Kingian Style Non-Violent Activism

Dr Martin Luther King Jr was at the forefront of the civil rights movement 60 years ago. As activists today, in the fight against injustice (whether that be towards humans, animals, or the planet) we can learn a lot from the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr, and the philosophy he left behind.

Kingian Nonviolence is a philosophy of nonviolent conflict reconciliation, based on the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and the organizing strategies he used during the Civil Rights Movement. It is a holistic view of conflict that includes the study and analysis of conflict (how to understand conflict), the Principles of Nonviolence (the values of a community), and the Steps of Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation (how to address conflict and restore relationships).

I participated in a workshop on Kingian style non-violence whilst studying in Canada in 2017, lead by one of the co-founders of the organisation Direct Action Everywhere. As someone who was studying peace and conflict studies at university, I found the course particularly interesting, and as an animal rights and human rights activist, I found it particularly relevant to my activism.

In the vlog below, I outlined the six principles of Kingian style non-violence for anyone interested in applying these principles to their activism.

(Skip ahead to 8 minutes)



Fundamental tenets of Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence described in his first book, Stride Toward Freedom. The six principles include:

  1. PRINCIPLE ONE: Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.It is active nonviolent resistance to evil.

    It is aggressive spiritually, mentally and emotionally.

  2. PRINCIPLE TWO: Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.The end result of nonviolence is redemption and reconciliation.

    The purpose of nonviolence is the creation of the Beloved Community.

  3. PRINCIPLE THREE: Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people.Nonviolence recognizes that evildoers are also victims and are not evil people.

    The nonviolent resister seeks to defeat evil not people.

  4. PRINCIPLE FOUR: Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform.Nonviolence accepts suffering without retaliation.

    Unearned suffering is redemptive and has tremendous educational and transforming possibilities.

  5. PRINCIPLE FIVE: Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate.Nonviolence resists violence of the spirit as well as the body.

    Nonviolent love is spontaneous, unmotivated, unselfish and creative.

  6. PRINCIPLE SIX: Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice.The nonviolent resister has deep faith that justice will eventually win.

    Nonviolence believes that God is a God of justice.

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