Author: Soneile Hymn

Combatants for Peace – A Reason for Hope

A Reason for Hope: There is Another Way! COMBATANTS FOR PEACE SPEAKING TOUR with Israeli Steering Committee member Galia Galili Palestinian Coordinator Mohamed Owedah plus clips from the film “Disturbing the Peace” November 8, 7-8:30 p.m. B’nai Israel Jewish Center 740 Western Avenue, Petaluma In 2006, Israeli and Palestinian former combatants, people who had taken an active role in the conflict, laid down their weapons and established Combatants for Peace. The egalitarian, bi-national, grassroots organization was founded on the belief that the cycle of violence can only be broken when Israelis and Palestinians join forces. Combatants for Peace is the only organization, worldwide, in which former fighters on both sides of an active conflict have laid down their weapons, choosing to work together for peace and justice. Co-sponsors: Metta Center for Nonviolence B’nai Israel Jewish Center Combatants for Peace J-Street  

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Nonviolence in the News – October 16, 2017

Listen to Nonviolence in the News, recorded October 16th, 2017. You can also use the controls at the bottom of the page to listen in. If you are looking for nonviolence radio, click here.   “I refuse to accept the journalistic cliche of ‘meaningless violence’. I refuse to believe that there are no answers to the cheapening of life and the rise of violence against it. If we have no answers to such a basic matter as why we can’t live in peace with one another, often can’t go on living at all, maybe we’re asking the wrong questions.” ~Michael Nagler, The Search for a Nonviolent Future.   Resources. With an emphasis on “Leadership”, Resistance School just launched its first session for the year with well-known activist Marshall Ganz, a veteran of the United Farm Workers Movement and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Professor Ganz spoke about Public Narrative, commonly described as framing, enables the empathetic experience to link leaders with participants, participants with each other, and both with broader public values at stake. Their motto: “Practical skills to reclaim, rebuild and reimagine America.” I would have put “reimagine” first, but otherwise this is superb. Meanwhile, here in the West, Resistance School @ Berkeley is taking shape: This semester will focus on effective communications. The first session, Transforming Resistance into a Social Movement, goes live via Facebook on Thursday, October 5 at 3pm PT/6pm ET and will feature renowned organizer Saru Jayaraman, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United) and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. The lesson dives into the goals, activities, and skills that organizers should consider in growing their individual organizing efforts into cross-community social movement for lasting social and political change. Other trainings they will mount this semester include: Cross-Cutting Messaging in a Tough Political Environment with Robert Reich, Former Secretary of Labor and Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley (Thursday, October 19 at 3pm PT/6pm ET) Shifting Public Opinion Through Strategic Messaging and Metaphors with Anat Shenker-Osorio, Principle of ASO Communications (Thursday, November 2 at 3pm PT/6pm ET). Communicating About Race in Politics and Organizing with Ian Haney López: Earl Warren Professor of Public Law at the University of California, Berkeley (Thursday, November 16 at 3pm PT/6pm ET). … and for more on communication, you might take a look at Sightline. They will send you ‘flash cards’ with elevator-like arguments from their latest research on the closely related issues of climate and democracy, and I think also with research into communication strategies.   A good film, among the many coming out: Awake, A Dream From Standing Rock Or How To Let Go Of The World And Love All The Things Climate Can’t Change. Check Netflix and HBO to watch it.   From the venerable journal Acorn, “Philosophica Studies in Pacifism and Nonviolence,” is now online as well as print; for the philosophically minded. It was founded by members of […]

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Nonviolence in the News – September 29, 2017

