Nonviolence Handbook

Turkey

Militarism and patriarchy is deeply rooted in Turkish culture. Currently, war in the 'south-east' is based on ethnic discrimination against Kurds although it is officially described as a 'war against terrorism'. Any attempt to question militarism is called 'treason'. The people most affected by the negative consequences of violence are primarily women, children and elders, and also the religious, ethnic and political minorities. Violence is so internalized in Turkish society that alternative perspectives have been made 'unthinkable' - even among those who normally question hierarchy and promote freedom and equality.

Israel - New Profile learns from the experience of others

There was a new political awareness in Israel in the mid-nineties. Increasing numbers of people were objecting to Israeli's presence in Lebanon and the loss of Israeli lives. Some were questioning the government's infringement into Palestinian lands. Demonstrations were taking place daily, particularly at major intersections, to pressure Israel to get out of Lebanon. There were several groups who were leading the grassroots movements at the time– Four Mothers, Mothers and Women for Peace, and Women in Black.

Chile: Gandhi’s Insights Gave People Courage to Defy Chile’s Dictatorship

On September 11, 1973, the Chilean junta, backed by the CIA and the Nixon Administration, overthrew the democratically elected government of Socialist President Salvador Allende. Priscilla Hayner, in her book Unspeakable Truths, Confronting State Terror and Atrocity (2001) outlines the devastating impact: “The regime espoused a virulent anticommunism to justify its repressive tactics, which included mass arrests, torture (estimates of the number of people tortured range from 50,000 to 200,000), killings, and disappearances.” The dictatorship assassinated, tortured, and exiled thousands of political opponents and visionaries.

International Antimilitarist marches

The International Nonviolent March for Demilitarisation (International March) was an annual event in Europe from 1976 until 1987 that helped spread the idea of organising through affinity groups, with nonviolence training and consensus decision-making.

Seabrook—Wyhl—Marckolsheim: Transnational Links in a Chain of Campaigns

When 18 people walked onto the construction site of the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant in New Hampshire on 1 August 1976, it was the first collective nonviolent direct action against nuclear power in the USA. Many opponents of nuclear power considered such tactics too radical. Later that month, when 180 people committed civil disobedience at the site, the organizers, the Clamshell Alliance, used nonviolence training and the affinity group structure for the first time. In the future, these elements became well-known and practised throughout the nonviolent social change movement. On 30 April 1977 over 2400 people, organized in hundreds of affinity groups, occupied the site. During the next two days 1415 were arrested, many jailed for two weeks. This action inspired the anti-nuclear power movement and created a new international model for organizing actions which consisted of training for nonviolent direct action and consensus decision-making in a non-hierarchical affinity group structure.

Actions and Solidarity campaign with South Africa

The first calls for an international boycott of apartheid South Africa were made as early as 1958, and in Britain it was seen as a major strategy to be pursued when the Anti-Apartheid Movement was launched in 1959. At the intergovernmental level, South Africa's system of apartheid was widely condemned, especially after the 1960 Sharpeville massacre: in 1961 South Africa was thrown out of the Commonwealth (then called the British Commonwealth) and in 1962 the UN set up a Special Committee Against Apartheid, the next year agreeing a "voluntary" arms embargo. Yet it was not until the 1990s that apartheid finally ended.

Introduction

This section is a collection of stories and strategies on the use of nonviolence around the world. Stories help us learn from past experiences, and many of these describe how people learned strategies from campaigns in other parts of the world and strengthened their campaigns through international cooperation.

Evaluation

Evaluation allows us to learn from our experiences. Always everybody makes some kind of informal evaluation of an event - be it personal reflections, talking it over with friends, or a meeting of a group of core organisers ('leaders'). What we propose here, however, is that there be a structure for feeding back lessons from an event. Rather than leave evaluation to chance or confined to an elite, it should be set up as a planned and collective activity - valuing the input of people who have played different roles, who bring different kinds of experience and even levels of commitment. Preferably everyone who participated in an action or in organising an event should be encouraged to take part in evaluating it.

Jail support (MOC-Spain experience)

The experience of MOC (Movimiento de Objeción de Conciencia) in helping people in prison is based on the civil disobedience campaign against obligatory military service - the campaign of insumisión 1971-2002 in which thousands of insumisos were jailed. During this period, various ways of supporting prisoners were suggested and tried. One of the most valued, without a doubt, were the 'support groups'.

Legal support

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Introduction

On trialOn trial
Legal systems are different in every country. However, for actions where it is likely that participants will be arrested, it is always useful to have a 'legal support team'. This advice on forming such a team in Britain is adapted from the first section of a much longer briefing by the Activist Legal Project at: http://www.activistslegalproject.org.uk

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