from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nonviolence or nonviolence is a principle that rejects violence and seeks to overcome it.

Terminologically, a distinction is occasionally made between non-violent (situational renunciation of violence) and non-violent (principled renunciation of violence). The term “non-violent” was first used by Nikolaus Koch in 1951 (see below), but only spread through the publications of the political scientist Theodor Ebert in the late 1960s / early 1970s.

Gene Sharp distinguishes 198 methods of procedure. Nonviolence follows the belief that violence or the threat of it cannot solve problems, and cannot eliminate injustice and oppression . Nonviolence is not defenselessness , passivity and inaction . Conflicts should not be avoided, but rather regulated through non-violent resistance . An essential element of nonviolence education is also learning methods of conflict management, e.g. B. Nonviolent Action .


Non-violence was already called for by some ancient religious founders, for example by Siddhartha Gautama , Mahavira and Jesus of Nazareth . In modern times, the Indian Mahatma Gandhi is considered the “apostle of non-violence” and a pacifist par excellence. For Gandhi, however, the concept of non-violence had a different meaning than it is understood today in relation to Gandhi. He was concerned with the principle of Satyagraha , translatable with the term “ power of goodness ”, i.e. H. Holding on to the power of truth and love. Each individual could possess and use this power. Gandhi's idea is: “Everyone, regardless of what any other person does, should begin to be good; then the goodness of one is reflected back in the other. "

He justifies the following:

“The basic meaning of nonviolence is adherence to the truth, power of truth ( satyagraha ). […] When using nonviolence I discovered very early that the search for truth does not allow violence to be done to one's opponent. Rather, he must be dissuaded from his error through patience and compassion. "

The term ahimsa , which comes from the Upanishads and was taken up by Gandhi, is often used in this context . Ahimsa is more than just nonviolent resistance or nonviolent action. Ahimsa denotes an attitude towards life and mind that basically avoids damage and harm to all kinds of living beings. According to Gandhi, this also includes negative thoughts, lies , hatred and excessive rush. Through the ability to suffer, patience and constant effort, people learn to live in peace with themselves and with others .

In the Jewish religion there are reasons for non-violence with Martin Buber in Israel.


Non-violence has been an issue in humanism , especially in secular humanism , since ancient Greece . The Greek polis understood itself explicitly as a social constitution that was not based on violence. It claimed that humans were responsible for self-government, self-determination and autonomy - it should be noted that this only applied to citizens of the polis and not, for example, to slaves. Political action was a constant educational task in line with this. Nonviolence in secular humanism appeals u. a. also on human rights and human dignity and the correlation between ends and means. This means that action should be aimed at the goal. The goal should be recognizable in the action and the daily political demands.

In upbringing in Western countries, there was a large move away from violence in upbringing. This development was also reflected in legislation, for example in Germany in the law on outlawing violence in education of November 2, 2000.

Labor and trade union movement

So-called struggle measures in the workers' and trade union movements were usually non-violent acts, e.g. B. strikes, occupations and other direct actions . The peace researcher Gernot Jochheim pointed out in his scientific study on the development of the theory of nonviolence in the European anti-militarist and socialist movement from 1890 to 1940. Theories of non-violence existed in this social spectrum combined with criticism of violence in social conflicts. These were movements that called themselves anarcho-syndicalists, revolutionary unionists, and council communists (e.g. Rudolf Rocker , Henriette Roland Holst , Anton Pannekoek and others)

Memorial days

The opening day of the ordinary session of the UN General Assembly has been officially celebrated as International Peace Day since 1981. On September 7, 2001, the General Assembly resolved in its resolution 55/282 to recognize the World Day of Peace on September 21 each year as a "day of non-violence" and a global ceasefire. Since 2007, on October 2nd, Mahatma Gandhi's birthday , International Non-Violence Day has been celebrated as a United Nations day of remembrance.

This date is a call to all nations and people to end all hostilities on that day. The weapons should also be laid down on that day in order to be able to provide humanitarian aid without fear of immediate destruction, to be able to bring civilians out of the contested areas and to build shelters.

Other suggestions for “Day of Nonviolence” include: B. October 9th . On this day in 1989 the people of Leipzig succeeded for the first time in a peaceful mass demonstration in preventing the SED rulers from using force.


  • Günther Gugel: We will not give way. Experiences with nonviolence. A practice-oriented introduction. 3. Edition. Institute for Peace Education, Tübingen 2003, ISBN 3-922833-97-7 (with bibliography).
  • Nikolaus Koch : The modern revolution - thoughts on non-violent self-help of the German people. The Mirne, Tübingen 1951.
  • Wolfram Beyer : Nonviolence. The non-violent faction in pacifism and anti-militarism. In: ders. Pacifism and Antimilitarism. An introduction to the history of ideas. Stuttgart 2012, p. 97ff
  • Marshall B. Rosenberg : Nonviolent Communication . A language of life. ISBN 978-3-87387-454-1 .
  • Gene Sharp From Dictatorship to Democracy - A Guide to Liberation. The textbook on the non-violent overthrow of dictatorships , Beck, Munich 2008
  • Konrad Tempel inciting nonviolence. On ways of mindful practice and spirituality , Aphorisma, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-86575-005-1 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. From Dictatorship to Democracy - A Guide to Liberation. The textbook on the non-violent overthrow of dictatorships , Beck, Munich 2008, p. 101