This weeks round-up of nonviolence news, events, resources, and jobs! Jobs/Fellowships: Internships for the study of Civil Resistance:  The International Center for Nonviolent Conflict is seeking authors of case studies of civil resistance and peacebuilding. There is a $2000 stipend if you’re selected to write for them. Applications due October 4th. Possible cases might include South Africa, Philippines, Columbia, Liberia, Nepal, East Timor, Egypt, Tunisia, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Burkina Faso, and more. If you are an expert in one of these places, or you know someone who is, please look into this opportunity to work with this great foundation!   Resources: A board game for organizing nonviolent movements “In Rise Up, your movement takes creative actions to fight for victory. As you strategize, you’ll shape the story of your movement—whether it’s stopping an oil pipeline, fighting for dragon rights, or anything else you’re passionate about. But “the System” is hard at work too, maneuvering to crush your movement through tactics like setting up surveillance, making arrests, or causing infighting. Only by working together can you win enough victories to beat the System. Everyone wins or loses together.” Resistance Guide by Paul Engler and Sophie Lasoff Social movements of the past can teach us how to shape the future. Resistance Guide will equip you with the essential strategies to shift public opinion, change laws and decisions, and elect new leaders. This is a handbook for anyone who wants to understand what makes movements succeed, and how we can use this knowledge to fight for a better America.   Peace Science Digest: How Do Violent Flanks Affect the Outcomes of Nonviolent Campaigns? Their talking points: There is no significant statistical relationship between the presence of violent flanks and either nonviolent campaign success or failure, the result of violent flanks having both negative and positive effects that cancel each other out when taken together. Violent flanks that emerge from within otherwise nonviolent campaigns appear to decrease these campaigns’ likelihood of success. Mass participation is the strongest determinant of nonviolent campaign success, and violent flanks have a negative effect on participation levels, suggesting that violent flanks can indirectly contribute to campaign failure. In case studies, armed movements were consistently shown not to protect nonviolent activists but rather to put them at greater risk, as authorities used the presence of armed actors to justify widespread repression against all resistance movements, violent and nonviolent alike. Research shows that, “on average, maximalist nonviolent campaigns often succeed despite violent flanks—rarely because of them.” Jesus and Nonviolence Richard Rohr of Center for Contemplation and Action (CAC) is always inspiring, and recently has posted several daily messages about Jesus and nonviolence, as well as nonviolence itself. Highly recommended for those of us of the spiritual or ‘principled’ persuasion. Resistance School We’re excited to let you know that Resistance School is Back in Session! Check out Semester Two … We’re also thrilled to announce that we now have a second campus: Resistance School at Berkeley. Sign up and be sure to follow […]

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Petaluma Training: Restorative Justice and Nonviolence

Are you interested in helping create a more compassionate and connected community? Would like like specific training to help you engage in conflict with positive outcomes? Are you worried about crime, bigotry, and/or bullying in our community and want to do something about it? The Metta Center, a Petaluma Nonprofit,  is partnering with Restorative Resources to host a workshop exploring the foundations and tools of restorative justice and  nonviolence. Todd Harper, the training manager at Restorative Resources for secondary schools, and Stephanie Van Hook, the Executive Director of Metta Center for Nonviolence, will lead this workshop, which will present community members with the tools they need to engage in conflict constructively and compassionately; in schools, families, the justice system, and more.  Location: Metta Center Office, 202 Keller Street Suite 205D, Petaluma Time: Saturday, October 7th from 10-1pm Cost: $20-40, sliding scale. Please RSVP here.  Email with any questions or if you need financial assistance. Learning these tools of conflict resolution, community building, and justice can go a long way in our work towards a more connected and compassionate world.   

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The Community in the Forest

I spent last week visiting friends who live on a mountain in Northern California. Two years ago a massive forest fire tore through the community, burning 9 out of 10 homes. While the black skeletons of singed trees still dot the landscape, the forest’s regenerative energy fills every niche.  What I have seen is not a collection of individual trees and shrubs struggling to claim their spot in a barren land, but a forest community in regeneration. This intense regenerative energy has been so pervasive, that the garden, planted just 7 weeks ago, has exploded into magnanimous proportions I’ve never seen before. Already, gourds hang like ornaments from the fence, tomato plants reach five feet, and the prolific zucchinis are being shared with friends. Mullein, a “weed” my friends have never seen on their land – whose seeds can lie dormant in the soil for over 100 years – has become a common sight. The plant breaks up the dry, exposed soil, its large taproot mining deep for minerals and nutrients to feed the carpet of orphaned baby trees at the surface. Mullein’s tall seed heads, which protrude 2 to 8 feet into the air (above any snowpack) and produce 100,000-180,000 seeds, sustain wintering birds who have lost their sources of the pine nuts and other avian fare. After 2 years this biennial dies, leaving a pathway full of mineral rich, organic matter within the soil, and its large decomposing leaves create a layer of rich mulch at the surface. As an “early succession” plant, once Mullein’s job is done and the soil improved, it leaves. Mullein’s medicinal gift to humans and other animals? It repairs and cleans the lungs, useful for damage after a fire. It helps us breathe. As the forest community regenerates, Mullein has taken its rightful place as a working part of the infinite diversity that creates the abundance of nature. Nonviolence, what Gandhi has called the “supreme law for human beings,” is about knowing what our purpose is and about working with the laws of Nature; taking our rightful places and becoming our true selves. *** Imagine if all our human systems –economics, education, politics, agriculture, etc.- were as regenerative and life-giving as a forest? That would be the ultimate biomimicry! Last Friday, on Nonviolence Radio, Stephanie and Michael spoke with permaculturist Matt Powers, discussing how we can move in this direction in their discussion on Permaculture and Nonviolence. Check it out here! 

