Occupy Movement

The Nonviolent Shift

by Ken Butigan

gandhi street art then you win

“Then you Win”; Occupy graffiti;
Artist unknown; posted on

For some time I have been increasingly convinced that, in spite of the horrific systems of violence and injustice that grind away, we are in the midst of a long-term “nonviolent shift.” By this I don’t mean we will create a utopia where conflict, violence, and injustice cease to exist. Interpersonal and structural violence — reinforced by a deeply rooted violence belief system — are grim realities that humanity will long have to face. The nonviolent shift, rather than portending an ideal society, here signifies a world where people are increasingly equipped with the tools to challenge, transform, and heal violence and injustice in a more powerful, creative, and effective way.

The Egyptian revolution, which began just over a year ago, was dedicated to ending a thirty-year dictatorship and sparking a long-term process of transformation within the country. But like many other powerful movements, it has also had unintended world-historical consequence that have helped to boost the momentum of this shift.

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“When planted in the garden, the mustard seed, smallest of all the seeds, became a large tree, and birds came and made their home there.” Luke 13:19

“For me whatever is in the atoms and molecules is in the universe. I believe in the saying that what is in the microcosm of one’s self is reflected in the macrocosm.” M. Gandhi