On Martin Luther King Day, I was thinking about how some protest groups in Salt Lake City are currently using words like “direct action, civil disobedience and protest” to describe their activities.
Some of these people who are protesting the inland port and homelessness are nothing but cop-haters masquerading as protesters and concerned citizens. For example, calling the police vile names such as “Nazis” and chanting “f--k the police” is counterproductive and inappropriate. Yelling to the police to say how much you hate them and trying to provoke officers is not peaceful protest.
I recently made a comment on social media about their attitude and behavior. The response I got was: “We do indeed hate cops. This is an apt description of our foundational principles.”
Martin Luther King would not approve of these tactics. This is not using the principle of nonviolence, and it creates an environment that is unsafe for the officers. It also gives protesters a bad name and it accomplishes nothing.
The six principles of nonviolence taught by King are:
1. Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people. It is active nonviolent resistance to evil.
2. Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding. The end result of nonviolence is redemption and reconciliation.
3. Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice, not people. Nonviolence recognizes that evildoers are also victims.
4. Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform. Nonviolence willingly accepts the consequences to its acts.
5. Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate. Nonviolence resists violence to the spirit as well as the body. Nonviolence love is active, not passive. Nonviolence love does not sink to the level of the hater. Love restores community and resists injustice. Nonviolence recognizes the fact that all life is interrelated.
6. Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice. The nonviolent resister has deep faith that justice will eventually win.
(From The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change)
I feel the leaders of these groups need training in nonviolence and if they really want to help make positive and practical changes, they should be willing to learn the methods and mindset of King, Bayard Rustin, John Lewis and others who led the civil rights movement.
Delphi Alvarado, Midvale