Peacemaking & Nonviolence

Presented in cooperation with Peaceworkers, San Francisco, CA.

A collection of articles, interviews and book chapters of interest to peacemakers.
(All items on this page are free of charge and may be reproduced for non-commercial, educational purposes. All items on this page are distributed in accordance with the “fair use” copyright doctrine for scholarly materials.)

Strategies for Transformation

It’s Time to Claim Our Highest Vision: Let’s Embrace the Great Turning
Saturday, February 25, 2017 — By Chris Moore-Backman, Truthout | Op-Ed

10 Point Plan for a Movement of Movements
George Lakey  February 2017

How anti-Vietnam War activists stopped violent protest from hijacking their movement
Robert Levering — March 7, 2017 —

From Waging Peace by David Hartsough  (Chapters in PDF format plus links to reviews):

CHAPTER 2: One Common Humanity: Meeting Dr. King and a Lunch Counter Showdown

CHAPTER 7: Blockade: Standing in the Way of Bombs Headed for Nam

CHAPTER 10: Assault on the Tracks: Facing Violence with Love and Courage

RESOURCES SECTIONS: Resources for Further Study and Action: What You Can Do

REVIEW: Giants on the Earth: A Review of Waging Peace by David Hartsough

REVIEW: Waging Peace and the ordinary, extraordinary life of David Hartsough — A review by Ken Butigan

REVIEW: FROM Catholic Agitator Vol. 45/No. 1, February, 2015 — Review by Sandi Huckaby  


Jim Douglas and Nonviolent Resistance to War and Nuclear Weapons

Six articles about, and interviews with, peace activist Jim Douglass, by Terry Messman

Life at Ground Zero of the Nuclear Arms Race
Blockading the ‘White Train of Death’
Street Spirit Interview with Jim Douglass (Part 1)
Street Spirit Interview with Jim Douglass (Part 2)
The Acts of Resistance and the Works of Mercy (Part 3)
Gandhi’s Vision of Nonviolence: Holding Firm to Truth (Part 4)

Click here to download PDF

Principled Nonviolence: An Imperative, Not an Optional Extra

Prof. Kevin P. Clements
from the Asian Journal of Peacebuilding Vol. 3 No. 1 (2015): 1-9
[Exploration of nonviolence from a Peace and Conflict Studies perspective]

This article compares principled and strategic nonviolent movements. While pragmatic, strategic nonviolence is [more] effective [than principled nonviolence] for movements seeking to overthrow corrupt repressive and dictatorial regimes, [pragmatic, strategic nonviolence] is much less successful in the progressive transformation of state and political systems. This [difference in outcomes] is because principled nonviolence and movements associated with such value systems are ambivalent about political power and the role of the Weberian state. Conversely strategic nonviolent movements, are willing to utilize the coercive power of the state for their own political purposes and in doing so often become fatally compromised, as happened in Egypt, Palestine and Syria. The promise of principled nonviolence is social, political, and economic institutions capable of transcending Machiavellian politics because of a radical commitment to pacifism and emancipatory political processes.

Read more…


Recent Reflections on the Occupy Movement

Seattle WTO Shutdown ’99 to Occupy:
Organizing to Win 12 Years Later

By David Solnit — December 5, 2011

Building the World We Want
By Michael Nagler — Metta Center for Nonviolence — Dec. 22, 2011

Nonviolent Success  (PDF)

A review of Gene Sharp’s Waging Nonviolent Struggle

by Robert Irwin

From the review…

“Sharp is a remarkably single-minded and hopeful person. Decades after many people have laid aside whatever youthful idealism they had, Sharp still affirms, “if understood accurately and applied intelligently, wisely, and courageously, this alternative type of struggle… offers great hope for a better future for our world.” Hopefulness tends to vary with temperament. But Gene Sharp’s research provides solid evidence and reasoning that can sustain realistic hope for persons of any temperament.”

