All forms and scales of violence are interconnected - from domestic violence, through street violence, ethnic strife, political oppression, economic exploitation, to war and multi-national military interventions. Violence may be direct (e.g. killing), structural violence (e.g. dying through poverty) or cultural violence (whatever blinds us to this or seeks to justify it).
Looking back over the history of Africa from the arrival of slave traders from the Western and Arab world, external armed powers continuously ran military expeditions all over the continent, in search of black people to export as slaves. These armed powers, mostly acting under the orders of royal houses and noble families from Western and Eastern empires, were militarily in competition in Africa and fighting each others on the prowl for the "black gold"; black men, women and children.
Theme group conveners Swati Desai and Lerato Maragele write on nonviolent community struggles. Swati Desai on Violence and Nonviolence in community struggles and Lerato Maragele gives a case study on the COP17 Global Day of Action.
The images of war, armed conflict and organized violence worldwide can take different forms, but the one thing they almost always have in common are the young men and women filling the lines of military and paramilitary organizations.
War profiteering has a long and loathsome history. However, in the age of neo-liberalism - during which large-scale privatisation has been taking place - war profiteers have found new opportunities to rake in enormous profits.
Ever asked yourself the question: what does it take to have successful nonviolence training? Nonviolence - people power for social change - takes many forms. Likewise, nonviolence traininga may take different approaches to provide individuals and groups tools to challenge social injustice.
Daily violence is a form of violence that is very difficult to endure and even harder to eradicate. When violent behaviour and violent actions become a part of the everyday life, when people are unable to live without fear of being threathened, beaten up, expelled from their homes or even killed, we can then diagonse daily violence.
We want to see a really nonviolent society, but we can’t see it yet. Thinking about getting the whole society from here to there we have to think about education, too, because education, both formal and non-formal, is one way of socialization, one way society constitutes itself. Thinking about nonviolence and education means that we have to define both of them as well as their relation.
Today it is obvious that unarmed popular movements are able to overthrow authoritarian regimes, even militarized and dictatorial regimes that have controlled countries for decades. Through mass demonstrations, civil disobedience, noncooperation, strikes and boycotts some 30 dictatorships have fallen during the last decades. We have more recently seen how entrenched authoritarian regimes have fallen within “the Arab Spring” in Egypt and Tunisia, and previously similar dramatic transitions have happened throughout Latin America, Easter Europe, Western Africa, as well as in South Africa, Iran, Indonesia, the Philippines, etc. All these examples point towards the people power or nonviolent revolution that Gandhi was instrumental in developing during the struggle in South Africa and India. However, it is also obvious today that these regime changes point towards a number of problems and challenges, some of which our theme group want to engage with.