Updates-A Story of Realistic Hope

Spotlight on Nonviolence - David Korten

Recently at NVI, I've had the pleasure of speaking with David Korten, the founder and president of the Living Economies Forum, which aims to reveal issues with current economic models and advance alternatives. He is also the co-founder of YES! magazine and has contributed prolifically to it. He is a current member of the Club of Rome. He previously served as a professor for Harvard Business School. He has authored many books, such as When Corporations Rule the World, Agenda for a New Economy, and The Great Turning - to name a few. 

Throughout my interview with David, he discussed the role of the current economy in altering human behavior. While humans naturally tend towards cooperating with one another, the current economic system, which David refers to as “ego-nomics”, encourages actively competing against one another at each other’s expense. David also discusses issues with the current system of education, which he believes focuses on memorization and discourages critical thinking. Furthermore, David describes the future goal of an “ecological civilization” which he believes that we should aim for, where we are able to live in concert with both each other and nature. Ultimately, my interview with David stresses the importance of aiming for a nonviolent world and how we should always strive to aim for a better, more human future.

I enjoyed talking to David and hearing about his insights regarding humanity and how our thoughts and actions can be shaped by our economic system. Our discussion really highlighted the importance of economics to me by showing how our current economic system encourages violence and selfishness, while our current education system only compounds these issues by discouraging critical thinking about this system. I learned a lot from David and hope that you also will!


David Korten's Website

"Ecological Civilization: Emergency and Emergence"

YES! Magazine

When Corporations Rule the World

Club of Rome

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The Movement of Movements is Taking Shape Now!

In a time of growing global crisis, the Poor People’s Campaign came to Washington, DC.

It was a powerful gathering reflecting hard work building the movement of movements many of us have been dreaming of for decades. More words below, but first some photos! 

Let's start with cute kids making key points. This shirt reads, "It Doesn't Have To Be This Way"

This sign from the West Virginia ACLU reads, "Stop Criminalizing Poverty"

The Poor People's Campaign Proudly Declares that We Won't Be Silent!

For those not already familiar with this exciting campaign please scroll down below the final photo. 

(Look closely and notice the two flags displayed here)

The most commonly heard chant on this special day was, "Forward Together. Not One Step Back!" 

Everybody Rises - Lift From the Bottom!

More and more people are coming to see that deep system change is needed. 

"Poverty is the Disease: A New System is the Cure!"

The Youth-Led Climate Movement was well represented. "Fight for a Green New Deal"

"Fund People Not War - Nuclear Weapons are Illegal"

I moved from Maine to DC in 1997 to work for the wonderful Veterans for Peace. Was great to see them out in force at the Poor People's Campaign. Note the US Capitol in the background. VFP is an organization that seeks to abolish the war system using the power and influence of those who have seen the horror of war and understand how militarism is connected to other pressing issues. 

"U.S. Militarism Fuels Climate Crisis"

Veterans for Peace says, "Fight Poverty Not Wars!"

Before the event began there was a special Sabbath service led, in part, by Reb. Arthur Waskow, of the Shalom Center. He was kind to me when I was little kid in Philly interested in all things peace. As the Sabbath ritual wrapped up, I saw the amazing Jodie Evans of Code Pink and went up to say a quick hello. Code Pink shared an office with the Institute for Policy Studies when I worked there and I hadn't seen her in years. She is a skilled organizer who gets stuff done and she immediately recruited me to march with a Code Pink sign. I picked out a nice one that linked militarism with poverty and was about to head off when Jodie said, "no, you are an educator. How about this one?" She gave me the sign above on the poverty draft and student debt. Unlike the other sign I picked this one had a QR code people could scan and upload their photos to be seen along with all the others uploaded. Jodie gave me a large roll of stickers and flyers and thus made my day even more fun. It was a thrill to see how many people were interested in taking pictures with this sign. I used the sign to engage with dozens of people and each person I spoke with was introduced to the important work of the impressive women-led peace group Code Pink. Thanks Jodie, Medea, Ariel, and all the Code Pink team. Your work inspires us all. 

Code Pink was a notable presence throughout the march. What's this photo of?  Not a war tank. We were in DC, but it is not a think tank, but Code Pink's Peace Tank with clear concise messages "Demilitarize Everything! Food not F-35s. Books not Bombs. Homes not Drones. Everybody's Got a Right to Live." 

Code Pink's beautiful Peace Tank from the other side. Sign reads, "War is Ecocide"

I started with a kid’s shirt. The final photo I'll share sums it all up. This leader's shirt reads simply, "There Comes a Time When Silence is Betrayal"

Yes, dear friends, I think we all know in our hearts that time is now. For far too long we have allowed ourselves to become numb to the totally avoidable daily suffering of precious people living in poverty in the shadow of plenty. That this suffering continues is a result of policy decisions we have made. We will not be silent any longer. At long last, when the interrelated crises are hurting so deeply, the movement of movements we need is underway. 

There are two important truths that are now finally being acknowledged. No one movement - no matter how powerful - can solve the problems facing us today. None of the movements for peace, planet, or justice have any chance to achieve our goals in isolation. But, together we might just bring some light into the world and match the moral clarity with the soul force and political clout sufficient to respond to the urgent challenges of our time. The need to come together is a gift since we realize our movements are connected in fundamental ways. In decades past, we had to debate this fact even with our friends and allies, but now many more people understand that our issues are inextricably linked and can only be solved together. 

At its radical loving best active nonviolence can play a unifying role bringing activists across movements together. Nonviolence should never allow ourselves to be misunderstood to suggest an attempt to police how oppressed people protest, but instead as the Force More Powerful we are just beginning to experiment with. We know Nonviolent Tactics are the tools of liberation (check out our recent webinar on this very topic). 

Nonviolence International celebrates the bold leadership of Rev. William Barber and the Poor People’s Campaign. We are inspired by their moral witness and join with them in solidarity asking all our friends and supporters to do whatever you can to help raise up their vital work. 

There are 140 million poor and low-wealth people in the richest country in the world. Somehow we have allowed enormous and totally unnecessary suffering to continue year after year, decade after decade. It is as if we have forgotten our moral obligation to reduce the violence inherent in the way our society is structured. We at NVI ask - how have Americans become accepting of violence in their economy? How do our actions at home and abroad impact others living in poverty? 

Those who recently lectured on how Dr. King would have felt about property destruction seemed to have missed his larger point. We must recognize the humanity of all people. That recognition requires long-delayed and bold action. The time for small ideas is over. This movement, rooted in the leadership of poor people, deserves the active support of all who consider themselves to be committed to nonviolence. 

Focusing our attention on those who are most in need has long been a central guiding principle of active nonviolence. For those interested in history, please see how Dr. King’s final campaign echoes in the work we are engaged in today. 

See our earlier post on this topic that explores Gandhi and King’s moral commitment: 


Here is the full livestream of the event. So much to love here. Great music, visionary leaders, hearing directly from those most impacted, and a spirit of revolutionary love and solidarity. Rev. Barber's energy as emcee in call and response created a powerful united flow to the program. His speech is among the best I've ever heard. Find it at: 2:01. Phyllis Bennis, the great scholar of Middle East peace (whose office was next to mine when I was at the Institute for Policy Studies) speaks at 3:49. She reminds us that budgets are moral documents and shares hard truths about how the US Federal Budget is distorted to value war above all else. As usual, Rev. Cornell West knocks it out of the park noting the importance of international solidarity. Check to out at: 4:20 or just watch the whole video and be inspired by the emerging movement of movements. As they say, this is, "A Moral Revolution of Values" and it has come to us in these crucial years. May we embrace this movement, help it grow, and claim our future. 

