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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.


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).

A new activist toolkit arrives in beautiful fashion

Lots of resources on nonviolent action come from the global north, yet courageous activists in the global south are living a whole other political life.

Six creative ways to make your point at political party conventions

“Look, I know I’m not supposed to be up here, but to be honest neither is Donald Trump.”

How I became a refugee within a day

As a refugee, there is no place I can call home. I've had to accept a life in exile.

Nude protests, sex strikes and the power of the taboo

Nonviolent tactics like stripping naked can be highly effective political advocacy, even ending wars, particularly across the African continent.

Islam and the future of tolerance

A new book by best-selling atheist Sam Harris and Islamist-turned-reformist Maajid Nawaz fails to convince.

#BlackLivesMatter makes some people angry. Isn’t that good?

A new wave of activism is rooted in a different spiritual tradition to the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Get real! Five spiritual responses to political reality

Do you belong to one of these five groups of people who are changing politics through spirituality?

The life and death of Daniel Berrigan

Celebrating the remarkable life of a renowned peace activist and writer who died on April 30 2016.

Resisting in our free time: the state of civil society today

Young activists attend the CIVICUS International Civil Society Week—and come back disappointed.

Court victory gives momentum to long struggle against London arms fair

Eight people have been found not guilty of using direct action to shut down one of the largest arms fairs in the world.

Ending the silence around German colonialism

At least 300,000 people died at the hands of German colonizers during its empire. These art projects are uncovering colonial histories to understand racism in Germany today.

Rediscovering nonviolence in the Vatican

Is the Catholic Church ready to abandon ‘just war’ theory and recommit to pacifism?

Transforming the politics of makeup

Drag is everywhere. Drag is looks you created and looks you woke up with. At heart, the transformative nature of makeup is about allowing your curious self to flourish.

OUR Walmart: nurturing caring communities for courageous action

By building an alternative culture from within, workers at one of the world’s most exploitative corporations are planting the seeds of social transformation.

Has the movement to prevent gun violence hit a tipping point?

30,000 people are killed by gun violence in the USA every year, but support for gun control is at an all time high. Is public opinion turning?

COAL: the Vagina Monologues of climate change

Culture change takes us to some dark and painful places, yet art and music remind us that love and beauty are vital for social transformation.

How an underground hip hop artist and his book club threaten Angola's regime

This week 17 Angolan activists received jail sentences for participating in a book club. Here's why. Português

We need both compassion and confrontation to defeat Donald Trump

Having empathy doesn’t mean backing away from confrontation. It’s possible to extend love to opponents while throwing yourself into the gears of hate.

Politicians don’t live our lives: DIY social action

Where can communities find support and inspiration if they want to establish alternatives to the status quo?

The transformative power of democratic uprisings

Every so often an outburst of resistance seems to break open a world of possibilities, but what makes the difference?

What role were you born to play in social change?

Successful social movements include advocates, helpers, organizers and rebels in equal measure.

Why understanding the history of nonviolence is essential

We devote countless time to learning about wars and violence, but little to nonviolence. Two new books rectify this.

How to make love revolutionary

If you are only attracted to able, 'mentally well', cis, normatively beautiful people, from class privileged backgrounds, then you are upholding violent norms.

Why understanding gut reactions is key to building powerful social movements

Activists need to recognize and utilize their intuition as well as their rational minds.

The legend of Greenham Common women's peace camp

Greenham was an alternative world, an anti-nuclear protest by hundreds of thousands of women activists. At 'Bringing Greenham Home', we relived the spirit with films and talks from those who were there.

Six key messages about sexual violence in UK activist communities

The Salvage research project listens to survivors of activist sexual violence: here's what they've learned.

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