Training for Nonviolent Action


Theodore W. Olson

Lynne Shivers

The following material is based on the discussion which took place at the Preston Patrick Seminar on "evaluation of methods of training for nonviolent action." We are very happy to present it to our readers as a special issue of War Resistance. .

The WRI is particularly grateful to Theodore Olson and Lynne Shivers who have prepared this document and have given us the opportunity to publish it.


... Just as one must learn the art of killing in the training for violence, one must learn the art of dying in the training for non-violence. Violence does not mean emancipation from fear, but discovering the means of combating the cause of fear. Non-violence, on the other hand, has no cause for fear. The votary of non-violence has to cultivate the capacity for sacrifice of the highest type in order to be free from fear."

(Gandhi. 1936)


the authors

Theodore W, Olson is Assistant Professor of Social Science at York University in Toronto, Canada. Co-author of Thirty-One Hours and numerous articles on nonviolent direct action, he is a long-time participant in North American direct action projects.

Lynne Shivers graduated from the Martin Luther King School of Social Change in Chester, Pennsylvania, USA, in 1968. She has been active in training and action programmes with the Friends Peace Committee, A Quaker Action Group, and Pendle Hill.


This pamphlet was occasioned by the second international seminar on nonviolent training, held at Preston Patrick, Westmorland, England, 27 June - 2 July, 1970. That seminar was co-sponsored by the Friends Peace and International Relations Committee of Gt. Britain and the War Resisters' International. The first one was an international conference on training held at Perugia, Italy, in 1965 and sponsored by the War Resisters' International.

Both the FPIRC and the WRI are deeply committed to non-violence. The FPIRC has been interested and active in exploring nonviolence since Gandhi's campaigns in India. It has supported studies and research over a number of years and welcomed the experiments of American Friends and others in developing non-violent training. It invited George Lakey to the United Kingdom in 1969-70 to develop training in this country.

The WRI views training as a valuable preparation for and adjunct to action, but it sees that training must be immediately linked to action campaigns. The Preston Patrick Seminar endorsed a memorandum asking the WRI to take up training programmes on a much wider scale. The Council of the WRI. at its Namur meeting (Belgium, July, 1970) accepted the memorandum, according to which the following areas of concern and activity regarding training for nonviolent action will be covered: to collect written materials on training and to publish certain materials; to develop an inventory of trainers; to aid trainers and researchers to plan, evaluate training programmes and methods, and exchange ideas; to help in arranging tours whose central focus is training; to aid in exchanging trainers; to help link training and action movements; to help develop training programmes for transnational actions; to sponsor and arrange regional and/or international training conferences.

We hope this pamphlet, which reviews the theory and practise of nonviolent action training as it exists to date, will stimulate training and action, thus helping to effect the social changes so deeply needed in our society. .

Devi Prasad, War Resisters' International.

Kenneth Lee, Friends Peace and International Relations Committee.


This document has one purpose:. to present practical guidance in training for nonviolent direct action. It is not an essay, nor does it attempt to convince you of the validity of nonviolence or training for it. We believe that an unflinching look at our world is more convincing than any arguments we might present. Instead, we invite you to begin reading at the point which most appeals to you: training methods, kinds of training, organizational frameworks, a list of training agencies, or the summation of training manuals presently available. .

On the other hand, these sections do form a connected whole. They are the result of an international seminar of experienced organizers and trainers held at Preston Patrick, Westmorland, England, 27 June - 2 July, 1970 (for details, see Appendix A) . These conclusions arise out of experience over many years of nonviolent direct action as well as the issues of 1970: Northern Ireland, Vietnam, black struggles, school and university movements, attempts to build the 'alternative society', and resistance to militarism.

This document is a response to a renewal of interest in alternative forms of social action-forms that show some promise of cutting through the fatal inertia of things as they are, but also forms that avoid going down the increasingly well-trodden back alleys --blind alleys, as many would say-- of traditional revolutionary violence. It is to meet this renewed interest that we present a summation of the state of the art of training as it exists today.

But the intent of this work is not retrospective-it is exploratory. We look forward to further experimentation in training for nonviolent direct action, experimentation on local issues of direct and immediate concern, as well as on the great public issues of our time. This is a document that we hope will be outmoded as soon as possible, superseded by your reflection and action. .

Theodore W. Olson.

Lynne Shivers.

July, 1970.


Nonviolence and the Crises of Our Times '

It has become common to hear people involved in action programmes say: 'We tried nonviolence and it didn't work': There are many reasons for a statement like this. Often advocates of nonviolent action have been more interested in what they called nonviolence than in dealing with crucial issues. Or they have linked nonviolence with sophisticated intellectual and political programmes, forcing inquirers with urgent needs of their own to swallow an ideology. These presentations of non-violence have made it difficult to understand nonviolence as an outlook, an analysis, and a set of tools capable of wide and varied application.

Other errors have arisen from the desire of action leaders to clothe themselves in the moral mantle of nonviolence, thus gaining respectability through the superficial public acceptance of Gandhi and King. This is not to say that activists have been driven by sheer opportunism. It has not been easy for many to see the crucial distinction between nonviolence as an outlook and strategy for change and the mere absence of violence. A facile acceptance led to quick rejection when this 'nonviolence' failed, as it so often did.

But the phase of discrediting nonviolence may be tapering off. The advancing technologies of bureaucracy and control have made poorly-planned or spontaneous revolt unrewarding except as gestures of defiance. And those in power often welcome well-funded and widespread violent opposition as the occasion to increase their output of the expensive hardware of repression. Or they use these plots and revolts as reasons for tightening the existing apparatus of control even further. Such cycles of violent resistance justifying violent repression have caused activists to take a second look at militant nonviolent action as a means of social change.

In such a setting, nonviolence needs no excuse or apology as an alternative mode of social action with at least some demonstrated capacity to avoid these problems. The following definition, while not inclusive, perhaps draws attention to what nonviolent direct action can do: nonviolent direct action is a mode of action that refuses to fight a violence-backed opponent on his own terms. It seeks social solutions that include, in those solutions, the original opponents or enemies. Pure defeat is not the goal. Integral to this is the willingness to suffer rather than inflict violence, maintaining the struggle unremittingly and facing the opponent on one's own terms. He must be confronted imaginatively and forcefully with the consequences of his policies and actions until he no longer stands in the way of their rectification.

Training for Nonviolent Action

The successes of nonviolent action-such as the independence of India, ending legal segregation in the American South, .

and achieving many local aims-have not taught its advocates so much as its failures. Followers of Gandhi, staunch in their nonviolence against the British, cracked when confronted by communal conflicts between Hindu and Moslem, or by the Chinese incursion of 1962. Means well adapted to forcing desegregation in U.S. failed when applied to more complex problems of informal but widespread discrimination in housing. Many local actions have foundered, with consequent long-term disillusionment, when they found themselves unprepared to cope with sustained public apathy or hostility, internal suspicions and disagreements, and making complex judgments and meeting logistic problems under pressure.

Systematic training can work toward the solution of many of these problems. In a long-term struggle, moral fervour and sound political analysis are not enough to sustain a movement. Nor is authoritarianism possible in a movement that relies on personal worth, mutual confidence, and individual contributions.

If groups of people are serious about ending some social evil, they should be willing to undergo training, often during as well as before their action programme. It is at least irresponsible to plan a demonstration and make no provision for marshals (stewards). Who will explain general plans or deal with sudden developments? Who decides how to handle hecklers, attackers, agents provocateurs, or nervous police formations? The same problems arise in small scale actions like a modest vigil line in front of a housing authority, an arms manufacturer, or the seat of an inflexible university administration. And in large scale protracted struggles, the need for training is augmented.

For many, the word training brings to mind the parade ground rituals of the army or tedious calisthentic exercises. For others, it conjures up the picture of the 'human relations expert' whose craft it is to manipulate trainees' minds until they are 'adjusted' to the needs of those who employ these experts.

In this paper, training means preparation by participants for their own action, aided if necessary by people who share their commitments and perceptions. Training is most successful when it is used to prepare for a real situation. The value of training further increases if participants themselves suggest changes, thus making training more relevant. Training enlarges and liberates people for action that is creative by their own standards. Without training, a group or movement is left to trust to luck, and such a group needs more than luck in the Seventies.

Development of Training

Apart from that associated with the Indian independence movement and with the post-Gandhian service groups, little systematic training for nonviolent direct action has taken place. When training has existed, it has often been hurried, night-before-the-day sessions as with anti-war projects. The American movement for black equality, because it dealt with protracted struggles and with a large body of people new to 'the movement', did sometimes take pains to help people get a 'feeling' for the anticipated situation. Anti-war groups, because they were so small and so often composed of veteran activists without an untrained following usually felt that training was redundant.

Only in the mass parades of the anti-bomb period and through the later influx of people in the Vietnam period did the need for training become apparent. And even here, the more experienced activists were sometimes sufficient to provide for crowd control and other needs. Additional people were often 'trained' informally by the passing on of folk lore, reinforced by the new person's observations of the more experienced people in action situations.

