BECK index


by Sanderson Beck

This chapter has been published in the book Nonviolent Action Handbook. For ordering information, please click here.

Between Submission and Retaliation
Open Friendliness
Honest Communication
Respect for Freedom and Equality
Courageous Compassion
Detached Trusting
Patient Persistence
The Politics of Nonviolence
Nonviolence Discipline
Nonviolence Preparation
Highlights of Nonviolence in History


This Handbook is designed to be a generic guide to nonviolent direct action. In my experience protesting during the 1980s I found that the handbooks published by the Abalone Alliance for protesting the nuclear power plant at Diablo Canyon, California and by the Vandenberg Action Coalition for direct action to stop testing of the MX missile and other handbooks were extremely useful for understanding the methods of nonviolent civil disobedience by affinity groups using consensus decision-making procedures. Much of the information in the chapters on Group Process and Legal Process are drawn from those previous handbooks, and I gratefully acknowledge them. Based on my long studies of peace, nonviolence, politics, international law, social change, and psychological liberation, I have added the chapters on Nonviolence, Liberation from Seven Deadly ­Isms, Creative Actions, and also the section on legal defenses using international law. The latter is based on my experience while defending myself in six trials and in writing two appeals to federal circuit courts. This Handbook is generic, because it is not focused on any particular issue or direct action campaign but can be applied to any cause using nonviolent protest. Anyone who has suggestions or questions may communicate with me by sending e-mail to

The photo shows me sitting on the railroad tracks (on the right) blocking a train from the Concord Naval Weapons Station that may have been carrying weapons for shipment to Central America. I have been arrested for protesting nonviolently more than fifty times, and I always felt that the experience was valuable and worth the sacrifice, even when I was imprisoned for six months for having stepped over an imaginary line outside the main gate of the Trident submarine base at King's Bay, Georgia in 1989. How long it will take to bring peace and justice to this world will probably depend on how many people are willing to make such sacrifices and to work also in other ways to reform our violent society. Mahatma Gandhi called his nonviolent efforts to improve society his experiments with truth, and I encourage you to make such experiments also by courageously putting your love into practice.

I believe that our violent and plutocratic society needs a nonviolent revolution to end the neo-imperialist policies of the United States Government by democratic means so that we can have governments of real compassion, liberty, and true justice for all. This transformation of militarism must be nonviolent, not only because any violent attempt would be crushed by force, but because we are opposed to using violence. This ultimate revolution of our historic era is essentially a revolution to end the use of massive force in wars as instruments of social and political control. The process is one of converting hearts and minds by demonstrating the better ways of using education, communication, democracy, and active nonviolent persuasion. As George Harrison sang, "With our love we can change the world, if they only knew." I have faith that the actions of loving people will bring about a more peaceful society. I hope you will help.

The only solution is love.
Dorothy Day

Between Submission and Retaliation

The way of nonviolent action has been described as a third way, an alternative to weak submission to wrongs and violent reaction against them. Most people only see the two common alternatives: they either accept the unjust situation passively or prepare to use force in defense of their rights. Unfortunately those who use force often are not able to control it or keep it from oppressing others. Thus what starts out as a means of defending a group's interests often ends up interfering in the affairs of others. Justice is rarely achieved by seeing who has the strongest military forces to kill and destroy the opponent most effectively. On the other hand those who passively submit to what is forced upon them usually are considered weak and cowardly as they suffer oppression from the aggressive.

The third way enables even those who are few in numbers or poor in material resources to stand up for their rights with moral strength and dignity. Also neutral persons may come to their aid without injuring either side, and even dissenters from the aggressive side may intervene nonviolently for the sake of justice. One need not be big and powerful by worldly standards to use nonviolent action. The very old and young, women, and even the handicapped can be just as effective in nonviolent action as physically strong young men. The power of nonviolence comes from the spiritual qualities of love, understanding, communication skill, courage, and persistent endurance.

Regardless of the particular goal or cause at stake, the nonviolent method is careful to make sure the means do no harm. By not inflicting any harm on the opponents the nonviolent activists are not immediately threatening to them. However, the opponents may not like the goals of the nonviolent action, and therefore they may inflict harm on the nonviolent people anyway. When this occurs, it is important that peaceful activists not retaliate or fight back physically. At the same time it is equally important that we persist in our efforts and not give in because of the suffering we are undergoing. Otherwise we are encouraging the opponents to punish us in order to "deter" us. In this way nonviolent activists can earn the respect of opponents who believe in force. As they realize that force is not working in stopping the activists' protests, they will have to re-evaluate their tactics and the whole situation. Using nonviolent action is no guarantee that no violence will result, because the opponents may use force. However, it is the strongest form of action that we can use to truly win over the opponents, while minimizing the total violence by not contributing to it at all. The weak method of passive submission does nothing to alleviate the oppression and injustice already present, while violent reaction escalates the violence and oppression of the situation.

Open Friendliness

The way of nonviolence is open to the flow of love which may come from any direction. To love completely is to be open to the whole universe and everyone in it, both in receiving from others and in giving love to others. True love is universal, not just for one other person. By being open and friendly to everyone we can better understand them and their concerns, and they will be more likely to listen to ours as well. The way of love treats the whole world as one big happy family. In this way we do not close ourselves off from anyone or any viewpoint. We are not afraid to consider all views, and we find that diversity does not have to result in disharmony if we are friends.

In the nonviolent movement we are very friendly toward each other; at the same time we try to be equally friendly toward our opponents and critics. As human beings they are just as important as we are, and we need to understand them even more than people who agree with us. What the world needs more than anything else is more love and friendship, and this is something that each of us can contribute to in our daily lives. By developing friendly relationships with those who oppose us we are beginning the process of social healing. Nothing is more disarming than a sincere smile.

