Each and everyone of you who has taken to the streets, who has marched, who has been arrested deserves to feel the pride of the free and the love of your fellow citizens. You are brave and you are a role model for all of us.
The current uprising is a thing of beauty, it is a drink of water for a thirsty population. As this movement makes its first wobbly steps and begins what will be a long journey down that path of freedom and justice, I want to remind all of us of the importance and the power of nonviolent direct action. It has been a long time since the people fought in this way and those with direct memories of enduring police violence with dignity are elders among us now. Respected elders with much to teach us about endurance, about commitment, and about turning the other cheek in the face of the club.
Nonviolent direct action is the only effective tactic of the people. It is rooted in a place of spiritual and moral strength that dwells within the souls of all free people. It is a demonstration of that strength and a demonstration of our unity. We are blessed to have a strong history of the practice of nonviolence in our society, though it has been suppressed and excised from our schools. The writings and speeches of our great nonviolent activists have been sanitized so that they would hardly recognize themselves reflected in the school books of today. They have been sanitized to protect the existing order, to lead people astray and to hide in plain sight the true revolutionary battle that has always existed in this country.
Nonviolence gives us power. It gives us the power to force the corporate state to show itself, to show its true nature as an oppressor of human liberty and a destroyer of justice. There can be no more powerful sight on the news, on the internet, and flowing through social media than the sight of our young people, young people peacefully exercising the rights of citizenship, being attacked by the agents of the state in service of their corporate lords. The can be no more powerful sight than the sight of a peaceful demonstrator weeping at the threshold of the bank that foreclosed on his mother while the police arrest him. There can be no more powerful sight than that of a peaceful young woman brutally attacked by an officer with mace.
Nonviolence gives us power. It gives us the power to practice love, to practice the kind of love Martin Luther King spoke about, agape. King wrote, “Agape is understanding, creative, redemptive good will for all men.” Our power derives from love. Our power derives from the oneness that all beings tuned in know underlies this world. We are one. Our fates are united and we cannot stand alone no matter our desires. We are one. Our hearts are connected together as part of one enormous tapestry of being. A tapestry that is damaged and frayed and in need of loving care to restore to a state of rightness.
Nonviolence gives us power. It gives us the power to resist tyranny while keeping our own souls and our own hands clean and pure. We are on the side of justice and we are on the side of right. That is the source of our power. To harm another, to attack instead of love, is to undermine ourselves. Nonviolence allows forgiveness of those who have transgressed against us. It allows those who have gone astray to be welcomed back with open arms. It allows a healing of the social fabric that makes up the great tapestry of being.
Our power derives from love. And nonviolent resistance is always an act of love. An act of love for our fellow countrymen and women. An act of love for our great nation and all the nations of the world. An act of love for creation and all beings within it.
Nonviolence is an act of redemption, it is an act of purification for a people who have allowed our government and our system of commerce to rain down terror on this Earth and her people. Nonviolence on the part of citizens of this empire is an act of power and righteousness on behalf of the helpless, of the oppressed, of those who have suffered that the wealthy among us might sate their unquenchable greed.
Our brothers and sisters in New York have modeled nonviolence beautifully. It is hard to maintain nonviolence in the face of police aggression, it is hard to maintain dignity when mace is sprayed . But they have persevered for ten days now. I stand in solidarity with them.
The time has come to bring the great wheel, the great machine, of modern life to a halt. The time has come to use our bodies, our minds, and our souls to remake the world for our future and for our children’s future.
We must stand fast and bravely at this time. Others will join us. Every wise American knows in their hearts that we have gone mad as a culture, as a people. Every serious American knows the time has come to stand up for what is right. Americans are rediscovering now, slowly, haltingly, the tools we dropped in previous generation. We will learn to use those tools and we will mold them for the current era. The revolution is here. The American giant has been awakened and we will not rest until justice is restored.