War Resisters' International called together a conference on nonviolent training in 1965. This Perugia (Italy) conference underlined the need for serious, structured training and provided initial mechanisms for continuing contact among trainers. The programmes of training that appeared in the ensuing five years are described in the Frameworks section and in Appendix B.

Kinds of Training

Training for Specific Action Situations

What situations call for specific sorts of training? Even the traditional mass demonstration, whether rally or procession, is a logistical problem,. no different in principle than that faced in the assembly of a military formation. For these problems there need to be skills-training related to food, water, first aid, toilet facilities, basic organization, the ability to locate, buy, and transport needed supplies, and the technical expertise involved in setting up the necessary communications system. Rightness of their cause does not excuse activists from attending to these basic needs.

If we add to this the salient fact that activists must expect to meet with opposition, the need for a broader range of training presents itself.. Parade marshals not only assist demonstrators to follow the designated route, but also to cope with opposition, whether from authorities, counter-demonstrators, hooligan elements, or individual spur-of-the-moment oppositionists.

Move beyond these traditional forms of public action to the vigil or picket line, the sit-in and its variations, the nonviolent invasion of nations, areas, or enclosed premises, and to civil disobedience. Here the problems multiply; and the repertoire of nonviolent action grows yearly, as the imagination of activists keeps pace with their determinations. And since these actions are not isolated but are coupled with constructive programmes of reform and the development of an 'alternative society' within or alongside the existing one, the problems grow complex indeed. And the necessity of rigorous and creative training grows.

This training, because of the demanding character of the action, cannot be restricted to leadership elements or select corps. Wherever possible, it should be extended to all participants. The chapters on 'Frameworks for Organizing Training' and 'Training Methods' provide guidelines for appropriate means of intensive short-term training of large numbers of people.

Kinds of Training

By marshal or steward training we mean not only for people who help demonstrators by providing information and services, but also. those who form the nerve structure and organs of the action group. In addition to specific training in skills, marshals need a grounding in the outlook and principles of nonviolence itself and in the immediate issues surrounding the action. (See Appendix C for a review of training manuals.)

Skills training is no different from training needed to sup-port activists of any other organization or movement: how to run a duplicating machine, how to maintain a mailing list, how to keep adequate financial records, how to service press inquiries, etc. But it is different from ordinary training in that those who do these tasks need to gain poise in carrying them out in situations of tension, deadline pressure, and perhaps even physical threat. A further complication is that sometimes highly motivated people in these jobs cannot be spared for undertaking direct action itself, but must stay at their posts while others seem to carry out the 'real' burden and privilege of frontline action. .

Theoretical training is often relegated to the status of 'all right for those who like that sort of thing.' At other times it is used to reinforce the authority of those who are already leaders. But it is properly the right of all participants to understand or even contribute to the theoretical understandings that shape and develop a movement. Surely a movement is rigid or weak when only the 'leaders' are relied upon to analyze strategy or develop tactics. And in nonviolent action, theory cannot be divorced from action so easily. Magic forces are not available to provide solutions; problems have to be faced and creative solutions found when leaders are unable to respond in difficult situations. Theoretical training need not be and ought .not to be dry lectures or indoctrination. Nonviolent action requires a sense for both the concrete situation and the theory. They must both be linked together in the activist; so training must link them as well. (See the chapter on Training Methods.)

Competence and confidence training are closely related. A common fear of would-be recruits is not knowing what to do or say. And more experienced activists have often asked them-selves: 'Why did I freeze up? Why didn't I know what to do or say?' There are several training techniques now in use to build competence and provide solid grounds for confidence a:, one faces the prospect of action. Street-speaking is one such technique; it and others are explained in the chapter on Training Methods.

Crisis training is a particular sort of confidence training. It involves learning how to identify the crucial issue or priorities in situations where unforeseen events require an immediate response. A wide range of methods can be used to increase participants' flexibility and decisiveness...One such tool is 'quick decision exercise', also explained in the chapter on Training Methods.

Training for organization is often not included in short-term training programmes. By its nature it requires to be taught-or caught-over a longer time. But it is usually time that must be taken in advance in order to prevent even more time from being wasted later. Few nonviolent action campaigns can be won by a single burst of strength. Activists usually discover that the initial thrust uncovers a complex of additional or auxiliary problems, and occasioning a stiffening of resistance from the opponent. For these reasons, long-term recruitment. group maintenance, and the political task of locating new allies become necessary. These, coupled with the continuing task of advancing the direct action campaign, require organizational skills. And those who do not possess them when a direct action programme is in prospect should consider how they will meet these difficult problems of organization.

Training Methods

Training for nonviolent action is only an idea until there are specific tools or methods available, and until these tools have been tested in actual situations. This section reviews various methods of training. Some of them have been used and found valuable; some tools have been used, but their value is question-able; other tools are included which so far are only theoretically valuable. However, the reader is cautioned that training tools cannot be separated or evaluated apart from the design of the training or from the purposes of the training. We will list all the tools briefly, then list them according to their purpose, then provide a descriptive paragraph about each tool, outlining its procedures, characteristics, advantages, and limitations.

Training Methods

1. Roleplaying is a type of simulation exercise in which participants fill roles in a conflict situation, thus exploring the situation for its emotional as well as intellectual content. Sociodrama, sometimes called 'marathon roleplaying', lasts for some hours or days. It focuses on group and intergroup process rather than on individual roles. Peace game is a sociodrama with a slightly different structure. Psychodrama is a simulation

exercise similar to roleplaying, but which, explores conflicts within each role rather than the social conflict itself.

2. Situation analysis is a refinement of the basic 'chalk talk' (blackboard explanation with discussion) which enables people to explore the range of possible tactics in a conflict situation.

3. Quick decision exercise prepares people to face crisis situations by training them to respond quickly to the key situational factor.

4. Strategy game is a particular stylized exercise in which participants take the parts of opponents in a political-social conflict, thus learning theories and consequences of strategies.

5. Street-speaking, while done publicly, is a training tool as well, since it develops individual confidence and mutual trust.

6. Guerrilla theatre, though also a type of public action, can be used as a training tool, helping to develop individual confidence and group cohesion.

7. Shared experiences is a generic term for experiences, most of' them essentially nonverbal (such as dancing, meditation, singing) which help build trust among members.

8. Non-tactical training is also a general term to describe such tools as group dynamics, sensitivity training, and other tools which seem to have no direct relationship to practical problems. Although apparently unrelated to direct action, non-tactical training can help participants understand how a group functions, and tends to increase mutual trust, all necessary in a crisis situation.

9. Journal-keeping is a traditional tool which is helpful for developing individual reflection, and for providing material for training evaluation.

10. Case study is a structured approach to historical campaigns through which participants learn theories, strategies, and actual consequences.

11. Lecture is a format for presenting theories and related in-formation.

12. Discussion and analysis is a familiar means of presenting theories, with the additional value of involving all the participants in the process.

13. 'Enabling tools' are procedural tools which .help a group achieve its goals, such as dividing into sub-groups in order to think through a problem or develop a solution.

Methods According to Purpose

Some of these methods are used for more than one purpose, and so are listed more. than once. We outline the methods in this way as a quick reference section. For example, if a group wants to develop its understanding of tactics, training methods which may be helpful are roleplaying, situation analysis, and quick decision exercise.

  • To develop a sense of tactics: roleplaying, situation analysis, quick decision exercise.
  • To develop a sense of strategy: sociodrama, case study, lecture, discussion/analysis, strategy game.
  • To develop individual competence and confidence: role- playing, quick decision exercise, journal-keeping, guerrilla theatre, street-speaking, non-tactical training. .

To develop group cohesion: roleplaying, guerrilla theatre, street-speaking, non-tactical training, shared experiences.

To develop understanding of theory: strategy game, case study, lecture, discussion/analysis.

Training Methods: Explanation

1. 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 lectures and discussions, they learn more, and probably more quickly, from roleplaying than from most other training experiences. It is thus an important tool to use at the beginning of training, when participants should be encouraged to get as much from the training as they can.

Participants can be expected to raise the question of realism and artificiality in roleplaying; and it should be answered fairly. Roleplaying is not 'like' the real situation and must not pretend to be. Roleplaying is a training tool, nothing more. Roleplaying simulates crucial aspects of reality and ignores others so that these central issues can be explored in a way that people become aware of the issues and of how to meet them in real situations. In fact, when people question the realism of role-playing, they often do so defensively; their reaction can be an indication that the experience came too close to realism for comfort, particularly the emotional aspects of the situation.

There is also a tendency in roleplaying to view the experience as a game, since roleplaying enables people to reduce tension. While this tension-reduction is a valid reason for role-playing, participants can be helped to make it more than that.

