As a technique nonviolent action is not passive. It is not inaction. It is action that is nonviolent.
The issue at stake will vary. Frequently it may be a political one -- between political groups, for or against a government, or on rare occasions, between governments (as in imposition of embargoes or resistance to occupation). It may also be economic or social or religious. The scale and level of the conflict will also vary. It may be limited to a neighborhood, a city, or a particular section of the society; it may at other times range over a large area of a country or convulse a whole nation. Less often, more than one country and government may be involved. Whatever the issue, however, and whatever the scale of the conflict, nonviolent action is a technique by which people who reject passivity and submission, and who see struggle as essential, can wage their conflict without violence. Nonviolent action is not an attempt to avoid or ignore conflict. It is one response to the problem of how to act in politics, especially how to wield power effectively.
Key sources of the map: Gene Sharp, The Politics of Nonviolent Action, (3 Vols..), Boston: Porter Sargent, 1973.
A Guide to Effective Nonviolent Struggle. Srdja Popovic, Slobodan Djinovic, Andrej Milivojevic, Hardy Merriman, Ivan Marovic. Serbia, CANVAS, 2007.
People Power Game, YorkZim, Washington, 2010.