This article has been adapted from a talk on “The Revolutionary Nonviolence by Barbara Deming: Two Handed Practices” which Joanne Sheehan gave with Ynestra King, who is writing a book about Barbara Deming.
Most who are familiar with author and activist Barbara Deming know her for her classic 1968 article “On Revolution and Equilibrium,” where she described nonviolence as a two handed approach, using the pressure of our defiance along with the pressure of our respect for our antagonists’ life. In the 1970’s and 80’s, Barabara’s writings and activism on feminism and nonviolence gained her a new following. Yet, her earlier writings remain largely overlooked and deserve more attention, as they offer insight into her growth while challenging us to look at our own as well. How deeply are we exploring the power of revolutionary nonviolence in the context of violence? How seriously do we take the process of training? What does it mean to act in solidarity? What does it mean to be part of one another?