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Nonviolence Training

Intro to section

Planning and facilitating nonviolence training requires a range of tasks, which should be shared by a number of people.

First of all, the campaign organizers need to be aware of when training is needed. Does the group need training in strategic campaign development or gender sensitivity? Is training needed to prepare a new group of people to participate in nonviolent actions, or an experienced group to achieve new skills? Do affinity groups need training in group process?

consensus decision making

Within nonviolent movements, and especially during nonviolent (direct) actions, the question of decision making requires special attention. As nonviolence is more than the absence of violence, and closely linked to issues of power, the methods of decision making used within nonviolent movement need to avoid creating new relationships of power-over, and need to be participatory and empowering.

Affinity Groups

An affinity group is a group of people who have an affinity for each other, know each others strengths and weaknesses, support each other, and do (or intend to do ) political/campaign work together. Most of us will have had some childhood/formative experience of being part of a group whether informally, as in a group of kids that are the same age and live in the same street, suburb or town, or formally, as in being involved in a sports team. However, affinity groups differ from these for numerous reasons, as explained below, (hierarchy, trust, responsibility to each other etc).

Preparation for High-Risk Actions In Groups: Some Challenges (extended version)

An important challenge for any movement which wants to do effective nonviolent actions is how to actually prepare these actions. Mohandas K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King emphasized “self-purification”, i.e. individual preparation through meditation, fasting or prayer. They believed in “nonviolence of the strong”. Since the 1970s, with the criticism of such spiritual and individualistic nonviolence together with the creative development of new organisational forms, especially within the US feminist movement, NVDA preparation has become more group-oriented. Even in big movements most work is done in (smaller) groups.

Group Process

A challenge for any movement which wants to do effective nonviolent actions is how to prepare these actions. Mohandas K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King emphasized mass-meetings and “self-purification”, i.e. individual preparation through meditation, fasting or prayer. They believed in “nonviolence of the strong”. Since the 1970s – with the criticism of such spiritual and individualistic nonviolence together with the creative development of new organisational forms, especially within the US feminist movement – NVDA preparation has become more group-oriented. Even in big movements most work is done in (smaller) groups.

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