|Cartoon satirizing the outstanding effectiveness of the
Black Economic Boycott, a potent weapon mysteriously
abandoned by the struggling Black community.
Cynthia He - Do you think nonviolent resistance is an effective form of protest?
Muhammad Rasheed - Based on how the nonviolent protest model is being used today, it forces me to read into the question the assumption that the OP is specifically referring to the ‘pacifist’ aspect of the resistance form. Other than the national (or even international) attention on the cause and the making fun of your political foes on Twitter, there has to be some kind of “sting” involved that will pressure the opponent to take your demands seriously in a timely manner, otherwise the protest effort will be impotent.
For example, within anti-racism activism, the pacifist stance all by itself means nothing at all against a bullying, murderous foe who gleefully hung Black people from trees as “peculiar fruit” for over a century as the originator of the modern era’s domestic terrorism. A stoic-faced pacifist protest that was 100% all words with no bite would do nothing but encourage more sadistic, hate-fueled violence against the protesters. Fortunately, the early Civil Rights Movement DID have that bite to go along with their commitment to nonviolence, and it was very effective at that. Two communities in Alabama used the power of the Black Economic Boycott to force their enemies to cave to their demands:
- Bus Boycott | Montgomery, Alabama (05 Dec 1955 - 20 Dec 1956)
- Voting Rights Boycott | Tuskegee, Alabama (25 Jun 1957 - 17 Feb 1961)
This is the lesson in how to conduct a successful nonviolent resistance movement — make sure the compromised ‘crony capitalist’ political leaders you hope to influence receive the sting where they fear it the most.