Volume 1, Issue 1
Summer 2005

About Peace Power

What kind of power can persuade the British to leave India as friends, not enemies? What kind of power can move the hearts of white Americans to recognize the need for civil rights for African-Americans? What kind of power can persuade an air force pilot, ordered by a dictator to quell an uprising, to turn away from his target, unable to fire on a crowd of unarmed Filipinos? We call this Peace Power, also known as principled nonviolence. Rather than a negation of violence, peace power is a positive force for change and resistance. By renouncing the use of coercive force, it draws on the persuasive power people have over each other's hearts, or what Kenneth Boulding calls integrative power. It can also be described as “person power,” the dedication of each individual when they convert a negative drive to a positive drive. When those who have achieved this individual dedication come together, they enact “people power.” This is the power that can transform our selves, our relationships, our conflicts, and our world.