Commonweal's Posts

The Commonweal Collection is inspired by the idea of a more peaceful world in which all of us can thrive without oppressing or marginalising others. For those involved in movements for nonviolent social change, this means an active engagement with how dynamics of power, inequality, and difference can benefit some at the expense of others, and a commitment to increasing equality and inclusion in all our practices.

Here are some questions to reflect on:

  • When we say ‘we’, who do we mean? Who do we include or exclude, deliberately or inadvertently? Whose voices are we not hearing? Whose needs are we ignoring?
  • What could we do to be more welcoming and accessible to a wider range of people, and to create an atmosphere where everyone feels able to be themselves and to contribute their experiences and strengths?
  • How do we recognise and challenge systems, assumptions, or ways of working that benefit some at the expense of others?
  • How might we support each other in learning how to become more inclusive and better at challenging inequality and injustice between ourselves, within our movements and in the wider world?

For most of us, this is an ongoing learning process, both because we have grown up in a world that is far from equal and because our own lived experiences are limited. Research shows that most people overestimate their ‘intercultural competence’ – so it is good to approach this with an attitude of humility!

But if we think about these questions seriously and try to act on them, our movements will be stronger because they will draw on everyone’s skills, strengths, and experiences. We will stand a better chance that the change we are trying to create will benefit more people too.

Taking a look at equality, diversity, and inclusion in the trade union movement

The trade union movement has historically been largely ‘white and male’. This is changing: Though you wouldn’t necessarily know it from the voices we hear in the media, the majority of trade union members in the UK are now female. We are making progress, but we still have a long way to go. In this section of this blog, I’m going to look at what it means for me to answer Ute’s questions in relation to the work that I do, as a trade union equality officer.

When we say ‘we’, who do we mean? Who do we include or exclude, deliberately or inadvertently? Whose voices are we not hearing? Whose needs are we ignoring?

When we say ‘we’ in the trade union movement, we usually mean the people who are already members. There are good reasons for this: You join a union for a collective voice, and we are a democratic movement – so when we say ‘we’, we do mean decisions made by our members. If you want a say, you need to join!

All well and good, but… we don’t always stop to ask who ‘we’ are.

The first step is mapping – finding out who are members are, and whether they reflect the diversity of the people we are trying to represent. For example…

  • If we have members in a factory, it might be that most of our members are men working on the factory floor, but we haven’t tried hard enough to encourage the office staff (who are predominantly women) to join. We probably have not engaged enough with the cleaning staff on outsourced contracts, who are much more ethnically diverse. This means we aren’t hearing those voices, which means we may not be fighting the battles for better terms and conditions at work for those groups of people … which means they are less likely to join… And round we go again!

What could we do to be more welcoming and accessible to a wider range of people, and to create an atmosphere where everyone feels able to be themselves and to contribute their experiences and strengths?

For me, the answer to this question comes down to a two-way street. If we are too instrumental in thinking about what we want from you, people can tell! In other words, if everything I do is focused on ‘how do I get you to join’, or ‘how do I get you to become a union rep’, people may feel I am not truly interested in their experiences and perspectives. I try to start from finding out what you care about and (where it’s true!) demonstrating with our actions that we care about that too.

In a trade union setting, this might be the core of what we do – listening to those diverse cleaning staff in the factory about how the night shift manager treats them, or how their workload has increased, and acting on it. At the regional level where I work, it might be about showing our members from different backgrounds that they are important in the union too. For example…

  • It has to be more than a token rainbow flag at Pride events! For Pride this year, as well as stalls and brunches for our LGBT+ members, we produced a newsletter describing the work we do with this community of members throughout the yea
  • For Black History Month, we invited all our Black and Asian members to help plan events – and this led to a video series on ‘Windrush stories’. As a result, two Black members stepped up as reps in their workplaces – because we got to know them, and for the first time they understood more about how the union fits with the fights for justice that they care about.

How do we recognise and challenge systems, assumptions or ways of working that benefit some at the expense of others?

