"I want to urge them to practice a spiritual discipline based on nonviolence"

This is a quotation from the Rev. Phillip Lawson, veteran civil rights activist, in a video produced by the "Council of Elders," a collection of surviving activists from the Civil Rights Movement, including Sr. Joan Chittister. Here is a video of some of the Council of Elders endorsing the Occupy movement.

This Sunday there will be events at Occupy Wall Street symbolizing a "passing the torch" from the Civil Rights generations to the Occupy generations. For more information, please see the Facebook page here.

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As America readers well know, nonviolence can indeed be a spiritual discipline. In the Christian tradition, it is rooted in practices of prayer, taking inspiration from the example of Jesus, communal song, committing to memory scriptural stories of prophetic actions, personal self-examination, and more -- practices that are tested and shaped by, and lead to, a felt solidarity with victims, a passion for justice, a discerning eye for the complex roots of present situations, a calm and steady pursuit of the divine imperative in all situations of inequality, and a willingness to risk.

Music was an extraordinarily important part of the Civil Rights movement and helped inform and realize its theologies of nonviolence. This video gives just a taste. 

I have the impression that the musics that are inspiring the massive nonviolent protests of Occupy around the world are as diverse as the very different groups that are involved. I have not seen anyone yet begin to try to take the measure of the musics that influence Occupiers -- or those who support Occupy.

What music inspires, informs or influences your own stance toward nonviolence or toward the Occupy movement?

TB, in San Francisco

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Crystal Watson
5 years 11 months ago
When I think of the Occupy movement, it reminds me of the anti-war movement.  The music of anti-war seems especially non-violent in nature, from stuff like "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" to "Ohio".

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