Displays of Portraits

When it comes to nonviolent action there are many techniques but one of the more effective methods is the use of portraits. This can be particularity good in the event of honoring someone who was a martyr or someone who has been injured or imprisoned during the course of the nonviolent protests. This can be a powerful psychological motivator and really stir up the crowds emotions as well as reaching the emotions of the opposing forces.

People are naturally drawn towards symbolism, it is a fact of human nature. Sometimes during protests or other nonviolent uprisings a figurehead will achieve symbolic status such as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi did during the Indian independence movement. Unfortunately sometimes these figureheads and leaders are either killed or imprisoned and can not be physically present for protests and other nonviolent activities. During these situations it can be psychologically empowering to display portraits of these figure heads and leaders. This will remind people that while these individuals can’t be at the event in person they are there in spirit.

Another reason displays of portraits are effective are that they are strong reminders of the injustices committed by the opposing force. This is used effectively when displaying portraits of those who have lost their lives either directly or indirectly due to actions of the opposing force. This helps people to remember those who have suffered at the hands of the opposing force and therefore stokes their anger and resolve at these events. This is also a great way to boot the courage of a moment.

Another, somewhat more controversial, method of displaying portraits during nonviolent events is that of displaying portraits of well known figures of the opposing force. Typically these portraits will be defaced and may even have angry words such as “killer,” “murderer” and others written on the portrait. While this still technical falls under the category of nonviolent action the reason it is controversial is because it can be seen as extremely provocative to the opposing force and may be viewed as an invitation to violence. This type of portrait displaying should be used with discretion.

Overall displays of portraits is a great way to boost the moral of a faction and their dedication to the cause. It is most effective when the portrait displays a victim of the opposing force or a figurehead of the nonviolent movement that has been lost due to the actions of the opposing force.

Continue reading the 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action.

Also check out The Politics of Nonviolent Action Part One / Part Two / Part Three.

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