One approach to this is about educating ourselves – there’s a lot of information out there about structural racism, the patriarchy, ableism (the idea that society is set up to work for those without impairments), and heteronormative practices. So in my trade union context, we are increasing the opportunities for our members and activists to do training courses on lots of equality issues.

Secondly, I think it’s about noticing patterns. If we know that half the people who work in a particular industry are women, but the union decision-making committees in that sector are full of men, then we have a problem! Sometimes it’s obvious. Sometimes we need to look more closely. For a long time, we’ve run quarterly reports on how many of our members belong to each of our equality sectors (women, Black and Asian, LGBT+, disabled members). Recently, we’ve started looking at how many of our activists do – and seeing if it matches.  And then looking more deeply at the roles they hold. In our case, we found they are more likely to be ‘equality reps’ than branch secretaries. An important role, of course, but their voices are less likely to shape core union decisions.

All of this information helps point us to where we need to take action. In our case, we are creating development opportunities specifically targeted at our female, Black and Asian, LGBT+ and disabled members – and working with all our branches to help everyone, including ‘straight, white, able-bodied men’, understand how they can help make the union a more welcoming and diverse place, at every level.

How might we support each other in learning how to become more inclusive and better at challenging inequality and injustice between ourselves, within our movements and in the wider world?

Sometimes it’s as simple as paying attention to religious holidays, or noticing that we are holding meetings at school pick up time – likely to impact more women than men still. But more often, it’s about how included people feel when they get to an event or join a group. Part of that, I think, is about whether people feel that the work we’re doing is the stuff they feel is important. So, for example, one of our sector committees was full of men who mainly talked about pay issues. We couldn’t change that straight away, so we set up a women’s network for female members in that (male-dominated) industry – and found they talked much more about issues like sexual harassment, poor facilities for women, and the need for menopause policies and better understanding in the workplace. We are now supporting the women to get these issues on the table for negotiation – and this is bringing more women into decision-making places which were previously almost entirely filled with men.

I might sum this up as listening to the people with the life experience, and being a good ally – helping their voices be heard. And because, for all of us, whoever we are, there will be life experiences we don’t have, it’s about being open to new ideas, learning about things we never realised were barriers, and not feeling threatened or embarrassed that there are things we don’t know.

The other side of this is listening to the intent, and not blaming when someone doesn’t know something yet. We are doing the best with the tools we have – so when we need to, let’s help each other find better tools!

Find out more

There are many resources that are helpful in grappling with these questions. You might want to have a look at some of the following:

 

Authors: Ute Kelly (framing of questions) and Heather Blakey (trade union examples), Commonweal Trustees

Read more

The resources in the collection at Commonweal tell us about the creation, building and strategies of social movements working on peace, justice and human rights across a wide range of campaign issues over decades.

Why are social movements so important? What are they?

Movements are bigger than a single campaign or organisation. They’re about building a wide coalition of people united behind an idea. They’re about challenging and taking on power and powerholders. Nonviolent campaigns use the power of mass participation to force powerholders to change their behaviour. Movements are all about change, and they have big goals that are hard to achieve.

For example, building a movement for the abolition of nuclear weapons began as soon as they were invented in 1945.  It has involved many different people from al over the world. There have been direct action protests, legal challenges, alternative defence commissions and education initiatives. There have been some campaign successes, but the movement is still working towards the big goal.

Movements are important for achieving social change because the powerful interests who benefit from the current situation won’t change unless coalitions and collaborations of people force them to.

The history of successful movements is long, and you are a recipient of the changes they achieved. As Peter Dreier points out,

“Back in 1900, people who called for women’s suffrage, laws protecting the environment and consumers, an end to lynching, the right of workers to form unions, a progressive income tax, a federal minimum wage, old-age insurance, dismantling of Jim Crow laws, the eight-hour workday, and government-subsidized health care and housing were considered impractical idealists, utopian dreamers, or dangerous socialists. Now we take these ideas for granted. The radical ideas of one generation have become the common sense of the next.”

You’ll find stories of social movements in songs, films and books. They are part of our cultural history. Movements have big goals, dreams (I have a dream!), and last longer than any one person or individual campaign.

