Martin Luther King Nonviolent Resistance

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Throughout the history of mankind, power has always been exercised on people as a way to suppress civil disobedience. Most of the time, resistance was and is still being produced as a backlash to the exercise of power. Foucault stated that: “Where there is power, there is resistance.” (1998:95) People have used different kinds of resistance to meet brutality such as acquiescence, physical violence and nonviolent resistance as stated by Martin Luther King in his article named “Three Ways of Meeting Oppression“. Our analysis will be mostly based on the justifications of M. L. King in using nonviolence rather than acquiescence or violence along with the examination of some failed cases of nonviolent resistance when the opponent was…show more content…
He was the great leader of African-American Civil Rights Movement and the famous inspirational speaker of the “I have a dream” speech. African-Americans were being denigrated and treated as slaves for centuries by the state and most parts of the society. King became the voice of all “Negro slaves” in the U.S. by organizing nonviolent resistance movements and by giving influential speeches which would eventually awaken the sleeping portion of the society, including a huge mass of white people. His famous “I have a dream” speech is one of the main turning points in African-American Civil Rights since it was so influential and effective that after the speech, the citizens of the nation began to put growing pressure on the presidential administration of John F. Kennedy, encouraging the president to push for civil rights laws to pass through Congress and become recognized on a national level. ("What Did Martin Luther King Do to Progress the Civil Rights Movement?," n.d.) In his article named “Three Ways of Meeting Oppression”, Luther King mentions acquiescence, violence and nonviolence as characteristic ways to resist the oppressors where he clearly favors the last one. Acquiescence, according to King, means to take the easy way out by not resisting the oppressors. People bow to the inevitable and they accept their…show more content…
One example of that is The White Rose Resistance which was carried by a group of students and a professor who distributed leaflets undermining the Nazi regime. In a short period of time, the movement was suppressed by the regime, all group members were arrested and executed. Another example of nonviolent resistance which failed is Tiananmen Square Resistance in China. The protesters pursued a policy of peaceful demonstrations and marches against the authoritarian regime. After seven weeks of marching, The People 's Liberation Army of China opened fire on the protesters. The exact death toll of the massacre is still unknown; estimates range from 200 and 10,000. (Oliver Noble, 2011) In conclusion, “Three Ways of Meeting Oppression” by Luther King is crucial in understanding the ways people use to resist the opponents, whereas failed nonviolent movements such as The White Rose and Tiananmen Square clarify that most of the nonviolent resistance protests end up badly when the opponent is merciless. Michael Stratford draws a line in the sand by stating that: “Although nonviolent resistance to Nazi occupation produces some limited achievements, there is little to indicate that these occupations could have been ended by nonviolent means alone, or mainly by nonviolent means.” (1987,
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