DR. KING’S WORDS ABOUT NONVIOLENCE & POWER

by | Feb 3, 2024 | Culture and Science of Nonviolence | 0 comments

“The plantation and the ghetto were created by those who had power both to confine those who had no power and to perpetuate their voicelessness and their powerlessness.

“The problem of transforming the ghetto is, therefore, a problem of power…a confrontation between the forces of power demanding change and the forces of power dedicated to preserving the status quo.”

Power, properly understood, is the ability to achieve purpose.  It is the strength required to bring about social, political or economic changes…Power is not only desirable but necessary in order to implement the demands of love and justice.”

POWER IS THE ABILITY TO ACHIEVE PURPOSE

Dr. King writes about power and powerlessness.  He uses the concept of a conflict or battle between the forces of power demanding change and the forces of power dedicated to preserving the status quo.  You must have a purpose in order to achieve power. Dr. King defines power as “the ability to achieve purpose.”

TWO FORMS OF POWER

There are two forms of power: Personal power and group power.

Personal power is the ability of the person to achieve purpose.  Personal power expresses itself in interpersonal interactions.

Group power is the ability of a group to achieve purpose.  There are many distinct groups in society which have different levels of power.  Group power expresses itself in inter-group relations and interactions.

While there are many group distinctions, the most important groups include: race, class or economic interest, nationality, age, gender, religious beliefs, ideological/political beliefs, and geographic location.

Life is the struggle between groups to achieve purpose.  Some groups need and demand change.  Other groups struggle to preserve the status quo.

Power takes either one or the other form.  Power is expressed personally, through individuals, and through groups.  Of course, within groups the internal struggle is defined by the interactions and struggles between specific persons and subgroups.

THREE KINDS OF POWER

There are three kinds of power.  Power exists in one of three areas.  There is economic power, political power and cultural/spiritual power.

Economic power means, “Who has the capital, the bucks.”

Political power means, “Who makes governmental decisions or group decisions.”

Cultural/spiritual power means, “Who communicates for the group.”

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