Nonviolence

WRI's Nonviolence Programme promotes the use of active nonviolence to confront the causes of war and militarism. We develop resources (such as the Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns) and provide nonviolence training to groups seeking to develop their skills.

WRI's Nonviolence Programme:

  • empowers grassroot activists in nonviolent campaigns, through resources, publications and by leading training in nonviolence;

  • coordinates regional nonviolence trainers' networks;

  • educates the WRI and wider network of the connections between economics and war.

We believe the goals of peace and justice will eventually be achieved through the persistent work of grassroots movements over time, in all countries and regions. Our mission is to support these movements, helping them gain and maintain the strength needed for the journey they face, and to link them to one another, forming a global network working in solidarity, sharing experiences, countering war and injustice at all levels.

The front cover of our Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns

Resources

Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns

In 2014 we published the second edition of our Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns, a book to accompany and support social change movements. The book – written by over 30 seasoned activists - has been translated into over ten languages, and several thousand copies have been sold. A wide variety of movements, campaigns, trainers and individual activists from around the world have made use of the Handbook.

Empowering Nonviolence

From April 2017, the Handbook – and lots of other content – will be available online on our new Empowering Nonviolence website. Empowering Nonviolence allows users to browse the content of the Handbook, helping to make activists and movements more effective in their campaigning and direct action, more strategic in their planning, and to become more sustainable, as they learn from others and share stories and ideas.

New Worlds in Old Shells

When we think of nonviolent social change we often think of protests, direct action, banners, placards, and crowds in the street. Often these actions are saying “No!”, resisting the causes of violence and war, and they are very necessary. As important though, are the communities and organisations “building a new world in the shell of the old”, saying “yes!” by putting into practise the emancipatory, nonviolent, empowering ways of working and living we hope – one day – everyone will experience. Gandhi coined the word “constructive programmes” to describe this sort of social change, and we are currently writing a new publication exploring these ideas, called New Worlds in Old Shells.

Nonviolence Training

The Nonviolence Programme is a direct response to needs expressed by activist groups for nonviolence training and resources, especially focusing on campaign strategies for nonviolent direct action (NVDA). The training tools and materials we use are designed to facilitate the groups that contact us in the processes they initiate and lead. We do not prescribe a particular way of taking action; our goal is to train and empower local nonviolence trainers, to build independent, local capacity with the groups we work alongside.

About 180 US nuclear bombs are still being stored in Europe for use by NATO in the event of a nuclear strike, although it is not clear who against. 20 of these nuclear bombs - left over from the Cold War - are deployed in Büchel in South Eifel (Rheinland-Pfalz), Germany.

Coming up next month is the Disarmament Camp in Burghfield, Britain from 26 August - 7 September. The camp, run by Trident Ploughshare, is part of the Action AWE campaign that is acting to halt nuclear weapons production at the Atomic Weapons Establishment factories at Aldermaston and Burghfield. Groups are coming from Finland, Sweden, Spain, France, Italy and Belgium – it would be great if more people would be able to join us!

On 24th April, Taiwanese peace activist Emily Wang was held by Korean immigration and later was deported for opposing the construction of the naval base on Jeju Island. Since 2010, Emily has been working with people from the village of Gangjeong on Jeju Island just off the South Korean coast. The people of Gangjeong are at risk of being evicted in order to make way for a naval base, which was planned without proper consultation with the people in the community.

The 16th of May the peace activist Martin Smedjeback will start to serve his two week sentence at the penitentiary Sörbyn, outside of Umeå in the north of Sweden. He was convicted for illegal trespass into the air force base F21 in Luleå in the northern part of Sweden. Inside he and Annika Spalde painted the air strip pink. The action was a part of the international peace camp War starts here organized by the antimilitaristic network Ofog.

From 20 - 22 of February the Conference on Nonviolence took place in Bilbao, Basque Country. The day conferences were organised by WRI affiliate KEM-MOC. They looked at the role of nonviolence and civil disobedience in times of crisis. They were a huge success, with more than 850 people attending their sessions and with more than 160 minutes of radio coverage. You can read and see videos about the conference from the following link: http://www.ezbiolentzia.org/ (in Spanish and Basque).

Alex Rayfield In a recent article (Rayfield and Morello 2012) a colleague, Rennie Morello and I wrestled with our outsider/insider identities as we facilitated nonviolent training and education with and for West Papuan activists longing for freedom. We wrote: In some sense we might have once identified ourselves as outsiders to the movement offering support “in solidarity”. But over time the movement has stirred-up trouble for us and our insider-outsider identities. We work in solidarity with Papuan activists in their struggle for self-determination, but we are not Papuan. In this way we are cultural outsiders. More importantly, while we attempt to share the risks and costs of working for peace and justice in West Papua, we will never pay the same price as Papuan activists. In this way, we are political outsiders. Connected to this is our commitment to non-interference – Papuan activists themselves must determine the strategic direction and tactical choices of the movement. In this way we are movement outsiders.

Jungmin Choi

We, the members of World without War, held a Movement Building Workshop in March of last year in collaboration with Andreas Speck from War Resisters’ International. The workshop used the Movement Action Plan (MAP) model to examine our campaigning, particularly in relation to government's abandonment of the previous administration's plan to address the issue of alternative service. Our campaign has been at a standstill since the inauguration of the current government.

Laura Shipler Chico

When violence erupted after Kenya’s last elections in 2007, Kenyan Quakers were quick to respond – first with humanitarian aid, then moving house-to-house listening to people’s experiences and worries. Eventually they began to help people process their trauma and knit their communities back together. But as they did this, people told them, “You are here telling us not to be violent. But if we hadn’t been violent you wouldn’t be here to begin with.” Some who heard that message promised to come back with a strategy to speak out strongly and loudly against social injustice but without resorting to violent methods.

Majken Jul Sørensen

In 2010, a convoy of six ships called the Freedom Flotilla set out to challenge the blockade of Gaza, posing a considerable dilemma for the Israeli authorities. On board the ships were around 700 unarmed civilians from around the world, including some well known personalities, like the Swedish crime novelist Henning Mankell and parliamentarians from a number of countries. In addition to the passengers and representatives from the media, the ships also carried 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid, such as building materials and medical equipment like X-ray machines and ultrasound scanners.i The long journey meant that the pressure built while the ships approached Gaza, making this a drama for the world to watch.


Article written for Friedensforum

In 2016 the UK government will finalise the decision to build a new nuclear weapons system to replace the present Trident system (http://actionawe.org/the-trident-system/). The nuclear submarines that carry Trident are getting old, so the government has pledged to finalise contracts to replace them in 2016 in order to build a new generation of nuclear weapons at an estimated cost of £76–100 billion. This is more than the current planned public spending cuts of £81 billion. If the contracts go ahead, the warheads would be designed and manufactured at AWE (Atomic Weapons Establishment) Aldermaston and Burghfield, in Berkshire, about 50 miles west of London ( http://actionawe.org/awe-burghfield-maps-gates/ ).

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