Avoid stereotypes such as the evil landlord and the faceless authority by defining the context and the plot very carefully. For example, directions should not call for 'a march', but 'a march to educate the public about chemical and bacteriological weapons.' The context of the action always provides more issues and provocation for action than the strategy alone.

An example of roleplaying:

Plot: An anti-war rally is taking place. Three marshals are standing in front of the speakers' platform where one speaker is talking. Four disrupters move from the crowd, demand the right to speak, and finally charge in an attempt to seize the podium.

Cast: Speaker, 3 marshals, 4 disrupters, crowd.

Discussion points: What should be the role of the speaker and marshals in keeping the crowd cool? What about interposition of marshals in front of the speaker's stand? Does anyone attempt to reason with disrupters or engage them in conversation? Can people cool a situation by sitting down, etc.? .

After giving just enough information to start, the groups are given a few minutes to map out tactics, and the roleplay begins. After the most important issues are uncovered, or when the role-play comes to a natural conclusion, the director cuts the action. After a brief pause, evaluation begins. This should be brisk and go on only as long as new issues are raised and participants are exploring problems and alternatives. It is better to stop the evaluation before all the issues are explored, than allow it to drag on. Usually twenty minutes is enough. It is often helpful to start another roleplay rather than continue the discussion. One way to do this is to repeat the same basic plot with different people in the roles, or change the situation by bringing in new roles, such as police or crowd reactions in the example given.

Most limitations of roleplaying arise from poor direction, slow pace, or irrelevant plots. When issues are clear, when the plot is carefully defined, when the pace is brisk, and when participants are involved, roleplaying is the strongest training tool available for its purposes.

2. Situation analysis is a tool used to develop an under-standing of tactics, to explore alternative tactics in a given situation, to examine the consequences of given tactics, and to examine the roles of various groups in a direct action situation. Its advantage over roleplaying is that a larger situation is examined. For this reason it is valuable in some situations to begin with situation analysis to define the larger picture, then move into roleplaying using the same situation and focusing on a smaller conflict area.

An example of situation analysis will clarify its uses:

Situation analysis: Tear Gas and March.

Situation: A large march of 1,000 people is moving down the street. The demonstration has been previously warned that it will not be allowed to reach its goal, the draft board. Suddenly tear gas is released at the front of the march; the gas drifts through the march line, frightening people more than debilitating them, and panic begins to grip some people.

Task: Analyze what action marshals can take. Evaluate responses after the incident has run its course.

After drawing the situation on a blackboard or large sheet of paper, the leader asks participants to study the diagram. Discussion follows; questions beyond the scope of strategies are often raised.

The major limitation of situation analysis is that the exercise can too easily remain on a theoretical level and can become far removed from real problems. An antidote is to move quickly into roleplaying.

3. 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. An example: 'A woman faints inside the line of march. You are a marshal.

What do you do?' Allow fifteen seconds for discussion among the three or four people taking part. Afterwards, discussion with all participants.

The major limitation: doing too many quick decision exercises, especially right before an action takes place, can establish a mind-set of emergency, thus raising tension so that people panic. Quick decision exercises should be tempered with other training experiences to prevent this perspective of imminent danger. .

4. Strategy game is a particularly stylized exercise in which participants take the parts of opponents in a political-social conflict, thus learning theories and consequences of strategies. It may last from four to eight hours, including evaluation. Participants do not act out the action, as in roleplaying; they think through the moves they will make in order to gain power or for some other strategy, and communicate these moves to the opponents in another room by means of a third party.

For example, a strategy game might have as its scenario: The United States invades Canada in the summer of 1980 for the following reasons: the United States needs hunkite for its atomic power reactors, now the major source of energy for peaceful and defence purposes. Relations between the two countries have deteriorated with the continuation of the Vietnam War; Canada has developed nonviolent civilian defense to the extent that action cells of citizens have been formed and are in the process of training the populace for unarmed protracted resistance against an invader.

One group of participants takes the role of the Canadian government; another group takes the role of the American government; and a third group takes the role of umpires, who interpret each move. Time limits are given for each move, and the game continues until it comes to a natural conclusion or until a good many issues are uncovered. Discussion and evaluation follow as integral parts of the process.

There are significant limitations to strategy games. One game takes a long time to develop and finish. Another limitation is that participants are often not familiar enough with factual conditions or with strategies to take advantage of the game; but on the other hand, the game is designed to develop a sense of strategy. Despite its limitations in short-term training programmes, it is probably a tool worth exploring and experimenting with.

5. Street-speaking, originally a type of public action, has been used more recently as a training tool. Street-speaking develops individual confidence and competence; it can foster group cohesion, provides manageable but very very real conflict situations, and educates participants about the nature of groups. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of street-speaking is that it forces the trainee to see himself in a new light, no longer the victim of forces, but at least capable of influencing others and initiating action. This new information often has long-lasting effects.

In addition to the subjective value of developing participants' skills, street-speaking has the objective value of spreading the word and engaging strangers on the streets in discussing crucial issues of our times. Street-speaking is inexpensive, requires few items other than a portable speakers' box, such as a milk crate or a chair, and can usually be arranged without preparation or notice to authorities, though this varies from country to country. Number of participants can vary from a handful to a few dozen. People who do not speak can learn much from observing. Street-speaking is a flexible tool which can stand alone or be part of a larger demonstration or campaign.

People need not arm themselves with massive facts and figures about the topic they speak on, though it is helpful to speak with more than raw anger. Often the most effective speaker is concerned about a topic, knows something about it, but one who also uses his own approach and ideas and even experiences to communicate to people on the street. Successful street-speaking frequently ends with the listeners staying after the speakers leave, discussing and arguing among themselves.

The site of the speaking can vary from a park area to the downtown banking district at lunch time, or near a subway entrance in later afternoon. An identification sign showing the sponsoring agency is helpful in arousing curiosity, and leaflets provide more details. In some places in the United States: a flag may be required. Topics should be chosen with the potential audience in mind; often speakers can help out an on-going campaign by speaking on the relevant issues. Street-speaking gathers large crowds during a national election time, but need not be campaigning in the strict sense.

The limitations of street-speaking, even though slight in relation to its advantages, are worth noting. It can become an initiation rite into the movement. Perhaps the greatest limitation is that street-speaking can become useless and turn into cliché-ridden rhetoric which pollutes the air and encourages more apathy than support. In spite of these limitations and cautions, street-speaking is a most valuable training tool, on the level of roleplaying for developing flexibility and usefulness.

6. Guerrilla theatre, whilst mostly used as a public action, can also be used in training by developing individual self-confidence and group cohesion. It is used for public education; its production is cheap. In addition, it is fun and can be combined with street-speaking and leafleting or form part of a larger campaign. The number of participants can range from a few to a few dozen. Skits can range from the most simple to elaborate, with varying complexities of make-up, costumes, and props.

An example of guerrilla theatre is a skit that might be given by a Women's Liberation group, designed to show the folly of categorizing men and women in narrow stereotyped ways. The plot might go this way: a man wearing an apron is stirring a stew on the stove; two children are playing nearby, The wife comes in wearing a man's hat and suit and carrying a briefcase. Dialogue follows, using such clichés as: 'How did it go today, dear?' 'All right. but I spent hours on that Smith account.' Children act up and 'wife' scolds them, starting an argument with 'husband'; a farce develops with such lines as 'Men don't understand things,' and 'Women are too emotional.' Pitched battle ensues; humor comes in as clichés are used in a situation of reversed roles.

As training, guerrilla theatre is limited by taking so much time to prepare and perform, with marginal returns in terms of training. Small guerrilla theatre production may be valuable when people are not yet ready to face street-speaking in training; but trainers should be wary of groups doing guerrilla theatre at the expense of other types of training.

7, Shared experiences is a general term for experiences, most of them essentially nonverbal, which help develop group cohesion. Dancing, singing, meditation, playing and working together, eating together and sports, are all possible shared experiences through which participants come to know one another in ways which tend to develop the trust which is essential in critical action situations. Happily, shared experiences also have the advantage of reducing tension built up as the result of external forces. Manual work, such as chopping wood, or taking part in weekend work camps in ghetto areas or on a farm, links shared experiences to the idea of constructive programme and mitigates any existing fixation on protest alone.

The major limitation of shared experiences is that participants may become so enamoured of these activities, or so willingly deflected from the more demanding aspects of training, that they never get on to the real work of social change. Shared experiences are meant, in the context of training, to be a means and not an end.

8. Non-tactical training is also a generic term for such tools as group dynamics and sensitivity training, The main purpose of group dynamics is to explore the forces acting within groups. Since activists spend much of their time in group meetings, they should not ignore fundamental reasons of why groups function the way they do.

Group dynamics

A specific description of a group dynamics exercise may help to clarify: participants are divided into small groups of about six members each. They are given a situation which they try to solve, not by acting in roles as in roleplaying, but by being them-selves. The situation might be one which examines resistance to change. The scenario might be a committee meeting when a per-son has just proposed a specific action campaign. For purposes of exploring resistance to change, the writer of the scenario would build into it examples of resistance, such as the necessity of immediate agreement, threat if agreement is not made, lack of any decision-making structure, and so on. When the exercise comes to a natural conclusion, or when many types of resistance have been uncovered, the director stops the exercise and evaluation begins. Through discussion, participants relate what they experienced to similar situations they have been in.