Social movements change history, and they don’t stick to rigid boundaries. For example, Wangari Maathai and Vandana Shiva organise in their own countries and influence the world, and they both straddle environmental, rights, and women’s movements through their work.

Movements that have been successful, or even partially successful in raising awareness and support, have built them up strategically over a long period of time.

Some approaches to movement building that you might like to look up:

To build a movement you need many different types of people playing roles and showing their support. The skills and qualities that are needed include:

  • Research – you need to know everything about the people you are challenging, and what the weak points are, who your allies are and how best to communicate your message.
  • Discipline – it is always a struggle to wrench power from the powerholders and you need commitment and discipline to see you through the struggle.
  • Imagination – to envision a different future and new ways of working together
  • Listening (listening to others and learning to work with them is a powerful tool).

A key notion in building a social movement is revealing the oppression to those who are oppressed. For example, the consciousness-raising work in the Women’s Movement helped women understand that the reason they were underpaid and experiencing domestic abuse wasn’t their fault; it was a system organised to oppress women.

Having raised awareness and got your key allies on board, you need to build more support and persuade people that your issue, message and strategy is one they will support. You will have been on the receiving end of these strategies and messages – have you ever been asked to sign a petition, attend an event, join a demonstration or donate to a cause? What prompted you to support them (or not)? That is a movement building support.

Places to start learning more:

  • You can study the resources available in the Bibliography of Civil Resistance which hosts ebooks and a bibliography of resources on historical movements
  • You can arrange to visit the Commonweal Collection and look for books about the movements you want to study. To learn a strategy you could use the Movement Action Plan, more details here.
  • The Commons Library website includes theory, ideas and strategies

Growing a social movement or succeeding at a campaign takes a lot of work, dedication and friends. The imagination, creativity, friends and determination will all come from you!

Read more

The Commonweal Collection is one of the UK’s leading resources on nonviolence, but what does that mean and why does it matter?

Asking ‘what is nonviolence?’ is a great starting point for thinking about Commonweal Collection because many of the resources it contains are about, and come from, the nonviolent movements and actions that have shaped the way we think about campaigning, rights and protest.

But nonviolence is more than a method of doing protest. The use of nonviolence within campaigns and protest works because nonviolence is about confronting power and recognising the power you have yourself. It’s about recognising the humanity in everyone and there being no ‘other’. It’s realising that everyone holds a part of the truth and becoming aware of the true complexity of understanding our world.

There is a wonderfully powerful, visual way to think about nonviolence, given to us by a woman called ‘Barbara Demming’. It is an image of two outstretched hands. One hand is held up in a stop sign and is us staying ‘stop’ to violence, corruption, abuse and destruction, but the other is reaching out in friendship, acknowledging the humanity in every person. In nonviolence you can oppose the behaviour and actions of a person and still recognise and welcome them as a person.

This is not easy to do. Try it when you listen to the radio or read the news: Can you welcome the humanity of those who you do not agree with?

Nonviolence is powerful. It is all about power. It challenges the way we think about power because rather than the fixed ‘win-lose’ approach of militarism, nonviolence shares the concept that power is fluid and always moving between groups. An elite/government cannot rule without the consent of the people – people may consent through fear or apathy, but if they refused to work, pay taxes or serve in the military, the elite/government could not maintain control. This is known as the ‘Consent theory of power’ and shows how people have power and can use it nonviolently.

How do we learn and share about nonviolence? There isn’t a section of our libraries and bookshops dedicated to textbooks and strategies on nonviolence, so we have to search and seek out the resources. Here are some places to start:

  • The Commonweal Collection is helping to host a wonderful website on civil resistance. As well as having some crucial ebooks (for example ‘Civil Resistance’ by Commonweal Trustee Michael Randle, the first chapter of which is one of the best introductions to nonviolent civil resistance around), it holds the online version of the wonderful nonviolent action bibliography. In the bibliography you can find information about written work from different parts of the world, different historical times and with different campaigning themes. It has to be a starting point for learning about nonviolence!
  • If you want to learn more about campaigns using nonviolence, then you need to log onto the Global Nonviolent Action Database based at Swarthmore. This collection holds data on thousands of campaigns, including the type of methods they used and linked to the famous ‘198 methods’ of nonviolent action put together by Gene Sharpe. You can search by many criteria and start to see the extent to which nonviolent action has been used.
  • You can continue your study of issues, examples and challenges of nonviolence by visiting the International Centre for Nonviolent Conflict website. They have films, ebooks, and organise events or online training on nonviolence and are a comprehensive site through which to learn. They host an Online Academic Course that you can register for, and then work through the readings, lectures and questions to draw on all their rich material.
  • If you’re still wanting more, or wanting a bit more creativity, try the sites of Beautiful Trouble or Artivism, where people share projects they are doing that are engaging people, changing minds and developing new solutions. Gandhi was very clear when he said that nonviolence is not only about protest against the activities we oppose, but also taking the time to create the institutions and systems that we want. Creating gardens, new eco power systems and using art is all part of nonviolence.

This is all about inspiring and educating ourselves about a different approach to the world. Militarism is built on fear, isolating others, fixed ideas of power and the concept that violence achieves goals. Nonviolence is also employed by people in the world to fix their communities and speak truth to power, but it is largely dismissed as irrelevant. By learning, reading and sharing news and information about nonviolence, we are already creating the world we want.

If you have worked your way through all of these, some other sites full of information are Einstein Institute, Meta Peace Centre, Nonviolence International…To keep up with news, subscribe to ‘Waging Nonviolence’.

We can all learn about nonviolence! Once you’ve begun, book your visit to the Commonweal Collection so you can read the books, flick through pamphlets and let your imagination grow.

 

Rachel Julian

Rachel is a Trustee of Commonweal Collection and Professor of Peace studies at Leeds Beckett University. She’s spent all her life in nonviolent campaigns and movements.

Read more

New book ‘Rebel Verdict’ is a must-read for anyone concerned by the UK’s increasing attempts to curb protest

Commonweal Trustee Paul Rogers wrote this [slightly edited] column for Open Democracy earlier this year. It seems timely to repost as the Met Police launch major pre-emptive strike against climate protestors who are taking action to coincide with the start of COP27.

Just as the government is following multiple routes to curb the right to protest, juries keep acquitting activists accused of nonviolent actions.

The current government has little interest in preventing climate breakdown, whatever it may claim – and environmental protesters simply will not give up.

I first wrote about the so-called ‘perverse’ juries – as the government and right-wing media circles are wont to call them – for openDemocracy in January. The growing problem for the government is that there are getting to be rather too many of them.

Curbing protest is part of a wider move to control dissent and limit political accountability, and even extends to imposing constraints on the voting process itself. Legislation being embodied in a range of bills covering elections, nationality and borders, sentencing and judicial review all help to limit individual rights.

Moreover, the whole process is in the context of this week’s move to “clarify” the UK’s involvement in the European Convention on Human Rights. Even if the UK was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Convention in 1954 and the European Court of Human Rights five years later, the aim now is to limit its relevance in the UK.

‘Perverse’ or rebel juries?

The extent of the government’s success in curbing protest will be determined by the chances of more ‘perverse’ jury decisions.

In broader historical terms, there have been occasional examples of these ‘perverse’ juries, including the 1985 acquittal of civil servant Clive Ponting for leaking information about the sinking of the Argentine cruiser, the General Belgrano, in the 1982 Falklands/Malvinas War. More recent examples have been the Hawk Ploughshares case in 1996 and Trident Ploughshares three years later.

But a new book provides exemplary reading and insight into one particular case for anyone concerned with the issue.

I have previously reviewed Martin Levy’s biography of Michael Randle, a remarkable peace activist and academic researcher on nonviolent social change. (I should say that I have known Michael and Anne Randle for 40 years and have long admired their work.)

Michael and his fellow peace activist, the late Pat Pottle, were the defendants in a remarkable trial at the Old Bailey in 1991, accused of aiding a prison escape 35 years earlier. It is this case, which ended in their acquittal, that Michael has written about in a new book, ‘Rebel Verdict’.

