King and Gandhi: two names that have come to be synonymous with nonviolence.
And yet, the movements they led responded to and, in some cases with, significant
violence. In a recent paper (2016), August H. Nimtz analyzes the role of violence in
the movement of Dr. King, concluding that violence played a significant role in the
success of the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Using Nimtz’s work as a
starting point, this paper analyzes King’s movement and views, comparing
definitions of “principled nonviolence” versus “pragmatic nonviolence.” From
there, this paper analyzes the role of violence in the struggle for Indian independence
from British colonialism and Gandhi’s own views on when, if ever, violence is
appropriate. This paper concludes that, indeed, violence—that of sanctioned, state-
sponsored violence and that of non-sanctioned actors—has had significant roles in
both of these movements. In what way, then, could these movements be said to be
nonviolent? Finally, this paper asks why there remains such an impetus to identify
these movements, and their leaders, with “principled nonviolence.”
"The Violence of Nonviolence: Contextualizing the Movements of King and Gandhi,"
NEXT: Vol. 5
, Article 5.
Available at: https://scholar.colorado.edu/next/vol5/iss1/5