Spotlight on Nonviolence - David Solnit

How Art & Bodies Making Sweeping Change

Through NVI’s Spotlight Series, I spoke with world-renowned art activist, David Solnit. He has been described as “Activism’s Renaissance Man,” the co-founder of Art and Revolution, and encourages social movements with participatory activism and performance. David’s art has been used for creative and colorful resistance in Seattle’s World Trade Organization protest in 1999, the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, and the Immokalee farm workers which shut down some of the biggest restaurant franchises.

During my interview with David, we discussed the varied nature of art activism and the different forms of art someone might see during a social movement. “Arts'' can be anything from visual banners or flags to musical arts and performance art. David’s passion is deeply rooted in the belief that at the end of the day all we have to change the world is “our voice, our bodies, and the things we create with our hands.” He emphasized the idea that art created for protests can be an alternative to the propaganda and media that the government uses to alter public relations.  Instead of existing to manipulate the narrative, protest arts uplift and highlight the lives of where the art is rooted–in the people. 

David quotes Ricardo Levins Morales when speaking about art's role in creating momentum for nonviolent social movements. He suggests that “art speaks directly to the inner spaces where stories are stored.” In effect, this can create sweeping change that Festivals of Resistance use to visualize a better world. My conversation with David was colorful and engaged every one of my senses. Our time together affirmed my belief that resisters have the edge and that everyone can make art. When paired strategically, art can amplify creative struggle and create victories.   

The Oakland Institute 

David's Instagram

San Fransisco Street Murals

Climate Designers Party Program

No Pipeline, No Way!

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Spotlight on Nonviolence - Maria Quintana

Through NVI's Spotlight Series, I spoke with Maria Quintana, a U.S. and Latin American historian who specializes in race and empire, civil rights and labor history, immigration history, and social movements. Maria is an Assistant Professor at Sacramento State University. She has written the book Contracting Freedom: Race, Empire, and U.S. Labor Importation Programs, 1942-1964. Her research has received numerous awards, including the Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellowship from the Institute for Citizens & Scholars. She is also part of the World House Global Network.

During my interview with Maria, she showed how our understanding of the labor civil rights movement is connected deeply with U.S. imperialism through guestworker programs which importer of migrant labor from Mexico, Jamaica, Bahamas, Honduras, Barbados, and Puerto Rico. While the US government positively portrayed guestworker programs as emphasizing a fair labor contract and equal rights, workers from these programs became leaders for freedom and human rights throughout the civil rights movement. Guestworker programs ignored race and class in the United States where "freedom" is not necessarily a "right." The sacrifices of these workers, demonstrated  in courageous and relentless nonviolent action in the civil and labor rights movement, gave a new meaning to freedom and expanded my understanding of new forms of racial oppression and empire.

In a reality where workers, particularly immigrant and marginalized workers, continue to advocate for a livable wage, fair treatment, and protection of their rights, my conversation with Maria gave me a greater understanding of the evolution rather than elimination of the oppression of workers. I hope it does the same for you.

Learn more about what Maria is a part of:

Immigration and Ethnic History Society: Summer 2022 Online Books Series

Contracting Freedom: Race, Empire, and U.S. Guestworker Programs (Use the discount code PP20 for 20% off your order from Penn Press!)

Sacramento State University


A few years ago we were told that computer algorithms would serve us. Now we have learned that we serve them. So, we are compelled to ask you to “please like and subscribe” to our new YouTube channel so that others will be introduced to the work you already support. 


Spotlight on Nonviolence - Kent Wong

Recently at NVI, I've had the pleasure of speaking with Kent Wong, the director the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Labor Center. As the director of the UCLA Labor Center, Kent teaches courses in labor studies and Asian American studies. He is also the founding president of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and the United Association for Labor Education. He currently serves as the vice president of the California Federation of Teachers. He also contributed to the book Revolutionary Nonviolence: Organizing for Freedom, which accounts the power of nonviolence organizing and its ability to sustain social change movements.

