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.

By Isham Christie

Since the brutal eviction of Occupy Wall Street’s encampment at Liberty Plaza, questions about the future of the movement loom large. The Occupy Movement’s rapid development was two months of near constant actions, arrests, and activity. What we built in those two months from Sept. 17th to Nov. 17th is now transitioning into long-term movement. One important way that plays out is creating coordination between all the different occupations. Because the Occupy Movement spans the globe (including Japan, Pakistan, South Korea, Brazil, Canada, etc) a strong sense of international solidarity is beginning to emerge. And it is these political and personal bonds that are laying the basis for a transformation of global solidarity and anti-war work.

By Carlos Pérez Barranco
 

I imagine that the majority of us who participated in last Sunday’s demonstration on May 15th, believed that we were going to repeat the familiar experience of taking to the streets for a just cause, only to then go back home with the feeling of having participated in something necessary but in some way sterile.
 

By Dan Contreras

The root of the problem

In order to understand the educational movement we’ve seen grow over these past few years – becoming most radical in the last six months – we must go back to the genesis of the problem: the strict cost/quality relation brought about by the privatization of Chilean education in the aftermath of the 1973 coup d’état. In short, this means that in today’s Chile, the more you pay, the higher the standard of education you will receive.  The violent and anti-democratic takeover that put this system in place, traded in an economic model that allowed for strong state intervention in educational accountability and investment, for one which minimized government decision-making and encouraged privatization of state universities and growth of private educational institutions. 

By Javier Gárate

“Effective nonviolence in the 21st century”, a timely title after all we have seen happening in the world during 2011. At the same time the title is quite broad and could be approached from many angles. I will focus more from my own experience of working at War Resisters' International.
WRI is an international network with more than 80 members in more than 40 countries. WRI is a network based on mutual support and international solidarity, we have a very small office, so we relied on the work and commitment of volunteers and of our members. Everyone who wants to join WRI has to agree to a declaration of principles:

Javier Gárate lecture at the Irish School of Ecumenics on effective nonviolence in the 21st century, given in Belfast on October 13, 2011.

Link to the talk: http://www.ecumenics.ie/news/javier-garate-talk/

Majken Sørensen

2 August

One week ago I participated in a civil disobedience action together with three friends from the anti-militarist network Ofog. As part of a campaign to mark the places where war starts, we went into the NEAT military test area near the town Luleå in the north of Sweden. Well inside NEAT, we marked a radar station at Palja with a pink banner saying “War Starts Here”. Immediately afterwards we were arrested by a security guard, on suspicion of entering what is called a “protected area”.

Javier Gárate

During the month of July 2011 almost 200 antimilitarists, from different parts of the world, took part in the activities of “War Starts Here” – The war starts here in a peace camp in Lulea in the north of Sweden. The ten days of activities included the WRI council meeting, a seminar under the same title, trainings in direct non violent action, and a series of actions against NEAT, the North European Aerospace Training base.

Peace activists from Ofog paint peace signs on the runway at Vidsel air base, which is a part of North European Aerospace Testrange -- an area almost as big as Belgium, that Sweden, Nato and others, are using for war preparations (military exercises).

Police plans to keep non-Swedish activists detained for three days / call for solidarity

170 international peace activists from 17 countries today entered the North European Aerospace Test range in a massive act of nonviolent civil disobedience in the north of Sweden. Some 28 activists have been confirmed as arrested or detained, among them activist from Venezuela, Spain, Germany, UK and Finland. At the end of the day, police kept ten non-Swedish activists detained, and interrogated them at the police station of Lulea.

Javier Gárate

Opinions are polarised on Venezuela. The western establishment argues that there is a socialist dictatorship while many on the left believe that a true socialist revolution is taking place. Chavez's denunciation of Western military intervention, his rhetorical opposition to capitalist globalisation, and the fact that he has survived an attempted coup make most of the world's anti-war movements likely to sympathise. But there is also disquiet – about the personality cult, about Chavez's own authoritarianism and affinity with other authoritarian rulers, about an economic policy which in reality is based on partnerships with western oil corporations, and for us in WRI the sheer militarism – the creation of uniformed militia, the presence of military officers at the head of “civilian” organisations, the continuing inculcation of a war mentality. At the invitation of PROVEA (an internationally respected human rights education organisation) and the anarchist magazine El Libertario, in May a three-person WRI delegation went to Caracas and also visited the state of Lara.

Cattis Laska

The global war machine each year, kills directly and indirectly, millions of people, destroying entire communities, and destroing nature. Contrary to the popular image of Sweden, both at home and abroad, Sweden plays a major role in the war industry. Sweden is the world's largest arms exporter per capita, Sweden participates in NATO's war in Afghanistan, and Sweden has the largest practice area for war within its borders.

Subscribe to Nonviolence