Openness means that we are not trying to hide anything or take advantage of what the other person does not know. Also it means that we are open to receive what other people have to offer us. We are open to the flow of Spirit moving in our lives and in the lives of those around us. We are available to communication and relationship and cooperation with what is good. However, in our openness to examine all viewpoints, we still retain our own discernment of what is morally good. We need not agree with all concepts or attitudes nor do we cooperate with what we believe is harmful, but we are always willing to discuss and consider what is best.

Friendliness is a good feeling that we share with others. When our hearts are open, we do not discriminate between people but share our good feelings with everyone equally. In this way we live in love all the time. Yet we do not need to love what everyone does. We can discern the difference between our love for people and what they do. We may hate their actions and attitudes but still love them as souls and human beings. In fact loving friendship is not afraid to communicate our concerns and differences of opinions so that we might resolve them most easily and directly. Sometimes this requires "hard love" and honesty in communication.

Honest Communication

Gandhi used the term satyagraha to describe the way of the nonviolent activist. The word satya means truth, deriving from sat which means truth in the sense of being, reality or existence. The word graha means firmly holding to something. Thus satyagraha means firmly holding to the truth and implies that this truth is the spiritual reality of our beingness, as when Jesus said, "I am life, truth, and the way." Regardless of a person's religion or lack of it, this nonviolent way is based on a spiritual dedication to truth and therefore honesty in human relations.

The great gift of our human intelligence enables us to communicate clearly with each other, not only directly by our actions but also symbolically by means of language. Because language is a symbolic abstraction referring to objects, relations, and concepts, the words may or may not be accurate to the reality they are attempting to describe. In other words, language may be in error, or people can and do lie. Deception is a subtle form of violence, because it shows a lack of respect for other people or fear of reality. The way of love is based on the love of the truth in everyone and everything. Gandhi used to say that there is no God higher than the truth. To separate ourselves from the truth is to separate ourselves from reality.

Thus to be true to ourselves we must be true to others as well. Is it really loving to try to be nice and not to tell someone we like that what they are doing is bothering us? If we allow resentment to build up, we soon find ourselves in conflict and misunderstanding. True love means having the courage to confront ourselves and others with the reality of what is going on so that we can work to resolve it together. By hard love we learn how to be self-critical and constantly watchful of how we can improve ourselves and our situation with others.

Our feelings tell us much about what is going on with us, and by communicating them we will be much more able to master the situation in a way that is best for the group. Of course this does not mean we unleash all our personal problems on others without any discernment. The best communication is clear, open, and honest. We clearly communicate when we are aware of what our feelings, thoughts, and concerns are and make them clear to others without inflicting our own "stuff" on to other people. We are responsible for working out our own emotional problems without projecting them on others, but we can still communicate what we are going through if we wish. We need to be careful not to let personal problems distort the larger issues we are working on together. The process of group communication can help us each to see past our own personal concerns to what is best for everyone.

As a group it is especially important that we make sure that our communications with the public and our adversaries are accurate and truthful, because the credibility of our movement depends on this trust that we are not trying to mislead people. This is another contrast to the military methods of secrecy and surprise. In making peace with others we want them to know exactly what we are doing and what our objectives are so that we can work them out in as open a situation as possible. How much information a group decides to volunteer to opponents is an issue to be discussed in relation to strategy. However, there can be little doubt that conscious deception must be prohibited for the sake of public trust.

Respect for Freedom and Equality

The way of love is also the way of freedom, because no one but ourselves directs us how to express our love. This is another contrast to military authoritarianism in which individuals must take orders from superiors. In the nonviolent movement we are all free and equal, each listening to our own inner guidance and sharing our concerns with the group. Then the group can freely decide, based on all individuals' considerations, how the group wishes to act. Thus first we must recognize our own freedom of choice and equal right to participate.

Even more important is that we realize the equality of all human beings and respect the liberty of others just as we want our own freedom respected. The nonviolent way of love is not possessive of others nor does it attempt to control others or use force against them. If we love others, we respect their autonomy to make their own decisions. We certainly can communicate with them, and we may even confront them with our presence to pressure them nonviolently to make a specific choice, if we believe that what they are doing is wrong and harmful to people. The important distinction is that we do not try to force them physically or violently to do what we want. Rather we may attempt to intervene nonviolently between the persons and the wrong acts we believe they are doing so that they have to make a choice either to remove us or stop that behavior. Nonviolent protests do not hurt people, although they may cause them some inconvenience in going about the business which we believe is harmful. In doing this we attempt to treat these people as our equals and respect them as individuals. Our actions are meant as a direct communication of our concern for the well-being of those involved in the situation.

We must be careful in our attitudes not to imply that we feel we are superior, because we are critical of what others are doing. We all make mistakes, and the nonviolent way is a path of humility which attempts to peacefully suggest to others that they may wish to examine the morality of what they are doing. We are not insisting that they change, but we may insist that they at least consider changing. We do this by presenting them with clear choices, which often result in our own self-sacrifice if they make the choice we believe is wrong. Thus we have not inflicted suffering on them, but we have been willing to suffer in our attempt to alleviate the wrong.

Courageous Compassion

Contrary to much popular belief, the way of love and nonviolent action is not a weak and passive method, and it certainly is not for cowards. Nonviolent direct action may take more courage than fighting with violence in a war, although that is a kind of bravery. However, if we analyze the use of weapons we can see that they are employed out of fear of what the opponent will do to us if we do not use violence against them. The truly courageous are not afraid of the opponents and therefore need no weapon at all. Does it take more courage to go into battle hiding behind armor and using a gun to kill anyone who appears threatening or to walk with dignity unarmed and unafraid into the conflict?

Thus courage is measured by how much we are able to overcome our fear and do what we believe is best to do anyway. Those who fight with weapons for what they believe are more courageous than those who passively accept injustice and allow themselves to be controlled by those who are threatening them. Yet the most courageous are those who stand up to injustice and actively work to change it by nonviolently intervening using purely moral courage and no physical weapons for defense. The most courageous do not kill out of fear of others but are willing to die if necessary for what is right. Love and trust, not hate and fear, are the real marks of the truly courageous. The word "courage" comes from the French word for heart (coeur). Do we have the heart to expose ourselves to our opponents trusting in a human and nonviolent process of reconciliation?

