Saswati Roy

Sumitra, Champa, Samprada, Sushama, Kalabati, Salma are some of the tribal women living in remote corners in the state of Orissa in India who we have met during our recent visit to their villages. The women's organization with which I work, Swadhina, has been encouraging and promoting women's groups in these villages for the past five years. These women live in distant villages located in hilly forest regions. Their lives are integrally linked to the forest, which has been their source of food, fodder and wood for fuel.

Be realistic, demand the impossible

Howard Clark

Look back at an experience of empowerment. I wonder if the experience now seems that it was just a passing feeling you had at the time. Back then, you or your group somehow gathered the strength to make a difference--or at least feel that you made a difference. You may have changed something permanently, but the feeling was ephemeral. It wore off. A sense of empowerment is something that needs to be recreated continually.

The Intifada: from violence to more violence

Marwan Darweish

Overall situation

The thrust of the peace process that resulted in the 1993 Oslo agreement was to bring the Palestinians and Israelis to an interim negotiated settlement. It set out steps that focused on building mutual trust between the two peoples. After the signing of the Oslo agreement, which included the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), there was a gradual implementation of the terms of the agreement and the beginning of Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories.

Technology for nonviolent struggle

Let's begin with two bold propositions. First, methods of social action without violence can be extremely powerful -- indeed so powerful as to be a possible alternative to military defence. Second, technology, which is now massively oriented to military purposes, can be reoriented to support nonviolent action. These two propositions, if followed through, lead to two striking conclusions. First, nonviolent struggle, which is normally seen as primarily a social and psychological process, has vital technological dimensions. Second, reorienting technology to serve nonviolent struggle would involve a wholesale transformation of research directions, technological infrastructure and social decision making.

Empowerment: International Dimensions

Andreas Speck

Although international cooperation among political movements is as old as the movements themselves, it has become more important in times of economic globalization. Since the UN Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, solidarity has entered official discourse in discussion of an international "civil society." Rather than add to that discussion and the growing NGO-ization of popular movements, I want to examine the experience of one movement--War Resisters' International (WRI)--with international cooperation through the lens of empowerment.

The Tibetan Nonviolent Resistance: Empowerment in an Extraordinary Situation

Senthil Ram

Profile of a political prisoner

Jigme Gyatso is a monk from Gaden Monastery in Chinese-occupied Tibet. He was born in Bhartha village in Gansu Province in 1962. Although he was his parent's only child he decided to become a monk. During the mid-1980's he briefly visited India to receive a religious initiation. Upon his return to Tibet he joined the Gaden Monastery where he became involved in pro-independence activities.

Nonviolence versus capitalism

Nonviolent action is the most promising method of moving beyond capitalism to a more humane social and economic system. How can this be achieved? Nonviolence versus Capitalism offers a systematic approach, starting with an analysis of capitalism from the viewpoint of nonviolence, outlining nonviolent economic alternatives and describing what is involved in a nonviolence strategy. A check list for activists is proposed and used to assess diverse campaigns, including workers' struggles, sabotage, environmental campaigns, social defence, global campaigns and economic alternatives.

Fear--a sign that we are alive

Roberta Bacic

As a participant in an action of the "Sebastian Acevedo Movement Against Torture" shortly before the plebiscite in 1988, we gathered in front of the National Library located in the heart of Santiago, the capital of Chile. The action was planned for 12 o'clock sharp and it was supposed to last not longer that 3 minutes. It all started perfectly and, as soon as we started, we heard the police cars and the doors of the library closing up. Fear was immense. What would happen?

El conflicto de Mehuín

José Araya Cornejo


Han pasado ya 4 años de esa conversación, de esas que se encuentran en localidades como Mehuin, en un bar, entre pescadores, en el horario de las confesiones, cuando alguien contó los verdaderos motivos de los trabajos en la desembocadura del río Lingue.

A Conscientious Objector's Guide to the UN Human Rights System

This report was commissioned by QUNO, the Quaker United Nations Office in Geneva, and has been published by CONCODOC in London.

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