Gandhi and King: The Power of Nonviolent Resistance

By Michael J. Nojeim | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
Kingian Principles
of Nonviolence

If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must be-
come ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties
must transcend our race, our tribe, our class and our na-
tion; and this means we must develop a world perspec-
tive.… We are all caught in an inescapable network of
mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny.… If we
are to have peace in the world, men and nations must
embrace the nonviolent affirmation that ends and means
must cohere.

—Martin Luther King, Jr., Christmas
Eve speech, 1967

Nonviolence was not a way of life for King exactly the way it was for Gandhi. King's philosophical commitment to nonviolence did not extend to vegetarianism. King confessed to a weakness for barbecue. Additionally, although he made several attempts, King did not conduct fasts as a method of political resistance to the same extent that Gandhi did. More important, King's brand of nonviolence did not mimic Gandhi's insofar as Gandhi designed his nonviolent resistance to turn the Indian masses entirely against the British government to end British rule in India. King, by contrast, advocated use of nonviolent tactics to win rights for blacks and not to undermine the American government (Bennett 1984, 36).

Nevertheless, both King and Gandhi shared an unswerving belief that using nonviolent means to resolve social and political

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