If we're to have a better future, our biggest task will be to reexamine what the police are, their place in the system, and more. Police violence exists by systemic design. The myths of where the problems and symptoms lie with the police, capitalism, laws, government, citizens, class and racism --plus the relationship between all these-- is what keeps oppression ongoing on a mass scale. For change to happen, we'll need to find systemic leverage points, and use privilege to benefit those without it. Read on for more.
Many believe it's only a true NVC request when we can ask for what we need without urgency or insistence. But what if we're the target of oppression and hate in a world with systemic inequality? Is it still nonviolence to abdicate power by allowing the person enacting harm to be the one to decide whether harm continues? The intensity of the need, degree of harm, and how chronically unmet the need is, are factors to guide us for when to apply force and demand within NVC. We can be attached to outcome, without being attached to strategy.
Even in a conflict, you can offer emotional safety without being enmeshed -- and you can do this without sliding into strategies to gain power over another. You can prioritize connection, express your intention, make space for mutuality, honestly reveal what you care about and propose a way forward. This means caring for your needs regardless of their response -- and mourning if their response isn't what you want. Read on for more.
The existing unequal risks and impacts people of certain race, class and identities face in society is magnified in these strenuous times -- especially with things such as illness, financial well being, discrimination, attacks, and death. As responsive NVC practitioners we can stand in solidarity with those who are differentially impacted. Read on for this, and additional ways to spot common pitfalls of doing so.
Amidst racial violence, there are things that NVC can offer. And there are places where NVC culture needs to be more vigilant. Here are examples of where, amidst incredible loss and pain, "allies" and communities commonly (and often unknowingly) create false equivalences, minimization and re-injure those who've been historically marginalized -- even when they offer empathy, or aim to stay "safe". Read on to cultivate greater understanding and ways to respond differently.
"All humans share the same needs" -- tragically, this idea can hide the reality that some people with less power in society have needs that go unmet to a greater extent, much longer, and with more dire consequences. Often, when the marginalized bring up experiences related to their membership in a certain group, their pain isn't acknowledged, and focus shifts to the listener's discomfort. The concept of universal human needs can be used to silence and minimize their pain. Read on for how to proceed.
We can choose our stories of interpretation, and how to respond. And while stories of self-sufficiency can (to a degree) give us more influence over our own lives, they don't erase oppression, war, nor climate change. When stories omit a lens that includes impacts of interdependence, oppression, and structural inequities, stories can also keep us disconnected and blocked from compassion for self and others -- and perpetuating an oppressive status quo. However, with this lens we can make greater compassion and collective liberation possible. Even as the outcome is unknown.
Can the Social Order Be Transformed through Personal Practice? The Case of Nonviolent Communication - Part 1 of 2
By focusing on NVC process and practice without factoring in the interdependent, systemic dimension we unwittingly diminish the power of NVC. We reinforce the dominant paradigm, rather than challenging it -- making NVC one more tool for compliance. NVC principles can turn against its own purpose in cruel ways. NVC could also empower social change. We'll need our attention on this matter if we are to contribute to transforming the oppression we face and our collective march towards extinction.
From Obedience and Shame to Freedom and Belonging: Transforming Patriarchal Paradigms of Child-Rearing in the Age of Global Warming
What will it take to reclaim our fundamental relatedness with all things alive, surrender our attempts to control nature, and find a way of living that averts or mitigates the worst possible catastrophes awaiting us while it's still possible?