Democracy In Seattle's Streets

Christopher Ney

It was in Chile, as an international observer of the 1988 plebiscite that voted Augusto Pinochet out of office, that I first saw the dramatic transformative power of nonviolence. I saw it the second time in Seattle during the protests of the meeting of the World Trade Organization.

Collective identities: trap or tool for empowerment?

Andreas Speck

Collective identities--"we" as queers, or whatever group you like--are often perceived as empowering by providing a sense of belonging. At the same time, by the very existence of these collective identities produce new boundaries of "in" and "out" and new norms of behavior that limit people's freedom to be and to do. Thus, identity can be disempowering and even threaten people's lives, in the case of nationalist or homophobic attacks.


Saswati Roy

Sumitra, Champa, Samprada, Sushama, Kalabati, Salma are some of the tribal women living in remote corners in the state of Orissa in India who we have met during our recent visit to their villages. The women's organization with which I work, Swadhina, has been encouraging and promoting women's groups in these villages for the past five years. These women live in distant villages located in hilly forest regions. Their lives are integrally linked to the forest, which has been their source of food, fodder and wood for fuel.

Be realistic, demand the impossible

Howard Clark

Look back at an experience of empowerment. I wonder if the experience now seems that it was just a passing feeling you had at the time. Back then, you or your group somehow gathered the strength to make a difference--or at least feel that you made a difference. You may have changed something permanently, but the feeling was ephemeral. It wore off. A sense of empowerment is something that needs to be recreated continually.

The Intifada: from violence to more violence

Marwan Darweish

Overall situation

The thrust of the peace process that resulted in the 1993 Oslo agreement was to bring the Palestinians and Israelis to an interim negotiated settlement. It set out steps that focused on building mutual trust between the two peoples. After the signing of the Oslo agreement, which included the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), there was a gradual implementation of the terms of the agreement and the beginning of Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories.

Technology for nonviolent struggle

Let's begin with two bold propositions. First, methods of social action without violence can be extremely powerful -- indeed so powerful as to be a possible alternative to military defence. Second, technology, which is now massively oriented to military purposes, can be reoriented to support nonviolent action. These two propositions, if followed through, lead to two striking conclusions. First, nonviolent struggle, which is normally seen as primarily a social and psychological process, has vital technological dimensions. Second, reorienting technology to serve nonviolent struggle would involve a wholesale transformation of research directions, technological infrastructure and social decision making.

A Conscientious Objector's Guide to the UN Human Rights System

This report was commissioned by QUNO, the Quaker United Nations Office in Geneva, and has been published by CONCODOC in London.


Testimonies of Conscience Sent From the Soviet Union to The War Resisters' International 1923 - 1929,

Toronto 1997. Edited by Peter Brock, Professor Emeritus of History in the University of Toronto; 42 pp., £3 (including postage). Available from the WRI office.

Editor's Introduction

The widespread movement of conscientious objection during the first twelve years of Soviet rule remains a topic almost unexplored by scholars. Yet it is one of the most important themes in the history of pacifism before the nuclear age. Until near the end of the Communist era the few writers who broached the subject, e.g.. the hard party-liner F.M. Putintsev or the erudite sociologist of religion A.l. Klibanov, did so in an extremely tendentious fashion. With the collapse of Communism, the situation of course changed.


Our Human Rights: A Manual for Women's Human Rights Education is the first comprehensive training manual that addresses many aspects of women's human rights in an ´interactive format' which is suitable for many audiences, from school teachers, to advocates for women's rights, to general human rights groups.
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