Back in the early 1960s, Michael and fellow activist Pat spent a year in jail for a direct action against nuclear weapons. In Wormwood Scrubs prison in London, they met the double agent, George Blake, who was serving a long sentence for espionage. Four years later, they, together with Anne and a former inmate, Séan Bourke, concocted an escape plan for Blake, successfully freed him from jail and smuggled him to East Germany.

The primary motive was most decidedly not sympathy for the Soviet Union – Michael had been vigorously opposed to Soviet actions in Eastern Europe, especially the suppression of the 1956 Hungarian uprising. Rather, the motive arose from Blake’s own position in jail, facing what was essentially a life sentence.

After his original arrest, Blake cooperated with the authorities and his team had anticipated a long but not excessive sentence. In the event, he was found guilty on three charges and given 12 years for each. The usual practice would have been for this to run concurrently but the judge made the sentences consecutive, hence the extraordinary 42-year term.

The escape itself was at times hair-raising and is chronicled in a book, ‘The Blake Escape’, that Michael and Pat wrote in 1989 but there are two very different factors that set ‘Rebel Verdict’ apart.

The first is the level of detail. Michael concentrates on the trial and provides a finely detailed account of the whole process. This includes many direct extracts from the court speeches and is supplemented by a useful set of appendices but he makes the book highly readable, providing a rare analysis of a legal process that ended up with their acquittal on all counts.

As well as being interesting for the general reader, this makes the book very useful reading for anyone in the legal profession concerned with jury behaviour at a time when the government is likely to seek many more trials of nonviolent climate activists. It is, of course, also highly relevant for any actual or would-be activist.

The second and perhaps more significant point, is Michael’s view that the decision was not reached by a ‘perverse’ jury but rather by a rebel jury. In other words, it was a rare example of ordinary people accepting the value of moral arguments and serves as a reminder that on issues of common justice, political establishments do not always get their own way.

 

Read more

Readers of this blog post may know something about Michael Randle already – not least because he is a Commonweal trustee. I got to know Michael four years ago, when I worked as an assistant in the Special Collections department at the University of Bradford. One of the delights of that job was caring for Michael’s archive, one of the jewels of the university’s collection.

The present book Ban the Bomb! Michael Randle and Direct Action against Nuclear War is a collection of my interviews with Michael and his wife Anne, the partner in many of his adventures.

And what a life it has been. The interviews carry Michael’s story from his boyhood in the south London suburbs, through his work at Peace News and for the Direct Action Committee (DAC) and the Committee of 100, forwards to his time as an academic in the Peace Studies department of the University of Bradford and then, finally, on to his active retirement in the West Yorkshire town of Shipley.

cover of "Ban the Bomb" interviews with Michael and Anne Randle by Martin Levy

All in all, these have been busy and, for the most part, action-packed, years, and Michael does not hold back in his account of their excitements and complexities.

I suppose for most readers, however, it will be Micheal and Anne’s involvement in the escape from prison of the Russian spy George Blake in 1966 that will be the stand-out issue in the interviews. But for me it is Michael’s long commitment to the anti-nuclear movement.

Typically, Michael speaks of his contribution to fighting the Bomb with modesty and understatement,but, during the 1950s and early 60s, he was one of the movement’s major figures, a friend and colleague of other noted rebels like Terry Chandler, Pat Pottle, Ian Dixon, April Carter and Pat Arrowsmith.

No wonder he got up the nose of the establishment!

The book contains a foreword by Michael’s former Bradford University colleague Paul Rogers and is published by Ibidem.

Read more

When George W Bush won race for the White House in November 2000 his team immediately began to change US foreign and security policies to usher in the much-vaunted New American Century.   The United States would now go its own way and provide global leadership as the world’s only superpower, ensuring a new era of peace and stability modelled on the American neoliberal free market model.

With this in the background the 9/11 attacks came as an appalling shock and were seen to challenge direclty the very idea of an “American century”.   That added to the decision to go to war against al-Qaida and its Taliban hosts in Afghanistan.

