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). To counter violence effectively requires awareness of this continuum, seeing direct violence in the context of structural and cultural violence, connecting the propensity to violence in everyday life with the resort to weapons in macro-conflicts. It means looking at the local and also the global, tackling the immediate yet also maintaining a longer term view. It requires also a repertoire of activities - offering oppressed groups alternatives to submission or taking up arms, forms of building up social solidarity and opening up avenues of participation in the face of overweening domination and corruption, and sharing the nonviolent tactics and strategies to do this.
The WRI International Conference - Small Actions Big Movements the Continuum of Nonviolence - co-hosted by The Ceasefire Campaign brought together activists from all over the world to exchange their experience and perspectives in resisting various points on the continuum of violence. Theme groups ran throughout the course of the conference, focusing on a particular aspect of the continuum of violence – and the nonviolent response to it. This edition of The Broken Rifle brings together pieces used for the conference reader, written in advance of the conference by those who convened the various theme groups: