Satyagraha Fundamentals

I’ve read and written about the part of the iceberg underwater (self-purification) and the part above water (constructive program) from “The Gandhian Iceberg” by Chris Moore-Backman.

Now I am reading about the tip of the iceberg, nonviolent resistance or satyagraha.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s six-part definition of nonviolent resistance:

  1. is active and courageous, not passive and cowardly;
  2. seeks reconciliation, not victory over;
  3. distinguishes injustice from persons behaving unjustly;
  4. requires the willingness to suffer without retaliating;
  5. rejects physical and spiritual violence (hate, ill-will, humiliation, deceit, etc.); and
  6. is rooted in the conviction that the universe is on the side of justice and truth.

“Arguable, the most definitive feature above is number four, which Gandhi put concisely: ‘The immovable force of satyagraha–suffering without retaliation.’  There are two principal reasons for this core commitment.  First, Gandhi’s strict belief in the unity of means and ends precluded any form of violence, as violence would invariably breed further violence and would in turn disrupt progress in the direction of restored dignity and community.  Second, the satyagrahi’s voluntary nonviolent submission to suffering, if endured for a truthful cause, represented a potent means of conversion of the opponent and for bystanders.  If we’re courageous enough to go there, it’s plain to see that this is a paradigm-busting axiom–‘suffering without retaliation’–when taken to its outermost logical end, fully explains why Gandhi said that with satyagraha ‘the bravery consists in dying, not killing.'”

This brings to mind the recent courageous work of those at Standing Rock, and their months of suffering many different, extreme forms of violence against them by law enforcement.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-QGkYNc0Ls

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