By Nimesh Wijewardane
Palestinian journalist Ahmed Alnaouq, co-founder of We Are Not Numbers, gave a presentation to the NVI team on the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the viability of a two state solution. Ahmed also told the deeply moving story of how he was inspired to start We Are Not Numbers, an organization which lifts up the voices of young Palestinian writers in Gaza, after the tragic loss of his brother and friends in the 2014 Gaza war. Ahmed inspired us all with his steadfast commitment to achieving full human rights for the Palestinian people through sharing the stories of Palestinians and changing hearts and minds.
See more at We Are Not Numbers
If you value this work, please donate to help us expand our impact on this beautiful and broken world.
I'm honored to have my first piece published by Tikkun. This wonderful magazine has shaped my personal and political development and strengthened me through decades of activism. Grateful that Rabbi Michael Lerner's visionary leadership helped me find a path - as a Jew -to support Palestinian nonviolent activists. Please visit the magazine's powerful site and that of the Network of Spiritual Progressives.
Anyone with a conscience watching events unfold in Afghanistan must be heartbroken. Many of us are wishing there was more effective action we could take in this troubling time. Sadly, in the midst of this crisis, there is really little we can do to enhance the security and freedom of the Afghan people. But, if we draw the wrong lessons from this tragedy, we will likely repeat this mistake with similar dangerous results.
People in America are coming to understand the impacts of allowing the Big Lie (that the last election was stolen) to go unchecked. We are starting to wake up to the ongoing threat of political violence because of how we dealt with the aftermath of the January 6th attack on the US Capitol. We must also wake up to the horror brought by acceptance of the Long Deceit.
Decade after decade, administration after administration, our leaders lied to us. The Afghanistan Papers received much less sustained attention than the Pentagon Papers. Many brave reporters have given us powerful insights into how the reality of our longest war never matched the spin from the top. The headline that ran with the Washington Post report read, “A secret history of the war - at war with the truth. U.S. officials constantly said they were making progress. They were not, and they knew it." The Long Deceit was paid for by the American taxpayers but perpetrated by leaders who are supposed to serve us. Instead, the top political leadership of both the Democratic and Republican parties sold us a lie (not bad intelligence, not a mistake, but a pattern of deceit) that they knew was far from the truth we deserved. We were told again and again that our nation’s sacrifice in blood and treasure was worth it because we were building a stable government in Afghanistan. This was always a mirage.
Informed consent is as essential to democracy as the peaceful transfer of power, but it is not possible without accurate information. When our leaders lie to us, they are creating the illusion of consent not allowing informed citizens to make our voices heard.
The so-called experts showed limited respect for local traditions in Afghanistan and pompously suggested that we could impose our model of governance on a complex, ancient, and proud people. The Long Deceit supported a policy that was never going to work. Whether we had left ten years ago, or ten years from now, the outcome would have been similar because we were never building peace, just a house of cards propped up by our military might. The illusion of US-supported government stability was toppled with such speed because it was never real.
We must now recognize that this combination of ignorance and arrogance comes back to bite us (and those we say we care about) repeatedly. Some have wrongly suggested that the US military is leaving Afghanistan because our nation is “war weary.” No, our people are instead becoming “war wise.” That is, bit by bit, failure by failure, we are starting to see the limitations of our vast military power.
I served as executive director of Veterans for Peace (I’m a veteran organizer, not a military vet). The proud veterans I worked with often spoke about their powerful journeys from enthusiastic recruits through painful personal and often tragic experiences that taught them to doubt the whole war system. Our massive military-industrial complex has become a machine that feeds on itself and all of us - spending taxpayer money on lobbying to secure even more taxpayer money. And, they do this while knowingly lying to us. The results are predictable. Massive defense contractors line their own pockets and those of their former military allies serving on their Boards while sowing the seeds of violence all over the world.
Beware the experts who will be trotted out in the coming days. Remember that many of these same people were strong advocates for our disastrous wars. Those with a vested interest in keeping us addicted to enemies and keeping the dirty money flowing through the revolving door they personally benefit from will foolishly suggest that the problems of Afghanistan could have been solved if we just devoted a few more years, a few more billions of dollars, and a few more lives of those they purport to represent. No, the very real challenges of Afghanistan could never be solved by more Americans with guns. These experts will quickly attempt to define the limits of acceptable debate focusing solely on the troubling withdrawal process. Let’s remember to also consider how we got to this point in the first place. We must reflect on the power of the Long Deceit. They told us we were building a stable unified nation. Nonsense.
