The Power of Nonviolent Change

Transforming Power

Creative Nonviolence transforms our lives and our world by unleashing our capacity for connection, compassion, and cooperation to:

  • Break the cycle of violence
  • Free ourselves and others from destructive fear
  • Struggle actively for change
  • Create a more even playing field
  • Celebrate differences while affirming the interdependence of all beings, and
  • Discover constructive and sustainable ways of life.
     

Military power is as corrupting to the man who possesses it as it is pitiless to its victims. Violence is just as devastating to the soul of the perpetrator as it is to the body and souls of those who are victims of it.”

-- American Friends Service Committee

If you see injustice and say nothing, you have taken the side of the oppressor.”

-- Desmund Tutu

Christians no longer take up the sword against nation, not do we learn war any more, having become children of peace, for the sake of Jesus, who is our leader.”

-- Origen

We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we do about peace, more about killing than we do about living.”

-- WWII General Omar Bradley

In nonviolence, the masses have a weapon that enables a child, a woman, or even a decrepit old man to resist the mightiest government successfully. If your spirit is strong, mere lack of physical strength ceases to be a handicap.”

-- Gandhi

The world will change because of your smile… to sit, to smile, to look at things and really see them”

-- Thich Nhat Hanh

One cannot level one”s moral lance at every evil in the universe. There are just too many of them. But you can do something, and the difference between doing something and doing nothing is everything.”

-- Daniel Berrigan

No one has a right to sit down and feel helpless, there”s too much to do.”

-- Dorothy Day

One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the US around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better.”

-- Daniel Berrigan

Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder…. the working class who fight all the battles, the working class who make the supreme sacrifices, the working class who freely shed their blood and furnish their corpses, have never yet had a voice in either declaring war or making peace. It is the ruling class that invariably does both. They alone declare war and they alone make peace… They are continually talking about their patriotic duty. It is not their duty but your patriotic duty that they are concerned about. There is a decided difference. Their patriotic duty never takes them to the firing line or chucks them into the trenches.”

-- Eugene V. Debs

Love turns upon a commitment to a certain kind of seeing, a certain kind of sharing.

-- R.C. Solomon.

It may well be that the greatest tragedy of this period of social change is not the glaring noisiness of the so-called bad people, but the silence of the so-called good people.”

-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Nonviolence is the inherent quality of women. For ages men have trained in violence. In order for them to become nonviolent they have to cultivate the qualities of women. Ever since I have taken to nonviolence, I have become more and more of a woman.”

-- Gandhi

Spending hundreds of billions of dollars on Star Wars will take money away from education, programs for women and children, and health care. There is a direct link between promoting weapons for space and the destabilization of our communities. People must connect these struggles.”

-- Bruce Gagnon

Every gun that is made, every warship that is launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world, in armaments, is not spending its money alone. It is spending the sweat of laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the clouds of threatening war it is humanity, hanging from a cross of iron.”

-- Dwight C. Eisenhower

A country which has dangled the sword of nuclear holocaust over the world for half a century and claims that someone else invented terrorism is a country out of touch with reality.”

-- John K. Stoner, 2001

These form the basis of peace work. You can get something from a book. That something may be so important as to lead you to the recognition of the real thing.”

-- Idries Shah

Conceit, arrogance and egotism are the essentials of patriotism… Patriotism assumes that our globe is divided into little spots, each one surrounded by an iron gate. Those who had the fortune of being born on some particular spot, consider themselves better, nobler, grander, more intelligent than the living beings inhabiting any other spot. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone living on that chosen spot to fight, kill, and die in the attempt to impose his superiority upon all others.”

-- Emma Goldman

A journey of A thousand miles must begin with A single step.

-- Lao Tzu

Put up the your sword into its place: for all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword.”

-- Jesus

Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security”

-- Benjamin Franklin

The first duty of love is to listen.”

-- Paul Tillich

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate.”

-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice…Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance - how violently I hate all this; how despicable and ignoble war is…I would rather be torn to shreds than be part of so base an action. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.”

-- Albert Einstein

Love is the most durable power in the world. Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Do not return evil for evil. Avenge not yourselves, but rather give way to wrath; for it is written, vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord. Therefore if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink: for in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

-- Romans 12:17-21

He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice…Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance - how violently I hate all this; how despicable and ignoble war is…I would rather be torn to shreds than be part of so base an action. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.”

-- Albert Einstein

The soulless corporate exploiters and militarists, each poised to become our future oppressors, somehow always succeed in staying on the gravy train no matter which cards fate deals them. It seems like it would make sense to stop voting for, stop paying for and stop supporting any system or group that could turn out to be our future executioners.”

-- Gary Kohls

As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems, maintaining my convictions that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But, they asked, and rightly so, what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn”t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their question hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against violence on the oppressed in the ghettos without first having spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today - our own government.”

-- Martin Luther King, Jr. NYC April 4, 1967

One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the US around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better”

-- Daniel Berrigan

There must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will.”

-- Frederick Douglas 1857

War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.”

-- John F. Kennedy

If any preacher tells you that personal salvation can be achieved without first paying attention to social justice, you may know by this sign alone that you are listening to a false prophet.”

-- Sydney Harris

Nonviolence, when it becomes active, travels with extraordinary velocity, and then it becomes a miracle.”

-- Gandhi

Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.”

-- Theodore Roosevelt, on April 19, 1906

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”

-- Martin Luther King, Jr.