Comfortability in Protest

Seattle Pigeon
The following is an excerpt of a rough draft of an article that I am working on about creative nonviolence and hostile protest behavior:

Belligerent sloganeering and hostile speech make me feel uncomfortable. If the goal is a mass movement – a peoples’ movement – a grass roots movement, then there will need to be masses of people. But it will be hard to amass the necessary number of individuals if people feel uncomfortable in the protest environment. Instead of shouting abrasive slogans it would be more effective to demonstrate an attitude of understanding. We have the ability to create a more comfortable environment for protest. We can create a welcoming atmosphere. How can we be most effective? By having a critical mass of people in the streets. By having people who are committed and willing to participate in life-serving acts of creative nonviolence. How can we find this critical mass? We can promote the formation of a critical mass by developing a comfortable, welcoming, and fun environment. Creating a comfortable and respectful protest environment truly embraces a diversity of tactics. More people will be likely to bring their children, for example, or participate in actions of sacrifice or nonviolent physical obstruction, like roadblocks, if there is a peaceful environment. Shouting profanities, vulgarities and slurs works counter to the creation of a peaceful environment.


  1. Couldn't agree with you more. You are an excellent writer.
    Did you see the report of the weekly demonstration somewhere in the east (CT, DE?) where the group silently stands holding a rope to which is attached streamers inscribed with the names of the war dead?
    I'm trying to get my book club group interested in doing it here.

    Where was the pigeon perched on post pix taken?

  2. I hadn't heard about the silent witness vigil with the rope and the streamers of war dead.

    Pigeon on post was from Seattle near the Pike Place Market.


Aldo Leopold: "We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect."

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