Is Waging Nonviolence objective journalism, or is it pushing some kind of activist agenda?

Waging Nonviolence is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so — unlike, say, The New York Times — we are not able to endorse candidates for elected office, even if we wanted to (which we don’t). While some of our writers are organizers and activists, that is more a consequence of our subject area than of any agenda, per se. Just as Wired magazine is about technology (and tends to publish techies) and New York Magazine is about New York (and tends to publish New Yorkers), we cover the dynamics of nonviolent conflict, which we believe are often ignored or misunderstood in the news. We don’t expect or necessarily want writers to be committed ahead of time to some flavor of pacifism, or any such thing; we do expect that they show some interest and sophistication in understanding how ordinary people build power and wage conflict in non-military, non-oppressive ways.

Does Waging Nonviolence cherry-pick stories that prove a certain kind of point?

In the same way that our history books and newspapers give us a selective reading of the world by so often fixating on the perceived efficacy of violence, we try to counter that by focusing on elements of history and the news that are less well-recognized, ones having to do with the theory and practice of nonviolent people power.

Are you against violence of any kind, even in self-defense?

No particular doctrinal position underlies Waging Nonviolence’s editorial perspective except a commitment to reporting on nonviolent action around the world and helping to deepen our collective understanding of how and why it works. We welcome different voices in the conversations around nonviolence and civil resistance. Some people view nonviolence as a matter of absolute principle, whether it be religious or secular, while others are interested in nonviolent struggle under particular circumstances for mainly strategic reasons. We feel there is much to learn from both perspectives, as well as from others. As a general rule, we don’t publish any advocacy of military force or other overt forms of violence, most of all because there is already enough of such advocacy to go around. We recognize, however, that there are many gray areas and contested definitions, and what might seem like nonviolence to one person will seem like violence to another. For us, to wage nonviolence is to embrace conflict, so we try to embrace such conflicts in constructive ways.

What about people in country x, who are desperate and don’t have the benefit of being able to use nonviolent methods?

It isn’t our job to tell anyone what to do, especially not people fighting for justice against oppression as best they can. But one thing we do know is that many of the most powerful and important examples of nonviolent struggle have been — and are now — from among some of the least privileged, most oppressed people in the world. Our job is to share these stories, which can be tremendously empowering and too often go untold.