Author: Metta Center

Nonviolence in the News – September 15, 2017

If you have trouble with the player above, click here to download.  Jump to NEWS Jump to EVENTS NOTE: You will see the mysterious letters PP, CP, or S in parentheses after some of these items. What’s up with that? We are coordinating these items with the trajectory on which our Roadmap plan is based, namely the natural progression successful movements tend to follow. It goes, roughly chronologically, from Person Power, the term we invented to shadow “People Power,” a common designation for civil society struggles to put the emphasis on the individual person and his/her empowerment, where it all has to begin, then to Constructive Program, building what you want without waiting for the powers that be to give it to you and thereby strengthening your resistance to the remaining pockets of injustice with, finally, satyagraha. Resources: Want to know more about the situation in Western Sahara? Check out Western Sahara: War, Nationalism and Conflict Irresolution, authored by this weeks’ Nonviolence Radio guest, Stephen Zunes. Is White Supremacy only a problem of the American south? The answer is, of course, ‘no.’ Sarah Van Gelder of Yes Magazine points out that there are many ways to uproot white supremacy within one’s own community. She lists thirteen, but surely there are more. She says, “Rooting out white supremacy is not a task that belongs only to those communities with Confederate monuments, though. Every region of our country has its history of racial exclusion and white supremacy, enforced to this day by domestic terrorism, laws, regulations, and police discrimination. Every region has seen people of color, especially African Americans, forced off of land that they farmed; out of businesses, schools, voting booths; and often into poverty through menial underpaid work, overpriced slums, and policing practices that disproportionately target people of color.” She emphasizes powerful, constructive ways of lifting up the voices for justice for all in our communities. Don’t miss her article. Looking for more nonviolence news? Looking for community? Join the Metta Center for Nonviolence every Weds. morning from 8:15-9:15 am for an in-depth, online discussion about nonviolence and take a look at nonviolence in the news from sources like Waging Nonviolence, and others. Contact the Metta Center for Nonviolence to get involved. International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), in partnership with Rutgers University International Institute for Peace (Rutgers IIP) will host a free, moderated online course, “People Power: The Study of Strategic Nonviolent Resistance,” to take place from September 27 to November 10 … successful course participants become eligible for the ICNC grant opportunities and a certificate of completion.  Another university-movement collaboration!  Wonderful development.  And it seems that there’s a great resource from ICNC every episode. (CP)  Truthout reports on an apparently moving and heartbreaking film, “The Last Guardians,” about indigenous struggles against the powerful combinations of  oil companies and ‘their’ government.  It’s the same the world over now; and of course there is another kind of power! (CP) Are you prepared for emergencies?  SF72 is a clear and calming resource that can help people to prepare for disaster. What is important about this resource is that they promote connection and […]

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Mill Valley Seniors for Peace: Michael Nagler a Guest

Mill Valley Seniors for Peace are residents of the Redwoods Retirement Community in Mill Valley, California. The residents’ average age is 86, and each person is committed to the search for world peace, social justice, and genuine democracy. On September 25, Michael Nagler will be a speaking guest at Mill Valley. The subject of his talk: “Nonviolence Now: What’s Going Well, and How Can We Help?” Details: When: 3:00 – 4:30pm PST Where: Auditorium, The Redwoods Retirement Community, 40 Camino Alto, Mill Valley, CA 94941 RSVP: please email your RSVP to angeladawnparker@gmail.com

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Join a Peace Team in Palestine

Meta Peace Team seeks potential members for its upcoming Peace Team work in Palestine. Meta Peace Team (MPT) has been creating nonviolent alternatives to militarism and violence through empowered peacemaking since 1993. As part of their practice, they have been placing peace teams in places such as Iraq, Haiti, Bosnia, Egypt, Panama, Mexico, Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and within the US. MPT’s peace teams act to reduce and prevent violence, utilizing a practice known as third-party nonviolent intervention, which includes tools like protective accompaniment; human rights monitoring/reporting; a peaceful presence; and interpositioning (getting in between conflicting parties to deter them from using violence against one another). The Palestine Peace Team will depart for the West Bank on January 21, 2018, and the program will run 4 – 6 weeks. Team members must have completed MPT’s basic 8-hour Nonviolence Training and the preparation process (includes a 5-day intensive training November 9 – 13, 2017, in Michigan). Estimated cost per person is $3,800 for 4 weeks, $4,600 for 6 weeks. Fundraising is done as a team. Apply by October 11, 2017. Learn more on the MPT website and in the program flyer. Download an application.

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Nonviolence Values: Newsletter

“Knowledge is like a river,” said Sri Mata Amritanandamayi. “Its nature is to constantly flow. Wherever it can flow, it does so, nourishing culture. On the other hand, the same knowledge, if devoid of values becomes a source of destruction for the world.” Nonviolence values are a constructive force. So in this week’s newsletter, we provide resources and inspirations to keep you steady in these unsteady times. Read the September 6, 2017 newsletter. Get the Metta Center’s newsletter. Access the newsletter archives.

