Nonviolence Handbook

Role playing

Role playing is a simulation exercise in which participants take on roles in a given situation as preparation for encountering a similar situation or evaluating a past one. Roleplaying is used to develop a sense of tactics, individual competence, and group cohesion. The main advantage of roleplaying over other tools is that by its nature it involves people's emotions as well as their intellects in the experience. Because participants are more deeply engaged in roleplaying than they are in discussing a situation, they learn more, and probably more quickly. Roleplays are a versatile tool that can be used for many different purposes, for example: to analyze situations, theories and tactics; to understand people and their roles; to develop insight into the thoughts and feelings of ones “opponents”; to anticipate new situations; to reveal fears and anxieties and other feelings people have about an action; to develop individual and group competence and confidence; and to develop group morale.

Cross spectrum

To help a group determine what is an effective nonviolent action; show the different perceptions on nonviolence; to test or develop specific proposal for effective nonviolent action that the group can agree on

Decision making

Quick decision exercise is used to prepare people to face crisis situations and to get them into the frame of mind in which they will think quickly under stress, focus on key issues, learn to ignore minor ones and to reach action-decisions.

Tree and wind

Trust games help to highlight situations of insecurity or fear, and of confidence in yourself and the group

Spectrum of allies

  • To understand who our allies and opponents are.
  • To help in realizing that tactics need to be planned in relation to how much they do or don't attract key allies and move people towards being active allies.
  • To encourage more optimistic mobilization efforts through a realization that it is not necessary to win over the opposition to our point of view.
  • To invite people into the fascinating complexity of strategizing.

Pillars of power

1. To identify the pillars holding up the power structures we want to overcome.

2. To analyse the pillars with the goal of developing strategies to weaken them.

3. To identify the vulnerability of power structures.

The tree

To identify and analyse the nature and components of the problem and to come up with positive responses

10-10 strategies

This exercise helps people learn about the rich history of nonviolent campaigns, getting a better understanding of campaigns, tactics and movement

Speak out

  • To motivate members of a dominant group to process information about injustice.
  • To turn some power dynamics upside down so the dominant group can experience what it is like when others have an uninterrupted opportunity to dominate the “air time”.
  • To build more solidarity among those who have less power so they can support each other better in an organization or a workshop.
  • To create a norm that the dominant group can support each other to change rather than depend those who have less power to have to “teach them”.
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