Nonviolence Training

War Resisters' International Nonviolence Training Exchange

Bilbao, Basque Country, 26th - 29th of October 2008

WRI's Nonviolence Programme aims to strengthen and deepen our understanding of nonviolence, both from a strategic and campaigning point of view, and to develop and provide tools and support to groups using nonviolence. To advance further towards this goal, WRI is organising an International Nonviolence Training Exchange in Bilbao, the Basque Country from the 26th to the 29th of October, 2008.

Training Exercises

Wars vs Nonviolence

(30 min)10/10 Strategies - This exercise helps people learn about the rich history of nonviolent campaigns, getting a better understanding of campaigns, tactics and movements. Break into small groups of 5-6. One person in each group needs to list numbers 1 to 10 on a piece of paper. Groups are "competing" with one another to see who can do the task in the fastest time, as opposed to our usual cooperative style. Each group is to list 10 wars as quickly as possible, raising their hands when they are done. Facilitator should note the time.

Brainstorming

Why we choose nonviolence?

Brainstorming is a group technique designed to generate a large number of ideas in a limited amount of time. Most of us have probably used brainstorms in our political work to develop descriptions (i.e. What is nonviolence?) or answer question with as many ideas as possible to consider (i.e. What tactics would help us reach our goals?). It is a good tool to use at meetings and nonviolence training as it gets people energised by the flow of answers. It also helps to listen to more voices within the group.

Gender in Nonviolence Training

Speech by Isabelle Geuskens, Program Manager IFOR-WPP


Thank you for inviting me to speak here this morning!

My remarks here today are from the perspective of peace movement that holds active nonviolence as its core value since 1919, the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR).  They are largely based on the experiences of one of its programs, the Women Peacemakers Program.

War Resisters' International's work in nonviolence needs your support

The War Resisters’ International’s Nonviolence Programme

The Nonviolence Programme is one of the two main programmes areas for the WRI office and network. Working to promote and support nonviolence for social change within the WRI and the wider grassroots movement. The programme began working 2 years ago and has already made some accomplishments.

Die Arbeit zu War Resisters' International zu Gewaltfreiheit braucht Unterstützung

Das Gewaltfreiheitsprogramm der War Resisters' International

Das Gewaltfreiheitsprogramm ist einer der beiden wesentlichen Programmbereiche des WRI-Büros uns -Netzwerkes, und arbeitet an der Förderung und Unterstützung von Gewaltfreiheit für gesellschaftliche Veränderungen, innerhalb der WRI sowie in der breiteren basisorientierten Bewegung. Das Programm wurde vor zwei Jahren begonnen, und hat bisher schon einige kleine Erfolge vorzuweisen.

Nonviolent action against militarism

Militarism has been the traditional target for the peace movement's nonviolent action. But keeping in mind the issues discussed in WRI's 1999 Seminar, "The Changing Face of the Military", we must remain vigilant of changes. The dictionary definition of militarism includes references to:

Nonviolent action for global justice -- globalisation

With protests at Seattle, Prague and Genoa, a diverse movement campaigning for global justice had received more and more media coverage. A lot of this has been negative, concentrating on violent riots at these summits rather than the issues. The words "globalisation" and "anti-globalisation" tend to be bandied about, with lots of confusion about their actual meaning. We cannot win an argument if we do not even understand the terms we are using.

Action strategies

a) Linking with people

Engaging and fostering links with people is one of the most important aspects of nonviolent action. We are frequently perceived as engaging solely in confrontational actions with either negative or utopian demands. In speaking up against the status quo, we threaten the vested interests of the media, and as a result usually receive a bad press. We must therefore try our hardest to link directly with all the people around us, as well as with those who are already working in similar areas.

Conclusion

Militarism is inextricably linked in with the wider patriarchal capitalist system we live in. This analysis however allows us to build links for setting ourselves short-term goals. And while doing that it is necessary for us to keep in view and understand the place of those short-term goals within the larger picture.

This suggests a shift to include acting towards more realistic, small-scale aims and a new variation on the theme: "Think total, act local"

Some reoccurring themes during the seminar were:

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