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Empathy Circles

Edwin Rutch is the founder of Empathy Tents and the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy. In this show, he demonstrates how active listening can be used in a radical way– by bringing together Joey Gibson, a Patriot Prayer rally leader, and activist  Rev. Megan Rohrer, a leader of counter-protests to the Patriot Prayer rally, on a tense evening before scheduled Bay Area protests. Don’t miss this important dialogue. Then stay tuned for the News you won’t find anywhere in the mainstream, Nonviolence in the News!  Click here to read more about the articles and resources referenced in Nonviolence in the News.   If you have trouble with the podcast player at top click here to download.

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Nonviolence in the News – September 1, 2017

More information on topics covered below. NOTE:  PP = Person Power, CP = Constructive Program, OP = Obstructive program, or direct resistance. Jump to NEWS Jump to EVENTS Resources: Have I mentioned Positive News?  It’s both a magazine and a website (https://www.positive.news/) offering news in many categories.  Most are at best indirectly related to nonviolence; but all are changing the mindset, especially in their cumulative effect. Of interest regarding one of Stephanie’s items today: The ‘gangsta gardener,’ Ron Finley, who believes masculinity is about being building thriving communities and being a conscious citizen of the planet. Ron is determined to redefine ‘gangsta’ as being about these values, and not machismo. + Exciting first offering of its kind from Nonviolent Peaceforce: an online course on “Strengthening Civilian Capacity to Protect Civilians Against Violence.”  No one can better address that topic than NP! To be offered through Merrimack College, Begins 9/18, reg. closes 9/11 +  Definitely PP!  From ICNC’s “minds of the movement” blog: Mindful Activism: The Power of Mindfulness in the Streets.  ( The top picture shows Sarah Thompson, whom we recently interviewed, leading a meditation). by Gabriel DayleyAugust 25, 2017 …  This comes decades after Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh founded “engaged Buddhism.”  When asked “What is Engaged Buddhism?” he famously said, “It’s Buddhism!”  You can’t be a Buddhist and not feel compassion for those who suffer, and want to do something about it.  Thay (as he’s popularly called) explicitly joined activism with mindfulness-based practices in a global spotlight, activists in pockets around the world have begun to incorporate techniques of mindful attention to the present moment into their movement activities. However, public and scientific interest in mindfulness has focused heavily on benefits to individual wellbeing, and applications of mindfulness to activism have largely been limited to preventing stress and burnout. This focus on individual wellbeing ignores potentially valuable applications of mindfulness-based practices for increasing the effectiveness of activists and strengthening their movements.  The same goes for the growing movement for mindful schools. Scientists now use the term subtle energy, which the likes of Gandhi & King firmly believed in: we recently heard that wonderful talk of Gandhi’s about “living power.”  Thay is now 91, and about to visit his home village near Hue.  All this is interesting in the light of recent events in S. Korea, where Buddhists are in fact getting “engaged.”  Until recently the only activists in S. Korea were Christian. +  Move to Amend conference call, fourth Wednesday of every month at 5PM PT / 8 PM ET, at their Facebook page.  “Join our national director Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap and national board member Laura Bonham in this interactive monthly report on what’s happening with the Campaign to Legalize Democracy and all things Move to Amend.” + If you feel stuck putting your money in Big Banks like Wells Fargo or Wall Street investment funds, you should know about an alternative option which supports good causes: Aspiration.  “We created Aspiration because everyone deserves a financial firm that brings you fairness, great […]

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Learning Nonviolence: Newsletter

Recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia—and many other events before and since the 2016 elections in the US—make it clear that creating a culture of nonviolence requires learning the knowledge, skills, and practices that support it. That learning can happen right now, in two key areas of daily life: our schools and our homes. The Educators section on our website and this latest newsletter offer some great resources for educators and parents. Read the August 23, 2017 newsletter. Get the Metta Center’s newsletter. Access the newsletter archives.

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Nonviolent Action in Charlottesville – Podcast

Reporting on Charlottesville from the angle of nonviolence, Michael and Stephanie weave a story from the ground that you won’t find on your average political and media outlets. First, David Potter from Sojourners, a media group that “articulates the biblical call to justice,” recalls his experience as he followed a clergy group that demonstrated against racism at the recent “Unite the Right” demonstration in Charlottesville. Then Michael and Stephanie weigh in on nonviolence in Charlottesville, and a caller asks, “Is it ever okay to punch a Nazi?” Finally, Sheri Wander of Meta Peace Team tells stories from the group’s experience with White Supremacists in Charlottesville and beyond. After the discussions, Michael updates us on news from around the country and world – the kind you’re not gonna find in the mainstream media – in Nonviolence in the News. Click here to read more about the articles and resources referenced in Nonviolence in the News.   If you have trouble with the podcast player at top click here to download.

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Should I go to the Neo-Nazi Rally to Fight Back?

