A Philosophical Introduction
We see nonviolent resistance all over today’s world, from Egypt’s Tahrir Square to New York Occupy. Although we think of the last century as one marked by wars and violent conflict, in fact it was just as much a century of nonviolence as the achievements of Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. and peaceful protests like the one that removed Ferdinand Marcos from the Philippines clearly demonstrate. But what is nonviolence? What makes a campaign a nonviolent one, and how does it work? What values does it incorporate?
In this unique study, Todd May, a philosopher who has himself participated in campaigns of nonviolent resistance, offers the first extended philosophical reflection on the particular and compelling political phenomenon of nonviolence. Drawing on both historical and contemporary examples, he examines the concept and objectives of nonviolence, and considers the different dynamics of nonviolence, from moral jiu-jitsu to nonviolent coercion. May goes on to explore the values that infuse nonviolent activity, especially the respect for dignity and the presupposition of equality, before taking a close-up look at the role of nonviolence in today’s world.
Students of politics, peace studies, and philosophy, political activists, and those interested in the shape of current politics will find this book an invaluable source for understanding one of the most prevalent, but least reflected upon, political approaches of our world.