18 June 2009

Six Principles of Nonviolence from MLK

Here are six principles of nonviolence, as espoused by the great Martin Luther King Jr.. I found these principles on the New Mexico Martin Luther King Jr. State Commission website via a link from the National Fellowship of Reconciliation Blog, forpeace.net. :


PRINCIPLE ONE: Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.

It is active nonviolent resistance to evil.
It is aggressive spirituality, mentally, and emotionally.
It is always persuading the opponent of the righteousness of your cause.
It is only passive in it’s non-aggression towards its enemy.

PRINCIPLE TWO: Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.

The end result of nonviolence is redemption and reconciliation.
The purpose of nonviolence is the creation of the Beloved Community.

PRINCIPLE THREE: Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people.

Nonviolence recognized that evil doers are also victims, and are not evil people.
The nonviolent resister seeks to defeat evil, not people.

PRINCIPLE FOUR: Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform.

Nonviolence accepts suffering without retaliation.
Nonviolence accepts violence if necessary, but will never inflict it.
Nonviolence willingly accepts the consequences of its acts.
Unearned suffering is redemptive, and has tremendous educational and transforming possibilities.
Suffering has the power to convert the enemy when reason fails.

PRINCIPLE FIVE: Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate.

Nonviolence resists violence of the spirit, as well as of the body.
Nonviolent love is spontaneous, unmotivated, unselfish and creative.
Nonviolent love gives willingly, knowing that the return might be hostility.
Nonviolent love is active, not passive.
Nonviolent love is un-ending in its ability to forgive - in order to restore community.
Nonviolent love does not sink to the level of the hater.
Love for the enemy is how we demonstrate love for ourselves.
Love restores community and resists injustice.
Nonviolence recognizes the fact that all life is interrelated.

PRINCIPLE SIX: Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice.

The Nonviolent resister had deep faith that justice will eventually win.
Nonviolence believes that God is a God of justice.

link to original: http://www.nmmlksc.com/sixprinciples.html

The one part of this that jumps out at me is the use of the word 'aggressive' in the first principle. I would prefer using the word assertive. Nonviolence is having an assertive spirituality, emotionality, and mentality.


  1. Six important thinks to remember. Thanks.

  2. Rule Seven: All of these can be ignored if you have been declared a "Palestinian".