Nonviolence in the News – September 1, 2017

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Have I mentioned Positive News?  It’s both a magazine and a website ( offering news in many categories.  Most are at best indirectly related to nonviolence; but all are changing the mindset, especially in their cumulative effect. Of interest regarding one of Stephanie’s items today: The ‘gangsta gardener,’ Ron Finley, who believes masculinity is about being building thriving communities and being a conscious citizen of the planet. Ron is determined to redefine ‘gangsta’ as being about these values, and not machismo.

+ Exciting first offering of its kind from Nonviolent Peaceforce: an online course on “Strengthening Civilian Capacity to Protect Civilians Against Violence.”  To be offered through Merrimack College, Begins 9/18, reg. closes 9/11

+ From ICNC’s “minds of the movement” blog: Mindful Activism: The Power of Mindfulness in the Streets( The top picture shows Sarah Thompson, whom we recently interviewed, leading a meditation). by Gabriel DayleyAugust 25, 2017 …  This comes decades after Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh founded “engaged Buddhism.”  When asked “What is Engaged Buddhism?” he famously said, “It’s Buddhism!”  You can’t be a Buddhist and not feel compassion for those who suffer, and want to do something about it.  Thay (as he’s popularly called) explicitly joined activism with mindfulness-based practices in a global spotlight, activists in pockets around the world have begun to incorporate techniques of mindful attention to the present moment into their movement activities. However, public and scientific interest in mindfulness has focused heavily on benefits to individual wellbeing, and applications of mindfulness to activism have largely been limited to preventing stress and burnout. This focus on individual wellbeing ignores potentially valuable applications of mindfulness-based practices for increasing the effectiveness of activists and strengthening their movements.  The same goes for the growing movement for mindful schools. Scientists now use the term subtle energy, which the likes of Gandhi & King firmly believed in: we recently heard that wonderful talk of Gandhi’s about “living power.”  Thay is now 91, and about to visit his home village near Hue.  All this is interesting in the light of recent events in S. Korea, where Buddhists are in fact getting “engaged.”  Until recently the only activists in S. Korea were Christian.

+ Move to Amend conference call, fourth Wednesday of every month at 5PM PT / 8 PM ET, at their Facebook page.  “Join our national director Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap and national board member Laura Bonham in this interactive monthly report on what’s happening with the Campaign to Legalize Democracy and all things Move to Amend.”

+ If you feel stuck putting your money in Big Banks like Wells Fargo or Wall Street investment funds, you should know about an alternative option which supports good causes: Aspiration.  “We created Aspiration because everyone deserves a financial firm that brings you fairness, great products and the chance to both make money and make a difference.”

+ Are you indigenous?  Monitoring Indigenous Peoples’ rights around the world may have just gotten a bit easier, thanks to a new tool called the Indigenous Navigator.…

The Navigator is an interactive watchdog that allows users to keep track of the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), outcomes from the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, and key elements of the Sustainable Development Goals. For example, when the Navigator was tested in Nepal, women learned that they had a right to participate in decision making. Empowered with this knowledge, women approached local officials and exercised their rights. They insisted leaders consult and include women in decision making, budget design, and laws against gender-based violence.

“In certain municipalities [in Nepal], there are actually funds that are meant for women — but women did not know. So now they are claiming that the funds should be used according to what Indigenous women define as their priorities and needs,” said Joan Carling, co-convener of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group for the Sustainable Development Goals.

+There’s an important conversation activists need to have about ableism and our language. For example, do we say that we “stand” for justice or “rise” against fascism? Do we see that these metaphors imply that standing or rising is good? What about people who cannot stand but are in favor of justice for all? We need to explore new metaphors and be more thoughtful with our language. Recommend reading: Everyday Feminism 2014 piece, 10 questions why ableist language matters answered.

+ Listeners ought to know about the awesome resource: Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Quote Investigator (a site that investigates the origins of quotes…) looked into a popular quote attributed to Gandhi, “First they ignore you; then they laugh at you; then they fight you; then you win” to see if Gandhi really said it. Their conclusion: the quote did not orginate with Gandhi, but with a large family of sayings from the early 19th century. See the full article

+ The Institute for Humane Education has created a support page to bring support to their program for creating much needed resources for solutionaries in education.  What is a solutionary? According to the IHE, “A person who identifies problems, and their underlying systems, and then develops solutions that are humane, just, and sustainable for all people, animals, and the environment.”

