Nonviolence

WRI's Nonviolence Programme promotes the use of active nonviolence to confront the causes of war and militarism. We develop resources (such as the Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns) and provide nonviolence training to groups seeking to develop their skills.

WRI's Nonviolence Programme:

  • empowers grassroot activists in nonviolent campaigns, through resources, publications and by leading training in nonviolence;

  • coordinates regional nonviolence trainers' networks;

  • educates the WRI and wider network of the connections between economics and war.

We believe the goals of peace and justice will eventually be achieved through the persistent work of grassroots movements over time, in all countries and regions. Our mission is to support these movements, helping them gain and maintain the strength needed for the journey they face, and to link them to one another, forming a global network working in solidarity, sharing experiences, countering war and injustice at all levels.

The front cover of our Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns

Resources

Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns

In 2014 we published the second edition of our Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns, a book to accompany and support social change movements. The book – written by over 30 seasoned activists - has been translated into over ten languages, and several thousand copies have been sold. A wide variety of movements, campaigns, trainers and individual activists from around the world have made use of the Handbook.

The English and Spanish version of the Handbook can be bought from the WRI webshop.

The German version of the Handbook is published and sold by Graswurzelrevolution.

For information other editions/languages, please contact us at info@wri-irg.org.

Empowering Nonviolence

From April 2017, the Handbook – and lots of other content – will be available online on our new Empowering Nonviolence website. Empowering Nonviolence allows users to browse the content of the Handbook, helping to make activists and movements more effective in their campaigning and direct action, more strategic in their planning, and to become more sustainable, as they learn from others and share stories and ideas.

New Worlds in Old Shells

When we think of nonviolent social change we often think of protests, direct action, banners, placards, and crowds in the street. Often these actions are saying “No!”, resisting the causes of violence and war, and they are very necessary. As important though, are the communities and organisations “building a new world in the shell of the old”, saying “yes!” by putting into practise the emancipatory, nonviolent, empowering ways of working and living we hope – one day – everyone will experience. Gandhi coined the word “constructive programmes” to describe this sort of social change, and we are currently writing a new publication exploring these ideas, called New Worlds in Old Shells.

Nonviolence Training

The Nonviolence Programme is a direct response to needs expressed by activist groups for nonviolence training and resources, especially focusing on campaign strategies for nonviolent direct action (NVDA). The training tools and materials we use are designed to facilitate the groups that contact us in the processes they initiate and lead. We do not prescribe a particular way of taking action; our goal is to train and empower local nonviolence trainers, to build independent, local capacity with the groups we work alongside.

Hiroshima Remembrance Day , August 6 2014, 11 am. The blockade at the Lutzerather Gate of the Büchel nuclear base was cleared at about 6.30 am this morning to allow vehicles entry to the nuclear weapons base. Of the 12 activists blockading the gate, one could not be immediately removed because he had locked himself to the gate with a bike lock around his neck. The police had to lift him and open the gate with him still attached. After attempts to break the lock, the police were forced to cut the gate itself in order to remove the protester. He and two other activists without ID were arrested and taken to Cochen police station, one of them is under-age. All the other blockaders were let go after their personal details were recorded.

War Profiteers' News, August 2014

By Omar Barghouti

“Just as we said during apartheid that it was inappropriate for international artists to perform in South Africa in a society founded on discriminatory laws and racial exclusivity, so it would be wrong for Cape Town Opera to perform in Israel.”

– Desmond Tutu

Back in the 1980s, while studying engineering at Columbia University in New York, I was active in the divestment campaign against South African apartheid. When a fellow student cynically asked me, “Do you really think apartheid will end in your lifetime?”, my answer was, “No, I don’t. I am doing this as a moral obligation to stand with the oppressed anywhere.” But apartheid was abolished in my lifetime, and no one can take the inspiring power of that achievement away from me or from anyone around the world who contributed, no matter how modestly, to that universal struggle.

The new handbook is available from the WRI webshop, here:

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At the 'Small Actions, Big Movements' conference in South Africa, War Resisters' International released the new edition of the 'Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns'. At a launch event, different contributors read from the handbook, described the inspiration behind creating a new edition, and explained their various contributions.

The handbook aims to show how a group can achieve their goals by developing a strategy (a plan as to how they will exert the necessary pressure to make change), before exploring what strategy looks like in reality. The handbook was written by over 30 people from countries all over the world, and aims to reflect and empower nonviolent activists internationally.

WRI are preparing to release a new edition of the Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns, and running a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to get it finished - https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/war-resisters-international-handbook-for-nonviolent-campaigns/x/6667143

Yeo-ok Yang and Jungmin Choi, activists of World Without War, and Reverend Bora Im of Hyanglin Church were put into prison on May 20.

They were sentenced to pay a fine of two million won each (approximately 2,000 USD) for taking a direct action to block the construction of Jeju Naval Base, which had been illegally undertaken without an agreement with local residents.

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Janet Cherry examines contemporary and historical case studies of international solidarity campaigns, and discussed lessons to be learned about strategies for effective international solidarity. It focused on labour movements and direct action campaigns, with examples from Africa.

Janet is an activist and academic based at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

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This webinar, led by Geoff Harris, was the first in a series of webinars by and for the African Nonviolence and Peacebuilding Network. It took place on the 6 March, 2014. 

This series is open to all, and leading up to the July 2014 international conference: Small Actions, Big Movements: The Continuum of Nonviolence, taking place in Cape Town.

Please note: after Geoff starts speaking (3 minutes in), you may need to turn up your volume because there is a volume difference between when Javier and Geoff are speaking!

The Broken Rifle 98

The popular unarmed uprisings in the Arab World early in 2011 took the world by surprise, both because most observers did not expect demands for human rights and democratic choice to become central in Arab states, and because they did not expect mass protest to be predominantly unarmed. However, in retrospect there are many reasons why initially the 'Arab Spring' took the forms it did in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Syria, Libya and other states. Moreover, as scholars of nonviolent civil resistance pointed out, in the first months the most significant movements displayed some of the classic characteristics of such resistance. In the longer term, however, many of the movements have failed to fulfill their initial promise, overtaken by armed civil war (as happened quickly in Libya and more gradually in Syria), or failing to achieve their initial democratic promise - most notably in Egypt. The impressive protests at the 'Pearl Roundabout' in Bahrain were quite quickly crushed, and preemptive offers by rulers of Morocco and Jordan to make reforms to meet public demands have so far only diluted royal power. This article briefly elaborates on the points made above, and then raises some questions about the future.

A Pastor reported (in a follow up meeting) “Since I attended the nonviolence workshop, I stopped hating Muslims. They burnt our Churches in Khartoum and since that time, I lost respect to Muslims and hate them. Now we are in a new Country, I don’t want Muslims to suffer the way Christians suffered under Islamic regime in Sudan. Its painful to forgive but my Bible tells me to forgive as God has forgiven us”. Since 2011 the pastor, a few other Christians and group of Muslims are working together. They organize outreach workshops to both Christians and Muslims in Juba.

Dear Friends,

In South Sudan, the seeds of nonviolence are being sown and cultivated by the Organisation for Nonviolence and Development (ONAD), a War Resisters' International affiliate.

Despite changes of attitudes and behaviour of individuals and groups as a result of ONAD's nonviolence trainings, many people still believe armed struggle can bring the changes they hope to see. In South Sudan, society is highly militarized with some civilians owning weapons. While some have surrendered their guns to the government, disarmament of both minds and hearts are equally necessary if we are to avoid ongoing militarization of society.

Statement by Women in Black Madrid

Once again the guardians of democracy rise up as saviors, in this case, saviors of Syria. But when they speak of helping the Syrians, they speak of military support to the insurgents in order to defend their own interests in the area. While peaceful protests lasted, the international community looked aside. When Asad crushed them harshly: the uprising of the children of Deraa, the sit-ins and demonstrations of the young people and the country folks, there was no great echo in the conventional media.

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