The prevailing perception is that power is achieved by those with the most expendable resources or those who utilize violence to attain their goals. On the surface, this appears to be true; however, it is possible for the average person to initiate change through the implementation of nonviolent action. Nonviolent action has the balance to upset the balance of power and eventually can change the world.
Merriman applies a pragmatic view toward nonviolent action by addressing it as “a distinct phenomenon, separate from any moral or ethical underpinnings” to gain an advantage in a conflict. Nonviolent action may be as simple as an alteration of “loyalties, behavior, and obedience,” has the ability to implement changes within society as well as throughout the world. Nonviolent action is accomplished through acts of commission, acts of omission, or a combination of the two. Merriman has determined that the two primary reasons many individuals resist using nonviolent action to implement change. These are the underlying belief that the established rules must be followed and a lack of confidence that their actions can help promote and achieve change. This is easily negated by the examples of effective nonviolent action as demonstrated by acts such as the Civil Rights Movement and the Indian Independence Movement (2008).
While nonviolent action relies on “hard work, creativity, and skillful political analysis,” it requires an “inclusive vision that unites people, sound strategic planning, effective public communications, and the identification of appropriate methods for the situation” in order to be successful, according to Merriman (2008). The actions applied must be suitable for the location and situation.
Nonviolent action can take form through a wide variety of methods and the method adopted is inconsequential. The ultimate goal to be achieved is removing the power from the rich and the bullies and returning it where it belongs – with the average person.
Merriman, H. (2008). Ways of making change: Agents of change and Nonviolent Action.