Nonviolent Resistance Cesar Chavez Summary

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Cesar Chavez was a prominent labor leader and civil rights activist of the late 20th century. He published an article in a religious magazine to honor the tenth anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and to help those struggling with oppression. He speaks to civil rights activists, like himself, who hope to better the world through the use of nonviolence, and hopes to garner further support for his belief in nonviolent action through this article. Throughout the passage, Chavez argues for the use of nonviolent resistance by juxtaposing violent and nonviolent action, creating a sense of unity, and utilizing historical examples as a logical appeal to further strengthen his claim that nonviolent resistance is a superior…show more content…
Martin Luther King Jr. in his fight for civil rights, then transitions to compare and contrast between violence and nonviolence. With the use of very explicit sentences, he declares that the use of nonviolence is superior and more powerful than its counterpart. While violence leads to “injuries and perhaps death on both sides” and could end in “total demoralization of the workers,” nonviolence “supports … a just and moral cause” and “is of crucial importance to win any contest.” His portrayal of injury and death as a result of the use of violent tactics combined with the wholesomeness of nonviolence encourages the reader to support Chavez’s claim that nonviolence is a superior form of protest. To gain credibility, Chavez establishes the idea that violence is detrimental to everyone involved, regardless of one’s position on civil rights or whether they are the perpetrator or the victim of this violence. He later on directly states the contrast by arguing that “nonviolence has exactly the opposite effect.” His use of strong words like “support,” “conscience” and “justice” when illustrating the idea of nonviolence promotes the value of every human life and helps to attract support for his cause by depicting why it is correct and effective. This moral appeal to the reader helps establish nonviolence as a humane method of effecting long-lasting change in the…show more content…
This tactic allows Chavez to gain credibility, which strengthens his overall argument that peaceful protest is key to truly changing the world. He continues to portray nonviolence in a favorable light by using Mahatma Gandhi as a prevalent historical example. Gandhi is a famous advocate for nonviolent protest, as he successfully gained India’s independence from Britain in the 1940s. With the use of Gandhi’s example, Chavez proves that nonviolent tactics can be truly effective in bringing forth change, and can even suppress the violence to create peace. Directly following this example however, Chavez illustrates the detrimental effects that a violent conflict has on a community. He argues that the poor and the workers are killed and the helpless will suffer. Those who utilize violence to achieve change “exploit people,” and “to ask [people] to give up their lives for a cause and then not produce for them afterwards, is the most vicious type of oppression.” His solemn tone throughout this example allows the reader to truly understand that a violent strategy affects everyone involved, not just the victims. These examples supply Chavez’s argument with more support and help prove to the reader that the use of nonviolence is more effective
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