only search openDemocracy.net

Transformative Nonviolence

Far from being merely an absence of violence, or even passivity, nonviolence is a way of building grassroots power and transforming society in ways that people are using in innovative ways around the world.

This week's articles explore ways in which nonviolent struggle calls people to acts of personal transformation — seeing themselves and their role in history in a different way — as part of the process of social change.


Six principles of nonviolence

Nonviolence can be a safe, effective and lasting way to defeat injustice, but like any other science it takes knowledge, courage and determination.

Slow science, slow food, slow down

When we rush, we make decisions that lack information, lack proper reflection, and ultimately make the problems of humanity worse.

Tearing down the walls that keep us from finding common ground

Faced by increasing divisions we should be echoing an earlier call to action—“Tear this wall down.”

Sustaining peace

Half of all peace deals fail within five years. This is how you make them work.

The subversive power of joy

The unexpected, spontaneous and pleasantly disruptive nature of collective celebration is one of the great equalisers of social and political struggle.

After the fight: a skinhead’s journey towards nonviolence

How one man moved from gang culture to permaculture.

Why the moral argument for nonviolence matters

Nonviolence is a way of life, not just a strategy for organizing resistance.

We protest by creating beauty

Meet the artists and activists writing love letters on the streets.

The mysticism of wide open eyes

How does spirituality connect to social change?

What does it take for activists to get your attention?

We need campaigns that educate media consumers on how they are manipulated.

To seize back democracy we need carpe diem politics

We're immersed in one of the most dynamic periods of public protest ever recorded, so let’s seize the day.

How anti-Vietnam War activists stopped violent protest from hijacking their movement

Governments welcome violent protests and know how to deal with them. It’s a lesson the anti-Trump movement should remember.

Preparing for the long haul under the Trump administration

There are hundreds of ways to stay upright and human in trying times—here’s a selection.

Six reasons why the Left should keep on infighting

Having lots of people with lots of voices isn’t a weakness—it’s a strength.

Why black bloc tactics won’t build a successful movement

Nonviolence can be just as powerful and militant as violence, and it works.

We aren’t so different—three steps to overcome hate and fear

Avoiding Trump supporters only increases our already dangerous polarization. Here’s how to really listen and find compassion.

Love in action: the life, work and death of Sister Maura Clarke

Celebrating a stellar example of how to say no to the warmongers and yes to life itself.

How the everyday use of militaristic jargon makes us more combative

The language of violence pervades our discourse, even when we’re not talking about war.

How Somali Muslims are raising a 10,000-person anti-hate army

The refugee community in Minnesota is a big target for bigotry, but they have a plan.

Why mindfulness matters now

I didn’t learn how to cross lines of difference when I was younger. Maybe you didn’t either, but we can all learn it now.  

The growing political impotence of images

Are photographs of war and atrocity losing the power to move us?

Welcome to another year of transformation

We need your help to expand our coverage of deep-rooted personal and political change.

Textured activism: in-between liberation and oppression

By reducing life to dualisms we lose the rich fabric of possibilities that can generate important social change.

Violence brought us Trump, but it’s not how we will stop him

The best way to protect those we love is to win over those who hate them.

Sustainable activism: managing hope and despair in social movements

A new generation of activists is developing a much healthier and more emotionally-intelligent culture.

Why targeting corporate Democrats is part of the fight against Donald Trump

Trump rose to the presidency by railing against the Washington establishment. The Democratic Party’s propensity for compromise and triangulation only plays into his hands.

Sheriffs refuse to send troops to Standing Rock as public outrage mounts

The state governor has ordered the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters to evacuate, but will the authorities enforce that decision?

Making our movements work for kids and families

Children have always been part of people’s work for rights and social justice, so what does it take to make activism more family friendly? 

Without empathy for Trump voters, movements can’t succeed

The white working class reading of recent American history may be more accurate than that of many progressive activists.

Where to Turn?

Many people awoke this week with a new understanding of the dangers that face our common life together. We must redouble our efforts to abolish war.

Five successful campaigners share their secrets

Great campaigns have lots of things in common, but they’re not the things we’re often taught.

Recomposing the fabric of affection

Living well together helps everyone to be connected, and it’s connection that makes us thrive as human beings. Español

Social movements need imagination, which is why I’m not buying my kids any more toys

Resistance means more than politics; it involves poetry, magical thinking and wonder, and begins with children having time and space to be creative.

Climate justice meets racism: Standing Rock was decades in the making

The militarized response to activists opposing the Dakota Access pipeline—and the Standing Rock Sioux’s fierce resolve—reflect the area's deep racial divides.

What can be learned from recent studies on nonviolent action?

Books about peace are rare when compared to books about war, but a raft of new work expands our understanding enormously (3k words).

Syndicate content