Group dynamics exercises can be designed to explore many different issues: how a group uses its resources, its different kinds of leadership, how clear a goal is, and what roles members are filling. We do not suggest here that, once a person is familiar with group dynamics, all conflicts will cease in group situations. We are suggesting, however, that a study of group dynamics can help groups function more effectively than when people are unfamiliar with it.

Group dynamics is rife with limitations, hence the occasional suspicion of organizers and activists toward its use in training. There is always a tendency to become enamoured with the technique, thus losing sight of larger goals. Since conflicts to some extent will always exist in an active group, people may be tempted to stay in the framework of group dynamics in an effort to 'solve' these conflicts. People may think that what happens in one exercise is universally true, when it may not be. But it is probably as unwise to ignore the field of group dynamics and undervalue what it can offer to social change groups as it is to heighten its importance at the expense of other issues.

Sensitivity training

Sensitivity training is a type of exercise or experience designed to help a person explore conflicts within himself. If an activist feels that personal conflicts sometimes come between himself and his work, then he might consider how to -deal with those conflicts. Of course, sensitivity training is not the only means of dealing with inner conflicts, but it is one way.

Although sensitivity training can dissolve into middle class parlour games, it recognizes a few primary insights: one is that the physical acting out of conflicts is one step toward resolving them. Insights from close friends, given voluntarily, can provide an atmosphere of trust and support, replacing fear and rigidity.

For example. a person may be aware that he does not take part in discussion groups (though he does not know why) ; and he wants to change this. The group may ask him to act out how he feels when he comes to a discussion meeting. Often, but not always, the acting out-as in roleplaying-develops insights which can in time lead to taking a more active role. (This example should not be read as placing any value judgment on group participation.)

Limitations of sensitivity training are so many that it seems foolish to attempt a complete list. Some people reject it because they feel a hierarchical set of values is imposed on participants.

This need not be so; one ought not be forced to accept anything. one does not want to. However. such exercises can lead to a preoccupation with self as the only concern worth pursuing; such devices may feed the fallacious notion that 'I must take care of personal problems before I go on to social issues.' People are justifiably sceptical of uncritical praise of sensitivity training; but as in the case of group dynamics, activists should not shun a type of experience simply because it is over-praised. Perhaps the strongest caution about sensitivity training is that sessions should be led by people who have had experience and can give direction and balance.

There is no clear relationship between well-directed sensitivity training sessions and an increased effectiveness in nonviolent action campaigns. However, it is an area which some people have found to be useful and valuable over some period of time; others feel that sensitivity training is irrelevant.

9. Journal-keeping helps an individual develop. reflection about actions and campaigns and may develop an overall view and long-term perspective of nonviolent action campaigns and movements. Journal-keeping may also provide a tool for evaluation, especially if a group of people all keep journals. Journals are excellent materials from which to write a history of campaigns and case studies.

One limitation of journal-keeping is that keeping one may become routine, thus lessening the desire of the person to reflect on his experiences; or the journal may become irrelevant.

10. Case study, an actual example of a type of event, is a structured approach to historical nonviolent action campaigns, through which participants learn about theories, strategies, and consequences of both. Through studying actual campaigns, trainees develop a sense of history and learn of real and practical problems of nonviolent campaigns. In addition, research which goes into developing case studies helps build a broader theoretical base for the future.

An example of a case study would be the present civil rights struggle in Greece. A mode of analysis would be used to present the material, such as the one Bondurant uses in Conquest of Violence. After presentation of a case study, the trainee would emphasize the most important ideas or aspects of the campaign, and discussion would go on from there.

One clear limitation of the case study approach is that people may tend to weight the importance of each study more than it is meant to be. Thus people may not develop a wide enough base of knowledge or a feeling for theory which ought to flow from such knowledge. But the advantages in the case study approach of linking theory with real historical campaigns seem to override the limitations.

11. Lecture is the trusted and well-worn tool of training, to present theories and information. It is a quick way of presenting information and theories, and to some extent it cannot be entirely replaced by more participant-involving tools. However, its limitations are considerable, particularly with activists who are looking for new forms of education. Lectures should be used sparingly or in balance with other approaches.

12. Discussion and analysis is another format for presenting theories and information. Its advantage over the lecture format is obvious: participants are more involved in the learning process. For example, instead of lecturing about the women's suffrage movement in England, one could present some of the facts in a lecture or case study format, then have a free-ranging discussion of the campaign.

The basic limitation of the discussion/analysis format is that possibly less information may be covered than through the lecture style. However, its advantages probably outweigh its limitations when the discussion is well planned.

13. 'Enabling tools' are procedural tools which help a group achieve its goals. The most common ones restructure the group for a certain period of time in order to gather more information or share ideas. For example, when a new idea is to be discussed, and it is important to involve all the participants, one can divide the group into smaller groups of four or five members each. At the end of the time each group may report to the plenary session, or not, depending on the purpose. Another tool to develop imaginative thinking is 'brainstorming.' In this format, the group stays together, but members are encouraged to contribute any

ideas they may have, no matter how improbable, since their contribution may spark other ideas. It is important that during the brainstorming session, there is agreement that there will be no discussion or criticisms of each suggestion, since this will hamper new contributions. After the brainstorming, evaluation of the ideas follows.

A major limitation of 'enabling tools' is that they may be used inappropriately, thus becoming gimmicky. Used with restraint, they are valuable.

NOTE: A final word of explanation about these training methods is in order. Organizers and trainers should not feel that these are the only tools available, nor necessarily the most valuable ones. What may be appropriate and natural for one group and situation may be useless in another. If a certain tool seems relevant, then explore its application; if it seems to be irrelevant, then ignore it. However, these tools can be combined for greater effectiveness, for example: during a strategy game, a situation may arise which is so interesting that the group may want to roleplay it. When the roleplay is over, people can return to the strategy game. No doubt these tools will change and develop as organizers find a need for them.

Guidelines for Training

It should be clear to the reader by now that training for nonviolent action is in a state of flux, both in theory and practise. Some organizers question the value of training itself. Others dispute the value of certain training tools. Training is a new field; experimentation is still going on.

The guidelines set out below are a reflection of training as it now exists. They do, however, also reflect a bias against some tendencies or problems that. trainers and organisers have had to face:

a. the escape to the theoretical as a refuge against the practical;

b. the building of esoteric knowledge or elite formations; and

c. training as a diversion from other critical problems.

The guidelines below arise from the Preston Patrick discussions and, while they are not official policy, they do represent a broad consensus on the important issues.

Guidelines for Training

1. Training for nonviolent direct action ought to prepare people for real situations.

2. Training is best done in situations of stress.

3. Training should be so structured as to provide practical skills quickly.

4. Training must provide for participants' responses and evaluations.

5. Training is subordinate to organizing.

6. One goal of training should be to increase the capacity of participants to train others.

1. Training for nonviolent direct action ought to prepare people for real situations.

There is no one right way to train people for direct action. The tools used should be determined by the social context and by the specific means of the action that will follow. Methods described in the previous chapter have no mystique about them, nor can any given method be guaranteed to produce specific results on demand.

Cultural differences particularly need to be taken into account. In the Fifties, Indian methods, bringing with them Indian cultural assumptions, were often tried in the North American context-thus fostering a 'sect' mentality that impeded development of a movement Americans could see as their own. Similarly now, the new North American type of training dominates current discussion. internationally. But it cannot be simply exported to Europe or Africa. For Americans to attempt it would be one more form of cultural imperialism, however inadvertent. And for others to accept it would be to neglect the sources of strength in their own cultures and to contribute to the atrophy of those sources.

This recommendation about training, arising from an immediate context, means that the most effective training should be for some impending action. There is one important qualification: non-situation-specific-training can be done as a tool of organizing. Training prepares people for future actions by having them consider problems of strategy, tactics, theories, and the like. Many people will lose interest during such training; others will find it too demanding; some will honestly come to the conclusion that nonviolent activists are mistaken or that its methods are not appropriate to their situation. But some will likely remain, either to form a reservoir of available people for future organized action, or else, once armed with training techniques, they will see uses for these tools. But training in the abstract. apart from this special situation, seldom provides useful carryover into action situations. Further, it is likely to emphasize theories about which there is in fact no unity among activists, thus furthering ideological disputes. We state again that theoretical training programmes are unlikely to be fruitful in the long run.

2. Training is best done in situations of stress.

The need to know and the need to do are the greatest allies of the trainer in any field. This is a corollary of the first guideline. Nonviolent direct action runs against many deep-seated assumptions about individual and social behavior, especially in Western society. To undertake nonviolent action is to become acutely conscious of this fact. These discrepancies often generate self-consciousness and anxiety, which, if ignored in the trainee, can sabotage or impede a training programme. These fears can be dealt with or overborne if training is done for a specific action campaign; trainees will see the immediate value of the training and profit from it. Such immediacy is usually absent in theoretical training.