Compassion is what gives us this heart. Compassion may be defined as the love which not only empathizes with others in feeling what they are going through, but also is wise and courageous enough to do something about it. Thus compassion is love in action and is willing to take on the suffering of others in order to redeem them and those who are doing wrong to them. In compassion we have progressed beyond anger and hate of those who are doing wrong through pity and into mercy and caring and healing. Compassion comes from an experience of oneness with others which expands our hearts so that we feel what people are suffering and are moved to help them.

When we discover that people are dying of starvation or suffering chronic malnutrition at the same time as the world has surplus food and is wasting its resources, then compassion tells us we must work to alleviate this situation. When we see our government using vast financial, technical, and human resources oppressing poor people in other countries and threatening all nations on the earth with genocidal weapons, then compassion tells us that it is our responsibility to change our nation's priorities from death and exploitation to life and sharing. When we see the natural environment deteriorating and this generation robbing the resources from the future, then compassion tells us that we must learn to live more in harmony with the Earth and plan for our children's health and well-being. When we hear of individuals caught in a web of propaganda and exploitation, not realizing the harm they are doing nor seeing any other way out from their predicament, then compassion tells us we must communicate to them the alternatives which are better for all of us. When we know in our hearts that we can make a contribution for the betterment of humanity, then compassion tells us that we must move into action.

Detached Trusting

The way of love is based on the faith that if we act in a good way without harming anyone, then inevitably in the long run the results will be good. Instead of trying to control people by threats and force of might we allow humans to use intelligence to solve our problems by communication and negotiation. We may trust in God, or the process of the universe, as well as in human abilities. By challenging our opponents unarmed we are demonstrating our trust in them that they will not destroy us. By standing up to the wrongs we believe they are doing, we are trusting that by a nonviolent process those wrongs will eventually be redressed. Ultimately even if our bodies are destroyed, we will have done what was right and would be trusting that in the future people would recognize that and right the wrongs eventually.

In order to trust fully we must let go of our own control of the situation and allow others to participate in the process. If we are attached to achieving certain results, then we may prejudge the process and reject the will of the Spirit of the whole. The situation may not be best resolved in exactly the way we think it should. Of course we can have goals and objectives for our action; but once we have defined the purpose of our action we need to be detached from the specific results along the way. Otherwise we will find ourselves disappointed and discouraged. The Bhagavad-Gita teaches non-attachment to the fruits of action. That means that it is important that we act for the good without worrying about whether we are immediately successful, and also that we should not be concerned about receiving any credit or reward for our work. Jesus spoke about the same thing when he taught how the selfless person desires no personal reward; the rewards come spiritually (inwardly) or "in heaven."

Of course being detached and trusting does not mean we should trust blindly. We must monitor what is going on and be working toward our objectives constantly. To trust people is not necessarily to let them take advantage of us. We must watch what they do. If they betray their word or deceive us, then we can point that out to them and others. We can continue to protest the wrongs they are doing while informing the general public. Our own integrity is always within our own control. We can love others unconditionally, but we do not have to reward people for doing wrongs. In that case we do not withdraw our love for them, but we can withdraw our cooperation from the wrongs we believe they are perpetrating.

Detachment enables us to be free within ourselves from emotional clinging to people or specific experiences. It does not mean that we do not care, because we can show that we care by our actions. To be detached means that we are not controlled by others or by conditioning or by the situation. We are free enough to transcend our fears, desires, aversions, ambitions, etc. and perceive what is truly best for all concerned. This equanimity or even-mindedness gives us peace within ourselves that we can then share with others by being calm and in control of ourselves in any situation.

However, this does not preclude the feeling or expressing of emotion through compassion or other passions; but instead of being controlled by the emotions we are aware of them and in control of them so that we can use our feelings in our communication with others. So when the situation calls for it we may weep in sorrow or joy, or shout assertively to protest a terrible situation. These feelings will not destroy our detachment if they are authentic feelings, we are aware of what is going on, and we are controlling their expression by channeling the emotional energy in such a way that it is not harming anyone but is communicating a proper concern. Feelings are very powerful means of communication, and often we need to pay more attention to them, not less. To suppress consciously or repress unconsciously our inner feelings is not detachment nor is it healthy. If more people would listen and act on our truer and deeper feelings, our society might not be as sick as it is today. Thus we can distinguish the difference between the prevalent psychic numbing in the face of our overwhelming problems and the detachment which enables us to act freely and intelligently.

Patient Persistence

Nonviolent activist Jim Douglass referred to patience as a revolutionary virtue. Others may criticize us as impatient, because we feel the need to take direct action rather than let a slower evolutionary process occur. Patience is not an excuse for not acting, but rather a quality that helps us to endure and persist in our efforts while proceeding in a calm and intelligent manner. When we are caught up in action, the emotions are often very active and sometimes turbulent. We must be careful not to react without thinking very carefully about what we are doing and what the consequences are likely to be. Patience gives us time for deliberation and reflection on the issues and how our actions can be both nonviolent and yet effective. It is better to wait and perhaps miss a small opportunity of the moment than to rush into something foolishly or unprepared. New opportunities always come forward. If we think out the situation and how we can best deal with it, the next time it occurs we will be ready to act in a good way.

Unlike military action which strikes quickly and ruthlessly, nonviolent action is slow and deliberate with ample warning given to the opponents so that they can consciously decide how they wish to meet our confrontation. We do not want our opponents to have to react quickly with instinctive reflexes. We want them to know us and our methods so that they can respond as calmly and as intelligently as possible.

