The green movement’s commitment to non-violence is often taken for granted but it is, in many ways, an extraordinarily challenging principle. I often wonder about the extent to which we ought to apply the idea of non-violence in our lives and in our politics – but don’t. Of course, it is possible to interpret the term narrowly and consider that it applies only to acts such as the waging of warfare or physical violence against people or property or the natural world. Nevertheless, even this narrow definition could be considered contentious – should we all be vegans on this basis?
Leaving that particular point aside for a rainy day, I think most greens would actually acknowledge a wider interpretation of the non-violence principle that includes ‘invisible’ violence at the personal level, for example, psychological or emotional abuse. But what about the notion of ‘structural violence’?