Within a few months this expanded into a war on terror against an “axis of evil” of Iran, Iraq and North Korea, Iraq being the immediate target.   The results over the past twenty years have been little short of catastrophic with hundreds of thousands of civilians killed, many more maimed for life and millions of refugees fleeing their homes, all stemming from four failed wars:

  1. Afghanistan is in the headlines as the Taliban take control, but we easily forget about the other wars.
  2. In Iraq there remains deep insecurity and violence stemming from the original western occupation back in 2003.
  3. In North Africa the 2011 Franco-British operation to terminate the Gaddafi regime in Libya appeared to succeed but Libya is now little more than a deeply insecure failing state that has acted as a conduit for arms and paramilitaries through the Sahara and further south.
  4. Finally, there was the 2014-18 US-led air war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, where armed drones and strike aircraft used 100,000 missiles and “smart” bombs, killing at least 60,000 people, and seeming initially to have defeated ISIS.

Since then, ISIS is reported to still  have at least 10,000 fighters still in Iraq and Syria but even more significant is the rise of extreme paramilitary groups linked to ISIS or al-Qaida elsewhere, especially in Africa.   Right across the Sahel from Mauretania, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Chad, extreme violent groups are active, frequently recruiting from the hundreds of thousands of marginalised young people, mostly men, as they expand their areas of control.

To the east, others are active in Somalia and across the Red Sea in Yemen, and to the south more paramilitary groups are active in the DRC and northern Mozambique.   Western states respond with armed drones, special forces and local militias in scarcely reported ongoing wars.  To make matters worse, ISIS is already active in Afghanistan, and has links with groups elsewhere, not least in southern Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia.

It is all such a long way from those apparent successes in Afghanistan and Iraq and it further supports the alternative approach that the response to 9/11 should not have been a war on terror since that was just what the extreme movements wanted.  Instead, the attacks should have been seen as appalling acts of transnational criminal activity.   The response should have been to bring those behind the attacks to justice.   It might have taken a decade or more but would have had far more world-wide public support and cooperation than wars that followed.

Even more important would have been to undercut the development of the extreme movements by learning why they got so much support in the first place and how to undermine and countering that support.

It was an approach that was argued by just a handful of people at the time but got nowhere in the headlong rush to war.   It was eloquently put by Walden Bello of the Philippines in an Oxford Research Group analysis just after 9/11 that argued against going to war, when he said:

The only response that will really contribute to global security and peace is for
Washington to address not the symptoms but the roots of terrorism. It is for the
United States to re-examine and substantially change its policies in the Middle
East and the Third World, supporting for a change, arrangements that will not
stand in the way of the achievement of equity, justice and genuine national
sovereignty for currently marginalized peoples. Any other way leads to endless
war.

And endless war is what we now have.

Paul Rogers, August 2021

 

Read more

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

Read more

Ryan Sandford-Blackburn is the Permaculture Association’s strategic communications coordinator.

Here he talks to us about what permaculture has achieved worldwide, and the solutions it offers to a range of urgent contemporary problems.

Ryan Sandford-Blackburn

1) How would you describe permaculture to someone who was completely new to it?

Permaculture is much simpler than a lot of people believe. You can take courses and read dozens of books on the subject, and adding knowledge is always valuable, but you just need to grasp the basics.

Anyone who is working towards a more sustainable way of living is probably working within permaculture ethics without even realising it. There is benefit to conscious design, though.

It’s a practical approach to developing efficient systems in harmony with the natural world that can be used by everyone, wherever they happen to be in the world.

Permaculture encourages us to think carefully about how we use resources, while looking at how we can be as productive as possible for far less effort, which is something most of us would like to be better at!

It also encourages us to learn from nature and mimic how it deals with everything from water storage to diversity.

It began as a combination of the words ‘permanent’ and ‘agriculture’. But it’s a lot more than just food growing. Continue reading Designing to thrive: an interview with Ryan Sandford-Blackburn of the Permaculture Association

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more