Empowerment: International Dimensions

Andreas Speck

Although international cooperation among political movements is as old as the movements themselves, it has become more important in times of economic globalization. Since the UN Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, solidarity has entered official discourse in discussion of an international "civil society." Rather than add to that discussion and the growing NGO-ization of popular movements, I want to examine the experience of one movement--War Resisters' International (WRI)--with international cooperation through the lens of empowerment.

The Tibetan Nonviolent Resistance: Empowerment in an Extraordinary Situation

Senthil Ram

Profile of a political prisoner

Jigme Gyatso is a monk from Gaden Monastery in Chinese-occupied Tibet. He was born in Bhartha village in Gansu Province in 1962. Although he was his parent's only child he decided to become a monk. During the mid-1980's he briefly visited India to receive a religious initiation. Upon his return to Tibet he joined the Gaden Monastery where he became involved in pro-independence activities.

Technology for nonviolent struggle

Let's begin with two bold propositions. First, methods of social action without violence can be extremely powerful -- indeed so powerful as to be a possible alternative to military defence. Second, technology, which is now massively oriented to military purposes, can be reoriented to support nonviolent action. These two propositions, if followed through, lead to two striking conclusions. First, nonviolent struggle, which is normally seen as primarily a social and psychological process, has vital technological dimensions. Second, reorienting technology to serve nonviolent struggle would involve a wholesale transformation of research directions, technological infrastructure and social decision making.

Fear--a sign that we are alive

Roberta Bacic

As a participant in an action of the "Sebastian Acevedo Movement Against Torture" shortly before the plebiscite in 1988, we gathered in front of the National Library located in the heart of Santiago, the capital of Chile. The action was planned for 12 o'clock sharp and it was supposed to last not longer that 3 minutes. It all started perfectly and, as soon as we started, we heard the police cars and the doors of the library closing up. Fear was immense. What would happen?

El conflicto de Mehuín

José Araya Cornejo


Han pasado ya 4 años de esa conversación, de esas que se encuentran en localidades como Mehuin, en un bar, entre pescadores, en el horario de las confesiones, cuando alguien contó los verdaderos motivos de los trabajos en la desembocadura del río Lingue.

Nonviolence versus capitalism

Nonviolent action is the most promising method of moving beyond capitalism to a more humane social and economic system. How can this be achieved? Nonviolence versus Capitalism offers a systematic approach, starting with an analysis of capitalism from the viewpoint of nonviolence, outlining nonviolent economic alternatives and describing what is involved in a nonviolence strategy. A check list for activists is proposed and used to assess diverse campaigns, including workers' struggles, sabotage, environmental campaigns, social defence, global campaigns and economic alternatives.

Peace in Bougainville and the Work of the Leitana Nehan Women's Development Agency

Kris Hakena

Background to Bougainville

Bougainville is in the South Pacific, approximately 1,000 km. northeast of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, and is part of the Solomon Islands group in Melanesia. It has a land area of some 10,620 sq. kms. Bougainville comprises two large islands, Buka to the north and Bougainville less than a kilometer to the south, and about 168 smaller groups of islands and atolls scattered over 450,000 sq. kms. of the Solomon Sea. At its southern end, Bougainville is barely 20 km.

Resisting the War in Yugoslavia: Thoughts on Empowerment and Disillusionment

Bojan Aleksov

The turning point in my life came when I joined the Yugoslav People's Army in September 1990 to do my compulsory military service. I had neither a genuine understanding of the political situation in Yugoslavia nor developed pacifist beliefs. Soon after I enlisted, the state of military preparedness of my unit, based in Osijek, Croatia, was raised. I could feel and would soon participate in the dissolution of--and bloody war in--former Yugoslavia.

Paradise Invaded: The U.S. Navy Bombs Puerto Rico

Robert L. Rabin Siegel

Around 7:00 on the evening of April 19, 1999, a U.S. Navy pilot launched two 500-pound live bombs from his FA-18 jet at a target on the Navy bombing range in Vieques, Puerto Rico. The bombs missed their target, destroying the Navy's observation post and killing David Sanes, a civilian Navy security employee, and injuring several others.

A Conscientious Objector's Guide to the UN Human Rights System

This report was commissioned by QUNO, the Quaker United Nations Office in Geneva, and has been published by CONCODOC in London.

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