Intellectual Self Defence

Brains are delicate things…

Pacifism versus Non-violent Direct Action

“There’s a tremendous misconception, particularly in the US, that nonviolent action is about somehow trying to educate or convert those in power. It’s not. That’s pacifism, not non-violent action. I mean, does anybody really think the owners of the bus company in Montgomery, Alabama had a sudden epiphany? “We’ve been so terrible to Black people, oh my god, segregation must end!” Of course not. The boycott brought them to their knees. There may or may not have been individuals whose consciences were awakened, but that wasn’t the point. People withheld their economic power until the institution – in this case the bus company – caved in.

“I think this is so important because the main divide isn’t between violence and non-violence. It’s between action and inaction.”

I am pretty sure this is from Gene Sharp’s book The Politics of Nonviolent Action


2 comments on “Pacifism versus Non-violent Direct Action

  1. Pingback: New pages and icons | Intellectual Self Defence

  2. Roberto Souza
    April 2, 2013

    Very good short post!
    Please see my blog at:

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