James Lawson, Veteran of hope

James Lawson, a minister, and friend and colleague of Martin Luther King on the meaning of nonviolence.

The fundamental difference [between violence and nonviolence] is, of course, that violence imposes so much pain upon the opponent that the opponent calls “uncle” and yields. Then that gives you the power to reorganize things according to your victory. The nonviolent approach is that we will not pour pain out upon our opponent. Instead we will absorb the suffering that the opponent does or gives or pours out. The opponent, therefore, has to go through some changes, and in those changes there is no victory or defeat, there is a win for everybody.

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