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.
DISCIPLINE for PEACE DEMONSTRATIONS
for peace can achieve the following objectives among others:
- Ideas can be
communicated to many people through sign slogans, leaflets, coverage
of demonstrations in the media, and conversations with persons who see
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.
- New people are
recruited for work in the peace movement. Individuals who see demonstrators
are frequently deeply moved.
- Government policies
may be influenced, particularly by mass demonstrations, or by actions
of a dramatic character involving risk or personal sacrifice for the
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.
- We will not use
physical violence regardless of what may be done to us by others.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- In our contact
with the police and other officials, we will:
an attitude of understanding for the responsibilities with which
they are charged.
- Be courteous
at all times.
- Be completely
open in announcing what we plan to do.
- Accept all
requests which are reasonable.
- We will be as
truthful as possible in all statements.
- 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.
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.
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.
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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