Second, there is restorative justice. An actor has broken a law, but the focus is now less on adjudication and possible punishment and more on how to restore the actor in good standing as law-abiding. "Community work" may carry both a punitive and a restorative element.
Third, there is social justice. The focus is not on broken rules or laws, but on justice for actors in a social or world structure. The word "equality" can often be substituted for "social justice", but that word also has at least three different definitions:
[a] equality in the sense of equal opportunity
[c] equality in the sense of low distance, dispersion, between high and low status in domestic or world society.
Obviously, [a] is the weakest, implying neither [b] nor [c]. Also obviously, [c] implies [b], but [b] does not imply [c]. Liberals generally go for [a], social democrats add [b], and socialists add [c]. For conservatives "equality" of any kind is not pursued; for communists it is taken for granted.
What are the implications for peace politics when parties are in conflict over legitimate but incompatible goals, and want justice? Conflicts implying social change, with social = cultural+structural, protected by strong rules, even laws? Three types of struggle:
– system within the system struggle breaking no rules,
– nonviolent struggle breaking rules,
– violent struggle using illegitimate means for legitimate goals.
System struggle within calls for no punitive reaction and may lead to social justice over time; the price is prolonged injustice.
"Nonviolent struggle" breaks rules (civil disobedience) and may call for punitive, restorative and social justice responses. The first is intended by nonviolent struggle: better break unjust rules and suffer the consequences than supporting injustice by acts of omission. The second is nonsense as the social order is not worth restoration. The third means improvement of Self, Other and their Relation. Goal.
"Violent struggle" breaks rules and calls for punitive responses. A well-known and problematic combination: To bring the revolutionaries to justice presupposes victory over them; to achieve social justice through violence means victory for them. Restorative justice is for small crimes, not for efforts to change society. Violence vs punitive justice locks the parties into a deadly combat with no end in sight. South Africa managed to exit, Spain, Sri Lanka and Israel sofar not.
In our view very strong arguments for nonviolent struggle in cases of flagrant injustice. System struggle and violent struggle have one thing in common: they prolong injustice and suffering.