Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation 

Working for peace, social justice and principled nonviolence since 1976

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Nonviolence

 

The Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation is absolutely committed to nonviolence.  We encourage people to understand nonviolence, develop their skills, and practice nonviolence in daily life.  This part of our website offers articles, documents, quotations, training opportunities, links and other kinds of information.

 

What is nonviolence?

Different people understand nonviolence in different ways.

 

Certainly Gandhi, King and others have rooted their nonviolence in profound ethics and deep religious spirituality.  A great number and variety of people from various religious and spiritual traditions have found grounding, insights and motivations that have compelled them to affirm nonviolence.  As a result, some people think nonviolence is only a nice ideal – but perhaps not practical in “the real world.” 

 

Other people think nonviolence is mainly a set of tactics without necessarily being grounded in ethics and spirituality.  Gene Sharp – a respected researcher who wrote some of the articles shown below – often says he supports nonviolence because it actually works.  It is practical.  He points out that nonviolence has been used many times throughout history by people who were not necessarily grounded in ethics or spirituality, but who wanted workable strategies and tactics to use against adversaries who were more physically powerful.  See the information below in the section titled “Using nonviolence in the real world.”

 

The FOR understands that nonviolence is BOTH grounded in ethics AND practical in the real world.  The information below includes both dimensions.  To help us remember that nonviolence includes the ethical grounding, this website sometimes refers to “principled nonviolence.” 

What Is Violence?  (Word doc)

What is nonviolence - Gene Sharp (Word doc)

Six Principles of Nonviolence - Martin Luther King  (Word)  (PowerPoint)

What Is The Difference Between Pacifism And Nonviolence?   (Word doc)

Misconceptions About Nonviolence  (Word doc)

Why did Gandhi object to violence? (Word doc)

Understanding and Using Nonviolence

Nonviolence involves interacting with people by using attitudes and behaviors that open-mindedly seek the most profound truth and justice, while always respecting the inherent human value of every person.

 

This pursuit of profound truth and justice often requires great courage and might involve risk to one’s ego and physical safety.  The practitioner of nonviolence would rather assume that risk personally rather than harm another person.

 

The practitioner of nonviolence can do this with confidence, knowing that harmony and nonviolence are consistent with the way the universe works best.

 

A great and growing variety of tools and techniques are available for practicing nonviolence in a number of settings.

 

Grassroots People-Power Can Win Hearts and Minds ( Word ) ( PDF )

What Nonviolence Means - and How It Works  ( Word )

Using nonviolence in the real world

What Would a Nonviolent Society Look Like - Glen Anderson (Word) (PDF)

 

Sharp's theory of nonviolent resistance


Gene Sharp - The Methods of Nonviolent Action

 

Has Nonviolence Ever Worked?  (Word doc)  (PowerPoint)


Historical Examples of Nonviolent Struggle

 

What Nonviolence Means - And Why It Works

 

Grassroots People-Power Can Win Hearts and Minds

 

Effective Nonviolent Action Requires Empowering Ourselves and Rejecting Fear and Despair

 

Organizing Grassroots Power for Effective Nonviolent Action


Strategizing to Work on Issues, Reach New Audiences, and Build Alliances


Devising Issue Campaigns to Persuade the Public

 

Nonviolent principles and practices can be applied to a great many areas of life.  We commonly think of foreign policy and interpersonal relationships.  But nonviolent principles and practices could improve many areas of life, including how we deal with people who hurt others (e.g., a nonviolent criminal justice system such as “Restorative Justice”), how we operate our economy, how we teach school children, how we design cities and communities, and so forth.  This article encourages us to think expansively and creatively:  What Would a Nonviolent Society Look Like?  (Word)  (pdf)

 

The criminal justice system seems to reinforce criminality rather than cure it.  A growing movement for Restorative Justice offers compassionate and effective ways to hold offenders accountable in ways that reduce their likelihood to reoffend – while also providing healing for victims and restoring the community’s wholeness.  The best website is www.restorativejustice.org  In addition, Restorative Practices can be applied in other areas of life.  Learn about the International Institute for Restorative Practices at www.iirp.org


More and more people are finding great usefulness and practicality in the methods Marshall Rosenberg developed.  This process is called Nonviolent Communication or Compassionate Communication.  The Center for Nonviolent Communication (www.cnvc.org) offers many resources.


Adults and children can be taught how to resolve conflicts.  One researcher in a public school setting combined elements of John Rice’s WinWin training, Adventures in Peacemaking, Stephen Covey, Becky Bailey’s Conscious Discipline, and Marilyn Tabor’s Coaching for Excellence.  See her research at http://www.beckybailey.com/flyers/Analysisofteaching.pdf

 

  Quotations on nonviolence

Information Sources

In addition to the variety of resources listed above, you can learn about nonviolence from any of the following:

 

www.nonviolence.org

 

www.forusa.org  The Fellowship of Reconciliation

 

www.warresisters.org  The War Resisters League

Books and Films That Promote Nonviolence - PowerPoint

Nonviolent Action Dictionary  (Word doc)

A terrific source of information about using nonviolence strategically in practical settings to protect democracy and oppose oppression is The Albert Einstein Institution, which Gene Sharp founded in 1983.  Gene Sharp – who has been respected worldwide as probably the most important researcher in this field since the 1970s – has written many books and practical pamphlets on the topic.  Please see The Albert Einstein Institution’s website at www.aeinstein.org, and see the website’s link to their publications.

Nonviolence is still viable in Syria, even in March 2013. See this information from the International Fellowship of Reconciliation: http://www.ifor-mir.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=85:syria-nonviolence-is-still-an-option&Itemid=619

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