Throughout my interview with Kent, he noted strongly the active work of Reverend James M. Lawson in nonviolence philosophy and tactics. While Kent has been an advocate for Lawson's philosophy, he has been a colleague and direct supporter of Lawson through Revolutionary Nonviolence. Lawson preached that nonviolence was not a passive act but it instead involves the "suffering and sacrifice" that is often associated with violence. Acting nonviolent means absorbing the suffering and sacrificing our own comfort to campaign nonviolently. Through the suffering, we stand together to build a more peaceful world. Personally, I am looking forward to reading Revolutionary Nonviolence and continuing to learn from the nonviolence leaders of the past for the social change movements of the present.

An article about Reverend James M. Lawson

Revolutionary Nonviolence

UCLA Labor Center

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance

The United Association for Labor Education

The California Federation of Teachers

The World House Global Network

A few years ago we were told that computer algorithms would serve us. Now we have learned that we serve them. So, we are compelled to ask you to “please like and subscribe” to our new YouTube channel so that others will be introduced to the work you already support. 


Join Us in Welcoming These Amazing Young Leaders.

By Paige Wright

Integral to Nonviolence International’s core team is always a strong cohort of willing, capable, and intelligent individuals serving as interns. NVI is excited to welcome this team for the summer and fall to create change through nonviolent action.

Some of them are working very much behind the scenes, updating our Tactics Database and Training Archive or working alongside our Founders, Jonathan Kuttab, and our Director, Michael Beer, in the promotion of their respective books. Others of them are working in the foreground, creating videos for our YouTube page and Spotlight Series, and updating our Social Media accounts. All of them, however, have fully engaged with the work to be done here at NVI, and we are incredibly grateful and proud of their work thus far!

Please take a moment to let these inspiring new interns introduce themselves to you:

Emily Jang, she/her/hers

My name is Emily Jang, and I am a third year student at Emory University. As a psychology and anthropology major with a concentration in health, my primary interest is in mental health and understanding how one’s identity affects various aspects of health. This identity not only includes one’s environment but the structural and interpersonal responses to an individual as well. Thus, various forms of violence– structural, symbolic, and direct–affect one’s health and self. As I have come to understand this notion, I have grown a passion to better understand and apply the knowledge I have gained to actively confront this violence and advocate for others. I hope to foster this passion continuously in my future profession in academia or directly in mental healthcare as well as in the present through organizations such as NVI.

Annie Sandy Zumbi, she/her/hers

My name is Sandy Zumbi. I am in my last year of graduate school at American University in Washington D.C. Being from the Democratic Republic of Congo currently living in the U.S made me realize how fortunate I was which would not have been possible without my education. I understand how important the role education plays in the lives of children coming from developing countries and wanted to give that opportunity by fighting for children’s lives. I was drawn to NVI because of the work it does around the world. We have seen throughout history and up to this day how violence is never the answer and never produces the outcomes we hope for.   

Rachel Knowles, she/her/hers

As a graduate student at the University of San Francisco, my knowledge and understanding of in depth research and threat intelligence is expanding with application to real world resolution. These skills are not only something I study; through active advocacy I have developed my willingness to raise difficult questions and communicate with leaders across the country's universities to develop cohesive solutions. My experience with personal interviews and survey studies will introduce a different perspective on data collection and organization at NVI. With an educational background in customs, laws, and sanctions I will ensure up to date standards for effective export compliance programs. These multidisciplinary skills create a framework that aligns with the core value of Nonviolence International. That is: a passion for maintaining high ethical standards and developing active results.

Ahad Bashir, he/him/his

My name is Ahad Bashir. I’m a third-year student at Brown University studying International & Public Affairs (Development Track) and Economics. I have a strong interest in international development, especially in the Indian subcontinent, and a desire to reduce the harms of economic inequality. I also have a background in education and believe that equal access to a full, well-rounded education is a must, whether that be math class or just some after-school activities. I wish to either work at an NGO to identify and address economic inequality or work as a professor or educator. I joined NVI because I was blown away by the group’s outstanding dedication towards their goals and desire to do right by them.