3. Training should be so structured as to provide practical skills quickly.

The sooner the trainee acquires practical skills, the sooner his anxieties become less threatening and the more he is encouraged to press on. This means that the programme must have identified needed skills well before the programme begins and have broken them down into manageable sections that can be mastered quickly. Specific training methods described in the previous chapter are suited to accomplish this end.

4. Training must provide for participants' responses and evaluations.

Action aimed at producing a more open society must itself be open to different insights provided by trainees. This is more than an ideological point, also a prudential one: methods can and should be modified by responses from participants. Acceptance of participants' responses should not wait until the end of training; by then, many of the most useful insights may be lost. Further, when trainees see the programme being modified while it is in progress, as a result of their contributions, this change can be seen as a demonstration of the more 'human' values activists profess.

Finally, having participants' responses in mind and being open to them can tell us something about the projects activists are planning. It might become apparent in training that the trainees as a group are 'unready' for action. This judgment can mean that recruitment methods are at fault. It can mean that an unsuitable action has been designed. If nonviolent activists are engaged in developing 'people power,' their perceptions should be supported by the people who will undertake the action. Resistance to a proposed action may be displaced resistance to something else, or it may be caused by attraction to a more satisfying project. It may also be a firm indication that the action itself should be changed to deal with different issues than those that the organizers see as crucial. Dissension should not be seen as a defeat or setback. Rather, it is the positive connection of action to the real concerns of people; it is the victory of their perceptions over preconceptions and ideology.

5. Training is subordinate to organizing.

The concreteness of the training task and the proven efficacy of its methods can provide trainers who are only trainers with the illusion. that they are the real leaders of the movement. They have answers, while organizers of action have only problems; and the intimacy between trainer and trainee created by many of the best techniques can lead to personality cults rightly feared by organizers.

The most obvious and likely solution to these potential problems lies in organizers doing the training. In most situations, this solution will be adopted perforce. But in many other situations this will be impossible, at least in the short run. And in the largest actions or those spread over many centers, leaders with the talent for the politics and organizing will be so occupied that they cannot give central attention to training.

Specialists may have to be brought in. In these instances, trainers must understand that they fill a central but auxiliary function. Trainers and organizers should work closely together so that the training will be practical and the action be planned well.

6. One goal of training should be to increase the capacity of participants to train others.

The best rationale for training is to strengthen the movement itself, whether it be for civil rights, economic justice, peace, women's liberation, or whatever. Knowledge of how to train people for nonviolent action should not be exclusive with trainers; creation of an elite of trainers goes counter to principles of nonviolence and prevents the spreading of training tools. Therefore, people should train with the idea that the trainees will share their skills and insights. A trainer should aim to make himself redundant as soon as possible.

Frameworks for Organizing Training

Once the need for training has been established and trainers are available, how can the whole training programme be organized? Various frameworks or models now exist, and it is useful to examine them. It is clear from the outset that the framework is based on needs in a particular situation; if an organization does not exist, it is necessary to develop one of some sort, however informal, if training is to continue and make an impact. A single trainer, working by himself and without any backing or funding probably will not be able to train for very long.

Five types of training frameworks are described below. These organizational frameworks of training programmes have developed to meet particular needs. Undoubtedly different frameworks will develop as training attempts to meet new and different situations.


The framework of a workshop has proven to be useful in the programmes of the Friends Peace Committee, Grindstone Island, Canada, and the Fellowship of Reconciliation, England.

(For detailed information about these and other organizations mentioned in this chapter, see Appendix B.) A workshop might last from one day to a week or more, with its purpose to bring together people for training for a short length of time and for a specific purpose. The Fellowship of Reconciliation in England organized frequent workshops in the spring of 1970 which attracted many participants. Three-hour workshops were the framework for training marshals in preparation for the Mobilization demonstrations in Washington in November, 1969. Often a church basement can be used, large enough to hold a hundred people or more, with smaller rooms so that the group can be divided for roleplaying and other training exercises. It is helpful for a kitchen to be available. A larger physical space is necessary if the workshop lasts" longer than a few hours. However, a work-shop could go on for a month. The Congress of Racial Equality ran month-long workshops in Washington, D.C., for ten years, beginning in 1947. Participants learned theories and skills and attempted to break segregation in the Washington area.

The trainers and trainees together decide the agenda of a workshop. A workshop is clearly distinguished from a conference, however, in that participants actually become skilled in marshalling, or training others, or learning to run office machines and do other practical skills. Workshops have the added advantage of flexibility-they can be organized in any sort of location.

Training Programme as Part of a Center

A training programme as part of a center affords a wider base than can a workshop; usually has financial backing and provides a set location at which to do training. Examples of a training programme as part of a larger center or organization are Pendle Hill, U.S.A., which offers many other courses in addition to 'Creative Approaches in Social Change'; Friends Peace Committee, which also concerns itself with more than the Nonviolent Action Training Programme; and the Haverford Center for the Study of Nonviolent Conflict Resolution, which uses the physical base of Haverford College.

Advantages of having a training programme as part of a center are obvious: buildings and facilities can be used rather than be bought specifically for the programme; the center helps to develop the programme through its reputation and staff; and a certain continuity and stability are given to the training effort.

Disadvantages should also be obvious: it is possible that the other activities of the center / organization might distract participants in the training programme; funds may be channelled into other activities; and the reputation of the parent center may not always be helpful. Organizers should take these factors into account when establishing a training programme.

Independent Training Center

A separate and distinct training center is able to concentrate all its energies into one programme. Examples of this framework are the Institute for the Study of Nonviolence, both at Palo Alto and at Boulder; the Chicago Nonviolent Training and Action Center in the States; and the Shanti Sena in India. Advantages of this framework are too obvious to numerate, but disadvantages might also be considerable. For training to be relevant to nonviolent action projects, it must not become divorced from action. A separate training center tends to divorce itself from action unless its personnel are' involved in action projects, or unless concentrated effort is made to relate it to ongoing projects. In addition, funding may be difficult for a separate agency concerning itself solely with training.

In spite of the drawbacks, an independent training center /organization has much to recommend it: personnel can concentrate their energies in preparing training materials, are free to train for specific groups or projects, and they have a chance to evaluate and plan as part of their work rather than in free time.

Groups might want to experiment in developing an independent training center which is also an intentional community faction center.

Action Agency

There is a fine distinction between an independent training center and an action agency as we are using the terms; perhaps the difference is only a matter of degree or central focus between 'training' and 'action'. It is difficult to imagine that the same people could run a training programme and at the same time organize full-scale action projects. But when training and action are combined in the same organization, training should be subordinate to the action projects and campaigns. This is true for the Committee for Nonviolent Action and the Chicago Center for Training and Action.

Another way of co-ordinating training and action is to keep training and action organizations separate and relate their programmes as the need arises. Examples are clear: many of the same people in London are associated with the War Resisters' International, Friends Peace and International Relations Committee, International Confederation for Disarmament and Peace, and the Peace Pledge Union. In Philadelphia, many of the same people are involved in A Quaker Action Group, Friends Peace Committee, and the PendIe Hill training programme.

Advantages of this sort of framework are the following: communication between trainers and organizers is open; training is forced to be relevant to real problems in campaigns; and the success or failure of one programme does not necessarily mean the success or failure of the other programmes. The main disadvantages, however, are the enormous overlap of energies of people involved, and the tendency of the programmes to become inbred because the same people work 'with different hats on'.

Inter-organizational Framework

Occasionally a need for training will develop which is too large for one agency to handle by itself. In this type of situation it may be necessary for various agencies to work together, each contributing the resources it can. One clear example of this type of framework developed from the need to train a large number of marshals for the Washington Mobilization rally in November, 1969. In the Philadelphia area, PendIe Hill and the Friends Peace Committee co-operated in developing a corps of trainers and in writing the marshal training manual. A Quaker Action Group and the New Mobilization Committee recruited potential marshals and handled other logistic details. This massive effort was possible only through a co-operative effort. (Its success was also possible through the sizable overlap of personnel.) Another example of inter-agency framework for training was the development of training workshops in England in 1969-70; War Resisters' International, Christian Action, Friends Peace and International Relations Committee, and Fellowship of Reconciliation all co-operated to support, develop, and publicize these workshops. Co-operative efforts strengthen independent agencies in the long run, and counter the subsurface bickering which preoccupies peace groups around the world. But co-operative efforts as described above will likely last only for the duration of a specific training project; groups will want to return to their own programmes after the' push' is over.