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Nonviolence in the News: July 21st, 2017

Transcript and links to items covered in the Nonviolence in the News segment of Nonviolence Radio, aired July 21st, 2017. Goose Fest News    PAYING RESPECTS (in Memoriam): Liu Xiaobo, who kept vigil on Tiananmen Square in 1989 to protect the (mainly student) protesters from oncoming soldiers, promoted a pro-democracy charter that brought him an 11-year prison sentence and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize of 2010 while locked away, died on Thursday. He was 61.  It was because of the Tienanmen tragedy that I have dedicated my life to spreading information and understanding about nonviolence.  That tragedy was preventable, and we saw that, but we had no way to reach the students at that time.   Resources. Three news sources: The allows you to select topic and type of resource. ‘Toolkit for journalists’ is one such resource, fair amt. on messaging. Their main focus is on racial issues. Especially for and about women: WINGS: Women’s International News Gathering Service is celebrating its 25th year!  The have by now an extensive archive (which I haven’t checked for nonviolence content; if you do. let me know what you think.) Last year I cited Peace Science Digest, a product of the War Prevention Initiative.  Available online and in print; excellent selection of articles and format: each article ends with “Contemporary Relevance” and useful “Talking Points” to take away.  So now from WNV/Peace Science Digest: “How movements can succeed in the face of government repression” by Molly Wallace.  This is basically a review of “trends in nonviolent resistance and state response,” in Global Responsibility to Protect, Erica Chenoweth suggests that part of the answer lies in target governments becoming increasingly savvy in their responses to nonviolent movements, now that such movements are recognized to pose a real threat to their power. In light of this possibility, how can nonviolent resistance persist and succeed in repressive contexts?  Particularly clever governments have been particularly quick to recognize the ‘danger’ to them (i.e. their self-perceived interests) of nonviolent movements.  Case in point: in 1990’s the Israeli govt. deported our friend Mubarak Awak, who founded the Palestinian Center for Nonviolence (and was a major actor in the first Intifada) but left alone Sheik Yassin, whom they knew was masterminding suicide bombings. (Commentary) On the July 7th nuclear weapons ban, that will be open for states to sign on Sept. 20th and that becomes international law after 60 nations sign, I was discussing all this last weekend in NC when one questioner led to the thought that “sometimes the good is the enemy of the best.”  Is a nuclear ban, assuming we can achieve it, a step toward the abolition of war or a facilitation of war, making it more ‘thinkable’? Augustine: “Peace is the longing, nay the cry of every soul.” For a point-for point roadmap of what lies ahead, see Zia Mian’s article in the latest Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: Mian writes: “In a potentially powerful obligation, the ban requires the states that sign up […]

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Nonviolence News – July 7th, 2017

In the last episode of NONVIOLENCE in the News I cited three very hopeful trends developing partly (at least) in response to the vacuum at the top: 1) Devolution of decision making down to state and community levels – where it belonged in the first place!, 2) A political awakening among progressive religious groups  (Sarah’s interview we just heard is a superb example), and 3) “culture jamming” by the group “Subvertising.” Since then ‘devolution’ has become a knock-down, drag out fight between “conservative” states and liberal cities.  A locus to watch in the coming months. OK… on to our standard ‘trifecta’ of resources, news, and events. 1.Resources. Because there is far too much to cover in a half-hour segment may I once again direct your attention to Nonviolent Conflict News (, which “aims to be a dedicated, reliable source of international media coverage on civil resistance.” While single protests generally draw the attention of most media outlets, NVCNews aims to go beyond this, providing a window into in-depth analysis of civil resistance movements, their dynamics, and the full range of nonviolent tactics that they use. NVCNews aggregates news stories from a wide range of independent and conventional media outlets. Each story is accompanied by a summary drawn from its original text, prepared and edited by the site editors, that highlights the story’s relevance to the dynamics of civil resistance, to a specific movement or campaign, or to the larger context of such events.”  It will be interesting to compare their analyses with ours. +From Vimala Thakar (in Awaken Weekly, a feature of comes “The force of love is the force of total revolution.”  If you agree with me that this is a great title, give it a listen. + FILM(s): “The Women’s March” is a documentary covering the Jan. 21 nationwide march, called the “largest one-day demonstration in US history,” with screenings listed on Eventbrite.  Of course, the limitations of one-off demonstrations and protests are becoming clear. Another forthcoming film is on the New Story, with Charles Eisenstein, Vandana Shiva, and many others: “The End Of Normal.” + BOOK (& interview) Naomi Klein has written an important book: No is not enough! And there is a great interview w/ herself and Michelle Alexander in TruthOut. Stephanie? Stephanie Van Hook: Yes, my problem with this and many other discussions today is that while they’re calling for strategy they don’t actually propose one: they give platforms, wish-lists, no concrete plans.  I also see a danger that these two, or others, might be “Sanderized:” made into leaders that are supposed to do it for us. 2.News. It’s JULY 7th! And again our loyal listeners will know that this is the day on which the UN Disarmament Commission was to – and did! – adopt the treaty that calls for, and is hopefully a key step toward, a complete ban on nuclear weapons.  “Today, 72 years after their invention, states at the United Nations formally adopted a treaty which categorically prohibits nuclear weapons. With 122 votes […]