Many seem to want to believe that our vast military power is some kind of healing balm that can build stable societies and cure the world’s ills. Instead, our weapons are very good at destroying buildings and killing people, but we never were building peace, or justice, or respect for women’s rights in Afghanistan. We were attempting to impose our model of governance in an arrogant manner that clearly illustrated we lacked the ability to learn from our previous well-documented mistakes.
Let this terrible moment - and the painful tragedy yet to come - be a wake up call. Administration after administration promoted the Long Deceit. We must attempt to finally learn the clear and important lesson. War doesn’t work to establish peaceful, functioning, democratic societies. Imagine if the same amount of money, ingenuity, and effort had been put towards fighting the climate crisis. We would have done much more to build real and lasting peace and to enhance our own security.
I hope we can honor our veterans by making sure we never make the same mistakes again. It is time for those who oppose the Big Lie to speak out against the equally dangerous Long Deceit.
“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness...What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction...And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory." -- Howard Zinn
By David Hart
The big day is finally here. We celebrate a moment that we have been working towards for years - actually decades. Nonviolence International's longtime director, Michael Beer, has just released his first book and it's an important one. Michael has updated Gene Sharp's seminal text training the world in the value of nonviolent tactics. We are pleased that our friends at ICNC, who published this book, have now translated it into both Spanish and Farsi. Get your copy and sign up to help below.
Watch this short video of Michael Beer explaining the essence of his book in under five minutes. Michael explains why he chose to write this book now and what he hopes his book will inspire in the future.
NVI hosted an interactive webinar with Michael Beer, Jamila Raqib of the Albert Einstein Institution founded by Gene Sharp, and Véronique Dudouet of the Berghof Foundation.
Michael Beer had a wide-ranging discussion about nonviolent action with Metta Spencer who is a pioneering peace educator, futurist, author, and journalist who hosts a remarkable podcast producing informative videos almost every day on "How to Save the World". Michael shares the power of constructive nonviolent action that is highlighted in his book Civil Resistance Tactics in the 21st Century. The book surveys the world of nonviolent action showing the enormous range and geographic breadth of citizens mobilizing outside of government institutions to reach their goals.
In partnership with our friends at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, Michael presented his new book. When you have time, please watch the full inspirational conversation, but don't miss our request for your help below. As Michael said at the end of the webinar, "being active is the essence of nonviolence." We look forward to working with you to promote our shared values.
Many years ago, when I studied Peace and Conflict as an undergrad and later in grad school, we loved Gene's book and even then we felt it was outdated. Finally, decades later when the world has changed so dramatically, someone is updating that foundational work. Whoever was doing this would have my active support. I'm proud it is my friend and colleague at NVI, Michael, and ask for your help getting this important book widely distributed. More on this vital next step below.
Creative nonviolence is always evolving and growing, but since Gene wrote the internet has fundamentally changed the nature of our world and thus our work. So we are launching this new book along with an interactive database of nonviolent tactics. This database celebrates our collective wisdom and our capacity to come together - in the face of massive challenges - and find powerful nonviolent ways to protest and to help build the new emerging world.
To say that we find ourselves at a difficult time is a massive understatement. Our society is dangerously addicted to violence. NVI believes that change has come in the past and will come in the future from social movements seizing our power and paving a way to a brighter future.
NVI is under-resourced for the challenges before us including doing justice to this mission-critical book launch. So, I must do what activists do, and that is ask for your help.
I have several key goals in mind related to this book launch. One is a strong desire to get this book into the hands of those who need it most. To me, that includes those studying nonviolence, peace, and conflict resolution as well as those acting to create a better world. We do not seek to replace Gene's book in classrooms, but instead, hope to supplement that still vital text with Michael's expanded take and online database. Can you help us achieve that goal? Are you a teacher who might know how to go about getting books into the classroom from high school through graduate studies?
We still do not have an active Communications Action Team (nor a Development Action Team). If you believe, as I do, that the world needs to learn about the power of NV tactics, please consider helping us make this book launch impactful. If you can volunteer your time and talents, please contact me. If you can make a gift to support this work, please do so here.
This book belongs on the virtual bookshelf of anyone who is studying or practicing nonviolent action.
For scholars: This book updates Gene Sharp’s 1973 seminal work Methods of Nonviolent Action, reworking Sharp’s classifications to include 148 additional tactics.
