Hope for a non-violent people's revolution

Monday July 8, 2013

To the editor of THE EAGLE:

"Why can’t we all just get along?" So said Rodney King on March 3, 1991 after being badly beaten by the authorities in L.A. I wonder why King’s call for mutual acceptance is seemingly as unheeded today as it was when he uttered it 22 years ago? What is wrong with our species?

At least this much is clear. Global society is terribly unequal in terms of the opportunity to live meaningful lives in reasonable comfort, which means having universal access to safe drinking water, adequate food, clothing and shelter, plus access to quality education and health care.

People on the streets in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Brazil, our own land, and in so many other places are expressing their outrage at the inequities and corruption rampant almost anywhere one looks in high places. Perhaps this is a time when from the bottom up, a cry for change will grow and expand, and finally reach a pivotal point where those in control can no longer resist or suppress it. We have never had a global revolution, of the people, by the people and for the people of the world as a whole. It is long overdue.

The strange thing is that even the excessively rich and privileged would find a world in which "we all just get along" a happier and safer one than that which they have now with many living in gated communities or having private guards. Living in harmony, sharing trust and joint aspirations, brings more happiness than extreme wealth. Widely divergent fellow human beings can sing, dance, share stories and humor, plus offer each other mutual assistance. One cannot dance and sing with a yacht, a Rolls or a mansion.

Martin Luther King, Jr. asked for even more with his ideal of the beloved community. He stated "Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives." This "quantitative change in our lives" has much to do with the excessive quantities of goods and services so many of us consume and feel we deserve. Elsewhere, King says "But the end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the beloved community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opposers into friends. It is this type of understanding goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age. It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of men." This has much to do with the "qualitative change in our souls."

In all cases, the pathway to his "beloved community" is one of nonviolent action and one that hopefully the great masses of men and women around the planet are finally beginning to follow. For an example of what can be accomplished by these kinds of means, Gandhi demonstrated with a "hartal," which means having everyone stay home for a day, that the ruling colonial power could be rendered powerless to conduct any business as usual. The best minds of our planet need to come forward with a variety of ways of using nonviolent noncooperation by the people of the world to reject the abuses of the dominating powers.

The highest expression of this mode of resistance to oppression is the use of King’s ideal of transforming love to create a "miracle in the hearts" of the dominating minorities. Perhaps the time of effectively using nonviolent people power on a global scale is finally beginning to grope its way into existence.


Canaan, N.Y.


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