Team Training

One aspect of training which is applicable to all the frame-works described above is team training. This is simply the idea that trainers do not work alone but in teams, or at least in pairs. This arrangement has many advantages over a trainer working alone, even for one session: the training is strengthened by having the wisdom and energy of more than one person; when one trainer is not familiar with an issue, probably the other trainer is; while one trainer is conducting a roleplay, the other can be observing for nonverbal clues of dissatisfaction or exhaustion; trainers can work simultaneously or alternately, depending on the training they are doing and. the skills of each.

A team of many trainers may be necessary for extensive training programmes. One example is the Kent State University training invitation in May, 1970 (after the students' deaths), which lasted ten days and required four trainers. Their schedule demanded as many as three training sessions a day, all with different participants and for different purposes. Marshal training for a mass rally might need as many as thirty trainers or so, as the Washington Mobilization rally demanded.

Team training is advantageous not only for the quality of the training itself, but also for the morale of the trainers. If a trainer is faced with difficult problems (as most trainers are if the training is relevant and the issues large), he needs the advice of other trainers. This 'soul maintenance' must not be neglected if trainers are to be effective agents for social change. Further-more, trainers working as a team soon become sensitive to the strengths and weaknesses of other trainers and can assist when needed. Finally, a training team, after working together on difficult problems, begins to respect and care for one another.

They spark one another's imaginations in thinking through solutions to meet training problems. In summary, team training has so much to recommend that we suggest that the only time to train alone is when a trainer-partner cannot be found.

Evaluation of Training

The capacity of human organizations or movements for growth depends on their capacity for learning from experience. This means that groups which do not build evaluation into their structure grow more slowly, if at all, than those which do. Groups which ignore their experience or find it distasteful to reflect upon it are likely to tread the path of futility or wither away.

The vision and moral fervour of nonviolent activists can be an impediment to learning from experience when activists view each situation as unique. In spite of uniqueness, each situation bequeaths to the future its own lessons. A close study of non-violent campaigns will reveal common elements as well as unique ones.

Learning from experience, including one's own and others', is part of the training process. If the training is to be effective and be linked to concrete goals and movements, then feedback from training will be of direct benefit to the movement as well as to future training. And the frame of mind it engenders-evaluation and reflection-will promote continuing reflection in the movement whether or not further training goes on.

Unobtrusive Style

We have already touched on the rationale for evaluation during training. But the means are equally important. Evaluation that counters the tone and style of nonviolent action decreases the value of what can be learned. Artificial forms of evaluation make participants self-conscious and convince them that evaluation is extraneous to training-and perhaps to nonviolent action as well. The results of such an evaluation are likely to be correspondingly artificial. At the same time there is a clear and pressing need to know as precisely as possible what is happening to people in the training process. It is crucial that evaluation grow out of the life and reality of the training, and that it be natural and unobtrusive.

What are needed are evaluation tools that are both discriminating and unobtrusive, tools that grow naturally out of the training process and out of the principles of nonviolent action. Also needed are people skilled in understanding what participants are saying and doing, since not all evaluation by any means is written, Much of it is an estimation of the meaning of what people do.

Evaluation for What?

The major reason for evaluating training for nonviolent action is to learn whether training helped in the action. This is difficult to judge after the fact; a disaster averted is to be ascribed to what cause? The goal of training should be set before training begins. Goals more vague than this-to increase the "success" of the action-will not provide any criteria for what the training should include or how to evaluate it. 'Deeper understanding' is no substitute for a demonstrated ability to help people prepare for an action with humor, dispatch, and tact.

Questions to Which Trainers Need Answers

These questions need to be asked by trainers and trainees. of themselves. Both need the answers-hence an emphasis on evaluation as a group process. But here we focus on the trainers' need to know, keeping in mind that as far as possible trainers and organizers will be the same people.

1. Have the needed skills been demonstrated, under pressure whenever possible?

2. Has the training led to action? .

3. To what extent have information and principles been internalized?

4. Have the stated goals of the process been achieved?

5. To what extent have implicit goals been achieved?

6. Have other individuals or groups seen the value of some kinds of training?

7. To what extent have participants achieved insight about group relationships?

8. Has a sense of community and solidarity been found or increased?

9. Have participants sought further training?

10. Have participants seen the importance of evaluation and been active in finding further ways of increasing its effectiveness?

11. Have we recorded evaluation of the training in such a way that it can benefit others?

Some of these questions should be posed during training; others make sense only after training or in long retrospect. But a thorough evaluation asks them. Further specifications will occur to those asking, both after training and the occasion of its use have passed.

The Means of Evaluation

How we evaluate is crucial. The specific means used will depend on what resources are available, on time pressure, and on information wanted. We mention here a few of the best means of evaluation.

A. The observer-This is a person or team given this responsibility, either a participant in the training or not. He may be appointed by the whole group, by the trainers or organizers, or perhaps by a sponsoring agency. But he should be competent, know what and how to evaluate, have an eye for significant detail and know what he can safely ignore.

B. The whole group can evaluate the training process as it develops, so long as evaluation does not interrupt the training itself. Training is incomplete when it does not provide for evaluation by participants. The people are the greatest authorities on what has happened to them; in addition, evaluation develops a frame of mind which encourages people to learn from their experiences.

C. Journals, logs, and other accounts can be kept by individuals. Journals sometimes can be an integral part of evaluation if people agree to this function of their journals. Much depends here on establishing an atmosphere of trust; otherwise journals will be kept perfunctorily and will reveal little. It may be useful. to draw a distinction between journals and logs: journals are daily retrospects; logs are written more immediately, right after the noteworthy has occurred.

D. Agenda meetings, minutes, and group journals-One scheme that is sometimes useful is to replace the formal closed steering committee with an open agenda meeting. At such meetings, the work ahead is laid out in light of what has occurred. The agenda which is developed is an evaluation in itself. A journal written by and checked with the whole group functions in the same way. .

E. Tapes and videotapes-Use of these should be approved by the group since they may cause uneasiness and seem to be an intrusion. One caution: tapes can be tedious and expensive to use if they are the primary means of evaluation. They are useful corroborative devices, but nothing can take the place of a few people reviewing events as they take place during and immediately following training. This kind of alertness and attention is by far the best means of collecting materials .to evaluate.

F. Content analysis of documents used and produced in training is another form of evaluation, since these papers will indicate relative values placed on some training methods over others. This is a task for a person trained in this skill.

G. Interviews with participants, if they can be informal, are also valuable. Interviews are especially valuable after action.

H. Coding systems require an expert, but are often worth-while where complex information or events are to be recorded for later detailed analysis.

I. Tests and questionnaires should be analyzed beforehand to see if they will be relevant in the given context. Before-and-after versions of tests will often provide very useful information for evaluation.

J. Theories and models help evaluators evaluate all the materials at their disposal. A given theory may be wrong, of course, but theories are subject to correction, at least in principle. Models of what the group process can be are helpful in constructing an adequate account of what happened.

K. Discussion as a tool of evaluation is placed last partly to de-emphasize its importance. For the middle classes who still predominate in direct action, discussion tends to be the usual method of evaluation, crowding out other means. It should be used where it can supplement, or where other means will not provide what is needed.

Significant Signs

People often evaluate unconsciously, and this fact itself needs to be understood. Do people turn up promptly for meetings, or do they straggle in? Has this pattern changed in the course of training? When the leadership position rotates, who gets chosen when? Are people comfortable with silence, or must it be filled? Is there informal caucussing or formation of sub-groups outside the structure of the training? To what purposes? Why is the training programme meeting where it is? Who picked it and why? What effect is it having on the group? These are representative signs that an evaluator might look for.

Who Evaluates?

The previous point makes it clear that everyone evaluates, and can't help doing so. And it is well to make this plain to participants. There are at least two reasons: their help will be needed to make evaluation as useful as it should be; and placing their role before them frankly, as co-evaluators, allays most of the resentment participants sometimes feel at 'being evaluated.' In the final sense, they are not being evaluated, of course; it is the training which is. And each role within the programme has or can have its own place in the process. The chart on page 34 illustrates the manner in which each participant or member can take his place in the evaluation process.

Limitations of Evaluation

Evaluation is not an end in itself but a means through which training can prepare participants better to develop more effective action campaigns. And despite the trappings of behavioural social science that occasionally cling to evaluation, the process is essentially not a science but an art-just as nonviolent action is itself a social and political art. And we must stress here the problem of the 'Heisenberg Effect': observation changes what is being observed. This has its helpful side, but obtrusive evaluation is unlikely to be helpful. In times of crisis, useful though it may be, evaluation inevitably and perhaps rightly falls low on the agenda. Indeed, if a group seems in the face of urgent needs to be taking too readily to evaluation, this can be taken as a sign that the group is unwilling to face larger tasks. Finally, models of evaluation that are currently in use are probably based on older theories of society; and societies are being reformed on new bases all around us. Indeed, direct activists aim to be part of this change, and so they should also be involved in developing new tools and new models for evaluation.