For trainers and teachers: Brief yet comprehensive, this overview of nonviolence explains the mechanisms by which nonviolent actions succeed.
For activists: This resource, in conjunction with Nonviolence International’s inspirational Nonviolent Tactics Database and our partnership with Rutgers University's International Institute for Peace our Nonviolence Training Archive, enlarges the activist toolbox. This monograph will serve as a foundational text not only “in the field” of action, but also in classrooms studying nonviolent action, civil resistance, peacebuilding, and creative conflict resolution around the world.
For everyone: If you wish to join the team to promote this inspirational text, fill out this form so we know how you can help move this effort forward. You can also help us promote the book over social media. This toolkit provides tips and directions on how you can be most helpful on social media platforms! Followed by images used to promote this text, here's an example of the type of post most helpful to this effort:
Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco and editor, author, and co-author of publications on Nonviolence, Middle-Eastern Policy, and War
“The use of strategic nonviolent resistance has grown dramatically worldwide in the nearly fifty years since Gene Sharp documented his now-famous 198 methods of nonviolent action. Since that time, scores of additional methods have been utilized and the theoretical understanding of civil resistance has grown tremendously. Michael Beer has brought us up to date with this impressive monograph with a revised, expanded, and recategorized list which is a must-read for both scholars and activists.”
Senior researcher and program director at the Berghof Foundation and author of many publications on nonviolent action and civil resistance
"Michael Beer’s new Monograph “Civil Resistance Tactics in the 21st Century” fully meets its ambitious goal of revisiting the field of nonviolent action in light of recent tactical and strategic innovations. Influenced by Gene Sharp’s seminal categorization of civil resistance methods – which remains an authoritative reference among activists and scholars alike – Beer adapts it to the contemporary realities of nonviolent activism. The rich array of approaches and cultural practices covered in this study is fascinating, with illustrations ranging from ‘maximalist’ campaigns to sectorial struggles for rights, justice, accountability and sustainability across the globe. It helpfully outlines distinctions between disruptive and constructive resistance, and between acts of expression, omission and commission. In particular, the monograph explores in detail positive inducements such as appeals, refraining acts, and creative intervention, which bring to light the constructive dimension of civil resistance. Moreover, it usefully spells out the ‘frontiers’ between nonviolent action and overlapping practices that belong to the domains of institutional, violent, third-party or support intervention. This monograph will be both highly valuable for activists who are interested in learning about the rich plurality of nonviolent methods to pursue social change, and for researchers to think creatively about new ways to systematize tactics and methods in relation to broader strategies and campaigns."
Maria J. Stephan
American Political Scientist and former Director of the program on nonviolent action at the United States Institute of Peace
"In his ambitious new monograph, Michael Beer explores the expanding universe of nonviolent tactics and helps us make sense of them. Building on Gene Sharp’s 198 methods of nonviolent action and integrating the frameworks of many other scholars and practitioners, Beer offers a revised and updated table and classification system for analyzing nonviolent tactics. His account, brimming with global applications of lesser-known tactics (exs. kiss-ins, virtual reality games, and reverse strikes) shines a light on creativity, ingenuity, and adaptability of activists, organizers, and movement leaders around the world. I expect that this new classification of tactics will be of great use to activists, academics, and practitioners seeking to strategize, understand, and support nonviolent campaigns and movements around the world - particularly in our new digital age."
Co-author of "Synergizing Nonviolent Action and Peacebuilding" and the author of 10 other books on peacebuilding and social movements
“Stuck with just a few tactics in your go-to list for making social change? This book offers clear, compelling, creative options for making nonviolent action more effective and more engaging.”
Former Director of Amnesty International USA
“Awesome book for every human rights defender doing actions outside the court system.”
Sr Professorial Lecturer in the School of International Service at American University and Peace Educator of the Year
“This book is an invaluable tool for constructively transforming the current challenges roiling the US and the globe. Please join me in using this in your classrooms."
(From left to right) Mubarak El-Amin, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, Steve Williamson celebrate Michael’s new book!
At this time of crisis, we seek new ways to collaborate across divisions that have too long limited us. It seems we are coming apart, just when we need to come together. The problems we face are vast, but we know we are stronger together. And together, we commit to rising to this moment through creative constructive nonviolent action.
