View from Italy

IssueMarch - May 2003

The Nonviolent Movement (Movimento Nonviolento or NM), founded in the sixties by Aldo Capitini, “father” of Italian nonviolence, works to remove individual and group violence from every aspect of social life at a local, national and international level, and to overcome the power structures which are fed by the spirit of violence. NM aims to create a worldwide community without classes, promoting the free development of everyone in harmony with others.

The NM fundamental guidelines include:

  • total opposition to war;
  • fighting against economic exploitation and social injustices, political oppression and every form of authoritarianism, privilege and nationalism, race, gender, ethnic and religious discrimination. NM is part of Lilliput Net (Rete di Lilliput) a national coordination of associations and organisations that share a manifesto founded on the principles of nonviolence, respect for the environment, and differences of gender, race, religion and culture. The aim is to build a culture based on collaboration, solidarity and fair distribution of the planet's resources.

    The Net acts as a catalyst of experiences, operating through campaigns to influence public opinion, and pressure on local, national and international institutions. As the Lilliputians of Jonathan Swift's novel banded together to block Gulliver the giant, so the groups within Lilliput Net are trying to stop the economic tyrants, each leading its own small fight in parallel with the rest.

    Since the war on terror has become stronger, the Net's activity has increased. In addition to providing information on the real causes of war, the Net promotes campaigns and initiatives against the war. Among these is the campaign “Peace from all the balconies” (Pace da tutti i balconi) - an action in which people can express their opposition to war by displaying a rainbow peace flag from their balconies. So far 200,000 people have positively answered to this small gesture. Another initiative is the campaign “I choose nonviolence” (Scelgo la Nonviolenza) promoted by the Nonviolent Movement. This campaign has two parts:

  • A declaration of conscientious objection addressed to the head of state and the prime minister, in which we dissociate ourselves from Italy's defence policies and from NATO; where we declare ourselves conscientious objectors to war and its preparations.
  • A declaration of active nonviolence,through engaging in peace education and participation in/support for initiatives that provide alternatives to war.

    Lilliput Net is also launching a campaign to demonstrate the close link between war and oil, using methods such as cycle rides for peace.