The type of protest we will describe is generally called NVDA (Nonviolent Direct Action). It is impossible to adequately discuss the issue of nonviolence here, but a few points are worth making. Most activists would probably agree that British anti-road actions since Twyford Down in 1992 have been mostly nonviolent in character; however, it's important to state that definitions of "nonviolence" vary greatly, and there is a wide range of views. In particular, the right to defend oneself against violence is a controversial point. The people who wrote and edited this themselves differ in opinion on these issues.
Some activists see a nonviolent philosophy as absolutely essential at all times, and would not support any form of action which involved or supported violence; NVDA as both means and ends. Others see NVDA only as a tactic, and believe that violence may sometimes be necessary. It's probably fair to say that the majority of activists agree on nonviolence as the most successful and appropriate approach for fighting roadbuilding in Britain now; that's our view, at least. Therefore, the tactics and ideas outlined in the following pages are nonviolent ones. Ways of dealing with, and reducing, violent behaviour towards yourself are also discussed. (see Chapter 10).
The State has always depended absolutely on threatening and using violence, and will dig deeper into its huge arsenal given any excuses. It will nonetheless be quick to condemn any violence on your side - often including such actions as damage to property. The media will follow this line. It is important to expect this sort of thing and be ready to deal with it. Productive discussion within the campaign about nonviolence needs to happen if the campaign is to cope well with these issues.