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The Science of Nonviolence – podcast

Dr. Elisabet Sahtouris, evolution biologist and futurist, joins us on Nonviolence Radio this week, where we take a scientific perspective of nonviolence in honor of the recent March for Science. Sahtouris is also an author and speaker and discusses many aspects of biology, history, evolution and science, including why the cooperative aspects of evolution as far more important than the competitive aspects and how we can live together as social beings in a new globalized culture.  In the second half of the show, Michael weighs in on the science of nonviolence, then serves up a streaming hot edition of Nonviolence in the News. If you have trouble with the player click here to download. 

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New Story + Nonviolence = Victory – podcast

This week on Nonviolence Radio, Michael and Stephanie reveal the math equation that will transform our society by building the new paradigm: NV + NS = V. Nonviolence plus New Story equals Victory. Learn about the effects of nonviolence and violence on the human body and psyche. How do we shift the image of the human being and ground ourselves in the new story? All this, as well as Nonviolence in the News, right here on Nonviolence Radio. Tune in!  If you have trouble with the player click here to download. 

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The Week in Nonviolence

I interrupt my usual sequence (resources, news, events) with a PSA:  Metta is hosting two events this coming week: the talk by impressive Palestinian activist on Tuesday, Feb. 22 and the strategy discussion cum fundraiser at Aqus Café the following evening. OK, back to schedule. Resources. To start with a bit of human interest: Arthur Harvey, the blueberry farmer of Canton, ME, who stocks a wide collection of books by and about Gandhi is still in business (both, blueberries and books).  I have sent many seekers his way over the years.  Happy to add that Arthur has led a successful fight for organic standards. Here’s something we can all use today:  a guide to reliable news! There are so many calls to action we cannot list them all here, but Pace e Bene is keeping track of them.  Remember also the Nonviolence Training Hub. News. Last week at UC, Berkeley “antifas” (anti-fascist activists) used disruptive tactics like breaking windows and launching fireworks at the police to shut down an impending talk by the extreme right agitator, Milo Yiannapoulos, raising many questions about free speech and “diversity of tactics.”  See my blog about it here, but I want to quote the words of one of them (who wishes to remain nameless): “We get a lot of heat for physical confrontation but that’s the sort of language that is spoken by neo-Nazis,” he said. “That’s the only thing they understand.”  The part I italicized is said by every actor down the ages to justify his/their use of violence.  Hitler, in Mein Kampf, warned that Gandhi would never succeed (!) because ‘we Germans have learned to our cost that the British understand nothing but force.’  There is no human being who cannot be reached by nonviolence; that is basic to our vision. The People’s Climate Mobilization or People’s Climate Movement is organizing a country-wide arc of action, culminating on April 29th in Washington DC.  From the Austin, TX webpage: “We will put hundreds of thousands of people in the streets to oppose Trump’s fossil fuel agenda and show that there’s massive momentum behind a 100% clean energy economy that works for all.” These are tense times at Standing Rock.  As expected, the new President, himself invested in big oil and a denier of climate change (more in a second), moved swiftly to authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to drop their environmental impact study and Energy Transfer, Inc. to proceed with the final hookup of the pipeline.  Tribal elders have called on remaining protectors to leave the area and switch to legal battles – a fair example, I guess, of going over to Constructive Program when satyagraha is not a good option. Yet others vow “every day a day of action” and still others claim that built or not built, oil will never flow through that pipeline.  Nonviolent Peaceforce has, I think, built up its team of twelve and we await reports as things continue to unfold. The present crisis has called forth […]

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