Nonviolence in the News – August 18th

“If I were a Jew and were born in Germany and earned my livelihood there, I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile German might, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon; I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment. And for doing this I should not wait for the Jews to join me in civil resistance, but would have confidence that in the end the rest were bound to follow my example.” (First published in Harijan and available in the book, Nonviolence in Peace & War)


Metta quoted in the New York Times
! #5 in ‘most read,’
last time we checked. Next Tuesday we’ll be interviewed by Kris Welch on KPFA, I think at 11am.

+ From Waging Nonviolence earlier this month, “Sahrawi Refugees Build Upon Their Nation in Exile,” reporting here because we’ll be hearing from Prof. Stephen Zunes at USF, an expert on this little-known conflict where Sahrawi people are resisting with sustained nonviolence in the face of heavy opposition.  One quote: “This 200,000-person camp is run by the refugees themselves…. Any international organizations that come in do so as partners — not as leaders.” No ”peace imperialism here!”  As we recently heard from Sherri Wander, the first lesson learned by peace teams has been, ‘listen to the people you’ve come to help.’  I will never forget what we heard from Mubarak Awad at a meeting in Santa Cruz ~20 years ago, before he was deported from Israel/Palestine.  We asked him if he wanted us there as peace teams and he said.  “Absolutely. We are willing to die, but we do not want to die alone.  So come, stand with us; but don’t tell us what to do.”

+ Good article from Crux, online magazine of the CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE: “West Bank Priests Stress Nonviolence as Youths Protest Israeli Occupation,” by Judith Sudilovsky, August 4, 2017.  Father Firas Aridah: “I tell the young men that we are not with this violence. If we do not accept for Israel to behave this way, then how can we accept it from our side? Wherever God is represented in our life, we should have no violence.”

+ A new book: Fred Magdoff and Chris Williams, Creating an Ecological Society: Toward a Revolutionary Transformation.  It’s received high praise from Noam Chomsky; available from Truthout.


Project Censored, originating at Sonoma State University, now has chapters on 18 campuses.  I’d particularly like to draw your attention to SF State where, under the direction of Prof. Kenn Burrows, they have developed an approach called Constructive Media (vs. fear-based & problem focused).  Categories are Social Health News, Mindfulness & Society News (changes the brain, calms police), Technology & Eco-Health News.



+ Yesterday (Thursday, August 17) in Common Dreams:

In Support of Eight Arrested for Toppling Durham Statue, Hundreds Turn Themselves In.” A true act of civil disobedience, and it was named as such by Common Dreams.

I (Michael Nagler) want to make several comments about tearing down statues:

  1. Let’s not forget, statues are symbols. In nonviolence, symbols are tricky. The side that relies on symbols while the other side is making concrete changes will lose.  To rely on symbols sends a message that there isn’t anything concrete to do – or you don’t know of anything.
  2. As is often the case with symbols, these acts are highly provocative. Not smart! Counterproductive and a waste of energy.
  3. What about the dignity of the South? Some southerners will feel like this is the Civil War all over again.  The ideal way to go about it would take some time, but be a permanent solution:
    1. Patiently educate people about the marvelous diversity of nature, equality of the human spirit
    2. Put up statues, etc. celebrating great men and women of the South.
    3. My final comment: ALL war memorials should come down, voluntarily.


+ Sojourners website yesterday: “More Than 350 Christian Ethicists Release Statement Condemning White Supremacy.”  The statement contained some beautiful language: “White supremacy and racism deny the dignity of each human being revealed through the Incarnation…Through faith we proclaim that God the Creator is the origin of all human persons.”

+ Nearly 800 local actions are now scheduled for the Campaign Nonviolence Week of Actions, September 16-24; well on their way to reaching our goal of over 1,000 marches, rallies, vigils and other forms of peaceful witness and resistance next month.

+ South Korea peace movements go on despite lack of obvious success.  When asked why he continues to resist in the face of overwhelming power, Father Mun declared, “The truth cannot be thrown away. The truth will stand up some day. The truth is very powerful. So, I believe the truth is going to win all enemies.”  [In addition, S. Korean women are actively protesting the disgraced former President Park Geun-hye’s approval of the placement of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system near Busan which according to MIT analyst Prof. Theodore Postol, “will definitely be looked upon by China as a significant military provocation by the U.S.” that could trigger military confrontations or war.”

MORE: Thousands of Won Buddhist monks have been demonstrating, fasting, and meditating around the clock.  Boycotts are also involved, of the Lotte stores that ceded the land to the US military. On the road leading from the village to the former golf course, the Buddhist monks have been holding a round-the-clock meditation session in protest against the system. The military hardware has been deployed unsettlingly close to some of their holiest sites and the road, now blocked and guarded by the military and the police, was previously used by monks and lay Buddhists for pilgrimages to honor the founders of the Won Buddhism, who lived in the hills in the early 1900s.” (Door Buddhist news source).  Comment: this is a new development, as Korean Buddhists, as opposed to Christians (~50%) have not traditionally been active; and some individuals jumped right into self-immolations where they were roused to do so. Needless to say, such an act should be the very last, not the first act of nonviolent resistance – if at all.

