Nonviolence and Gandhi’s Passive Resistance

Over the past few years there have been many instances of violence as a form of protest, mostly acted in response to different occasions of police brutality – the most famous one being the Ferguson riots back in 2014. We already live in a violent world as it is, so I’m here to argue that non-violence and unity is the best way to protest the corruption of government, people, and institutions. As Gandhi claimed, I also believe that violence can corrupt us as humans and make us more immoral. The more that we act through violence, the more dangerous we become not only to others, but to ourselves as well. I, and I am sure many others as well, thought for a very long time that acting through violence would be the only way to get any real political change. That what has always been shown to me through movies like The Hunger Games, tv, and in the news. The concepts of riots and uprisings always seemed like the most effective way to rebel since it shows how unhappy and unsatisfied people felt by their government or authority. It was not until high school that I realized that violent protests get much more media coverage because it is more “exciting” and would result in more viewers or more people talking about these instances instead of non-violent protests because non-violent protests are considered “boring.” While I do not believe that we have to adopt poverty, cultivate fearlessness, follow truth, or perform perfect chastity to become a passive resister – I think that if we live more simplistically and worry less about money or material possessions that we have then we can become more humble and would not want to react as violently. I by no means want to spin my own clothes or use candles instead of electricity, but if we do more things for ourself, like wash our own car instead of going through a car wash, then perhaps we can better appreciate the notion of hard work.

In fact, this article from Psychology Today called Violent versus Nonviolent Resolutions states that violent protests end in failure much more than nonviolent protests, and that nonviolent protests have a higher success rate as seen in the image provided by the article below.

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The article also states that nonviolent protests attract more people like women, elders, and those who value safety more – which makes total sense. I know I would feel uncomfortable and unsafe if I was around explosives, fire, tear gas, or police officers armed with shields and batons. As Gandhi also stated, with instances of violence, we are much more likely to cause harm to others than with nonviolence. As a passive resister, the only person we could harm is ourself.

Yet through social media, I am also seeing more awareness and participation in marches and protests like the recent Women’s March, which happened all across the world two months ago. Social media is also a great place to sign petitions to help garner change and makes it easier to spread to others who believe in that cause too.

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So, all in all nonviolence is proven to be a more efficient way protest than violence, which isn’t what I originally thought. And the more we live simply, the less likely we are to react or act violently.

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