One of the two primary approaches to war advocated by proponents of nonviolence is civilian-based defense, which in the past has been used instead of a military defense. This strategy requires organized efforts and has two components. The first aspect of this form of nonviolence is to interact with the invading force in a friendly manner and the second is to refuse to cooperate with them as a legitimate authority.
The first component of nonviolence in war is just as vital as the second and draws on the notion of heart unity, or the desire for everyone to thrive as individuals. A good way to accomplish this is simply to speak the soldiers. using basic polite behavior is always the best way to begin, and humor can also be employed if one can muster the right words. The basic idea is to show an interest in them as a person and develop a positive rapport. It is extremely useful in nonviolence to try to separate in one’s mind the invaders from their behavior. The reason this is part of civilian-based defense equal in importance to refusal to cooperate has to do with “Nagler’s Law” (invented by Dr. Nagler), which states that nonviolence plus violence equals violence. And when you act violently, it changes the dynamic of energy in the situation and makes violence against you appear more justifiable to outsiders.
The second component of nonviolence in war, outright resistance to their authority, can take many forms. One example out be a general strike and another might be to simply refuse to follow commands.
An historical example of nonviolence taking the form of civilian-based defense would be Prague Spring in 1968 when Russia invaded. By all estimates, the Czech military would not have lasted more than four or five days, but by forgoing a military defense and employing nonviolence, they held off the Russians for eight months.
1. Civilian-Based Defense. Metta Center
2. Nagler’s Law. Metta Center.
3. Gene Sharp. CBD. Albert Einstein Institution.
4. Civilian Resistance in Czechoslovakia. Fragmentsweb.