Military methods are quick and destructive like fire, but nonviolent action is flowing and nurturing like water that nourishes growing things. For some crazy reason people say, "Fight fire with fire," but does it not make much more sense to fight fire with water? The flow of water follows the lowest path, but by flowing constantly for a long time it wears away the hardest rocks. To be successful, nonviolent movements must continuously persist until the opposition's hard hearts have melted, and we have achieved a higher level of cooperation. After Gandhi returned to India from South Africa, where he spent twenty years developing his nonviolent methods, it took thirty years before India won her independence from Great Britain. Women in the United States worked for the right to vote from 1848 until they achieved it in 1920. The way for a nonviolent movement to lose is to stop the effort. As long as we persist, we will make progress in communication, education, and awakening of the public to the circumstances we want changed. The quicker way to lose is to become violent and lose moral credibility. When we act nonviolently, the opponents may arrest us or allow us to stop the wrong we are acting to stop; either way we win attention to our cause and make it more difficult for them to continue those wrongs.

Persistence also means that we must be flexible in our strategy and tactics. If one method does not work, we should let it go and try another. If one issue has been resolved successfully, then we can go on to the next in importance. If one avenue seems to be blocked, we can flow to another area that needs attention. If people seem to be losing interest, we can be creative with new and interesting approaches to the problems. If we feel we are burned out, we can take a break to replenish our spiritual and inner resources and come back with renewed energy. We need to persist not only in our efforts for social change; but even more important we must persist in our love for one another, for this above all will sustain us.

The way of love is always patient and forgiving but at the same time persistent in doing good. When people admit they have done wrong, we can achieve reconciliation by forgiving them. The ultimate goal of nonviolent action is not victory over the opponents but the finding of a harmonious way of living together peacefully with justice. We seek no advantage over anyone else. We are working for the good of our adversaries just as much as for ourselves. Thus when we are successful, everyone will be the victors; and those who have become converted to a better way of life will truly deserve just as much credit, if not more, for their transformation as those who worked to stimulate that change. The way of love leads to a society in which freedom and equality and justice and friendly relationships between all people become the norm, what might be called the reign of God, spiritual democracy, or paradise on Earth. Since we would be very fortunate indeed to achieve these goals within our lifetime, we will need a great amount of patience and persistence.

For we no longer take up 'sword against nation"
nor do we 'learn war any more,' having become children of peace,
for the sake of Jesus, who is our leader.

The alternative to violence is nonviolent resistance....
First, this is not a method for cowards; it does resist.
The nonviolent resister is just as strongly opposed to the evil
against which one protests as is the person who uses violence....
This method is passive physically but strongly active spiritually.

... A second point is that nonviolent resistance
does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent,
but to win their friendship and understanding....

A third characteristic of this method is
that the attack is directed against forces of evil
rather than against persons who are caught in those forces.
It is evil we are seeking to defeat,
not the persons victimized by evil....

A fourth point that must be brought out
concerning nonviolent resistance is that
it avoids not only external physical violence
but also internal violence of spirit.
At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love.
In struggling for human dignity
the oppressed people of the world must not allow themselves
to become bitter or indulge in hate campaigns.
To retaliate with hate and bitterness
would do nothing but intensify the hate in the world.
Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough
and morality enough to cut off the chains of hate.
This can be done only by projecting the ethics of love
to the center of our lives....

Finally, the method of nonviolence is based on the conviction
that the universe is on the side of justice.
It is this deep faith in the future
that causes the nonviolent resister
to accept suffering without retaliation....

World peace through nonviolent means
is neither absurd nor unattainable.
All other methods have failed,
Thus we must begin anew....

We have the choice in this world today
between nonviolence and non-existence.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Experiment with nonviolent struggle has barely begun.
But in a world in which traditional violent battle
can escalate into nuclear war,
it is an experiment that is absolutely necessary
to push to its furthest limits.
Barbara Deming


The Politics of Nonviolence

(Note: This section is from an earlier Nonviolence handbook and has been adapted from The Politics of Nonviolent Action by Gene Sharp.)

The conventional view of political power sees people as dependent on the good will and caprice of their government and any other hierarchical system to which they belong. Power is seen as something people have; kings, czars, generals hold power as one holds a knife. Power resides in knowledge, control of wealth and in the ability to impose violence. Those who serve have little power. Consequently, those without power must kill or destroy their rulers and replace them in their positions in order to wield the selfsame power.

The theory of active nonviolence proposes a different analysis: that government depends on people and that political power is variable, even fragile, always dependent on the cooperation of a multitude of groups and individuals. The withdrawal of that cooperation restricts and can even dissolve power. Put another way, power depends on continuing obedience; thus when we refuse to obey our rulers, their power begins to crumble.

In this sense, nonviolent action is not passive, nor is it a naive belief in converting the opposition, nor is it a "safe" method of protest, immune from repression. Rather, it is based on a different understanding of where people's power really lies. By disobeying, people learn to withhold, rather than surrender, their cooperation. This recognizes that the individual's discovery of self-respect is tied to the recognition that one's own assistance makes the unjust regime possible. When a large enough group of people recognizes this, as the "untouchables" did with Gandhi's help, the result is massive noncooperation and obstruction involving the use of social, economic, and political power.

Then why don't people decide to withdraw cooperation? Why instead do so many obey so few? and how can this change? The authorities are able to wield power both because masses of people passively obey, and because they have the violent means for suppressing dissent-police, National Guard, prison guards and prison cells. A few disobey and are punished, keeping many afraid.

Yet there are chinks in the armor. First, the repressive apparatus is made up of human beings, whose cooperation is essential. A nonviolent approach to the police undercuts their rationale for violence and reveals to neutral parties the extent to which the system relies on violence and force. Second, the repressive apparatus can only survive with a minimal level of dissent (either much mild dissent or a small number of militant dissenters). When dissent grows and brings pressure to bear, the system breaks down. When a nonviolent campaign stands its ground using nonviolence to resist dispersal (not merely for a day or a weekend but over time), it greatly raises the cost of continuing violence against it until it is no longer feasible.

