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Nonviolent Struggle and Social Defence

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Unarmed communities have ways of defending what they value, be it their environment or their very integrity as communities, be it basic rights and freedoms or particular social structures. There are alternatives to submission or violent resistance. This is illustrated both in many day-to-day social struggles and by populations without weapons defying the might of the military.

Events in the second half of the 1980s - from the downfall of Marcos in the Philippines at the beginning of 1986 to the fall of Ceausescu in the last days of 1989 - dramatically illustrated the potential of people's power.

In April 1990, War Resisters' International, in conjunction with the International Fellowship of Reconciliation and the University of Bradford School of Peace Studies, organised a conference on "Nonviolent Struggle and Social Defence". Most of the articles in this book were contributed at the conference. Talks by Petra Kelly, Jean-Marie Muller, Gene Sharp and Marko Hren addressed the potential role of people's power in developing non-military security policies. Contributors from Chile and China to Czechoslovakia, from the Philippines to Fiji, from Palestine to Poland, from Guatemala, India and South Africa discuss their recent experiences either of people's power or of state repression.

The second half of the book - Social Defence: Arguments and Actions - was written by Brian Martin after the conference. "There are some superb academic studies, and there are numerous insights to be found in a wide range of books and articles", says Brian Martin, "but there really needs to be some practical introduction."

You can also read it online at

Shelley Anderson and Janet Larmore
War Resisters' International
Year published: 

Price: £1.00 (US$1.68 ; €1.28)
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