Posted by: helenrobertsbradford | September 8, 2009

Nonviolence and the counterculture

I have recently discovered an excellent learning resource, Dreamers and Dissenters, available on the British Library website and based on sources held in its collections.  It uses historical evidence as a way of exploring how people respond to and seek to change the world about them.

Many of the archives included in the PaxCat project survive from the nonviolent direct action movement of the 1950s and 1960s.  They form evidence of that rejection of, and rebellion against, mainstream culture and opinion known as the counterculture.

Nonviolent direct action has its roots in the Gandhian insistence on the inseparable link between the means and the end. Gandhi wrote in his book, Indian Home Rule (1921), that ‘The means may be likened to a seed, the end to a tree’ and this was the basis of the idea and practice of satyagraha.

Aspects of the counterculture covered by Dreamers and Dissenters include: peace demonstrations; civil disobedience; ‘living demonstration’ (squatting); disruption; the underground press; liberation movements; total assault on culture; and do it yourself.

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