Deming, Barbara

Deming, Barbara

Barbara Deming

1 August 2023Comment

Extracts from two of her most famous essays

The most effective action both resorts to power and engages conscience. Nonviolence does not have to beg others to ‘be nice’. It can in effect force them to consult their consciences - or to pretend to have them.

Nor does it petition those in power to do something about a situation. It can face the authorities with a new fact and say: Accept this new situation which we have created.

If greater gains have not been won by nonviolent action it is because most of those trying it…

3 April 2014Feature

This classic text from 1971 pushes nonviolent activists to respect and value rage and untangles our political and personal relationships to this emotion.  

Pieter Bruegel the Elder: The Seven Deadly Sins
or the Seven Vices - Anger. Photo: via wikicommons

I have been asked to talk about the relation between war resistance and resistance to injustice.

There are many points to be made that I need hardly belabour. I don’t have to argue with any of you at this conference that if we resist war we must look to the causes of war; try to end them. And that one finds the causes of war in any society that encourages not fellowship but…

13 August 2011Feature

A classic pacifist statement from the US, 1968

Do you want to remain pure? Is that it?” a black man asked me, during an argument about nonviolence. It is not possible to act at all and to remain pure; and that is not what I want, when I commit myself to the nonviolent discipline. I stand with all who say of present conditions that they do not allow men and women to be fully human and so they must be changed - all who not only say this but are ready to act.

When one is confronted with what Russell Johnson calls accurately “The…