Definition of Nonviolence

- By Bahram Maskanian

Nonviolence has been perceived as a general philosophy of abstention from violence in pursuit of political, social justice and independence from tyranny, because of the obvious fact that, violence is the weapon of choice of the oppressors, thus violence would surely help to prolong barbarity and further oppression. 

Nonviolence refers to the behavior of people using nonviolent action, such as, but not limited to: demonstrations, boycott, non-participation and non-cooperation, maintained under the nonviolence principles.

Nonviolence, or civil disobedient is the means of struggle for achieving political, economic and social justice transformation, using nonviolent action as a strategy for realizing change, rejecting the use of violence for achieving the desired political, economic and social justice evolution.

The term "nonviolence" has often been defined, or even used as a synonym for pacifism; however, the two concepts are fundamentally different. - Pacifism denotes the rejection of the use of violence as a personal decision on moral or spiritual grounds, but does not inherently imply any inclination toward change on political, economic and social level.

Nonviolence, or civil resistance, is an alternative to passive acceptance of oppression, or armed struggle against tyranny.  

Advocates of nonviolence must learn and use diverse methods of civil disobedience, boycott, non-participation and non-cooperation in their campaigns for achieving social, economic and political change, including critical forms of mass education and persuasion, means of non-cooperation, civil disobedience and nonviolent direct action for social, political, cultural and economic forms of intervention and reform.

Nonviolence is often associated with the intent to achieve social, economic and political change. Indeed, the desire to pursue transformation effectively is the reason for the rejection of violence.  

I do believe that citizens cooperation and consent are the roots of all political powers: the success of all tyrannical regimes, including bureaucratic institutions, financial institutions, and the armed segments of any society, such as the military and police; depends entirely on their citizens consent and compliance. No consent and no compliance = no oppression.

On a national level, the strategy of nonviolence seeks to undermine the power of rulers by encouraging people to withdraw their consent and cooperation. The forms of nonviolence draw inspiration from both religious, or ethical beliefs and political analysis. Religious or ethically based nonviolence is sometimes referred to as principled, philosophical, or ethical nonviolence, while nonviolence based on political analysis is often referred to as tactical, strategic, or pragmatic nonviolence. Commonly, both of these dimensions may be present within the thinking of particular movements, or individuals.

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