“Violence is the use of power to harass, intimidate, injure, shackle, kill, destroy.”
In the 38-minute documentary Love & Solidarity, Rev. James Lawson speaks about structural forms of violence. No one, he makes a point of noting, has a right to commit violence.
With violence aptly illustrated, Lawson then turns to nonviolence, which he explains is: “trying to use the power that life gives you in ways that solve problems, that heals you and transforms you, and changes and transforms others.”
As nonviolence is often misunderstood as simply refraining from physical harm, Lawson sets up a necessary contrast between types of power: that which drains our vitality and creativity, through physical and non-physical harm alike, and that which nourishes and regenerates our potential.
Besides providing an important distinction between violence and nonviolence, the film portrays the power of owning our labor: when we’re strategically organized and persistent, we have the strength to dismantle systemic injustices—we have the means to put human dignity back into work, our means of contributing to society.
In the run-up to Labor Day (September 7), the film delivers a timely and motivating message. Watch the film below and let us know what you think. How will you be spending Labor Day this year? Share your thoughts in the comments.
To learn about the film project, and to access some excellent nonviolence resources (including a film study guide), please visit the Love & Solidarity website. A tip of the hat to our friends there for listing Metta Center as a nonviolence resource.