Providing resources to strengthen and deepen our understanding of nonviolence, nonviolent strategies, and nonviolent campaigning is one of the main aims of the Nonviolence Programme.
With this Broken Rifle we give you a taste of what you will find in the Handbook for Nonviolent Action that will soon be published by War Resisters' International. The handbook has tools on how to develop nonviolent campaigns and actions, with various resources and stories on international experiences of nonviolent action.
Look at the history of your country and you will find episodes of nonviolent action - demonstrations, strikes, boycotts or other forms of popular non-cooperation. The causes will vary - for the rights of workers and peasants, freedom for slaves, the right to vote for women or people without property, for racial equality, for gender equality, for freedom from occupation - in short encompassing a range of forms of injustice and domination.
(30 min)10/10 Strategies - This exercise helps people learn about the rich history of nonviolent campaigns, getting a better understanding of campaigns, tactics and movements. Break into small groups of 5-6. One person in each group needs to list numbers 1 to 10 on a piece of paper. Groups are "competing" with one another to see who can do the task in the fastest time, as opposed to our usual cooperative style. Each group is to list 10 wars as quickly as possible, raising their hands when they are done. Facilitator should note the time.
A campaign is a connected series of activities and actions done over a period of time to achieve specific, stated goals. Campaigns are started by a group of people with a common understanding and vision, who identify the goals and begin the process of research, education and training that strengthens and increases the number of participants who engage in the activities and action.
Brainstorming is a group technique designed to generate a large number of ideas in a limited amount of time. Most of us have probably used brainstorms in our political work to develop descriptions (i.e. What is nonviolence?) or answer question with as many ideas as possible to consider (i.e. What tactics would help us reach our goals?). It is a good tool to use at meetings and nonviolence training as it gets people energised by the flow of answers. It also helps to listen to more voices within the group.
Organising for nonviolent action is (often) based on affinity groups, autonomous groups of 5-15 persons where people trust each other and can rely on each other (see the article on affinity groups.
Consensus decision making differs greatly from majority decision making. While majority decision making often leads to a power struggle between two different solutions, consensus decision making aims to take everyone's concerns on board, often modifying a proposed solution several times in the process.
It has not been long since the concept of "nonviolent way of struggle" started to be used in the Korean social movement society.
Still, many people in social movements have a negative feeling about this concept. They regard "nonviolence" as a weak, passive and non-resistant way of struggle, and those perceptions seem to have come from the somewhat unique history that many Koreans have experienced.
The Broken Rifle is the newsletter of War Resisters' International, and is published in English, Spanish, French and German. This is issue 75, September 2007.This issue of The Broken Rifle was produced by Javier Gárate. Special thanks go to Howard Clark, Joanne Sheehan, the Korea Solidarity for Conscientious Objection and Yvonne Kassim. If you want extra copies of this issue of The Broken Rifle, please contact the WRI office, or download it from our website.
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