Violence & nonviolence

Violence & nonviolence
1 October 2018Feature

Faith-based campaigners from around the world share stories of effective action

Orlando Ospino, member of the community of Las Pavas, sings in front of the remains of a ranch burned by orders of the palm company Aportes San Isidro, 10 April 2014. Photo: Return to Las Pavas

Building on the 2016 gathering in Rome (see previous page), Pax Christi International created the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative, invited by the pope to ‘revitalise the tools of nonviolence, and active…

1 August 2018Comment

Students force university reforms

Goals: University autonomy, the right of all university parties to elect university professors, modernisation of the curriculum, university education to be available and affordable for all, and secularisation of universities
GROWTH: 3 / 3

Increased prosperity and the expansion of electoral rights at the turn of the century in Argentina precipitated significant growth of the middle class and…

1 June 2018Feature

Reflections from inside Camden County detention centre by three of the Kings Bay Ploughshares prisoners

Kings Bay Ploughshares activist Clare Grady at the admin building on 5 April, with blood and banner. Photo: Kings Bay Ploughshares

Elizabeth McAlister:

Absurd Convictions, Modest Hopes is the title of one of the more than 50 books by my late brother-in-law Daniel Berrigan (RIP and Presente!). It might be fair to say that we came to Kings Bay submarine base animated by the absurd conviction that we could make some impact on slowing, if not ending, the mad…

1 June 2018Feature

Did Martin Luther King really do 'more harm to the progress of non-violence than any single person connected with it'?

Martin Luther King, Jr, 8 June 1964. Photo: Walter Albertin [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons.

In the aftermath of the assassination of US civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr on 4 April 1968, Peace News published moving tributes from Devi Prasad (‘His name will be remembered with Gandhi’s’) and PN co-editor Nigel Young (‘Notes on an Assassination’) among others. Then PN decided to also publish a fierce attack on King by US anarcho-pacifist Robert…

1 June 2018Review

Penguin Press, 2017; 800pp; £10.99

Do you want to base your views about aggression, violence, war and peace on the available biological/psychological evidence? Do you have the stamina for 700 very challenging pages? Yes and yes? Here’s the book for you.

Robert Sapolsky’s Behave: the biology of humans at our best and worst looks at first sight like just another popular psychology book. I expected brain scans, hormones and genes, and there is a lot about those topics.

What I didn’t expect was a…

1 June 2018Comment

Students and unions defeat jobs law

Goal: The repeal of the First Employment Contract (CPE) law.
GROWTH: 3 / 3
TOTAL: 10 / 10

January 2006 in France was a tense time. Economic growth had been unexpectedly poor. National unemployment was at nearly 10 percent, totalling more than 2.5 million people. People under 26 suffered a joblessness rate of 22–23 percent nationwide and 40 or 50 percent in France’s poorest communities. Urban…

1 April 2018Feature

The Christian church is well-placed to be a movement for nonviolence

Bronze statue of Roman emperor Constantine I, York Minster. Constantine’s version of Christianity was a violent, imperial religion. Photo: York Minster CC-BY-SA-2.0

In February 2003, 15 years ago, millions of people marched in the UK and across the world opposing US president George Bush and British prime minister Tony Blair over their planned invasion of Iraq. Any pride at the strength and vitality of that anti-war mobilisation is overshadowed by the obvious truth that we failed to…

1 April 2018Comment

Textile workers win economic justice

Goals: A wage increase of 35 percent to cover ‘dearness’ (cost of living) for textile labourers. Or to reach agreement with the Mill Agents’ Group to settle the dispute through arbitration.
Success in achieving specific demands: 6 out of 6 points
Survival: 1 / 1
Growth: 3 / 3

A heavy monsoon season in 1917 destroyed agricultural crops and led to a plague epidemic claiming nearly 10 percent of the population of the city of Ahmedabad in the state of Gujarat. During…

1 February 2018Comment

Women struggle for the vote

Goal: Suffrage for women of Kuwait
Success in achieving specific demands: 6 out of 6 points
Survival: 1 / 1
Growth: 3 / 3

The country of Kuwait acquired independence from the UK in 1961. Women seized the moment to seek further liberation. As an act of defiance, many women burned their robes, rejected notions of female dress. A year later, the Kuwaiti parliament passed new election laws that limited the electorate to men over the age of 21, whose families lived in…

1 December 2017Feature

Gabriel Carlyle reports on Pax Christi's recent speaking tour

Riders in a London Bikestormz event, July 2017. Photo: Huck Magazine

2 October is the official UN International Day of Non-Violence (no, I didn’t know either). So what better way to spend it than in London with the folk from Pax Christi, the international Catholic movement for peace, at the first of their four ‘Nonviolence Works!’ seminars? (The other events took place in Leeds, Birmingham and Liverpool.)

Arriving, I bumped into PN contributor Henrietta…

1 December 2017Review

PM Press 2017; 192pp; £14.99

‘When our enemies expect us to respond to provocation with violence, we must react calmly and peacefully; just as they anticipate our passivity, we must throw a grenade.’ This is pretty much the only ‘reflection on the role of armed struggle in North America’ that you will find in Ward Churchill’s 1986 essay, ‘Pacifism as Pathology’. These words, quoted approvingly, are from Black Nationalist activist Kwame Ture (formerly nonviolent civil rights Freedom Rider Stokely Carmichael).

27 October 2017Project

The Russian Revolution started in Petrograd in February 1917 with a mass nonviolent uprising of women protesting against the lack of break on International Women's Day (pictured), and continued through to the overthrow of the Provisional Government in October 1917 and the triumph of the Bolsheviks. The role of mass nonviolent action - in the streets, in the factories, on the railways, and in the barracks - in the making of the revolution has never been properly emphasised.

1 October 2017Feature

Nonviolent action was a crucial - and oft-negelected - part of the Russian Revolution, argues Milan Rai

Women begin the revolution on International Women’s Day, 1917. PHOTO: Petrograd State museum of political history of Russia

The Russian Revolution of 1917 would not have succeeded without fearless nonviolent action by hundreds of thousands of civilians and soldiers. Even the ‘storming’ of the Winter Palace on 25 October was largely nonviolent. Yes, there was plenty of revolutionary armed action in Russia in the course of 1917, but there were also many extraordinary, inspiring,…

1 October 2017Comment

Violence and a lack of principle helped undermine the movements against German fascism in the 1930s - today's social movements should take heed, argues Milan Rai

Roter Frontkaempfer Bund Logo.
Image: Kille via Wikimedia Commons.


US radical Noam Chomsky recently warned against ‘self-destructive’ anti-fascist tactics such as disrupting right-wing meetings, something that is ‘wrong in principle’, he told the Washington Examiner.

Chomsky added: ‘When confrontation shifts to the arena of violence, it’s the toughest and most brutal who win – and we know who that is. That’s quite apart from the opportunity…

1 October 2017News

Campaign Nonviolence plan 'Referendum for a nonviolent future' for 2018

Hundreds of peace and justice events took place in the Campaign Nonviolence Week of Actions in the US in late September. Sponsors Pace e Bene say they are already aiming at next year’s action week (15–23 September 2018) which will take place just before important US congressional elections.

Campaign Nonviolence wants to frame those mid-term elections as a ‘Referendum for a Nonviolent Future’: ‘Will we ratify the policies of violence and injustice – or will we set a new course for…