In Dialogue is a column in which Street Spirit speaks with community leaders.

The Street Spirit Interview with Bernard Lafayette

Martin Luther King had a new approach — massive civil disobedience and massive non-cooperation. The only reason a system of oppression can exist is with the cooperation of the oppressed. Once the oppressed refuse to cooperate, the system can’t continue to exist. Martin Luther King learned this new method from Mahatma Gandhi.

The Street Spirit Interview with George Lakey

“The reason why people believe that violence is more powerful than nonviolence is not accidental. That is the message that is taught to us by the 1 percent. In all societies in which people believe violence is more powerful than nonviolence, the 1 percent has messaged that, has drummed that into people’s consciousness.”

The Street Spirit Interview with Vincent Harding

Martin was attuned to the Hebrew prophets, and that was their constant message: Don’t talk about loving God or being religious unless you stand with the outcasts and the weak. Jesus said the same thing. There’s no way to understand Martin’s urgency about standing with the poor without taking into consideration his deepest religious grounding.

The Street Spirit Interview with Stephen Zunes

In Bolivia, after a coup by General Busch, the whole country went on strike and 600,000 people massed in La Paz. Union leaders walked into the president’s house, and asked him, “What’s your program?” He looked at them, then he looked at the 600,000 people in the streets, and he said, “Yours!”

People of Faith Must Hear the Cry of the Poor

“Soup kitchens and hospitality, though wonderful, do not go far enough. There needs to be more advocacy which affects political and societal structures. We need a social movement which incorporates the most prophetic aspects of the Judeo/Christian tradition and other religious traditions to bring homelessness and poverty to an end.”

The History of Psychiatric Mistreatment, Interview with Robert Whitaker

The New York Times, in reporting on the treatment of Soviet dissidents, said giving these neuroleptic drugs practically makes a person a vegetable. The Times said it was a form of a “spiritual gas chamber.” Then they’ll cover a trial about forced drug treatment of a mentally ill person in the U.S. and report the drugs are known to be widely efficacious.