edited by Chris Ney
Timed to coincide with the launch of its new Nonviolence Programme, War Resisters' International finally publishes articles based on presentations at its 'Nonviolence and Social Empowerment Study Conference" in February 2001. While not complete, these articles reflect some of the discussion at the conference. which was the result of a process over several years. In a report of the conference, War Resisters' International wrote: "The conference program stretched the bow from personal experiences with empowerment and disempowerment, over working in groups and organisations to social movements and to international cooperation (or disempowering tutelage?) (...)"
More than providing new answers this conference raised new questions, and again raised old questions in new circumstances. "Globalization" or its effects ran as a topic through many plenaries and working groups. What are the effects of globalization on the social movements? What possibilities exist to counter the "globalization of multinationals" with a "globalization from below", a globally connected resistance, that is empowered by its variety?'
Chris Ney kindly agreed to edit case studies submitted for the conference, and War Resisters' International would like to thank him for his work, and is glad to be able to finally make these resources available to a wider public online.
I. EMPOWERMENT : IDEAS AND CONCEPTS
- Empowerment: just another phrase?
By Vesna Terselic
This article considers whether empowerment is simply a new buzz word or a better way to understand people's movements. Terselic works with AntiRatna Kampanja (ARK), Croatia and was awarded the Right Livelihood "alternative Nobel" award
- What Power Do We Want??
By Cecelia Moretti
Does power always corrupt or should it be seized? An examination of the possibilities for the use of power without domination. Moretti is a Vice-Chair of War Resisters' International and lives in Buenos Aires.
- Empowerment and women
by Phushpa Bhave
Offers a feminist critique of empowerment as a manifestation of patriarchy's obsession with power. Bhave is a feminist and professor residing in Mumbai (Bombay) India.
- Collective identities: trap or tool for empowerment?
by Andreas Speck
Using the gay rights movement as an example, this article examines the possibilities and pitfalls of identity politics. Speck is on the staff of War Resisters' International in London and an organizer of the Nonviolence and Social Empowerment project.
- Be realistic, demand the impossible
by Howard Clark
Social movements past and present have offered empowerment to their participants, but how permanent are the changes they promote? Clark is a long time nonviolent activist and past staff person for War Resisters' International.
- Empowerment: International Dimensions
by Andreas Speck
A critical evaluation of War Resisters' International's work to empower anti-militarist activists across national lines. Speck is on the staff of War Resisters' International in London and an organizer of the Nonviolence and Social Empowerment project.
- Fear--a sign that we are alive
by Roberta Bacic
A basic human emotion, fear reminds us that we are challenging boundaries and a recognition of its proper place is an important part of any activist effort. Bacic is a human rights activist from Chile who is currently on the staff at War Resisters' International's London Office.
II. EMPOWERMENT: ACTIONS AND CAMPAIGNS
- Peace in Bougainville and the Work of the Leitana Nehan Women's Development Agency
by Kris Hakema
The dramatic story of conflict resolution during a bloody civil war in Papua New Guinea. Hakema's family has played an active role in promoting nonviolence and reconciliation in PNG after their home was destroyed during the civil conflict there.
- Resisting the War in Yugoslavia
by Bojan Aleksov
Describes the author’s experiences as a war resister during the wars in the former Yugoslavia and the impact of his decision on himself, friends, and activist colleagues. Aleksov was imprisoned for resisting conscription to the Yugoslav army.
- Paradise Invaded: The U.S. Navy Bombs Puerto Rico
by Roberto Rabin
With massive public support, the longest continuous CD campaign in U.S. history seeks to end military training on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. Rabin is spokesperson for the Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques.
- Deterrent Nonviolence
by Jorgen Johansen
A people's campaign stops construction of new power plants by organizing, training and threatening to commit civil disobedience; construction is halted without a single arrest. Johansen is a professor and veteran nonviolent activist in Sweden and Norway.
- The Chipko Movement
by Prasad Bhatt
A successful campaign to save the forests in India's Himalayan region from destruction. Bhatt is a Gandhian and a leader of the effort to stop destruction of the trees.
- Dalit Organising in India
by Bijay Singh
Despite laws banning discrimination against dalit (untouchable) castes, many forms of oppression continue to exist-a practice challenged by the Dalit and Adivasi Liberation Trust efforts toward empowerment. Singh works to empower his community through consciousness-raising efforts.
- The Experience of the Youth Network of Medellin Colombia
by Martin Rodriguez
In a city known around the world for violence, a grassroots group uses art and self-expression to empower and change the lives of young people.
- Inside Out
by Keith Goddard
Details the development of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe and anti-gay campaigns and statements of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.
- Nonviolent struggle in Kosovo
by Howard Clark
- The Movimento Sem-Terra in Brazil
by Dawn Plummer
In a nation noted for its savage social inequalities, a movement of landless people presses the claims of displaced peasants and urban homeless people through nonviolent action and education. Isernhagen lives in Sao Leopoldo in Southern Brazil.
- Self-Employed Women's Union, South Africa
by Khoboso Nthunya
More than a decade after the end of apartheid, economic inequality challenges South Africa-a challenge addressed by the women's self-employed union. Nthunya is a South African activist based in Durban.
- Democracy In Seattle's Streets
by Chris Ney
A firsthand report of the nonviolent direct action that stopped the WTO in Seattle and changed the world's perceptions of one of the strongest international finance bureaucracies ever created.
by Saswati Roy
Swadhina uses grassroots economic development projects as a means of promoting empowerment among India's tribal women. Roy works with Swadhina, the host of the Nonviolence and Social Empowerment conference.
- The Intifada: from violence to more violence
by Marwan Darweish
An evaluation of the first and second uprisings in the occupied territories. Darweish lives in Jerusalem where he is a teacher.
- The Tibetan Nonviolent Resistance: Empowerment in an Extraordinary Situation
by Senthil Ram
An examination of the relationship between Tibet and China and the prospects for nonviolent action to create a more just relationship. Ram is a peace researcher in Delhi, India.