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Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns - War Resisters' International

Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns - War Resisters' International

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Social change doesn't just happen. It's the result of the work of committed people striving for a world of justice and peace. This work gestates in groups or cells of activists, in discussions, in training sessions, in reflecting on previous experiences, in planning, in experimenting and in learning from others. Preparing ourselves for our work for social justice is key to its success.

It includes sections on:

- developing strategic nonviolent campaigns
- preparing for effective nonviolent actions (complete with checklist)
- exercises for working in nonviolence (including group dynamics and gender issues)
- stories and strategies both showing the use of nonviolent organising tools in specific settings and describing global campaigns.

There is no definitive recipe for successful nonviolent actions and campaigns. This handbook, however, is a series of resources that can inspire and support your own work, especially if you adapt the resources to your own needs and context.
Social change doesn't just happen. It's the result of the work of committed people striving for a world of justice and peace. This work gestates in groups or cells of activists, in discussions, in training sessions, in reflecting on previous experiences, in planning, in experimenting and in learning from others. Preparing ourselves for our work for social justice is key to its success.

It includes sections on:

- developing strategic nonviolent campaigns
- preparing for effective nonviolent actions (complete with checklist)
- exercises for working in nonviolence (including group dynamics and gender issues)
- stories and strategies both showing the use of nonviolent organising tools in specific settings and describing global campaigns.

There is no definitive recipe for successful nonviolent actions and campaigns. This handbook, however, is a series of resources that can inspire and support your own work, especially if you adapt the resources to your own needs and context.

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Published by: Javier Gárate Neidhardt on Aug 03, 2010
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12/16/2012

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Time:Minimum 30 minutes
Goal or purpose of the exercise:To prepare people to face crisis situations
and to develop a frame of mind of thinking quickly under stress, focusing on
key issues while learning to ignore minor ones, so as to reach action-decisions.

How it’s done/facilitator’s notes

To a group no larger than eight people (this can be a small group, with others
observing), give a scenario. For example: ‘Awoman faints inside the line of
a march. You are a peacekeeper. What do you do’? Allow 15 seconds for dis-
cussion among the three or four people taking part. Afterwards, discuss with
all participants. Ask: How did you come to a decision? What helped the
process? What was the main difficulty?

Another step is to practice the exercise with a spokescouncil. Form several
small groups that act as ‘affinity groups’. Give them a new scenario, and ask
each group to choose a spokesperson. Once each ‘affinity group’has come
to a decision, have the different spokespersons meet to come to a decision.
After they reach a level of consensus, ask each spokesperson to consult with
their ‘affinity group’about the spokescouncil’s decision. Each group can
make recommendations for changes if necessary. Then have the spokescoun-
cil meet again to come to a final decision that hopefully will be a decision
that everyone in all of the ‘affinity groups’can live with.

Please note that a major limitation is that doing too many quick decision
exercises, especially right before an action takes place, can establish a
mind-set of emergency, thus raising tension so that people panic. Quick
decision exercises should be tempered with other training experiences to
prevent this perspective of imminent danger.

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