Limitations of Training

In the interests of consistency and nonviolent truth, we must include some evaluation of the idea of training itself. This pamphlet should make it quite clear that training is not the means by which nonviolent action will suddenly save the world. The crudeness of the present training tools, the relatively small number of organizations doing training, and the even smaller number of people who can train are all indications that training is in its infancy. Activists may find that training is a 'notion' rather than a sound principle; and if this is so, then it rightly should be discontinued.

Training is not really new; there are examples of some kinds of training in the Free India movement and elsewhere. But because it is new in present-day context, training has been credited with attributes and successes that it may not deserve.'

Nevertheless, we should be clear that training can never make an action free of the usual problems of achieving consistency with principles of nonviolence, humane organization, clarity, and all the other qualities that we look for in a sound campaign. Furthermore, we may come to depend on training as a preparative tool, expecting it to do more than it practically can. Although training is or can be a form of organizing, it may not be the most useful sort of organizing in some situations.

Organizers and advocates of nonviolent action must accept the unpleasant fact that they will never be able to foresee events exactly as they will happen; thus, training will never be able to insure the success of a campaign. But in whatever training is done such means must be found to increase participants' flexibility. Yet the most important issue regarding training is that, in some cases, spontaneity rather than training plays the most creative role. How many times, in an action campaign or even in an isolated demonstration, has the spontaneous act of a single individual been the most important incident? In addition, there are always some people who are intellectually and emotionally prepared for action situations who never heard of training. How-ever, there is no reason why training should smother spontaneity unless we weight the idea of training with qualities it does not really have. In summary, then, training will play an important and valuable part in planning nonviolent campaigns so long as we view training as only one component of the preparation rather than a value in itself.

Nonviolent training must be much more developed in order to contribute anything worth noting toward the issues of internal revolutions, national and international nonviolent peacekeeping, and other enormous areas. However, training has developed slowly and naturally, in answer to real and practical problems. We need not regret how little ground has been travelled; but we must realize how far there is yet to go in order to make training relevant to the needs of our changing society.

Table 1. Who Evaluates?


Groups Being Evaluated


Participants as a whole

Caucus groups

Third Parties








Participants as a whole






Caucus groups






Third Parties













This pamphlet is not a thing entire of itself; it is instead an illustration of the short history of international communication about nonviolent training. The first international conference on nonviolent training was sponsored by the War Resisters' Inter-national and held at Perugia, Italy, 13 - 20 August, 1965. A report of that conference was printed in a pamphlet, Training in Nonviolence. (Copies available from War Resisters' International, London.)

At the War Resisters' International 13th Triennial Conference held at Haverford, Pennsylvania, in August, 1969, a recommendation was made that the WRI should take more initiative in the field of training and co-ordinating training work going on in different parts of the world. The result was the Preston Patrick Seminar held in England, 27 June - 2 July, 1970, and attended by twenty organizers and trainers. While this pamphlet, Training for Nonviolent Action, is by no means a report of the Preston Patrick Seminar, much of the initial work was done there and many ideas and conclusions of that seminar are included here.

Some details of the Preston Patrick Seminar:


  • Barney Barratt
  • George Lakey
  • Lynne Shivers
  • Lia Baetes
  • Berit Lakey
  • Rose Simpson
  • Barry Brown
  • Kenneth Lee
  • Charles Walker
  • Manmohan Choudhury
  • Jill O'Hara
  • Paul Wesley
  • David Harding
  • Theodore Olson
  • Colin Hodgetts
  • Bob Overy
  • Ruth Howey
  • Devi Prasad

Participants were from Great Britain, United States, Canada, India and Holland. Groups represented included the Friends Peace and International Relations Committee, War Resisters' International, Friends Peace Committee (of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Society of Friends), Haverford Center for the Study of Nonviolent Conflict Resolution, Christian Action, A Quaker Action Group, Peace News, London School of Non-violence, and Shanti Sena.

Aims of the Seminar

1. To bring together persons from Britain, the continent, and the United States who have engaged in training for nonviolent action

2. To stimulate interchange of training ideas and methods

3. To evaluate models of training from an international perspective

4. To propose practical methods of evaluation to be used by trainers

5. To issue a publication giving practical guidance on training.

The seminar was jointly sponsored by the War Resisters' Inter-national and the Friends Peace and International Relations Committee of Great Britain.

Topics covered at the Seminar

1. Training methods and techniques: roleplaying, strategy game, quick decision exercise, situation analysis, case study approach, journal-keeping and other 'shared experiences: constructive programme, etc.

2. Group dynamics and sensitivity training

3. Training frameworks and models: a review of training programmes and organizations currently in existence

4. Public actions used in training: street-speaking, guerrilla theatre, leafletting, surveying

5. Special types of training: marshalling, peacekeeping

6. Evaluation of training: purposes, tools and limitations of evaluation.


Below is a list of the organizations or centers presently engaged in some kind of nonviolent action training. Each entry includes name of the organization, address, name of a person in charge of the programme, and a short profile of the training. The list is undoubtedly incomplete; we hope that other organizations will send details of their programmes to the War Resisters' Inter-national. We also hope that these organizations will communicate with one another, thus strengthening all the programmes.


1. Training Institute on Nonviolence, Grindstone Island. Run by the Canadian Friends Service Committee, 60 Lowther Ave., Toronto 5, Ontario. Summer institutes, one programme of which was the basis for Thirty-One Hours.


2. Fellowship of Reconciliation, 9 Coombe Road, Malden, Surrey. David Harding. Sponsors training workshops and informal study groups.

3. Friends Peace and International Relations Committee, Friends House, Euston Road, London NW1 . Kenneth Lee. Sponsors training workshops.

4. London School of Nonviolence, St-Martin-in-the-Fields, London WC2. Colin Hodgetts. This school intentionally has no formal structure; study groups meet informally. It attempts to be relevant to social needs along less structured lines.

5. War Resisters' International, 3 Caledonian Road, London N1. Devi Prasad. Sponsors training workshops and international seminars and action projects. Issues Training in Nonviolence bulletin.

6. Youth Association of Peace Pledge Union, 6 Endsleigh St, London WC1. John Hyatt. Sponsors training courses and study seminars.


7. Centrum voor Geweldloze Weerbaarheid (Center for Study and Training in Nonviolent Action), Postbus 36, Heiloo. Lia Boetes. Formal weekend studies; team approach in organizing; action projects. Urban Training Centre in Amsterdam is slated to begin in 1971.


8. Shanti Sena Mandai, Rajghat, Varanasi, UP, Narayan Desai. Training programme for Shanti Sena and youth Shanti Sena. Training emphasizes theory, social issues, how to lead groups.


9. American Friends Service Committee, Pasadena office, Box 991, Pasadena, California. Bob Vogel. Occasional work-shops, seminars, adult study groups.

10. Chicago Nonviolent Training and Action Center, 5615 So Woodlawn, Chicago; Illinois 60637. Carl Zietlow. Conferences, training workshops, short term training for marshals, action projects.

11. Committee for Nonviolent Action, Box 197B, Voluntown, Connecticut. Marjorie Swann. Occasional workshops and conferences on training and related subjects; marshal training for specific projects; action projects.

12. Friends Peace Committee, 1520 Race St, Philadelphia, Penna 19102. George Hardin. Short-term training, especially for action projects; marshal training.

13. Haverford Center for the Study of Nonviolent Conflict Resolution, Haverford College, Haverford, Penna 19041. Paul Wehr. Research programmes into nonviolent training projects; marshal training for specific projects. A course in the theory of nonviolence is given at the college.

14. Institute for-the Study of Nonviolence, PO Box 1001, Palo Alto, California 94302. Ira Sandperl. Weekend and week-long conferences on nonviolence and related subjects; action projects.

15 Institute for the Study of Nonviolence, Boulder, Colorado. Burt Wallrich. Essentially the same type of programme as at the Palo Alto institute.

16. Pendle Hill, Wallingford, Penna 19086. George Willoughby.
One of the courses given at Pendle Hill is 'Creative Approaches in Social Change' a nine-month course in the theory and practise of nonviolent social change; course is divided into three terms. Includes theory, skills training, an opportunity to work in a social change agency in Philadelphia; field projects and action projects. .

17. Quaker Project on Community Conflict, 217 Second Ave, New York, New York 10003. Lee Stern. Short-term training, especially for marshals and for specific action projects.

18. War Resisters' League, 833 Haight St, San Francisco, California 94117. Action projects mostly, but beginning to include some educational and training programmes.

Note: Two training institutions which have recently closed are the Institute for Training in Nonviolence in London (1967 -70), and the Martin Luther King, Jr., School for Social Change in Chester, Pennsylvania (1965 - 70) (formerly Upland Institute) .


The idea behind a training manual is to put on paper in a systematic way a particular kind of training programme, such as marshal training. The use of manuals thus helps to present a fairly uniform training programme. By their very nature, manuals tend to become outdated as situations change and different needs develop. Nevertheless, manuals are a valuable way of transmitting specific ideas of a training programme.