“Waging Nonviolent Struggle is an indispensable work. It is an up-to-date guide and a gateway to other valuable resources. Clear organization (and a detailed index) make this book “consultable” as well as readable, and at $14.95 it is very reasonably priced. When it comes to nonviolent struggle, Sharp does not have all the answers; but you can find more of them by starting with his writings than any other way I know.”   read more…

The African-American Freedom Movement Through the Lens of Gandhian Nonviolence

MA Thesis  — 137 pages — 2 MB PDF

By Chris Moore-Backman, MA

This thesis explores the meaning and application of the three definitive aspects of the Gandhian approach to nonviolence—personal transformation, constructive program (work of social uplift and renewal), and political action, then details the African-American Freedom Movement’s unique expression of and experimentation within those three spheres.  Drawing on an in-depth review of historical, theoretical, and biographical literature, and an interview series with six living contemporaries of Martin Luther King Jr., the study highlights key similarities between the nonviolence philosophies and leadership of Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as similarities between the movements of which these leaders were a part.  Significant differences are also noted, such as the African-American Freedom Movement’s relative lack of focused and systematized implementation of a constructive program along Gandhian lines.  The study illustrates the degree to which the African-American Freedom Movement manifested Gandhian principles and practices, while also suggesting that contemporary nonviolence practitioners can identify ways in which the Gandhian approach can be more fully adopted.

Richard Deats Active Nonviolence Across the World
by Richard Deats, 2009
In the 19th century, Victor Hugo wrote, “An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.” Looking back over the past century, especially since the movements Gandhi and King led and inspired, we see the growing influence and impact of nonviolence as an idea whose time has come.

David HartsoughDavid Hartsough interview videos / articles:

Role of Media

Lessons Learned re Nonviolence

Peaceworkers History and Vision

Peace Activism

Marching in Gandhi’s Footsteps 

compassionate listening cover imageCompassionate  Listening:
An Exploratory Sourcebook About Conflict Transformation

Gene Knudsen Hoffman and colleagues.

A Dialogue on Nonviolent Resistance and Liberation Theology — by Terry Messman
This essay presents a heartfully imagined  “conversation” between Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Archbishop Oscar Romero, Gustavo Gutierrez, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Father Daniel Berrigan, Dorothee Sölle, Mohandas Gandhi, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Lynne Shivers, Gene Sharp, Thomas Merton, Fernando Cardenal, Miguel D’Escoto, members of a base community in Brazil, and Sister Ita Ford, who was assassinated in El Salvador in December, 1980.

Courageous Compassion:

A page of quotes from Gandhi summarizing
the fundamental principles of nonviolent

Compiled by Dennis Rivers.


Muscle Building for PEACE and JUSTICE

A nonviolent workout routine for the 21st century

Article by Pamela Haines

People prepare for war by going to boot camp. They are challenged to do things they have never done before, use muscles they never knew they had. They practice, stretch and exert. It’s hard work, and they sometimes wonder if it’s worth all the struggle and pain. But they come out better prepared to wage war. What if we put the same kind of intention, practice and hard work into developing the skills to wage peace?  read more…

Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System   Article by Donella Meadows.  Meadows (1941-2001) taught environmental science at Dartmouth College for many years.  She wrote “Leverage Points” partly to debunk the popular ‘leverage point’ idea that there were magical points in any system where a small amount of effort would create a big improvement.  In the process, she created a careful and readable description of the many different levels at which one can work at intervening in all systems, great and small.  This article has many implications for advocates of peace, justice and sustainability. read more…

Articles by Dennis Rivers

The Chord of Conscience: Eight Audiences of Nonviolent Protest

There MUST Be a Better Way — Thoughts as the USA Stumbles Blindly Toward War

Hope from Ashes: Why Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki


Visualizing Peace:  Posters and more


Click here for letter-size PDF poster.

Poster by Michael Thompson

Michael Thompson

Nicaragua: Surviving the Legacy of U.S. Policy

From the photographic exhibit by Paul Dix:
Nicaragua: Living With the Consequences Of U.S. Policy

Poster by Dennis Rivers

for a large collection of anti-war posters, please click here

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