Interview with Gordon Carey
QUESTION 7
INTERVIEWER:

STOP PLEASE.COULD, WAS THERE SOME QUESTION IN THE MINDS OF THE PEOPLE YOU TRAINED ABOUT WHAT WAS INVOLVED IN BEING NONVIOLENT? DID THEY HAVE, WERE THEY STILL GOING TO BE STRONG, WERE THEY STILL GOING TO BE ABLE TO BE ACTIVE? AND HOW DID YOU RESPOND?

Gordon Carey:

Many people when they, when they began to get involved in these nonviolent direct action movements and sit-ins and other kinds of direct action demonstrations had one of two feelings: they either felt like they could not remain nonviolent in the face of an assault, or they felt that it was a sign of weakness if they were to do that. We tried to show them through socio-dramas and through stories and through talking to them. We spent long hours talking to people you know, in groups. And we tried to show them that as a matter of fact this was real strength, and we told them stories about the Gandhian movement where Gandhi got thousands of people as followers and Gandhi would impress upon them that they didn't have to believe at all in nonviolence. They didn't have to be pacifists. In the rest of their life they could do as they chose, but in order to have an effective demonstration, in order to have an effective group experience they had to follow a discipline. And I'm not quite sure we accomplished it, but as a matter of fact we were able to take large groups of people, sometimes hundreds of them, who had never had any experience with nonviolent direct action before, and in a very short period of time we were able to get them to respond completely nonviolently. And often times I think that they would, they would do it simply because, first of all they knew it was very important. You know what they were doing was very important. They didn't know how to attack the problems themselves. If someone else was coming in that they considered to be an authority and therefore they said OK, we'll try it. They would get into a situation, someone would swear at them, talk back to them, they knew from their own experience that when they, when they argued with that person in the past, the whole situation deteriorated. Now when they simply sat there, smiled at the person and ignored him, they were able to cope. So after two or three little experiences like this people began to catch on, began to talk to each other about it, and really we had very little problem. It was astounding with the thousands and thousands of students and others involved in these movements we had almost no violence perpetrated by people on the, on our side.