+ Zen Hospice is offering classes in mindful caregiving. This is important work because death can be a period of gentle transition or pain and conflict. We can support those around us transitioning out of this life with the tools and skills of our deep, inner practice of nonviolence, and we need more of a look at end of life in our society, don’t we?  Find more information:

+Edwin Rutch, co-founder of the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy has created a creative nonviolent support system for protests called “empathy tents.” Here’s what he says about them: The Empathy Tent is an open and eclectic space for people to foster the values of empathy, compassion, connection, caring, community, freedom, peace, nonviolence, justice, empathic action, etc. Our intention is to build a culture of empathy where everyone is included, feels fully heard and accepted and we take empathic action together to transform our society.

“By peace we mean the capacity to transform conflicts with empathy, without violence, and creatively – a never-ending process;” Johan Galtung. Learn more at

+Southern Poverty Law Center has an important resource, 10 ways to fight hate. In between its suggestions, I would also suggest: work on your own hatred, seeds of hatred in your own mind. For this, we recommend finding a practice like meditation, having healthy outlets for aggressive energy, like exercise, and training in nonviolence.

+Nathan Schneider wrote a fascinating article for American Magazine: A Case Against Constant ProvocationHis case is that we are addicted to provocation, one titillating issue after another; and it’s keeping us from being united. But does not getting provoked mean you don’t care? No. Here’s a highlight:

A rushed reaction to a provocation, whether by tweet or by mass mobilization, will not reverse the human condition, so we may as well expect to be in this struggle for life. If we are in it for life, we need time to rest, to breathe and to worship.

And my favorite: A people who are hard to provoke are a people harder to rule.


The Nation last week: Durham Residents Turned Out En Masse to Counter White Supremacists.  There were monitors with orange vests: proto peace teams!

+ Petaluma headline: “3 Arrested As Demonstrations Continue Outside Poultry Plant.”  I was glad to see this because in animal rights actions (not unlike the environmental actions of Earth First!) the nobility of the goal has not always been matched by nonviolence of approach.  There has been property destruction and at times a great deal of anger against researchers, etc.  This is pure civil disobedience and likely to be much more effective.

+ Great news: The European Commission just announced they won’t greenlight the Bayer Monsanto merger. SumOfUs members opposed this merger from the very beginning — and built up one of our strongest campaigns ever: more than 700,000 signed their petition. They were able to pay for congressional hearings, our own people-powered lobbyist, and a legal White Paper that proves that this merger is illegal.

+ PanAfrican conference on nonviolence in Cape Town, South Africa was founded back in July 2014, where delegates and representatives from 34 African countries and over 50 countries from every continent helped give birth to the PanAfrican Network for Nonviolence and Peacebuilding.

+ As we speak (approximately): Anti-war Day 2017 is being bserved in a rally in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, from 4-6 PM their time.  It brings together a coalition of many peace and environmental groups commemorating the beginning of WWII 78 years ago this day.

IN A RELATED DEVELOPMENT: On the occasion of the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the 2017 World Conference against A and H Bombs called on the peoples of the world to join international simultaneous actions to create a “Peace Wave” to urge all national governments to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons from September 20, the day when the Treaty will be open for signatures, until Sept. 26, the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.   THEY NOTE: Among the 193 member states of the United Nations, only 9 countries are in possession of nuclear weapons.  If they decide, it is possible to achieve a nuclear weapon-free world within the lifetime of the Hibakusha (direct victims of the Japanese bombings).

+ Also related: + the Earth wins again! 6,000 clever, well-trained protestors slowed coal production in Germany, near Cologne (Köln): “We need to work towards a just transition, and we need to do it now,” said one; “That’s what these people are putting their bodies on the line for.” Strategic civil disobedience campaigns like Ende Gelände (literally ‘land’s end,’ idiomatically ‘the party’s over,’ the title of Richard Heimberg’s well-known book on the end of fossil fuel) show how broad-based participation and creativity can be used to confront a daunting opponent, even one as powerful as the fossil fuel industry.”

+ A pilot of a Turkish Airlines flight from Heathrow to Afghanistan refused to take off because he learned that there was a man who applied for asylum in England for fear that he would be killed, being forcefully deported. The flight was delayed for 45 minutes and only took off after Samim Bigzad, 22 years old, was removed from the flight. This action of non-cooperation was supported by a number of activists pleading the case for Bigzad to remain in the country.

+ On August 31, 2017, the city of Los Angeles officially replaced October 9, Columbus Day, with Indigenous People’s Day. Similar resolutions have been passed in Denver and Seattle. This is an expansion of the work to re-consider the celebration of our violent history in the United States and work toward some semblance of cultural reparations.

+Upholding the goodness of the world community, and in spite of the US President’s threats to build a wall to separate the two countries, Mexico is reaching out with supplies and aid to help victims of the Houston flooding. This is an example of integrative power. We’ll be authentic and it will draw us closer together.

