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.

PRESS RELEASE

January 30, 2013
Peace network Ofog, Sweden

Swedish peace campaigner Martin Smedjeback today received a prison sentence of 14 days from a provincial court in the Scandinavian country. On July 29, 2011, together with Annika Spalde, he went inside the air force base F21 in Luleå in the northern part of Sweden. Inside they painted the air strip pink. Spalde who had already before received and served a sentence of 14 days in prison for an earlier action the same week, did not get any further sentence.

Gangjeong Style

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Gangjeong Style

Sitting at the gate of the illegal construction site by day

A classy girl who can enjoy the freedom of a cup of coffee

A girl whose heart gets fired up when the police arrive

A girl with that kind of unexpected side

I’m a defender

A defender whose sense of justice is as strong as yours

A defender who blocks that illegal construction before the coffee cools

A defender whose heart explodes when the police arrive

That kind of defender

Javier Gárate

During the first two weeks of October (2012), I visited South Korea, invited by the group World Without War to give a training for trainers in nonviolent action and to visit Gangjeong village, on Jeju Island, where people are resisting the construction of a naval base.

It is well known that South Korea is a militarised country, with the protracted conflict with North Korea being a permanent reminder of this militarisation.

For a decade WRI has been cooperating with South Korean antimilitarists. This began in 2001 when South Korean activists asked WRI for support in their work on conscientious objection. At that time there were hundreds of Jehovah's Witness COs in prison for their refusal to military service. In early 2002 political COs started to organise themselves, and WRI played an important role in supporting their work. Initially their CO work came more from a Human Rights perspective but rapidly it took a more antimilitarist approach, with nonviolence being an important identity for them. As nonviolence and antimilitarism took a more prominent role in their work, they started expanding their work beyond CO support. That is how World Without War (2003) came to existence as a group resisting war by nonviolent means.

October 15, 2012 - Press release

As of 7:30 AM peace activists are using non-violent means to try and stop the departure of F16 airplanes from the base in Kleine Brogel. Starting today, Belgian pilots are training for the deployment of nuclear weapons together with their NATO-partners. Small groups of activists are going onto the runway to stop the taking off of the F-16s. Meanwhile, the main gate of the base is being blocked. In this way, Vredesactie and Action pour la Paix hope to prevent the preparation for war crimes.

by Matt Meyer

Between July 26 and 30, in Johannesburg, South Africa, peacemakers from 12 countries throughout Africa met to share experiences and birthed a new, continent-wide African Nonviolence and Peacebuilding Network (ANPN). As part of a War Resisters International (WRI) initiated African Nonviolence Trainer’s Exchange, the gathering was hosted by South Africa’s Ceasefire Campaign, an historic anti-war organization which grew out of the mass, anti-apartheid-oriented End Conscription Campaign. The delegates from more than a dozen organizations heard from Sherif Joseph Rizk, a participant in the 2011 Tahrir Square protests, and pledged to intensify coordinated nonviolent resistance from the south to the north of Africa.

Rafael Uzcategui is a member of the group that publishes the anarchist newspaper El Libertario in Caracas (Venezuela). As antimilitarist, he is also a member of the War Resisters' International and works in a Venezuelan human rights NGO called Provea. He is author of the books “Heart of Ink” and “Venezuela: Revolution as Spectacle” in which he reports the so-called Bolivarian process of Chavez and the true face of his "revolutionary" government. Taking advantage of his conference tour in Germany, we interviewed Rafael for the magazine Gai Dao.

If you were wondering if the Peace Riders managed to finish the Dunwich Dynamo ride, well, yes! It was a great ride and all six of us completed it. It took us a bit less than 10 hours. It was amazing to see so many cyclists joining this crazy ride. A big thank you to the organisers who designed a very good route mostly through quiet countryside roads. After the ride, some in the team even went for a swim in the sea in the very early morning hours. As Peace Riders we are already considering what should be our next adventure - for now it would be getting a bit of rest.

Dear friends,

The former WRI team Triathletes for Peace has now reformed as the WRI Peace Riders. The Peace Riders team is formed by Jenny Amery, Andy Neidhardt, Matt Neidhardt, Stephen J Gillam and Javier Gárate. The first challenge of the Peace Riders is to complete the 2012 Dunwich Dynamo bike ride, which is a ride of 120 miles (193 km) from east London to Dunwich on the Suffolk coast in the UK. And if you thought that riding 120 miles was not hard enough, the ride is during the night- hence the name dynamo - and will be taking place on 30 June (2012). So while you are most likely sleeping, the Peace Riders will be pedalling hard for peace and to support the work of War Resisters' International.

By Matt Meyer

Despite decades of anti-colonial civilian resistance in Africa, a pernicious movement of land acquisition is overtaking the continent at a rate unprecedented since the conquests of the 19th Century. In a low-profile manner, significantly more than 125 million acres of land—more than double the size of Britain—has been sold to wealthy investors or foreign governments since 2010. With China and India leading the list of national purchasers, and Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan amongst the leading multinational corporate plunderers, the countries most affected by recent sales include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, and Ethiopia. Oxfam International has reported that, in some cases, land has been sold for less than forty cents an acre.

Editorial

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Land-grabbing and militarism is the theme of this Broken Rifle, a theme that it is as timely as ever. As I write, activists in South Korea are using their bodies to blockade the construction of a military base in Jeju Island - as reported in Angie Zelter's article.

Nonviolent Movements Against Land Grab and Militarism

By Howard Clark

From the men of property the order came:
They sent the hired men and troopers to wipe out the Diggers' claim.
"Tear down their cottages. Destroy their corn!"
They were dispersed but still the vision carries on.

- Lines from Leon Rosselson's song celebrating the Diggers and their struggle for land in 17th century England

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