The problem, she said, is that violence is merely bad strategy.Violence directed at white nationalists just fuels their narrative of victimhood– of a pestered, soon-to-be-minority who can’t exercise their rights to free speech without getting pounded. It also probably helps them hire. And more broadly, if violence against minorities is exactly what you find repugnant in neo-Nazi rhetoric, then”you are using the very force you’re aiming to get rid of,” Michael Nagler, the founder of the Peace and Dispute Studies program at the University of California, Berkeley, told me.Most important perhaps, violence is just not as effective as nonviolence. In their 2011 book, “Why Civil Resistance Functions,”Dr. Stephan and Erica Chenoweth examined how struggles are won. They discovered that in over 320 disputes between 1900 and 2006, nonviolent resistance was more than two times as reliable as violent resistance in achieving modification. And nonviolent battles were fixed much sooner than violent ones.The primary reason, Dr. Stephan described to me, was that nonviolent battles attracted more allies more quickly. Violent struggles, on the other hand, typically repelled people and dragged out
for years.Their findings highlight what we most likely currently intuit about protest: It’s a performance not simply for the individuals you may be opposing versus but also for everybody else who may be encouraged to join your side.Take the American civil liberties movement. Part of what moved the country towards the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were the images, broadcast to the whole country, of steadfastly nonviolent protesters, including females and sometimes children, being beaten, hosed and abused by white police officers and mobs.Those images likewise highlight two points stressed by Stephanie Van Hook, the executive director of the Metta Center for Nonviolence. Nonviolence is a discipline, and as with any discipline, you require to practice to master it. Nonviolence training was a component of the movement. Even the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his companions practiced in basements, function playing and insulting
one another to get ready for exactly what was to come.And 2nd, in some cases being on the receiving end of violence is the entire point. That’s how you expose the hypocrisy and rot you’re resisting. They assault unprovoked. You don’t counterattack. You’re hurt. The world sees. Hearts change. It takes remarkable guts: Your body ends up being the canvas that bears the evidence of the violence you’re battling against.But preferably, naturally, we ‘d prevent violence entirely.
This is where the sort of planning on display screen at Wunsiedel is essential. Humor is an especially effective tool– to prevent escalation, to highlight the absurdity of unreasonable positions and to deflate the puffery that, to the weak-minded at any rate, may resemble heroic purpose.Germany is not America, obviously. For one, neo-Nazis aren’t allowed to bring assault rifles through the streets there, not to mention display swastikas
. We do have comparable examples of humor being used to neutralize fascists in the United States. In 2012, a” white power”march in Charlotte, N.C., was met counterprotesters dressed as clowns. They held signs checking out “wife power”and tossed”white flour”into the air.”The message from us is,’You look silly, ‘”a planner informed the local news channel.”We’re dressed like clowns, and you’re the ones that look amusing.”By damaging the gravitas white supremacists are attempting to accrue, funny counterprotests might blunt the occasions ‘usefulness for recruitment. Battling with bandanna-clad antifas may seem romantic to some disaffected boys, but being mocked by clowns
? Most likely not so much.Which brings us to Charlottesville, and the nine or more alt-right rallies that have actually been arranged in American cities for this&weekend alone. To those questioning how to respond, Dr. Stephan states that”
nonviolent movements prosper because they invite mass involvement.”Humor can do that; violence less so.The broader problem, in her view, is this: Why do oppressive routines and motions invest a lot in fomenting violence?( Consider our president and his skill for dividing the country and producing chaos
.)Due to the fact that violence and discord assist their cause. So why would you, she asks,” do what the oppressor wants you to do?” Continue checking out the main story