The recent first anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration got me thinking about nonviolent activism and police.
My thoughts brought me back to 2011. Occupy Wall Street was a nonviolent movement, but when we started collaborating with other movements and activist groups, we quickly learned that one definition of nonviolence rarely matched another.
It seems simple on the surface: nonviolence means not physically attacking another person. Beyond that, things quickly break down. Is swearing at another person a form of verbal violence? Does a nonviolent person run from the police or does “nonviolent civil disobedience” mean staying to face the charges for whatever laws you might have broken? Is destruction of property also a form of violence, or is it another type of action which should be evaluated separately?