+In New Orleans, Democratic Socialists are putting their ideals into action by offering free brake-light repair (August 26th and September 16). They point out that police often pull over people of color and immigrants for broken brake lights, and can lead to police violence as well as deportation.

+The New York Times reported a major breakthrough for the Zapatista Movement–they have renounced their identity as a violence identified group because they feel that there is too much violence already around them in Mexico. They want to take on nonviolent and otherwise legal struggles. This is important news, but the problem is the way that the Times reports on it. The journalist suggests that this means that they are no longer “revolutionary.” But what is more revolutionary than renouncing violence?!

Can board games make us nicer people?
According to one journalist,  Annaliese Griffin, board games can be a solution to part of the political division taking place in our country and our world today because: A good board game builds in enough chance so that any reasonably skilled player can win. Even in chess, famously associated with warfare and military strategy, the emphasis is not on who ultimately wins, but on the ingenuity that players display in the process. In all of these ways, board games release players—however temporarily—from the maxim that life is divided into clear, consistent categories of winners and losers, and that there is a moral logic as to who falls into which category. 

She goes on to say, “Another significant feature of board games is that they require several people to sit down in the same room together and concentrate on a shared experience in real time. That is becoming increasingly rare in a world in which we often see our friends and loved ones more on social media than in real life.”

So, get some friends together and experiment! Plus this is the main point of our Person Power Circle on the Nonviolence Roadmap: Personalize Our Relationships. Monopoly anyone? 🙂


+Come see the COPPERFIELD WINDOW in Petaluma this month!  Metta is exhibiting.

+International Day of Peace is on its way! September 21.

+Metta Event: Restorative Justice for the Petaluma Community, A community conversation. September 18 at Aqus Cafe. Information at

+Nonviolence News Hope Tank: Every Wednesday at 8:15 am for an hour. Explore the latest and greatest nonviolence in the news. A collaboration with Waging Nonviolence. Visit for more information and to sign up for the calls.

+From World Beyond War putting on Just following the International Day of Peace, and in the tradition of No War 2016: Real Security Without Terrorism, and the best speech any U.S. president ever gave, this year’s conference will focus on activism, including activist planning workshops, addressing how the antiwar and environmental movements can work together.

WHO: Speakers will include: Medea Benjamin, Nadine Bloch, Max Blumenthal, Natalia Cardona, Suzanne Cole, Alice Day, Lincoln Day, Tim DeChristopher, Dale Dewar, Pat Elder, Bruce Gagnon, Philip Giraldi, Will Griffin, Tony Jenkins, Larry Johnson, Kathy Kelly, Jonathan King, Lindsay Koshgarian, Peter Kuznick, James Marc Leas, Annie Machon, Ray McGovern,  Rev Lukata Mjumbe, Elizabeth Murray, Anthony Rogers-Wright, Alice Slater, Gar Smith, Susi Snyder, Mike Stagg, Jill Stein, David Swanson, Robin Taubenfeld, Eric Teller, Brian Terrell, Brian Trautman, Richard Tucker, Donnal Walter, Larry Wilkerson, Diane Wilson, Emily Wurth, Kevin Zeese.

Another example of welcome collaboration between the anti-war and environmental movements.

Music by The Irthlingz Duo: Sharon Abreu and Michael Hurwicz, who generously performed for us at a Metta fundraiser, again at Aqus café, and by Emma’s Revolution, and by Bryan Cahall.

WHEREAmerican University Katzen Art Center
4400 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20016

+ Kazu Haga of the East Point Peace Academy  is offering an Intro to Kingian Nonviolence, 10/21 & 10/22, Oakland, as well as an Advanced Certification Training in Kingian Nonviolence on 9/21 – 9/24, Oakland, CA.  This four-day training will certify you as an Assistant Trainer in Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation.

+ Miko Peled will be in the Bay Area for two talks on October 5th and 6th, hosted by Mt. Diablo Peace & Justice Center, co-sponsored by Friendly Favors. His first talk will also include the emotional and transformative aspects of these issues and will take place at Earthrise (The Institute of Noetic Sciences – IONS in Petaluma).  His second talk will emphasize the political realities and possibilities in the era of Trump. This talk will take place in a large Lutheran church in Lafayette, and will include what he envisions for the future of Israel / Palestine.  (“His vision may surprise you’).  Peled has a compelling story to tell considering his transformations from a staunch Zionist to a peace activist.

+ Now in a way this is far from nonviolence, but it is important for us to know what’s happening in our world – and what we’re up against: On 9/11 at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland will take place the 911 Film Festival.  Theme this year: “Why 9/11 Truth still matters.”  Again, many illustrious and highly knowledgable speakers.  This is a very uncomfortable topic, but we may decide to discuss it at some point on this program: what’s a conspiracy and what’s a “conspiracy theory.”