Nonviolence Guidelines

1. We will not harm anyone, and we will not retaliate in reaction to violence.

2. We will be honest and will treat every person with respect, especially law officers.

3. We will express our feelings but will not harbor hatred.

4. We will be alert to people around us and will provide needed assistance.

5. As peacekeepers we will protect others from insults and violence.

6. During a demonstration we will not run nor make threatening motions.

7. If we see a demonstrator threatening anyone, we will intervene to calm down the situation. If demonstrators become violent, and we cannot stop it, we will withdraw.

8. We will not steal, and we will not damage property.

9. We will not carry any weapons.

10. We will not bring or use any alcohol or drugs, other than for medical purposes.

11. We will keep the agreements we make with other demonstrators. In the event of a serious disagreement, we may withdraw.

12. We will accept responsibility for our nonviolent actions, and we will not lie nor use deception to escape the consequences of our actions.

Nonviolence Preparation

Sample Agenda

5 min. Introduction of Facilitators.
5 min. Agenda Review.
30 min. Slideshow or Video Presentation.
20 min. Introductions and Sharing. People give their names and organizations and share briefly their concerns about the issue.
30 min. Philosophy and History of Nonviolence. This may include a brainstorm on what nonviolence is or how it has been used effectively, as well as some lecture and discussion.
5 min. Nonviolence Guidelines or Discipline.
10 min. Break.
10 min. Present Active Listening Skill.
20 min. Discuss Nonviolence in Triads. In groups of three, people share their personal feelings about nonviolent action by responding to questions, such as "What are the qualities of nonviolence you personally hope to embody?" and "What is leading you to nonviolently protest?" Each person speaks in turn as the other two actively listen.
20 min. Hassle Line Role-play. The group divides in half and forms two parallel lines facing each other. One line plays the role of opponents or the police, while the other line is demonstrators attempting to communicate their concerns. Switch roles.
10 min. Scenario. Review plans for anticipated direct action.
30 min. Meal Break.
30 min. Consensus Process and Affinity Groups. Discuss how consensus works and what affinity groups are.
15 min. Consensus Role-play. Group struggles through the process of coming to consensus on some decision, such as agreeing to the Nonviolence Discipline.
15 min. Affinity Group Quick Decision-making Role-play. Group is faced with a situation, such as police brutality in an action and must decide quickly as a group how to respond.
30 min. Legal Briefing. Discuss legal options and possible consequences.
10 min. Break.
20 min. Direct Action Role-play. Assign and play out the roles involved in an arrest situation to include people risking arrest, supporters, military personnel, law enforcement officers, media reporters, counter-demonstrators, etc. Share feelings afterwards.
20 min. Jail Conditions. Discuss local jail conditions and share feelings concerning incarceration.
20 min. Solidarity Issues. Discuss options of cite release, bail, fines, probation, etc. in regard to strategies of refusing certain options for group empowerment.
10 min. Affinity Group Formation. Find out if individuals are in Affinity Groups or whether they would like to form one or more out of the Preparation.
10 min. Evaluation and Closing Circle. Share feelings.

