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Writings of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King

Writings of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King
(Coordinator Comment)

In his leadership of the great national liberation struggle of India against British imperialism, Mahatma Gandhi established the methodology of nonviolence, which is essential to a culture of peace. To Gandhi, there must be no enemy - only an adversary or opponent who has not yet been convinced of the truth.

Fundamental to his philosophy was the distinction between man and his deed. As he says in under Ahimsa and Search for Truth, page 86 in his autobiography, "Whereas a good deed should call forth approbation and a wicked deed disapprobation, the doer of the deed, whether good or wicked, always deserves respect or pity as the case may be. 'Hate the sin and not the sinner' ... It is quite proper to resist and attack a system, but to resist and attack its author is tantamount to resisting and attacking oneself. For we are all tarred with the same brush, and are children of one and the same Creator."

As he described in 1920 before a court of law in India, he called his methodology Satyagraha: "The term 'Satyagraha' was coined by me in South Africa ... Its root meaning is holding on to truth, hence truth-force. I have also called it love-force or soul-force. In the application of Satyagraha, I discovered in the earliest stages that pursuit of truth did not admit of violence being inflicted on one's opponent but that he must be weaned from error by patience and sympathy. For what appears to be truth to the one may appear to be error to the other. And patience means self-suffering. So the doctrine came to mean vindication of truth, not by infliction of suffering on the opponent, but on one's own self.

In his speech on receiving the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, Martin Luther King Jr recognized that the prize was made as a response to violence: "I am mindful that only yesterday in Birmingham, Alabama, our children, crying out for brotherhood, were answered with fire hoses, snarling dogs and even death. I am mindful that only yesterday in Philadelphia, Mississippi, young people seeing to secure the right to vote were brutalized and murdered. And only yesterday more than 40 houses of worship in the State of Mississippi alone were bombed or burned because they offered a sanctuary to those who would not accept segregation."

"After contemplation, I conclude that this award which I receive on behalf of that movement is profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time -- the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression."

In his speech, King refers to the understanding of nonviolence as it has been developed by the struggles in India by Gandhi, in South Africa and in the United States: "Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love."

The message of Gandhi and King is essential for revolution in the 21st Century. New methods must be developed to defend the revolution against the violence of the inevitable attacks by the capitalist culture of war without falling into the trap of the socialist culture of war. Gandhi and King have shown that this is possible through nonviolent means.

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game administrator Jun. 13 2019,18:22
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