Dealing with Power: Anti-oppression training and large-group work


Legendary US activist trainer George Lakey is making a rare visit to the UK, where he helped to train a generation of nonviolence trainers in 1970. As well as increasing the number of training and facilitation tools that participants can use effectively, George will be helping us to deal with diversity, power and privilege within training and large-group facilitation and decision-making. He will be helping participants examine how conflict develops in activist groups around issues of oppression (to do with race, age, class, disability, sexuality, gender or other forms of discrimination) and how to turn these conflicts into opportunities for liberatory steps. This is a unique opportunity to draw on 50 years of activism and training with one of the most experienced cross-cultural activist trainers in the world.

This training has been organised by Milan Rai, co-editor of Peace News, as part of George Lakey’s Peace News speaking tour of the UK. Peace News is seeking the greatest possible diversity of participants in the training, and people from the widest spectrum of radical social change activism and community organising.

If you would like to participate, please read the notes below, fill in the application form at the bottom of this page and submit it to by 30 April 2012.


This training is aimed at people who are people who are involved in radical community organising, experienced activist trainers (nonviolence, direct action, facilitation, consensus decision-making and so on), or who have helped facilitate large-scale activist organising group processes (Climate Camp, Occupy, G8 and so on). Participants are expected to be actively planning to engage in further community organising, activist training or large-scale facilitation in the next two years. After you submit your application form, someone from the organising group will phone you to talk through some of the issues.


The charge for the weekend is £30-£70 on a sliding scale for income. Peace News does not want to exclude anyone on the grounds of cost, so please do contact us if the charge for the weekend, or the travel expenses involved are a barrier to participation: 020 7278 3344; 07980 748 555; On the other hand, if you are able to contribute more than £70 towards the cost of the weekend, this will help us to be able to offer bursaries to people who need them.


The venue is fully accessible and has an induction loop system in the main hall. Please let us know if you have other access needs.

Accommodation and Food

Crashpad (floorspace) accommodation is free. There are also a number of cheap hostels in Manchester. It may be possible to find beds in friendly homes: please let us know as soon as possible if this is a priority for you. We’ll let you know later about charges for food.


The training begins with an evening session on Friday 20 July and runs until the afternoon of Sunday 22 July.

More about George Lakey

George Lakey was first arrested for a civil rights sit-in in the 1960s; he was most recently arrested on a climate change action in 2010. Over the last 50 years, he has worked with trade unions and poor people’s groups as well as peace activists and environmentalists. A gay, working-class white North American, George has led 1,500 social change workshops on five continents. He was an unarmed bodyguard for human rights activists threatened with assassination in Sri Lanka, and was smuggled across the border to work with pro-democracy insurgents in the Burmese jungle. In 1971, George was a co-founder of the US ‘Movement for a New Society’, which over 18 years, developed many of the facilitation and consensus decision-making tools that have become standard in Western activist circles.

George has written seven books, which have been translated into at least six languages. Among other works, he co-authored A Manual for Direct Action, which was widely used in the South in the 1960s. Most recently, George wrote Facilitating Group Learning: Strategies for Success with Diverse Adult Learners (Wiley, 2010). Peace News, the organisers of the training weekend, are this year re-publishing (with a new foreword) a 1987 book: Toward a Living Revolution.

Leading US activist and trainer Starhawk says of Facilitating Group Learning: ‘I’ve been working with forms of direct education for many decades, and I found new ideas and inspirations in every chapter. For anyone involved in teaching, training, sharing skills, or leading groups, this book is an invaluable resource!’

Denis Lemelin, national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers: ‘George Lakey has inspired our union to engage in education in a way that challenges us to redefine social justice and equality in new and exciting ways. This book [Facilitating Group Learning] helps us to continue our journey to touch the souls of union members.’


Peace News interview, April 2012:

Recent blogging:

On training in Cambodia in the 1990s: