AUDIO: Amid Gaza protests and sharp rhetoric, a conversation about nonviolence

A discussion with journalist Eric Stoner about protest movements, nonviolent strategy and tactics, and the present moment.

AUDIO: Amid Gaza protests and sharp rhetoric, a conversation about nonviolence

Amid brutal wars in Gaza, Ukraine, and Sudan, and violence and instability in western Africa, Myanmar, and elsewhere, it seems like a good time to talk about nonviolence.

It’s an interesting and opportune time to explore this subject: The protests calling for a ceasefire in Gaza have raised issues and created complexities in our discourse about the Middle East, antisemitism, war and violence, and justice and human rights.

That’s certainly been true in the Berkshires, as nonviolent rallies held here in the days after the Hamas terrorist attack, and since, have sometimes used rhetoric cheering that violence as an acceptable response to the plight of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

That’s alarmed many and confused others: How can nonviolent antiwar campaigns coexist with rhetoric like that? Are those statements outliers, highlighted in mainstream media reports, but not at all central to the broad movement for a Gaza ceasefire? And how have things like the student protest encampments impacted the Biden Administration’s approach to the brutal conflict, which has now killed tens of thousands and injured perhaps 100,000, including many children?

All of this comes amidst rising acceptance of political violence here in the United States. Polling over the last several years shows a steady rise the number of Americans who believe violence is an acceptable means to achieving domestic political goals. That includes twelve percent of Democrats and twenty-eight percent of Republicans, whose response to the flames of divisiveness fanned by our current politics is to believe that violence may be necessary after the presidential election this November. Indeed, nearly two-thirds of Americans now expect violence to follow the election.

To discuss all of this, last month Berkshire Argus Editor Bill Shein spoke with Eric Stoner, an activist, writer, and journalist who is co-founder and editor of Waging Nonviolence, a nonprofit news website that has, for a decade and a half, provided original news reporting and analysis of nonviolent social movements around the world.

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