(Image: members of white-supremacist groups are met by counter-protestors in C’ville) When we hear that the Neo-Nazi movement is coming to our town, most of us naturally feel called—or pushed– to some kind of action. But not every action is going to be effective, especially if we are walking into a situation where the level of dehumanization is extreme—where people are prepared to harm or kill others. How then can we draw from the power of nonviolence in a situation of escalating violence? First, we have to understand that nonviolence is strategic, principled, and revolutionary. It answers to the violence around us by offering, in a disciplined manner, its opposite. Nonviolence is by no means passivity. It is not inaction. And, we would include, it should not be shortsighted, reactive action.  When using this power we should know what we are taking on and be prepared for encountering hatred without the fear of being overcome by it.  Remember, the power of nonviolence comes from not opposing the real well being of anyone, even – or especially – when we have to oppose their actions. When we choose to go against our “fight or flight” response, we can find creative, nonviolent ways for responding to “Unite the Right” rallies that do not escalate violent tensions with more violence–whether defensive or offensive.  The real answer to violence is not counter-violence, however strongly we’ve been conditioned to believe that, but the demonstration of a counter-force.  Human nature is such that even though we may not see the effects of such a demonstration in the short term, it always works under the surface to change the hearts and minds of our opponents – even those deeply conditioned by hate (and feeling deeply inadequate, though they themselves may not be conscious of it). Here, then, are some of the things we can do. When a hate group is coming to town, instead of directly confronting them and falling into the trap of chaos they want to create, instead of providing them the publicity that blows their importance out of proportion, we can engage in other activities and get the media pointed at those, such as a pro-peace concert or dance contest at the same time as their meeting.  Or failing such an alternative, just plain ignore them – the way the good people of Montgomery just ignored a normally terrifying Klan ride in 1958. It shows that we are reclaiming our spaces with humanity and safety while acting together as a mature, loving community.   Another creative solution that can deflate the vehemence of a hate rally is to gather the community to donate money to a group like the Southern Poverty Law Center for every square foot covered by the hate group. Turn their gatherings turn into nonviolent, anti-fascist, pro-peace fundraisers.   In all this, though, it’s important to not unthinkingly imitate past sensational nonviolent actions or tactics. Each situation is different, and we need to explore what is at stake and plan for […]

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Nonviolence in the News, August 4th.

Resources. Important article in Waging Nonviolence: “A Manual for a New Era of Direct Action,” by George Lakey July 28, 2017.  50 years on from his manual with Daniel Hunter!  We do have some continuity!  Why is this article so great? Every paragraph links to specific resources.  May be indispensable for newer activists. Here are some main points: NAME THIS POLITICAL MOMENT. Clarify with your co-initiators specifically why you’ve chosen to build a direct action campaign. Assemble the core members of your campaigning group BE AWARE OF THE NEED FOR A LARGER VISION Choose your issue. Double-check to see if this issue is really viable. Analyze the target carefully Track your key allies, opponents and “neutrals.” As your campaign implements its series of actions, make strategic choices that move you forward. Training and leadership development can make your campaign more effective YOUR ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE matters for your short-run success and for the movement’s wider goals. THE BIG PICTURE will continue to influence your chances for success.   +  Right round here GREETINGS FROM THE OCCUPY SONOMA COUNTY EARTH ACTION CAMPAIGN: Earth Action Campaign Listserv. This list is used for sharing climate change, climate justice, GMOs, toxic chemicals, Earth-related news and Earth Action Campaign information.   + Optimism Over Despair: Noam Chomsky On Capitalism, Empire, and Social Change. This anthology from Truthout and Haymarket Books collects wide-ranging interviews by C. J. Polychroniou with arguably the world’s most well-known critic of US policy.  (free with donation to Truthout) EXCERPT now on Truthout.   + ICNC’s “Minds of the Movement” blog is particularly rich this week, with articles on the 2014 Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, an article on the importance of media coverage by Deborah Mattis, co-editor of Minnds, others from Papua New Guinea, India, and the U.S.  I would particularly draw your attention to Jack Duvall, “Why Violence Undermines Protest.”  Jack writes: “Every nonviolent movement is a commitment to living in freedom and justice, once power is shared fairly by everyone. Violent action sabotages that commitment, because turmoil in the streets will be quelled by repression.”  Well, more than that: it creates incoherence of means/ends. And on Hong Kong’s “umbrella revolution,” Johnson Ching-Yin Yeung, an organizer (and fellowship recipient from ICNC) writes: “… in a fast-paced society, people get used to harvesting fruits from a one-off investment. When mobilizing people, organizers love to frame the mobilization as “This is our last stand!” or as an endgame. The framing raises both organizers’ and protesters’ expectations, and produces more desperation when they encounter setbacks. The reality is that one contention of nonviolent struggle doesn’t always yield an overall success; it often takes 10 times more escalations and contentions to achieve a goal.”  Yet another example of how modern culture weighs against nonviolence, in a way we often neglect: “undue haste” vs. sumud.   + “Goodbye to the NFL and Cognitive Dissonance” by David Niose (legal director of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, immediate past president of the American Humanist Association, and author of Fighting Back the […]

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