We celebrate the diverse youth-led global movement that is emerging. Even as the old system falls apart all around us, a new and better world is being born. And, still we are concerned that the intersecting crises facing us can not be solved by one movement alone no matter how powerful. Instead, we believe that it will take a movement of movements coming together as never before to rise to the challenges before us.
We believe in our collective wisdom and vision and in the need to act boldly to heal our beautiful and broken planet.
We offer these shared resources because we believe that creative nonviolence is a force more powerful than any in the history of the world.
We know that effective nonviolence doesn’t just happen it requires careful study, training, and tactics. We learn in many different ways. We learn by doing - by taking action and accessing the results. We also learn by studying successful nonviolent movements of the pasts. And, we take comfort in the beautiful emerging reality of a global nonviolent, fun-loving, people and planet respecting movement.
The time is late. We have waited far too long to come together. And, still come together we must. So, the list below is not the work of any one organization, but instead the product of a new emerging collaboration between several groups all focused on promoting nonviolence. We are still getting to know each other and assume new projects will emerge as relationships are built, but many of us also feel a sense of urgency.
We believe in the power of nonviolence and in these resources. We believe in the power of our collective wisdom. We share these resources knowing this list is incomplete, imperfect, and will be growing for years to come.
We know that the study and use of nonviolence remains in its infancy and call on all of us to devote more time and resources to understanding its vast power and potential. We hope these resources might be of use to many of the bold, beautiful, creative movements that inspire us through their actions.
We come together through our shared commitment to nonviolence. We welcome all those pursuing peace, justice, and those who love the earth. If you know of free resources you think should be listed here, please check out this page that lists our initial criteria for inclusion and welcomes your submissions.
Here are the best free nonviolent, peacebuilding, creative, constructive, justice seeking, earth loving resources, tools, and tricks that we know of.
Did you know you can get inspirational stories of bold creative nonviolent activism in your inbox each week for free? You can thanks to Rivera Suns' Nonviolence News
Effective nonviolent action doesn’t just happen, it requires tactics. Check out Nonviolence International’s Database of Nonviolent Tactics.
Here is an inspiring podcast from Waging Nonviolence - "City of Refuge"
Effective nonviolent campaigns don’t happen automatically, they require training. Don’t miss Nonviolence International’s collaboration with Rutgers University’s International Institute for Peace our Training Archive.
Pace e Bene has a short podcast by Veronica Pelicaric, The Soul of Nonviolence, which you can share: https://paceebene.org/soul-of-nonviolence-podcast
The Metta Center created this wonderful "Roadmap" it was specifically designed for collaboration.
The Peace Alliance has updated statistics for violence and peacebuilding, with downloadable pdfs. https://peacealliance.org/tools-education/statistics-on-violence/
Nonviolence Now has a billboard and bus ads campaign which we can give you the vector files for. https://gandhiinstitute.org/nonviolencenow/
MK Gandhi Institute invites you to connect with them about replicating their amazing Youth Healing Hate Grants: https://gandhiinstitute.org/enacting-nonviolence-with-youth/
Dive into the Beautiful Trouble toolbox, an interconnected web of ideas and creative best practices that puts the power in your hands. Start anywhere and explore… https://www.beautifultrouble.org/toolbox
The Global Nonviolent Action Database provides free access to information about hundreds of cases of nonviolent action, from all continents and most countries, for learning and for citizen action. The database is a project of Swarthmore College. Learn more about the database.https://nvdatabase.swarthmore.edu
The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict focuses on how ordinary people wage nonviolent conflict to win rights, freedom and justice. Check out these amazing resources: https://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/resource-library/
Black Lives Matter. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives. Check out these impressive resources available for free to all: https://blacklivesmatter.com/resources/
The Commons Social Change Library is an online collection of educational resources on campaign strategy, community organising, digital campaigning, communications and media, working effectively in groups, fundraising, diversity and inclusion and much more.We collect, curate and distribute the key lessons and resources of progressive movements around Australia and across the globe. https://commonslibrary.org
IREX - An International Exchange program with brilliant fellows from the world over to work with your nonprofit. RPCP
As part of the Meaningful Movies Project, we can show films and invite members of this group to be on post-screening panels.