Listed below are the training manuals available to date:

1. A most important manual developed for nonviolent action training is A Manual for Trainers: Training for Nonviolent Responses to Social Conflict. The revised and extended new edition is based on the original manual published two years ago. This 31-page manual outlines the five-part training course given widely in Philadelphia and around the United States. This manual discusses planning and conducting a training course, directing and evaluating roleplays, understanding and teaching roles for group members, understanding and teaching concepts of strategy and tactics, and leading and participating in direct action. Trainers are encouraged to develop particular roleplay scenarios to meet particular needs. Bibliography. Available from the Friends Peace Committee, 1520 Race St., Philadelphia, Penna. USA 19102 Mimeograph 25c.

2. A Manual for Trainers: Training for Nonviolent Responses to Social Conflict. Based on the manual described above, but revised and edited for use in Great Britain and Europe. Available from the Friends Peace and International Relations Committee, Friends House, Euston Road, London NW1. 2s.

3. Training marshals for the November 1969 New Mobilization March Against Death and rally in Washington required the creation. of a training manual for marshals: Marshals: What Do They Do? How Do You Train Them? (A Handbook for Training Marshals for Marches, Rallies, and Other Demonstrations). This 15-page manual covers roles of marshals and trainers; how to organize a marshal training session, explanation of training tools such as roleplaying, situation analysis, and quick decision exercise, and suggestions for marshals on the job. This manual was written from the original six-page manual used in Washington when 4,000 marshals were trained. Available from the Friends Peace Committee, 1520 Race St., Philadelphia, Penna. 19102 USA Mimeograph 25c.

4. Stewards: What They Do. How They Are Trained. Based on the Friends Peace Committee manual for marshal training. This 7-page manual was revised and edited for use in Great Britain and Europe. Available from Christian Action, 2 Amen Court, London EC4. Mimeograph 1/6.

5. How To Conduct A Street Meeting is a manual which outlines details needed to know in order to set up street speaking, an inexpensive form of public education which also prepares people for more intensive forms of direct action. Available from the Friends Peace Committee, 1520 Race St., Philadelphia, Penna. 19102 USA Mimeograph 6 pages.

6. Organizing for Civil Disobedience. written by Charles Walker. This manual includes sections on planning, training, discussions of the problems of secrecy and notifying the police, questions about bail, what to expect in gaol situations, provocations, the action, after unrest, in court, de-briefing, and notes. Includes bibliography. Available from Charles Walker, Haverford College, Haverford, Penna. USA 19041. 15 pages. Mimeo-graph.

7. Conducting A Vigil. written by Charles Walker. This is not so much a manual but a short leaflet guide to organizing a vigil, and discusses many issues which should be considered. Available from Charles Walker, Haverford College, Haverford, Penna 19041 USA. 4 pages.


This bibliography is short and select. The first section gives general references about nonviolent action; the second section gives references on training. Most materials on training are not widely available other than ones listed here. Most references are available in the United States and in Europe and Great Britain.


Bondurant, Joan V. Conquest of Violence (Berkeley: U. of California Press, 1965, and London: Oxford U. Press, 1958) .
An analysis of satyagraha, including accounts of five cam-paigns and chapters discussing satyagraha in relation to Hindu tradition and Western political theory.

Carter, Hoggett, and Roberts. Nonviolent Action: A Selected Bibliography. (London: Housmans, 1970) .
New and enlarged edition. The most complete bibliography of materials on nonviolent action widely available. Valuable and usable.

Gandhi, M. K. An Autobiography: or, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, trans. Mahadev Desai (Ahmedabad: Navajivan, 1959).
Gandhi's autobiography makes fascinating and illuminating reading.

King, Jr., Martin Luther. Why We Can't Wait. (New York: New American Library, 1964) .
An account of the 1963 Birmingham desegregation struggle; also available in paperback.

Roberts, Adam (ed.) Civilian Defense as A National Defense: Non-violent Action Against Aggression (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969) .
An exploration of civilian defense.

Sibley, Mulford Q. (ed.) The Quiet Battle (New York: Double-day, 1963) .
Case studies of nonviolent resistance campaigns.


Corsini, R. J., N. Shaw, and R. Blake. Roleplaying in Business and Industry (New York: Free Press of Glencoe, 1961). One of the few books available on roleplaying. Don't be misled by the title; its recommendations are applicable to nonviolent training.

Olson, Theodore, and Gordon Christiansen. Thirty-One Hours. (New London, Conn.: The Grindstone Press, 1966) .
Detailed presentation and analysis of a marathon roleplaying session dealing with civilian defense.

Oppenheimer, Martin, and George Lakey. A Manual for Direct Action. (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1965) .
Gives useful information for organizing action campaigns, how to set up a training session, and tips on directing role-plays.

Schutz, William C. Joy: Expanding Human Awareness. (Grove Press, 1964)
This book gives detailed information about sensitivity training and includes specific exercises.

Sharp, Gene. Non-violent Action: An Introductory Outline for Study Groups (London: Friends Peace Committee, 1963). This pamphlet offers an outline for studying nonviolence theory.

Thelen, Herbert A. Dynamics of Groups at Work. (Chicago: U. of Chicago, Phoenix Books, 1954) .
Chapter 6 has good information about leading roleplaying. This book also explains many aspects of group dynamics.

War Resisters' International. Training in Nonviolence. (London: War Resisters' International, 1965) .
This pamphlet gives a detailed account of the Perugia, Italy, conference in 1965. Available from War Resisters' International in London.


'Training in Nonviolence Bulletin', War Resisters' International, 3 Caledonian Road, London N1. Bulletin prepared quarterly.

WAR RESISTANCE 1st & 2nd Quarters 1971-Vol. 2 Nos. 36-37

War is a crime against humanity. I therefore am determined not to support any kind of war and to strive for the removal of all causes of war

WAR RESISTANCE is the quarterly organ of the WAR RESISTERS' INTERNATIONAL, 3, Caledonian Rd., London, N.1. England, U.K. Phone: (01) 837 3860 Cable: NONVIOLENT London N1 Editor: Devi Prasad

Corresponding Editors: Roy Kepler, Pierre Martin, Tony Smythe Subscription: 80p per annum; single copies 20p each

This issue: 25p


Chairman: Michael Randle Vice-Chairman: Martin Niemoller

Hon. Treasurer: Norman Edwards General Secretary: Devi Prasad

Elected Members: Vo Van Ai (Vietnam); Harold Bing (England) ; Uri Davis (Israel); Narayan Desai (India); Donald Groom (Australia); Hagbard Jonassen (Denmark); Randy Kehler (USA) ; Sverre Larsen (Norway); Jean van Lierde (Belgium); David McReynolds (USA); Pietro Pinna (Italy); Myrtle Solomon (England) .

Appointed by Sections: Inge L. Poulsen (AMK, Denmark); Cobi Molenaar (WvV, Netherlands) ; Candy Putter (WRL, USA) ; Hugh Underhill (PPU, England) ; Hein van Wijk (ANVA, Netherlands) .


Problems of Economic Development-edited by Devi Prasad. Brings together a wide range of opinion on the issues of aid and development and will be a useful incentive for further discussion. Published September 1970-48 pages-25p (UK), $1 (US).

Conscription-A World Survey-edited by Devi Prasad and Tony Smythe. A full-length study of conscription in over 106 countries. Published September 1968-166 pages-75p (UK), $2.25 (US) soft cover; £1.50 (UK), $4.50 (US) hardcover.

Student Revolts-The New Left in West Germany-by F. C. Hunnius. An examination of actions by students in West Berlin and West Germany. Published July 1968-40 pages-17 1/2p (UK), 65c (US).

Human Rights-A Handbook-edited by Devi Prasad. Specially published for Human Rights Year 1968, it covers over 19 conventions, with a special chart for easy reference-25 pages -15p (UK), 50c (US).

Violence in Africa-by Pierre Martin. A useful background paper in the debate between the advocates of violence and non-violence in Southern Africa-published 1968-12 1/2p (UK), 40c (US).

Self-Defence-by Don Milani. Father Milani was accused of incitement because of his support for COs. He answers the court in this statement of lasting value-third edition published in 1937-23 pages-12 1/2p (UK), 50c (US).

WRI Brochure- a new and revised edition of our brochure explaining WRI has just been published in English. Single copies will be sent free. Bulk supplies are £1.25 per 100 (UK), $3.00 (US).

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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 29 Sep 2010 - 05:21


I visited this office of the WRL while in high school in the late 60s. My mother worked with Paul Wesley, an Irishman from England on visa, promoting and supporting conscientious objector status among her caseload of mostly young black men. My mother, Sedonia Mouton, died recently and wondered, as have I, what happened to Paul.

I'm writing a book and am trying to find documentation about Paul, particularly a magazine photograph I was given of Paul in an SF jail cell with Rudolph Nureyev. Can you give me any information about Paul Wesley's current activities or contact information? It's been a long time, but I thank you in advance.

Regina Mouton