Nonviolence in the News – September 29, 2017

This week’s round-up of nonviolence news, events, resources, and jobs.


The International Center for Nonviolent Conflict is seeking authors of case studies of civil resistance and peacebuilding. There is a $2000 stipend if you’re selected to write for them. Applications due October 4th.
Possible cases might include South Africa, Philippines, Colombia, Liberia, Nepal, East Timor, Egypt, Tunisia, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Burkina Faso, and more. If you are an expert in one of these places, or you know someone who is, please look into this opportunity to work with this great foundation!



“In Rise Up, your movement takes creative actions to fight for victory. As you strategize, you’ll shape the story of your movement—whether it’s stopping an oil pipeline, fighting for dragon rights, or anything else you’re passionate about. But “the System” is hard at work too, maneuvering to crush your movement through tactics like setting up surveillance, making arrests, or causing infighting. Only by working together can you win enough victories to beat the System. Everyone wins or loses together.”
Social movements of the past can teach us how to shape the future. Resistance Guide will equip you with the essential strategies to shift public opinion, change laws and decisions, and elect new leaders. This is a handbook for anyone who wants to understand what makes movements succeed, and how we can use this knowledge to fight for a better America.
Peace Science Digest: How Do Violent Flanks Affect the Outcomes of Nonviolent Campaigns?
Their talking points:
  • There is no significant statistical relationship between the presence of violent flanks and either nonviolent campaign success or failure, the result of violent flanks having both negative and positive effects that cancel each other out when taken together.
  • Violent flanks that emerge from within otherwise nonviolent campaigns appear to decrease these campaigns’ likelihood of success.
  • Mass participation is the strongest determinant of nonviolent campaign success, and violent flanks have a negative effect on participation levels, suggesting that violent flanks can indirectly contribute to campaign failure.
  • In case studies, armed movements were consistently shown not to protect nonviolent activists but rather to put them at greater risk, as authorities used the presence of armed actors to justify widespread repression against all resistance movements, violent and nonviolent alike.
  • Research shows that, “on average, maximalist nonviolent campaigns often succeed despite violent flanks—rarely because of them.”

Jesus and Nonviolence
Richard Rohr of Center for Contemplation and Action (CAC) is always inspiring, and recently has posted several daily messages about Jesus and nonviolence, as well as nonviolence itself. Highly recommended for those of us of the spiritual or ‘principled’ persuasion.

Resistance School
We’re excited to let you know that Resistance School is Back in Session! Check out Semester Two … We’re also thrilled to announce that we now have a second campus: Resistance School at Berkeley. Sign up and be sure to follow along on Facebook. … Together, we’re going to bring you even more Resistance School content, speakers and skills to help you Reclaim, Rebuild and Reimagine an America built on progressive values.” … starts October 5 in Berkeley, October 12th at Harvard.

The Syracuse Cultural Workers…
offer tee shirts, posters, books and much else, especially their famous peace calendar: “Every morning, 15,000 people wake up to look at peace. Next year marks the 47th edition of the calendar, which has a rich history of awakening viewers to images of nonviolence and justice — and also offering 200 annotations of the anniversaries of progressive events and unjust actions. In that sense, it represents a daily companion piece to Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.” The organization took its present form, incidentally, in 1982. A good year for nonviolence! (It’s the year the Metta Center was founded).

Minds of the Movement
1) The latest article (Strategic Nonviolence is Not Civil Resistance) in this always-stimulating site from the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) is by none other than the founder of the organization, Peter Ackerman, and is on a vexed topic for which we at Metta have been trying to get some clarification for many years: the nomenclature of ‘nonviolence’ and related topics. Ackerman’s conclusion is “for those newly interested in the field of civil resistance — as a way of analyzing who wins battles between tyrants and citizens — the term nonviolence should only refer to the principles of certain participants. Otherwise interest will quickly evaporate.” While I’m not sure I everywhere agree (or fully understand) the whole argument, the topic is certainly important: some kind of agreed-upon nomenclature would definitely help general discourse about it.

2) Do Civil Resistance Movements Advance Democratization? by Maciej Bartkowski | Sept. 27, 2017. Inescapable evidence now that non-violent insurrections lead to greater democratic freedoms – as we’ve mentioned, even when they “fail.” So that’s the point we make about work vs. “work.” HOWEVER, movements that do not prepare some kind of alternative government and only concentrate on getting rid of the prevailing system often only open up a power vacuum, into which ‘nature’ pours any kind of authority. Witness Egypt. How prescient Gandhi was; “If you think you will get rid of the British and then rebuild India, you are dreaming.”



