Gandhi taught that the purpose of political struggle is not to eliminate an enemy, but to illumine a principle. In other words, the true activist is not trying to win against another group but inviting all parties to seek principles that seek the good of all concerned. Not assuming one’s own motives are good, is essential to the work. So is emotional balance.
Martin Luther King had a check list for people about to march with him. If an activist was too angry to be loving they were invited to step back from the struggle until they had retained balance. Love for one’s “opponent” was essential to the method. I refer to this list often. The list has been edited slightly to remove sexism. A non-Christian can also edit line one to fit their own path.
“I hereby pledge myself — my person and body — to the nonviolent movement. Therefore I will keep the following ten commandments:
1. Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
2. Remember always that the nonviolent movement seeks justice and reconciliation — not victory.
3. Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.
4. Pray daily to be used by God in order that all might be free.
5. Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all might be free.
6. Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.
7. Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.
8. Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
9. Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.
10.Follow the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.
I sign this pledge, having seriously considered what I do and with the determination and will to persevere.”