Highlights of Nonviolence in History

(Note: This section is taken mostly from Guides to Peace and Justice by Sanderson Beck and indicates some of the highlights in that book.)
c. 760 BC Amos prophesied in Israel and Judah.
c. 750 BC Hosea prophesied in Israel.
c. 742-697 BC Isaiah and Micah prophesied in Israel and Judah.
701 BC Egypt and Judah rebelled against Assyria. Isaiah and Micah
c. 700 BC Parshva taught nonviolence in India. Mahavira
c. 630 BC Zephaniah prophesied in Judah.
c. 627-580 BC Jeremiah prophesied in Judah.
c. 620 BC Nahum prophesied in Judah.
612 BC Babylonians captured Nineveh. Micah
c. 600 BC Habakkuk prophesied in Judah.
597 BC Jehoiachin surrendered Jerusalem to Babylon. and
597-588 BC Zedekiah ruled in Jerusalem for Babylon. and
593-563 BC Ezekiel prophesied in Babylon.
586 BC Babylon's Nebuchadrezzar captured Jerusalem. and
551-479 BC Confucius taught humanistic ethics.
c. 540 BC Second Isaiah prophesied in Babylon.
c. 531-510 BC Pythagoras taught at Crotona.
c. 528 BC Buddha founded a religion in India.
c. 520 BC Lao-zi wrote Dao De Jing in Chu.
c. 519 BC Mahavira founded Jain religion in India.
483 BC Buddha died; first Buddhist Council was held.
c. 450 BC Empedocles wrote On Nature and Purifications.
432-393 BC Mo-zi and his disciples intervened to stop wars.
424-405 BC Aristophanes' comedies protested war.
403 BC Socrates refused to cooperate with 30 tyrants.
399 BC Socrates was tried and executed in Athens.
c. 380-323 BC Diogenes founded Cynic school of philosophy.
371-289 BC Mencius taught Confucian philosophy in China.
261-236 BC Ashoka ruled India with Buddhist principles.
c. 260 BC Stoic philosopher Zeno died.
30 BC Hillel came to Judea and began teaching.
c. 27-30 Jesus the Christ taught in Israel.
c. 30 Jesus was crucified by Romans at Jerusalem.
30-61 James was a leader of the church in Jerusalem.
c. 40-97 Pythagorean Apollonius of Tyana taught.
c. 45 Philo Judaeus died in Alexandria.
49-65 Stoic Seneca tutored and advised Nero
c. 70-c. 120 Dio Chrysostom presented Discourses.
75-c. 120 Plutarch taught philosophy.
c. 80-c. 135 Epictetus taught Stoic philosophy.
92-101 Clement was third bishop of Rome.
c. 155 Smyrna bishop Polycarp was killed in a stadium. Martyr
165 Justin Martyr was executed in Rome.
c. 197-204 Tertullian wrote in defense of Christians.
203-254 Origen taught Christian philosophy.
239-274 Mani founded the Manichaean religion.
295 Maximilian refused to be a Roman soldier. Lactantius
c. 303 Arnobius wrote against war. Lactantius
303-327 Lactantius wrote on Christianity.
313 Constantine was converted to Christianity.Lactantius
313-314 Donatists were condemned by Catholics. Lactantius
c. 362-397 Martin refused to fight and lived like a monk.Lactantius
397-430 Augustine developed the "just war" doctrine.
c. 760-801 Rabi'a was a Sufi mystic.
922 Sufi al-Hallaj was executed.
989 Church council at Charroux declared Peace of God. Crusades
1027 Church proclaimed the Truce of God. Crusades
c. 1131 Sana'i wrote the Enclosed Garden of Truth.
1137-1155 Arnold of Brescia challenged rich clergy.
c. 1140 Gratian published his Decretum. Magna Carta
1167 Cathars were burned at Vézelay.
1188 'Attar wrote The Conference of the Birds.
1190 Gerohus of Regensburg proposed abolishing war. Crusades
1203-1276 Albigensian crusade persecuted Cathars.
1208-1226 Francis of Assisi founded the Franciscans.
1215 Stephen Langton devised the Magna Carta.
1231-1273 Rumi taught Sufism.
1257-1274 Bonaventure was minister general of Franciscans.
1312 Dante wrote On World-Government.
1324 Marsilius wrote The Defender of Peace.
1339-1374 Petrarch advocated humanistic government.
1360-1400 Diplomat Chaucer wrote Canterbury Tales.
1369-1408 Poet John Gower opposed war.
1372-1382 Reformer Wyclif translated the Bible.
1382-c. 1500 Lollards opposed war and were persecuted. Wyclif
1415 Jan Hus was burned as a heretic.
c. 1420 Chelcicky renounced all violence.
c. 1460-1518 Kabir wrote mystical poetry.
1489-1536 Erasmus wrote against war and for peace.
1496-1539 Nanak founded the Sikh religion.
1525 Grebel began the Anabaptist movement.
1529-1531 Anabaptists refused to fight in civil war.
1535-1685 Hutterites practiced communal living.
1536-1546 Vitoria wrote on international law.
1539 Menno wrote Foundation of Christian Doctrine.
1567-1579 Dutch revolted against Spanish imperialism. Ending
1572 Dutch Mennonites refused to go to war. 318
1575 Czechowic wrote Christian Dialogues. Hutterites
1571-1617 Suarez taught theology and law.
1623 Eméric Crucé wrote The New Cyneas.
1623-1625 Grotius wrote The Law of War and Peace.
1651 George Fox was in jail because of civil war.
1660 Fox and Quakers signed a Declaration. Penn
1669 Penn wrote No Cross, No Crown in the Tower.
1672 Pufendorf wrote on the law of nations.
1682 Penn founded Pennsylvania for Quakers.
1682-1756 Pennsylvania had a pacifist government.
1693 Penn wrote a peace plan for a European union.
1714 Saint-Pierre wrote a peace plan for Europe.
1740-1750 Wolff wrote on the natural law of nations.
1759 Vattel published his Law of Nations.
1761 Rousseau wrote A Lasting Peace.
1762 Rousseau wrote The Social Contract and Emile.
1765 Americans refused to obey the Stamp Act. Ending
1773 Boston Tea Party resisted British taxation. Ending
1789 Bentham wrote "A Plan for Universal Peace."
1792 Mary Wollstonecraft wrote on women's rights.
1795 Kant published Perpetual Peace.
1815 Congress of Vienna made the Concert of Europe.
1815 Dodge founded the New York Peace Society.
1815 Worcester founded Massachusetts Peace Society.
1816-1842 Channing preached against war.
1821 Central America abolished slavery.
1821 Emma Willard founded Troy Female Seminary. Women's Rights
1823 U.S. proclaimed the Monroe Doctrine. Central America
1828 Women workers went on strike at Dover. Women's Rights
1828-1829 Frances Wright lectured on sexual equality. Women's Rights
1828-1841 Ladd led the American Peace Society.
1831 Garrison began publishing The Liberator.
1833 Prudence Crandall taught Negro girls. Women's Rights
1836 Upham published a Manual of Peace. American Peace Society
