The nonviolence method

Aldo Capitini. El mètode de la noviolència. Institut Català Internacional per la Pau; Pagès, 2010. Col·lecció Noviolència i lluita per la pau, 2.

As a courageous advocate of an active and positive conception of nonviolence, Aldo Capitini believed in the primacy of direct action. That is the reason why he was imprisoned twice in Fascist era, and that is why he organised the first march for peace from Perugia to Assisi, in 1961. It was a good example of how to engage in politics, influencing power relations by means of nonviolent methods, despite not being a party politician.

As a philosopher, he is very thought-provoking and even innovative in his arguments for concepts like copresence, which broadens the range of our moral responsibility as thinking beings to include everyone - the living, the dead, those yet to be born, future generations, non-human animals, everything that lives. Using clear and sometimes poetic language, he expresses the religious feeling of the copresence of the living and the dead and respect for all living beings. 

This book shows us individual and collective techniques for nonviolence, emphasising the need for training so that when the time comes to use them, we are not unprepared. And it also includes examples of successful cases, because it advocates something that too often goes unnoticed: the nonviolent method works.

For Capitini, the nonviolent method is the practical expression of the poetic and religious concept of copresence, with total coincidence between the means and the ends, according to Giuliano Pontara in this first edition to be published in Catalan: "Violence, however revolutionary it is, paves the way for tyrants." A lesson from history.

However, nonviolence rebels against the passiveness of nonviolence. It is a permanent revolution, a continuous fight against the destructive indoctrination of autonomy and the personal sense of identity (personal transmutation). And it also transforms structures and institutions. It is against war and against militarism, against dogmatism and against the violence intrinsic to market fundamentalism, against dictatorships, against corruption and against the sclerosis of political parties and churches. We should bear in mind that Capitini was an Italian. We should also remember that many concerns have been raised about the Italianisation of political systems, including the system in Catalonia. This should be remembered in order to understand the topical nature of a work like this one in our modern environment.

J. A.