Dear Friends at the Coalition to March on Wall Street South
We salute you for the impressive organizing that has brought the Coalition to March on Wall Street South to this point and express our admiration for the messages that are being promoted. We are especially glad to see the prominent inclusion of a call to end the wars.
Nevertheless, NC Peace Action has decided not to endorse on this occasion due to the Charlotte Principles statement allowing for a “diversity of tactics”. From the point of view of peacemaking, the means are the ends. Therefore the degree to which we can achieve peaceful outcomes will depend on the degree to which we maintain a discipline of peaceful methods and pronouncements.
Your clarifying statement for the Charlotte Principles ( http://wallstsouth.org/call-
to-action/clt-principles/ ) expresses the desire for unity within the coalition, but makes a special provision for disunity around the tactics. This escape clause amounts to a contradiction for us. If we are not united around the means we are not united at the most fundamental level.
By allowing for the possibility of unspecified tactics, The Charlotte Principles open the way for partners to be held guilty by association with tactics it knew nothing about. We cannot offer a priori acceptance of potential divergence from nonviolent norms.
The clarifying statement to the Principles says “experience and history shows us that the only group that ever comes to political demonstrations to instigate violence is the police, infiltrators, right-wing groups, and other agents of the 1%, not the masses of people”. If you do not expect any escalation of tactics or violence from the endorsing groups, then why not make it clear from the beginning that the only acceptable tactics will be nonviolent? That would assure that any form of violence automatically falls outside the norms of the group, and therefore is the work of outsiders or undisciplined participants.
Although we cannot endorse this event without nonviolence as the stated means, we again offer our sincere appreciation for the skill and energy that has gone in to this coalition. We greatly value our friendship with the very talented organizers involved and we wish this effort every success.
NC Peace Action Board of Directors