I have been playing the part of the oppressed and you must change for you have been the oppressor." Change is possible for both sides. This is healthy anger. The second kind of anger, according to Deming, is a kind of affliction. It says, "You must change, you can change, but your very existence is a threat to my own." This anger is harmful and results in fear and violence.