By Jeff Abbot. On Sept. 20, hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans demonstrated across the country against President Jimmy Morales and Congress. The protesters demanded the resignation of the president and congressional members, following new accusations of corruption and the repeal of anti-corruption laws passed in 2015. “We are demanding that the president and the majority of Congress resign and that they pass laws that modify the laws that govern political parties,” said Tomás Solaj, the indigenous mayor of Sololá.
According to Soujouners: 
Albuquerque Mennonite Church will announce today that they have called Erica Lea to be their pastor — the first openly LGBTQ person to serve as a lead pastor in the Mennonite Church USA, a denomination that claims more than 70,000 adult members in the U.S.
Lea joins several other openly LGBTQ pastors who serve in various associate roles throughout the denomination.
Lea, “hopes her own position as an openly LGBTQ pastor will encourage others to be leaders in the church.”
“I think this is an opportunity to encourage others who have not seen someone like them in a pastoral role,” said Lea. “I want LGBTQ people and women to be celebrated and encouraged in pastoral and ministry leadership roles.”
Nuclear Abolition Day 
An Animation and call to action.
September 26 is the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons (aka Nuclear Abolition Day).
According to Anna Ikeda, As we know from the current situation in the world, nukes are not the thing of the past. Their threats are real, and any use – even by a small mistake – can cause devastating effects on the lives of people. People like you and me. But there is hope – and we are part of it. Please watch their 1-minute animation ( and share widely. And visit
On September 26, women in Saudi Arabia realized their right to drive. The change will take effect in June, 2018. According to the NYT, however, “The royal decree lifting the no-driving ban left open the question of whether women would need a male relative’s permission to obtain a driver’s license.”
September 27th marked the day when people from the Kurdish region of northern Iraq voted for independence. This is a mandate to start conversations on secession of the oil-rich region. According to the BBC, “In a speech to parliament before the result was announced, Mr Abadi insisted that he would “never have a dialogue” about the referendum’s outcome with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).”

People’s Congress of Resistance
In this interview, now on YouTube, journalist Abby Martin covered the “People’s Congress of Resistance” that held an impressive mtg. and march on the White House, September 16/17, with representatives from 37 states, 159 towns & cities. This event would be a noteworthy example of “alternative government,” (see below) a critical part of “alternative institutions” which in turn is a critical section of Constructive Program: they bill themselves as a ‘worldwide struggle’ not to lobby but to replace Congress.

Campaign Nonviolence
We’ve been following this effort of Pace e Bene that just climaxed, for 2017 in their September Week of Actions that reached 1600 events and actions, nearly double last year. “Together we are highlighting the power of a nonviolent movement to create positive change…This is not an electoral strategy—it is larger than that. Together we will take dramatic, nonviolent action in cities and towns across the US and around the world to frame the mid-term elections as a Referendum for a Nonviolent Future.”


The 20th of September 2017 will be ever remembered in the history of human civilization, because more than 50 countries have signed the landmark Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in New York on the eve of annual opening of the United Nations General Assembly…. Biological weapons were banned in 1972, chemical weapons in 1993, Land mines in 1997, and cluster bombs in 2008. With the adoption of this treaty, nuclear weapons also join the club of biological and chemical weapons as weapons of mass destruction that have been declared illegal under the international law. The Treaty will be coming into force 90 days after being signed and ratified by 50 countries +Related: paper by Mel Duncan and Kimberly Ai-Lin Loh of NP on UCP reports that “Slowly, UCP is seeping into public policy,” and “For example, NP has trained over 1,000 women peacekeepers in South Sudan, who prevent children from being abducted, intervene in local conflicts, and accompany women who have been raped to receive treatment and report the assault. These people and their valuable work will remain in communities long after international missions leave, therefore sustaining a local orientation toward peace, and, importantly, a sense of empowerment that reduces victimhood and powerlessness.”

Recently Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) introduced the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act (OFF Act), the strongest, most aggressive climate change legislation to date. Contact your representatives!



Are you interested in helping create a more compassionate and connected community? Would like like specific training to help you engage in conflict with positive outcomes? Are you worried about crime, bigotry, and/or bullying in our community and want to do something about it? The Metta Center, a Petaluma Nonprofit,  is partnering with Restorative Resources to host a workshop exploring the foundations and tools of restorative justice and  nonviolence.
Todd Harper, the training manager at Restorative Resources for secondary schools, and Stephanie Van Hook, the Executive Director of Metta Center for Nonviolence, will lead this workshop, which will present community members with the tools they need to engage in conflict constructively and compassionately; in schools, families, the justice system, and more.
Location: Metta Center Office, 202 Keller Street Suite 205D, Petaluma
Time: Saturday, October 7th from 10-1pm

Sumud Freedom Tour this December
Nothing helps facilitate the continued growth of a liberation movement more than direct engagement. It is through the process of continued education, practiced nonviolent intervention, and a sustained advocacy campaign that unity through partnership can be realized. But unity is not enough.

Only a diverse coalition of movements can develop the critical mass to overturn systems of oppression and create spaces where justice and equality can flourish. ..Holy Land Trust and Nonviolence International have partnered to create a space for activists interested in joining the struggle for Palestinian human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel. This delegation will showcase the Palestinian nonviolent resistance movement, as well as the work of their co-resistors, and present an opportunity for radical coalitions of change to be built.”

Great speakers. Only $1840 if we register before Nov. 11. Pamphlet, videos, available.

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