Alanna, she/her/hers

Hello! I’m Alanna and I am a second year political science and peace studies student at The George Washington University. I am passionate about how systems of governance impact civil liberties and living standards. Following my studies, I plan to attend law school to become a federal prosecutor, international, and constitutional lawyer. In these endeavors, I intend to hold both corruption and marginalization accountable to advocate for a more democratic world. I joined NVI’s communications and fundraising teams to advocate for human rights, while supporting global peace campaigns.


A Creative Nonviolent Tactic to Remember Jamal Khashoggi

In a time of growing global crisis and deep in the heart of a declining empire, in Washington, DC, US, this week we celebrated the name change of the street in front of the embassy of Saudi Arabia. 

Can you guess the new name?

The street in front of the embassy has been officially and permanently changed to… 

Jamal Khashoggi Way. 

NVI has long supported the street name change campaign.  We raise up the brave, beautiful, precious journalist and human being who was dismembered by the regime. The powerful message that his memory lives on will be sent every time the diplomats come and go. 

This comes as the US President prepares to travel to Saudi Arabia. In direct contradiction to his public statements during the campaign, when he told the public there would finally be accountability, he will do as so many US Presidents have done before and travel to the Kingdom on bended knee seeking ever more fossil fuels. 

But something is different now. The direct and deadly impacts of the growing climate catastrophe are with us. It is no longer some far off future we fear, but instead a current reality harming precious people. The obsequience to Saudi Arabia is now not just spineless, but also part of a mass march towards devastation. 

What shall we do with this harsh reality?

At NVI we hope together we will rise to challenges before us and experiment with creative constructive Nonviolent Tactics.  

You can find the name change tactic in the list of more than 350 in our Nonviolent Tactics Database.

In this photo, Michael Beer, NVI Director, (in a blue shirt) is holding a photo of Mr. Khashoggi at the event celebrating the name change along Code Pink leader Medea Benjamin at the front entrance to the Saudi Embassy in Washington DC.

Time Stamp for Democracy Now’s coverage: 11:25 

Michael Beer is in the blue shirt holding high the photo directly behind the podium. 

Please see this page for more information including photos with NVI’s co-founders. 


This beautiful image came to us through our friends at the Horizons Project who shared this free high quality collection. 

Artist Ashley Lukashevsky 

IG @ashlukadraws


Spotlight on Nonviolence - Christiana Green

In this Spotlight interview, I spoke with Christiana Green, the communications coordinator for the James Lawson Institute for the Research and Study of Nonviolent Movements. We discussed the legacy of Reverend James Lawson, the whitewashing of the civil rights movement, progressive organizing in the South, and how Christiana's faith inspires her work. Christiana is from Marietta, Georgia, and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She graduated from Belmont University in April 2021. Christiana has coordinated, participated in and spoken at nonviolent protests in the past two years.

There are two aspects of our conversation that really stuck out to me. The first was Christiana's powerful pushback against the notion that the nonviolence of the civil rights movement was a co-opt of white ideals, or was simply an appeal to the conscience of white people. These false notions reduce nonviolence to putting oneself through suffering for the white gaze, to sway the emotions of the oppressor. This narrative of the civil rights movement presents a fundamentally unappealing portrait of nonviolence and those of us who believe in the ability of nonviolence to be a radical force for change must push back against it. I also appreciate Christiana reframing my perception of the American South. Both Christiana and I were born and raised in the South, a region with a long history of oppression and injustice, manifest in slavery and Jim Crow. Yet Christiana also recognizes the South as an important site of progressive organizing. The Black Lives Matter leaders fighting against police brutality are the descendants- both literally and figuratively- of the civil rights activists before them. I think there's something profoundly beautiful about this idea of nonviolent resistance as an inheritance, passed down through the generations. Towards the end of the conversation, Christiana notes that she is committed to her nonviolence work, knowing that she may not see the fruits of her labor but those who come after her will. What a gorgeous vision of nonviolence, and what an antidote to despair. I found this conversation insightful and inspiring and I hope you do to. 

