Nonviolent Communication, Considering the Cop
In order to fully understand the gravitas of nonviolent communication, we must first define violent communication. Violent communication is communication with the intent to hurt or harm. Thus, as explained by Marshall B. Rosenberg in ‘”Violent’ versus ‘Nonviolent’ Communication,” much of how we communicate can indeed be defined as violent. Just look at most comments on social media. People engage in flexing big internet muscles as keyboard warriors with so many of their comments aimed at squashing their enemies. We berate the sources of our frustrations with seemingly perfect legitimacy, not acknowledging that because one’s actions may be hurtful toward us, our reactions are also with the intent to harm rather than communicate or heal our rifts. In considering NVC, as Anarchists, we are led to considering our interactions with those who play a role in aiding the state. And so it makes sense to consider the cop.
If violent communication intends to cause harm, then nonviolent communication aims to cause healing and mending. Marshall B. Rosenberg also wrote the book Nonviolent Communication. Rosenberg’s written accounts of nonviolent communication in action demonstrate how we can reshape our communication to connect and heal even the most infuriated people. Our efforts must be rooted in the four pillars of nonviolent communication: compassion, empathy, cooperation, and authenticity.
Compassion arises when we understand the suffering of others and want to rid them of their pain. When we identify with the feelings of others in ourselves, we’re engaged in empathy. Cooperation comes when we focus our attention on building empowering relationships with others. We discover authenticity when we grant ourselves both the courage to listen and the gift to be heard.
Anarchists are all about freedom. In order to be emotionally free, however, we must be authentic. Emotional authenticity precedes emotional freedom.
Considering the Cop
Police officers signed up for a job where they generate revenue for the state by extorting you; meanwhile, you also pay for their salary in taxes. While this description paints an accurate picture, seeing them as villains in this narrative does not aid you in educating them on the immoral position they’ve taken. Cops are people. They have families to support. They have hopes and dreams. Perhaps, they even dreamed to become cops in order to serve their communities for the better. Only by speaking to them, while keeping yourself grounded with the four pillars of nonviolent communication, can you create a lasting impression with communication that may result in understanding and the refusal to obey violent and immoral orders. What are they suffering from? How have you suffered in a similar fashion? Are there any points upon which you can reach a consensus? Don’t just give up and label them pejoratives. Help them understand your position. Help them help you understand theirs. Tell them how you feel, when you feel, and why. Listen. Create.
Once upon a time, some of us did not know or understand the principles of Voluntaryism. Some of us never considered the destructive nature of statism. Find that place within yourself, have a conversation, and help exhibit to the police how a career in the private sector can really heal the world.
To find out more about nonviolent communication, come down to the beautiful beach in Acapulco, Mexico for the sixth annual Anarchapulco. Many of the speakers presenting on the Advocacy Stage promote a peaceful lovelution and exhibit the four pillars of nonviolent communication.
Get your tickets here and let’s heal the world.