A Space to Examine the Effectiveness of Nonviolence

“The right tools for solving disputes within our community are precision instruments such as reason, communication, empathy, curiosity, and understanding. They are also the right tools for building a global civilization of peace and prosperity.”

— Paul K. Chappell

Nonviolence comes at a price as does war. Lives may be lost, and many years may pass before nonviolent strategies produce their desired results. But the belief that war solves problems is not supported by science. For example, research by Maria Stephan and Erica Chenoweth has found that nonviolent resistance is twice as likely as violent resistance to achieve peace and social change.

The movements listed below helped bring equity and justice to greater numbers of people. Although they may have been accompanied or interrupted by violence, these movements are generally considered successful examples of nonviolent efforts to promote social change. 

·      Women’s Rights Movement, USA, 1848-1920

·      Gay Rights Movement, International, 1897-present

·      Anti-Apartheid Movement, South Africa, 1912-1992

·      Independence Movement, India, 1885-1947

·      Danish Resistance Movement, Denmark, 1940-1945

·      Civil Rights Movement, USA, 1909-1968

·      Anti-War Movement, USA, 1964-1973

·      Solidarity Movement, Poland, 1980-1989

·      Fall of the Berlin Wall and Reunification of Germany, 1988-1990


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