Strategic Nonviolence

Strategic nonviolence refers to the kind of commitment that regards nonviolence as a strategy, to be adopted because it is thought to be more likely to “work” than violence (see “work” vs. work) or because violence is not a practical possibility.  Strategic nonviolence, for example, still presupposes that the means can justify the ends, whereas for Gandhi, “Means are ends in the making.”  Those adopting nonviolence in this way often reserve the right to go back to violence if they do not meet with success, and some theorists believe this limits their effectiveness.   Strategic nonviolence is a better choice and requires more courage than violence.  It can cause problems, however, if people think that this is the only form of nonviolence.  Then if it does not “work” they are left only with the recourses of violence or submission.  Principled nonviolence is not only more effective in the short term but can move humanity toward a new paradigm of nonviolence.