Deterrent Nonviolence

Jørgen Johansen

The best-prepared and most successful large-scale civil disobedience action in Scandinavian history never took place.

In 1996 the Norwegian Parliament decided to build two large power stations to produce electricity from natural gas. With a company ready to build and a decision made by the authorities, it seemed almost impossible to prevent it. Natural gas had for years been presented as "clean" and "friendly to nature." To promote the project the company behind the plans took the name "Naturkraft" (The Power of Nature). Who could protest "The Power of Nature?"

The Chipko Movement


Mahatma Gandhi's concept of Gram Swarajya (village self-rule) aimed to create egalitarian, self-sustaining communities within an egalitarian and nonviolent society. To work toward that goal, a group of people established the Dasholi Gram Swarajya Mandal (Dasholi Village Self-Rule Organization, or DGSM) at Gopeshwar, India, in 1964.

The Experience of the Youth Network of Medellin Colombia

Cesar Bedoya Martin Rodriguez

Empowerment in an adult-centric and patriarchal society

Since the decade of the 1990's, there has been growing concern in Colombia about the youth (ages 12 through 26) of society, particularly in Medellin. This concern developed amidst the country's profound social and political crisis, because young people have been the principal protagonists--as agressors and victims--in a dynamic of war, the narcotraffic war.

Inside Out

Keith Goddard

The Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) was founded in 1990 to provide support services to lesbian and gay communities in Zimbabwe. Frustrated by the Zimbabwe government's attempts to silence the organization and prevent it from reaching out to potential members, GALZ was forced to transform itself into a human rights lobby group and to adopt a highly political profile.

Nonviolent struggle in Kosovo

Howard Clark

Kosovo was not an obvious place for a nonviolent struggle. The Kosovo Albanian value system is based on a concept of honour closely linked with weaponry: take away the weapon, goes one saying, and you take away honour--a man's most important possession is his gun. The history is not one of unity but of clan rivalries, not organized collective resistance, but banditry and bloody rebellion.

Empowerment: just another phrase?

Vesna Terselic

Buzz words. You catch them here and there--in peace, environmental or women's initiatives and United Nations documents. They change from season to season, from year to year. "Empowerment" has appeared in the language of my colleagues who are working on social change as an attempt to explain to ourselves and to others what we are actually doing.

The Movimento Sem-Terra in Brazil

Dawn Plummer

Historical Roots of the MST

Brazil is one of the most unequal societies on the planet--1% of landowners own 44% of all Brazilian land (an area larger than the continental United States). Understanding the history and social implications of that inequality is essential background for understanding the situation of the landless in Brazil today.

What Power Do We Want?

Cecilia Moretti

It isn't easy to think about the kind of power we want, especially when we believe in a freedom that is opposed to any kind of authoritarianism. It becomes even more difficult because, over the centuries of human history, the word power itself has been contaminated with notions of authority and domination.

Self-Employed Women's Union, South Africa

Khoboso Nthunya


Self-Employed Women's Union (SEWU) is an independent trade union established in 1993 to represent the interests of self-employed and survivalist women engaged in the informal sector of the South African economy. SEWU is not affiliated with COSATU (South Africa's main labor union congress) because its members are women from different political parties.

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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