Learn more about the James Lawson Institute for the Research and Study of Nonviolent Movements here https://divinity.vanderbilt.edu/jameslawsoninstitute.php

A few years ago we were told that computer algorithms would serve us. Now we have learned that we serve them. So, we are compelled to ask you to “please like and subscribe” to our new YouTube channel so that others will be introduced to the work you already support. 


A Video Featuring Ahmed Alnaouq, founder of WANN

Please watch the impressive video below and consider supporting We Are Not Number's (WANN’s) vital work.

This powerful image shows just one part of the video. Click on the video itself below to watch.This powerful image shows just one part of the video. Click on the video itself below to watch.

Ahmed Alnaouq's comprehensive analysis allows him to share in a clear focused way the reality of life in Gaza and how the coverage in the mainstream media rarely accurately reflects that reality and instead often intentionally obscures it.  

He shares his informed loving perspective on life in Gaza and how media coverage distorts reality. If you are inspired by this work, please consider donating to support WANN’s visionary approach to building leaders and power. 

I found this video on the same day I attended a march in Washington, DC where the same call echoed out. Please see my photo essay for more. 

From the stage at the mass mobilization of the Poor People’s Campaign, the great Rev. William Barber said, “They are us and we are them.” He called on us all to step up saying, “when our people suffer, we won’t be silent anymore.” He said we had gathered together to “put a human face on the numbers.” 

As with WANN, this amazingly diverse passionate gathering was built on a deep and comprehensive analysis of the world as it is and on a recognition that it doesn’t have to be this way. (Don’t miss the cute kid wearing a shirt with that message at the start of the photo essay). The organizers implemented a strategic approach that puts those closest to the problems on the stage and in the leadership. They made a point of noting that on this day people would not speak on behalf of others. Instead, each person would raise up their own lived experience and perspective. 

This approach follows the same simple and profound wisdom at the heart of WANN’s vision and mission.

Spotlight on Nonviolence - Andrea Palomo-Robles

In this Spotlight interview, I spoke with Andrea Palomo-Robles, the Executive Director of the Satyagraha Institute. She’s been involved with the Satyagraha Institute since 2016, participating in several programs and engaging in the Coordinating Committee. Andrea is a political scientist and studied Nonviolence at the Gujarat Vidyapith University, founded by Gandhi. We discussed the meaning of satyagraha, Andrea's personal and professional journey, the importance of the inner life and self-transformation in nonviolence work, and Gandhi's emphasis on constructive program. 

As an undergraduate student at George Washington University, I took a class on Philosophy & Nonviolence and in that course read Gandhi's writings, among other theorists of nonviolence. Gandhi's words leapt off the page, simultaneously inspiring and challenging, and I've been grappling with his ideas ever since. So I deeply appreciated the opportunity to speak with Andrea, a scholar and practitioner of Gandhian nonviolence. The fact that 74 years after Gandhi's death, two young people- a young woman from Mexico and a Sri-Lankan American young man- are discussing his philosophy is a testament to the enduring light and global reach of his legacy. Andrea radiated warmth and kindness (a difficult task over Zoom), and talking to her I felt that we were kindred spirits, walking alongside one another on the satyagraha path. Andrea reminded me that peace is not some unattainable goal, but a daily practice. In a time when it is so easy to fall into despair, Andrea's passion for the work of nonviolence training fills my heart with hope. I found our conversation insightful and inspiring and I hope you do too. 


Learn more about the Satyagraha Institute here- https://satyagrahainstitute.org/

A few years ago we were told that computer algorithms would serve us. Now we have learned that we serve them. So, we are compelled to ask you to “please like and subscribe” to our new YouTube channel so that others will be introduced to the work you already support. 


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