"For me, the most important lesson
[of the Freedom Movement] is that by respecting the fact that fellow activists could passionately disagree over strategy and tactics—yet remain allies—they strengthened SNCC and the Movement as a whole."
From Bruce Hartford's article in the current issue of Urban Habitat.
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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Peace/Civil Rights Veterans speak out on Occupy Wall Street

thanks Lucille!!!  for sending this to me!!
James Lawson: "movements must be intergenerational!"

thanks Wade!!! for sending this to me!!!

by Paul K. Chappell
October 31, 2011
Paul ChappellI graduated from West Point in 2002, served in the army for seven years, and was deployed to Baghdad in 2006. I left active duty in 2009 as a captain, and I am currently serving as the Peace Leadership Director for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, where I work to empower people with the skills and ideals that allow us to effectively wage peace.

If we compare how much the average twenty-two-year-old army officer knows about waging war and how much the average twenty-two-year-old activist knows about waging peace, there is a big difference. Although I admire their deep commitment to waging peace, many activists have not had enough training in the nonviolent methods that lead to positive change. Many activists have not thoroughly studied the brilliant techniques of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Susan B. Anthony, and other peace warriors.

Good intentions are simply not enough. If they were enough, then war, injustice, and oppression would have ended many years ago. To solve our national and global problems, we need more than just good intentions. We must also be disciplined, strategic, and well trained. Civil Rights leader James Lawson, whom Martin Luther King Jr. called “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world,” said, “The difficulty with nonviolent people and efforts is that they don’t recognize the necessity of fierce discipline and training, and strategizing, and planning, and recruiting.”    READ MORE

[In 1959, King sent Lawson to Nashville, TN, where Lawson trained students from the four black colleges there in the history, philosophy, strategy and discipline of nonviolent direct action.  These students -- among whom became the leaders of the Southern Freedom Movement such as Diane Nash, John Lewis, Bernard Lafayette -- formed the critical leadership of the Nashville Movement.  The Nashville sit-ins have been captured in a 30 minute documentary called, appropriately enough, WHEN WE WERE WARRIORS.

1 comment:

Arturo Rodriguez said...

Occupy Wall Street and its immense popularity created international attention of a national outcry in the United States that has not been witnessed in decades. Many compare the protests to the 1960 civil rights movements. The Council of Elders were excited when they became aware of movement, however the Council should recognize the movement is not following the same path as social movements like the Freedom Summer movement. The most decisive difference is the training and skills of direct nonviolence. Although many instances of peaceful protesters being abused among the OWS has been documented, there are also many instances of the OWS' antagonizing the police. Paul Chappell's article discusses the longevity of the OWS protest is contingent on strategies used by nonviolence theorist like James Lawson. The movement can survive if OWS uses discipline and training exemplified in the Freedom Summer movement.