1838 Garrison declared nonresistance.
1838 Emerson lectured to the American Peace Society.
1838 Angelina Grimké spoke for women's rights.
1843 World Peace Congress was held in London.
1846 Ballou published Christian Non-Resistance. Abolitionists
1846 Thoreau went to jail for not paying his tax.
1847 Burritt founded League of Universal Brotherhood. Abolitionists
1848 Seneca Falls Convention for women's rights met. Mrs. Stanton
1848-1920 Women worked to gain the vote. Suffragettes
1849 Thoreau wrote "Resistance to Civil Government."
1850-1892 Bahá'u'lláh founded the Bahá'í faith.
1851 Harriet Taylor wrote "Enfranchisement of Women." Mill
1854 Burritt wrote on passive resistance. Abolitionists
1858 Lucy Stone refused to pay her taxes.
1867 Deak gained rights for Hungarians. Ending
1868 St. Petersburg conference outlawed cruel weapons. Peace Conferences
1869 J. S. Mill published The Subjection of Women.
1872 Susan B. Anthony was arrested for voting.
1889 Bertha von Suttner wrote Lay Down Your Arms.
1889 Jane Addams founded Hull House in Chicago.
1893 Tolstoy wrote The Kingdom of God Is Within You.
1899, 1907 The Hague conventions limited war.
1903 Emmeline Pankhurst formed the WSPU.
1905, 1917 Nonviolent phases of the Russian revolution. Rebelling
1907 Gandhi used mass noncooperation in South Africa.
1909 Gandhi wrote Hind Swaraj.
1911-1913 'Abdu'l-Bahá spoke in Europe and America.
1913 H. G. Wells wrote The World Set Free. World Government
1915 Addams founded the Woman's Peace Party.
1915 Maude Royden advocated nonviolent direct action.
1915-1935 Jane Addams led WILPF.
1916 Russell led the No Conscription Fellowship.
1917 Woman's Party picketed the White House. Alice Paul
1918 U.S. President Wilson proposed 14 Points.
1918 Russell was imprisoned for his writing.
1918 Women gained suffrage in England. British
1919 Gandhi called and canceled a general strike. Nonviolent Campaign
1919 Versailles Peace Treaty established a League of Nations.
1920 Women gained suffrage in the United States. Catt
1921 Gandhi led mass noncooperation in India. Nonviolent Campaign
1921 Permanent Court of International Justice began. League of Nations
1921 Yugoslavia withdrew from Albania. League of Nations
1922 British sentenced Gandhi to six years. Nonviolent Campaign
1922 Austria became independent. League of Nations
1925 Locarno Treaty set German borders. League of Nations
1925 Geneva Protocol banned poisonous weapons. League of Nations
1925 League of Nations made peace between Greece and Bulgaria.
1927 France withdrew its garrison from the Saar. League of Nations
1928 Einstein advised refusing military service.
1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact outlawed war. League of Nations
1929 Simone Weil advocated complete disarmament.
1930 Gandhi led the salt campaign in India.
1931 Gandhi's fast gained rights for untouchables. Nonviolent Campaign
1931 Japan invaded Manchuria. League of Nations
1931 Maude Royden proposed a Peace Army.
1932 59 nations attended a disarmament conference. League of Nations
1932 30,000 peasants were massacred in El Salvador. Central America
1933 Day and Maurin founded the Catholic Worker.
1933 Japan and Germany withdrew from the League of Nations.
1934 Somoza had Sandino murdered in Nicaragua. Central America
1935-1936 Ethiopia's Selassie asked the League of Nations for help.
1935 The Saar voted to rejoin Germany. League of Nations
1935 Italy's army invaded Ethiopia. League of Nations
1936 Hitler sent German troops into the Rhineland. League of Nations
1936 Franco attacked the government of Spain. League of Nations
1937 Japan attacked China, which appealed to League of Nations.
1938 Germany occupied Austria and Sudetanland. League of Nations
1939 Spain withdrew from the League of Nations.
1939 Italy invaded Albania; Germany invaded Poland. League of Nations
1939 U.S.S.R. invaded Finland. League of Nations
1939 Einstein wrote to Roosevelt about atomic energy.
1940 Muste wrote Nonviolence in an Aggressive World.
1940-1945 Danes resisted German occupation. Ending
1941 Roosevelt and Churchill signed the Atlantic Charter.
1942-1945 Norwegian teachers refused to teach Nazi ideas. Ending
1943 Wendell Wilkie published One World.
1945 World War II ended with atomic bombings.
1945 The United Nations was formed.
1945 Emery Reves wrote The Anatomy of Peace. World Government
1946 Soviet troops withdrew from Iran. UN Peacekeeping
1947 Indian and Pakistan gained independence.
1948 Israel became a nation. UN Peacekeeping
1948 CIA intervened in Italian elections. Chomsky
1948 UN adopted Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
1949 Geneva Conventions were signed.
1949 NATO alliance was founded. Domination
1949 Indonesia became independent. UN Peacekeeping
1949 UN gained a cease-fire in Kashmir. UN Peacekeeping
1949 Pacifica radio was founded. Nonviolence
1950 Nuremberg Principles were formulated.
1950 UN reacted to North Korea's invasion. UN Peacekeeping
1953 Peace Pilgrim began walking around the U.S. and
1953 300,000 East Germans went on strike. Rebelling
1953 U.S. agreed to an armistice in Korea. UN Peacekeeping
1953 CIA helped overthrow Mossadegh in Iran. Chomsky
1954 Russell spoke over BBC on "Man's Peril."
1954 French were defeated in Vietnam.
1954 CIA helped overthrow Arbenz in Guatemala. Central America
1955 Warsaw Pact alliance was founded. Domination
1955 Day and others refused a civil defense drill.
1955-1956 King led the Montgomery bus boycott.
1956 UN gained a cease-fire at the Suez Canal. UN Peacekeeping
1956 Hungarian uprising was crushed by Soviet tanks. Rebelling
1957 Russell organized Pugwash Conferences. Nuclear
1957 SANE was founded to abolish nuclear weapons.
1958 King published Stride Toward Freedom.
1958 Schweitzer spoke by radio on atomic weapons.
1958 Linus Pauling wrote No More War! Nuclear
1958 UN observers went to Lebanon. UN Peacekeeping
1958 World Peace Through World Law was published.
1959 Khrushchev suggested complete disarmament. McCloy-Zorin
1960 Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee began. King
