1948-01-30

Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in New Delhi, India by a Hindu religious extremist. Gandhi had ended British rule in India through nonviolent resistance. “Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our very being,” he stated in 1926. His teachings were used during many of the Gay demonstrations of the 60s and 70s and were a major influence on Martin Luther King, through his Gay cohort and fellow organizer, Bayard Rustin, who studied with Gandhi and brought the idea of satyagraha (a synthesis of the Sanskrit words Satya (meaning “truth”) and Agraha (“insistence”, or “holding firmly to”) back to the American civil rights movement

Today, the Gay Christian group Soulforce continues the use of Gandhi’s non-violence practices in its demonstrations against Christian churches that discriminate against GLBT people. Advocates of nonviolence believe cooperation and consent are the roots of political power: all regimes, including bureaucratic institutions, financial institutions, and the armed segments of society (such as the military and police); depend on compliance from citizens.

On a national level, the strategy of nonviolence seeks to undermine the power of rulers by encouraging people to withdraw their consent and cooperation. The forms of nonviolence draw inspiration from both religious or ethical beliefs and political analysis. Religious or ethically based nonviolence is sometimes referred to as principled philosophical or ethical nonviolence, while nonviolence based on political analysis is often referred to as tactical, strategic, or pragmatic nonviolence.

Commonly, both of these dimensions may be present within the thinking of particular movements or individuals.