Special Edition #9 Is Nonviolent Protest Effective in Pursuing Political Ends?

In the recent period, we have seen people taking to the streets in large numbers to protest police brutality and racial injustice. As a nation born in rebellion against unjust authority, and having codified the right to same in our First Amendment, there is a long history of such protest. Some of it is the stuff of legend as we recall the 1963 March on Washington, highlighted by Martin Luther King, Jr’s,. ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. What followed was new civil rights legislation and the biggest push toward racial equality in a century. Not all nonviolent protest is that successful. Depending up the leadership, messaging and objectives, such passion and desire can result in concrete actions or can be symbolic and yield few results. In the compendium of thought that Michael Long edited on the subject of nonviolent protest in the United States, ‘We the Resistance’, we learn much about the ways so many have used this approach to social action and change. The writings are powerful and revealing, as is this conversation with a man who can look at these movements and see if they have the makings of a special moment or a true movement.