Is Non Violence an Effective Form of Protest? Why or Why Not?
Non-violence is a very effective form of protest because people can get the rights and authority that they fight for from the hostile class, government or country without sanguinary wars. Non-violence is a philosophy and strategy for social change that rejects the use of violence. In history, there are several successful revolutions that show this form of revolt is absolutely efficacious. First of all, non-violent protest is effective because it either allows the protesters greater control of their message, and even if meet with violent suppress from government, it still lowers the authority of the state. For example, in Indian Non Cooperation Movement led by Gandhi in 1920’s, it included surrender of titles, resignation from nominated seats in local government bodies, boycott of government educational institutions, law courts and foreign goods. In addition, from March 1930 to April 1934, Gandhi also called the Indian people to process the Civil Disobedience Movement, which was known as Salt Satyagraha. Through these decades-long nonviolent struggles, India won its independence in from the British Empire.
On the other hand, non-violent protesters usually focus on the media to state their call, which means acting in self-defense, but some times they lose control of non-violence fight theme. In such situations the government can claim to be protecting law and order. Then the state can easily use the threat of violent demonstration as a tool against the protesters. Like among the Non Cooperation Movement, over 2000 Indian arrested because they lost their control and burned police office with 22 policemen. More over, even if Salt Law was broken in 1931 through Salt Satyagraha, Gandhi was arrested along his followers.
And also, non-violent protest puts the protester on a higher moral level and may give the society to overlook the underlying causes of unrest and merely wish for law and order. No matter how just the cause, a society generally prefers slow harmonious change over bloody violence in the streets. Unlike an ordinary law breaker, the non-violent protester is also at the same time showing his commitment to the overall harmony of the society. But this strongly requires that any authority reveal its own dedication to harmony by showing a certain respect or in fact as moral as protesters. Non-violent protest is effective at not only having the message heard but actually listened to by the greater society. If met with violence, it shows a society that the society has much deeper problems than the cause of a particular protest.