Community Peacebuilder Immersion - Developing online version consists of Restorative Justice and Practices, Social Emotional Learning, Dialogues, and Trauma and Resilience Building - RPCP
RCNV: A little video on nonviolence with Michael Beer, Sarah Nahar, others, on our website. Better website coming soon. https://rcnv.org/resources/nonviolent-action-campaigns-peter-klotz-chamberlin/
In addition to these shared free resources, we hope you will check out this
This new collaborative effort was brought together through the tireless efforts of Rivera Sun www.riverasun.com and Kit Miller and Gwen Olton of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence https://gandhiinstitute.org. Thanks to them and all who have added to these powerful shared resources.
By Mubarak Awad
Recently, our wonderful volunteer intern supervisor, Jules Slater, shared their pride at the impressive young leaders serving this semester as interns with NVI. Meeting them gives me hope. If you haven’t already seen this page, I encourage you to check it out.
Below, I share some of the important video production work our interns are already doing at NVI.
For years, I urged Michael Beer to update my friend Gene Sharp’s seminal work cataloging 198 Nonviolent methods. Since then the world has changed dramatically with innovations such as the internet and so much more shaping how people express themselves. Michael has just published a book with more than 350 NV tactics. Please watch this short video where our new intern Dassie Spivack interviews Michael about why he wrote this book. The funny thing is he doesn’t even mention that I told him to.
Next we share an exciting clip from Jamila Raqib, Gene’s successor, who tells how he started collecting NV Tactics and why he stopped at 198. He could have easily rounded up to 200, but he always knew this was unfinished work that should be expanded as the field grew. So for all those who somehow get the impression that Gene’s work was written in stone, please watch this clip made by NVI intern Cam Sephehri.
As you know, NVI believes that the world is facing a series of interrelated crises and that nonviolence is the most effective response to many of them. We also are convinced that nonviolence doesn’t just happen, but is greatly enhanced by knowledge of Tactics and by NV Training. Check out this video of former intern and volunteer Annalisa Bell explaining how to use our NV Tactics database.
In addition to spreading the word on the power of nonviolence and Tactics and Training, the other main part of our work at NVI is serving as a backbone organization of the global nonviolent movement. We provide fiscal sponsorship to a variety of cutting-edge groups we believe in deeply. Below, please see new videos produced by Dassie and Cam raising up the work of Holy Land Trust, the Center for Jewish Nonviolence and Solidarity 2020 and Beyond.
Finally, I was proud to be in conversation with my cousin Jonathan Kuttab and NVI’s Co-Director David Hart during the recent bombing of Gaza. While the bombs are not falling now, conditions remain unacceptable. We ask for your help changing the conversation and thus building a better future. We recorded our full conversation and present it below along with several shorter clips you might share with others as an introduction to this ongoing and wholly preventable human-caused crisis.
If you value this work, please donate to help us expand our impact on this beautiful and broken world.
An Update from NVI Canada’s Director:
Located off of Canada’s Pacific Coast, Vancouver Island is home to a selection of the dwindling old-growth forests in the northern hemisphere. These untouched forest ecosystems have been under exploitation since the arrival of non-First Nations and as a consequence, few remain. Activists have now blockaded for more than 320 days Protecting Vancouver Island's Ancient Temperate Rainforests on Pacheedaht and Dididaht Territories.
In spite of the courageous work of our activists, there have been more than 222 arrests in the past 28 days of police action by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
One week ago, First Nations, who hold a traditional title to the area, called for a deferral of logging in key areas in Fairy Creek and the Central Walbran.
Despite this announcement, large-scale logging could still occur in old-growth forest directly adjacent to Fairy Creek and in parts of the Central Walbran not included in the deferral. Therefore, the forest defenders and blockade remain in place as police action against our nonviolent protections continue.
Above Photo credit: Logging truck photographed on the road in central Vancouver Island on 25 May 2021 by Lorna Beecroft.
For more on the log read: The Mystery Behind a Photo of a Logged Old-Growth Tree
Forest defenders are clustered under the banner of the Rainforest Flying Squad and made up of affinity groups and individuals banding together to maintain a blockade to halt further cutting of the last remaining old-growth forests. In turn, they have been supported by thousands of other concerned British Columbian citizens who have brought out material support, contributed financially, or organized sympathetic demonstrations in other parts of the province.
They also receive support from many provincial and national civil society organizations such as Nonviolence International Canada, which has offered support in the training of legal observers that serve as witnesses to the mass arrests as well as on the ground training in de-escalation techniques for tense encounters between protestors and loggers.
Above photo credit: Blockader removed / Rainforest Flying Squad
To learn more about NVI Canada click here.