1960-1964 UN intervened in the Congo. UN Peacekeeping
1961 King led Freedom Rides.
1961 Kennedy proposed complete disarmament. McCloy-Zorin
1961 20,000 sat down at a U.S. Polaris base. Russell
1961 Women Strike for Peace began protesting.
1962 Dutch withdrew from West New Guinea. UN Peacekeeping
1962 Thant, Russell mediated Cuban missile crisis. UN Peacekeeping
1963 CIA helped overthrow Kassem in Iraq.
1963 Partial nuclear test ban treaty was signed.
1963 King wrote a letter from Birmingham jail.
1963 250,000 heard King's "I Have a Dream" speech.
1963-1964 UN observers went to Yemen. UN Peacekeeping
1964 UN Peacekeepers went to Cyprus.
1964 U.S. Civil Rights Act passed. King
1964 U.S. Congress passed Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Vietnam
1964 Savio led Free Speech Movement at Berkeley. Path
1965 U.S. Voting Rights Act passed. King
1965 U.S. intervened in the Dominican Republic. UN Peacekeeping
1965 U.S. backed a coup in Indonesia. 827
1965 SDS and others protested the Vietnam War.
1966 Russell convened a Vietnam War Crimes Tribunal.
1966, 1971 UN observed cease-fire in Kashmir. UN Peacekeeping
1967 King called for an end to the Vietnam War.
1967 Many thousands protested the Vietnam War.
1967 Israel occupied West Bank and other territories. UN Peacekeeping
1967 Chomsky and Zinn wrote against the Vietnam War.
1968 Latin American bishops decided to help the poor. Central America
1968 Dubcek led Czech liberalization. Rebelling
1968 Catonsville 9 led by Berrigans burned draft files. Vietnam War
1969 A million people marched against the Vietnam War.
1969-1970 U.S. bombing killed 300,000 Cambodians. Vietnam War
1970 4 protesting students were killed at Kent State. Vietnam War
1971 Vietnam veterans protested in Washington.
1971 Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers. Vietnam War
1972 Duarte was elected but exiled from El Salvador. Central America
1972-1974 Greenpeace disrupted French nuclear tests.
1973 U.S. Congress stopped funding the Vietnam War.
1973 CIA helped overthrow Allende in Chile. Chomsky
1973 Egypt and Syria attacked Israel. UN Peacekeeping
1975 Last Americans evacuated Vietnam.
1975 People stopped a nuclear power plant at Wyhl.
1975-1977 200,000 were killed in East Timor. Chomsky
1976 Syria invaded Lebanon. UN Peacekeeping
1977 1.414 were arrested at Seabrook. Nuclear Power
1978 United Nations held a session on disarmament. Nuclear Weapons
1978, 1982 Israel invaded Lebanon. UN Peacekeeping
1979 Sandinistas overthrew Somoza in Nicaragua.
1979 Carter made peace between Israel and Egypt. UN Peacekeeping
1979 Soviet army invaded Afghanistan. UN Peacekeeping
1979-now Dr. Caldicott of PSR spoke about nuclear war. Freeze
1980 Nuclear weapons freeze proposal gained support.
1980 Archbishop Romero was assassinated in El Salvador.
1980 Solidarity Union grew to ten million in Poland. Rebelling
1980 Berrigans led Plowshares 8 action. Nuclear Weapons
1980-1988 Iraq attacked Iran and fought a war. UN Peacekeeping
1981 1,900 were arrested at Diablo Canyon. Nuclear Power
1981 1,300 were arrested in Women's Pentagon Action. Nuclear Weapons
1982 Sanctuary movement began helping Salvadorans.
1982 Millions of women demonstrated for peace. Feminism
1982 1,400 were arrested at Livermore Lab. Nuclear
1982 1,691 were arrested at the United Nations. Nuclear
1982 Israel massacred Palestinians at Sabra and Shatila. Chomsky
1982 2,000 Greenham Common women were arrested. Nuclear Weapons
1982 Schell published The Fate of the Earth. Nuclear Weapons Freeze
1983 777 were arrested at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Nuclear Weapons
1983 Witness for Peace began visiting Nicaragua. Proxy Wars
1983 1,066 were arrested at Livermore Lab. Nuclear Weapons
1983 Green Party won 27 seats in the Bundestag. Nuclear Weapons
1983 U.S. Marines invaded Grenada. Chomsky
1984 Winooski 44 were acquitted by a jury. Resisting
1984 Pledge of Resistance began.
1985 Gorbachev proposed ending the nuclear arms race.
1985-1989 Gorbachev implemented perestroika and glasnost.
1986 Great Peace March crossed the United States. Nuclear Weapons
1986 World Court convicted U.S. of attacking Nicaragua. Chomsky
1986 Iran-Contra scandal was exposed.
1986-1994 Thousands protested nuclear testing in Nevada.
1987 Greenpeace began a Nuclear Free Seas campaign. Nuclear Testing
1987 Brian Willson was run over by a munitions train. Resisting
1987 U.S. boycotted UN Disarmament Conference. Chomsky
1988-1989 Soviet army withdrew from Afghanistan. UN Peacekeeping
1988-1991 UN verified peace in Angola. UN Peacekeeping
1989 Independent Namibia held elections. UN Peacekeeping
1989 Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia became free. Eastern Europe
1989 1,452 in Pledge of Resistance were arrested.
1989 U.S. invaded Panama to capture Noriega. Chomsky
1990 East and West Germany were reunited. Eastern Europe
1990 UN demobilized the Contras. UN Peacekeeping
1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait. UN Peacekeeping
1990-1 U.S.S.R. dissolved into independent republics. Eastern Europe
1990-1992 El Salvador and the FMLN made peace. UN Peacekeeping
1990 UN authorized U.S. attack on Iraq and Kuwait. UN Peacekeeping
1991 U.S. killed 175,000 Iraqis.
1991 Warsaw Pact was dissolved. Eastern Europe
1991-1993 UN intervened in Cambodia. UN Peacekeeping
1991-1996 UN intervened in Yugoslavia. UN Peacekeeping
1992 Earth Summit met at Rio de Janeiro.
1992-1995 UN monitored cease-fire in Somalia. UN Peacekeeping
1993 Gorbachev founded Green Cross International.
1993-1996 UN intervened in Haiti. UN Peacekeeping
1996 UN verified peace in Guatemala. UN Peacekeeping
1997 Mine Ban Treaty was signed in Ottawa. Nonviolence
1997 601 were arrested at the School of the Americas. Resisting
1999 NATO bombed to drive Serbs out of Kosovo. UN Peacekeeping
2000 Earth Charter mission was launched.
2001 Terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center.
2002 East Timor became an independent nation. UN Peacekeeping
2002 Earth Charter was recognized by the UN.

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