nonviolence

On 2nd October 2019, several Commonweal Trustees past and present joined a variety of peace activists and students at the University of Bradford’s Symposium on Mahatma Gandhi and Peace in the Twenty-first Century, held to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Gandhi.

Gandhi [Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mohandas_K._Gandhi,_portrait.jpg]

Gandhi. Source

It was organised and opened by PB Anand, who is Interim Head of Peace Studies and International Development at the University.

Gandhi is increasingly a difficult figure, lately held to be less saintly, and nowadays some of his earlier opinions and actions relating to caste, class and empire are rightly questioned. As Prof. Paul Rogers (Commonweal trustee and Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies) said, he still has much wisdom for scholars of nonviolence, but hagiography should be avoided. Continue reading Gandhi at 150: a celebration in Bradford

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Holly Spencer works for Stop Fuelling War, a Quaker organisation in Paris that highlights the extensive French arms trade.

Holly Spencer

1) What is Stop Fuelling War (SFW) all about, Holly?

Stop Fuelling War is a French association (also called Cessez d’Alimenter La Guerre) that was set up in 2017 to raise awareness of the arms trade in France and more specifically the arms fair Eurosatory.

It was also created to be a counter-voice to the pro-arms press, which is very prevalent in France, and to promote peacebuilding alternatives.

It builds on 20 years of Quaker witness outside the Eurosatory arms fair and is supported by a network of French and European pacifist or anti-militarist groups.

We like to use humour, graphics and cartoons as well as research, appealing to the eye and heart as well as the intellect.

Stop Fuelling War - Paris cartoon

  Continue reading Stop Fuelling War: an interview with Holly Spencer

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In our December giveaway in 2018, activist Dan Kidby won these three titles:

The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible – Charles Eisenstein

‘This inspirational and thought-provoking book serves as an empowering antidote to the cynicism, frustration, paralysis, and overwhelm so many of us are feeling…’

Blueprint for Revolution – Srdja Popovic & Matthew Miller

‘How to use rice pudding, Lego men, and other nonviolent techniques to galvanize communities, overthrow dictators, or simply change the world.’

The ALL NEW Don’t Think of an Elephant! – George Lakoff

‘George Lakoff returns with new strategies about how to frame today’s essential issues.’

Here, Dan reviews all three for us and also recommends other other key reads for nonviolence activists.

Continue reading Over to you: Dan Kidby’s key reads for nonviolence activists

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In 2018, we gave away books in each of Commonweal’s core areas to a number of lucky winners.

Here’s a reminder of those core areas:

  • methods of nonviolent action
  • personal change
  • equalities
  • regenerative living
  • peace and peace-keeping
  • political and economic alternatives

Six areas of focus - Commonweal

And you can find the full list of books here.

In this post, we hear what some of our winners got out of the books they received.

Unite Community Cornwall

A set of all 18 titles went to Unite Community Cornwall, after its chair, Zoe Fox, won the competition.

Zoe Fox plus Commonweal books Unite Community Cornwall

Zoe Fox with the prize books at Unite Community Cornwall

Continue reading Over to you: feedback from some of our 2018 giveaway winners

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RisingUp is an activist collective that’s seeding widespread action against ‘our ecocidal, unjust and corrupt system’ and inviting us all to explore and implement the alternatives.

We spoke to RisingUp’s Gail Bradbrook, one of the organisation’s founders.

Gail Bradbrook

 

1) How long has RisingUp existed? What is your mission?

RisingUp was established in 2016 after a dialogue between activists from Earth First!, Occupy, Plane Stupid and Reclaim the Power. We launched with an action to partially close down Heathrow Airport in November 2016.

Here’s a longer overview of ‘where we are coming from’, but our mission is this:

To spark and sustain a spirit of creative rebellion, which will enable much-needed changes in our political, economic and social landscape. We endeavour to mobilise and train organisers to skilfully open up space, so that communities can develop the tools they need to address Britain’s deeply rooted problems. We work to transform our society into one that is compassionate, inclusive, sustainable, equitable and connected.

Continue reading Hope dies, action begins: an interview with RisingUp’s Gail Bradbrook

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Michael Nagler is the founder and president of the Metta Center for Nonviolence, in Petaluma, California, which offers ‘Theory, Strategy, Support for a New Story’.

We asked Michael about the work of the Center and his own perspective on nonviolence. 

Michael Nagler

1) Is there a way to define nonviolence in a few words?

There are several, because nonviolence is a vast field and people tend to pick up one piece or another.

I like to define it as

the energy released when one overcomes a disruptive drive (primarily fear and anger).

Then I specify that by ‘overcome’ I don’t mean repress. Rather, as Martin Luther King Jr said, to ‘convert anger under discipline for maximum effect’.

Continue reading A new story for the 21st century: an interview with Michael Nagler

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