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Training Exercises

Wars vs Nonviolence

(30 min)10/10 Strategies - This exercise helps people learn about the rich history of nonviolent campaigns, getting a better understanding of campaigns, tactics and movements. Break into small groups of 5-6. One person in each group needs to list numbers 1 to 10 on a piece of paper. Groups are "competing" with one another to see who can do the task in the fastest time, as opposed to our usual cooperative style. Each group is to list 10 wars as quickly as possible, raising their hands when they are done. Facilitator should note the time. Then ask them to list 10 nonviolent campaigns, and again raise their hands when done. Note how it takes longer to come up with the campaigns then the wars (which we will not talk about here). Starting with the "winning" group, write their list of nonviolent campaigns on a wall chart. Ask other groups to add to the list. (There will probably be a mix of movements, tactics, campaigns, etc. List them all and then use the list to explain the differences so people learn about strategic processes and how effective strategies develop. For example, the list may include "civil rights" ( movement), "Nashville" (a campaign) and "sit-ins" (a tactic). Use the list, and the participants as much as possible, to describe components of campaigns, identify tactics, and describe what makes a movement. Use a well known campaign as a case study to learn about strategic development of nonviolent campaigns. Time: Takes 10 minutes for set up, small group exercise and to list on wall chart. Discussion time can be 20 minutes, although could be longer or shorter depending on available time. 30 minutes total works well.

Pillars of Power

Draw an upside down triangle, with pillars holding it up. Write the name of the problem in the triangle (i.e. "war") and ask the group to describe the institutions that support the problem (i.e. the military, corporations, government policies, support of the population, corporate media, etc.). Identify the underlying principles that hold up the system (i.e. racism, sexism, greed, lies, etc). Describe those institutions. A next step can be to draw another set of pillars, this time putting one of the institutions inside the triangle, and describing what holds that up. Choose the institution that your organization would most likely work to knock down.