The following document was prepared by a coalition of New York City peace organization a number of years ago. The MPJC steering committee approved it for our demonstrations and to use for orientation of new members.



Public demonstrations for peace can achieve the following objectives among others:
  1. Ideas can be communicated to many people through sign slogans, leaflets, coverage of demonstrations in the media, and conversations with persons who see the demonstrations.

  2. Demonstrators are given an opportunity to take a public stand on issues about which they are deeply moved, and by acting in concert with others are stimulated to increase their active work for peace.

  3. New people are recruited for work in the peace movement. Individuals who see demonstrators are frequently deeply moved.

  4. Government policies may be influenced, particularly by mass demonstrations, or by actions of a dramatic character involving risk or personal sacrifice for the demonstrators.

Achievement of these objectives is greatly enhanced if all demonstrators conduct themselves in a friendly and disciplined manner. A disorderly demonstration is more likely to rouse opposition than support. Violence on the part of the demonstrators will almost certainly retard, rather than advance, the work of the peace movement. Demonstrations can be an opportunity to communicate our friendliness and concern for others in and outside of the demonstration and to begin to express specifically the concept of altruistic love. The following discipline is designed to facilitate this expression. All persons are asked to accept the following discipline during the time they are participating in this demonstration. If you feel that you cannot cooperate with all aspects of the discipline, please leave the demonstration at an appropriate time. The sponsors have no desire to limit spontaneity or dictate to the consciences of others. The discipline exists only to minimize the likelihood of rioting and violence and to increase the power of the demonstration.


  1. We will not use physical violence regardless of what may be done to us by others.

  2. Our attitude toward persons who may oppose us will be one of understanding and of respect for the rights of others to hold and express whatever views they wish.

  3. We will not be violent in our attitude, make hostile remarks, shout or call names. If singing or chanting is indicated, it will be in a manner consistent with the nonviolent spirit of the demonstration.

  4. We will adhere to the planned program of action for each demonstration, unless a change of plans is communicated to us by the demonstration's sponsors or their representatives. We will not initiate any unannounced action, unless it has been explicitly approved by the sponsors.

  5. We recognize that conducting an orderly demonstration depends upon mutual cooperation and respect between participants and those who have organized and are responsible for the demonstration. (If requests are made for actions which you feel are unwise, you will have an opportunity to discuss your complaint fully with the responsible persons after the demonstration, if it is not possible at the time. If a request is made which you cannot accept, please quietly disassociate yourself from the demonstration.)

  6. If questioned by passersby, representatives of the press or other mass media, participants are encouraged to express their own opinion about themselves, their reasons for joining the demonstration, etc., making clear that these are their own personal convictions. However, where possible, all questions concerning the policies of the demonstration should be referred to the sponsors or to their representatives. The questioner should be given a copy of the demonstration's official leaflet.

  7. In our contact with the police and other officials, we will:

    1. Maintain an attitude of understanding for the responsibilities with which they are charged.

    2. Be courteous at all times.

    3. Be completely open in announcing what we plan to do.

    4. Accept all requests which are reasonable.

  8. We will be as truthful as possible in all statements.

  9. In case of violence Demonstration plans will always be announced to the police and in general their cooperation should be expected. However, in a large crowd there is always the possibility of violence from arbitrary police interference, passersby, or participants. In such situations, the demonstrators must carefully follow the directions of the sponsors and their representatives.

    The demonstrators might be requested to disperse as quickly and as quietly as possible in order to avoid incidents. It is usually better to take up grievances with the authorities after the demonstration than to try to settle them on the spot.

    Sitting down might, in some cases, reduce the number of possible injuries in an emergency situation. Since sitting will probably be interpreted as civil disobedience and non-compliance, such actions should be undertaken only upon the specific requests of the demonstration's sponsors or their representatives*, or if it is agreed upon in advance as the method of action of the particular demonstration.

    Those who witness molestation or brutality on the part of the police may render a service by making a note of the numbers on the badges of those involved.

*Demonstrators who have sat down and are offering nonviolent resistance to the police are urged to act in a way that does not imply disrespect for the police, but is designed to prevent injuries and show peaceful intent.

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