+ The Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases is a new campaign focused on closing all US military bases abroad. This campaign strikes at the foundation of US empire, confronting its militarism, corporatism and imperialism.  “We urge you to endorse this campaign,” they say.



+ From the ever-reliable Nonviolent Conflict News: Members of Swaraj India on Monday sat on a day-long hunger strike here to protest the increase in the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada river in Gujarat. The protest, “Vigil for Narmada,” was organised at Jantar Mantar, and attended by over 100 Swaraj India workers, including founder Yogendra Yadav. Representatives from organisations such as Greenpeace and National Alliance of People’s Movements also joined the agitation. “With the raising of the dam’s height from from 122 m to 138.62 m, at least 40,000 families stand at a risk of being submerged,” said Mr. Yadav, adding that both the State and the Centre were to be blamed for the “mass murder.””  Hm. I wonder if that could be considered an exaggeration.  Anyway, Swaraj India continues on from the Narmada Bachao Andolan of Baba Amte and Medha Patkar, one of two major environmental struggles in the immediately post-Gandhian era, the other being Chipko Andolan, the ‘tree-hugging’ movement.

+ Emma Bryce in Truthout: The Zollverein coal mine is a symbol of Germany’s transition away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy — a program called the Energiewende that aims to have 80 percent of the country’s energy generated from renewables by 2050. The program offers many lessons for other countries seeking to transition away from fossil fuels.

+ Closer to home (a lot):  A man arrested in Petaluma this week for blocking truck packed with live chickens Monday: According to Direct Action Network, or DxE, the activists were holding signs saying, “No hate for truckers. Just love for animals.”



+ Another ‘supremacist’ rally coming up at Crissy field, San Francisco on the 26th.   And a ‘counter-protest’: Loved Up Mobile Dance Counter Protest at Marina Green.  Described as Non Confrontational, Non Violent, and Off-site (but close).  We love that.

+Acting locally on the most global issue of all: On July 31, Occupy Sonoma County hosted a gathering of local climate change activists at the Peace & Justice Center in Santa Rosa.  Over 70 people, representing 25 different organizations, attended. A model if collaboration, dare we hope?  They’ll be meeting again Oct. 30th at 7pm, again at the Peace and Justice Center.

+ Code Pink Peace Camp, Aug. 26-27 in Sonoma County. Joining it will be the Executive Director of Faith in Action Bay Area Dr. Jennifer Martinez and former Mayor of Richmond Gayle McLaughlin. On Sunday, Jennifer will discuss sanctuary work, and other areas of community organizing. On Saturday, Gayle will spend an hour with us talking about how she built a peace economy in Richmond and the progressive changes she made in the city.


+ On Feb 26-27 and March 2, The Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth & Reconciliation’s will be holding a two-plus-three-day Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation training: an introduction to the philosophy of Kingian Nonviolence. It teaches the Six Principles and Steps of Kingian Nonviolence, as well as basic ideas, strategies, and tools of conflict reconciliation to address interpersonal conflict as well as systemic conflict. The training teaches us how to identify and address conflict in a way that addresses the root cause of the conflict and encourages us to creatively and strategically develope a win-win outcome that leads to reconciliation. If you stay for the weekend, you can participate in the Commemoration of the 53rd Anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the Selma to Montgomery March, which is the largest annual Civil Rights Celebration in the country. You don’t want to miss this! Contact them at 334-526-4539.

+ Miko Peled, formerly of the IDF, will be speaking:  “Going against the Current: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine”  Sponsered by IONS in Petaluma, Thursday, October 5, 2017 – 6:00pm to 9:00pm: EarthRise Transformative Learning Center, 101 San Antonio Road, Petaluma, California 94952

+ Sumud Tour, Holy Land Trust:  The Winter Session Tour will begin on December 21, 2017 and end January 3, 2018. (Sumud  means ‘patience, endurance’ and is a synonym for nonviolence (or le-onf) in Arabic. Early bird tour cost (available now through November 10, 2017): $1840. Late bird tour cost (November 11 until registration closes): $2240.


+ Metta Peace Teams seeks volunteers for West Bank tour:
Departure date to the West Bank will be Jan. 21, 2018
Duration of teams is 4-6 weeks.
Teams usually consist of 4-8 persons.
~$4,000; team  helps w/ fundraising.

+ Finally, tune in to three days of upcoming Pace&Bene talks with John Dear (8/29), Jim Lawson (8/30) and finally your very own MNN (8/31), interviewed by Rivera Sun (health permitting) or Angela Parker on The Nonviolence Handbook.  These are 5-6pm Pacific, online.