On this 95th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it would be pertinent to recall what he said about a nonviolent campaign.
The "Six Steps for Nonviolent Social Change" is based on Dr. King’s nonviolent campaigns and teaching which emphasize love in action.
1. INFORMATION GATHERING: To understand and articulate an issue, problem, or injustice facing a person, community, or institution, you must do research. You must investigate and gather all vital information from all sides of the argument or issue to increase your understanding of the problem. You must become an expert on your opponent’s position.
2. EDUCATION: It is essential to inform others, including your opposition, about your issue. This minimizes misunderstandings and gains you support and sympathy. You can write articles for newspapers and magazines. You can hold seminars, and workshops and build coalitions on the issue. You can write statements for pastors, priests, and rabbis to include in their sermons.
3. PERSONAL COMMITMENT: Daily check and affirm your faith in the philosophy and methods of nonviolence. Eliminate hidden motives and prepare yourself to accept suffering, if necessary, in your work for justice.
4. NEGOTIATIONS: Using grace, humor, and intelligence, confront the other party with a list of injustices and a plan for addressing and resolving these injustices. Look for what is positive in every action and statement the opposition makes. Do not seek to humiliate the opponent, but call forth the good in the opponent. Look for ways in which the opponent can also win.
5. DIRECT ACTION: These are actions taken to get the opponent to work with you in resolving the injustices. Direct action imposes a “creative tension” into the conflict. There are over 250 different direct action tactics, including boycotts, marches, rallies, rent strikes, work slowdowns, letter-writing and petition campaigns, bank-ins, property occupancy, financial withdrawal, and political denial through the ballot. Direct action is most effective when it illustrates the injustice it seeks to correct.
6. RECONCILIATION: Nonviolence seeks friendship and understanding with the opponent. Nonviolence is directed against evil systems, forces, oppressive policies, and evil and unjust acts, not against persons. Reconciliation includes the opponent being able to “save face”. Through reasoned compromise, both sides resolve the injustice with a plan of action. Each act of reconciliation is one step closer to the “Beloved Community.” Not only are individuals empowered, but so is the entire community. With that comes a new struggle for justice and a new beginning. Post by S. P. Udayakumaran Green Tamilnadu Party Nagercoil, Kanyakumari, January 15, 2024, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.