This manual was produced by Pt’chang in 2005 as part of The Nonviolence Training Project. Pt’chang was an Australian Nonviolent Community Safety Group which conducted a wide range of dynamic and creative violence-prevention, peace-building and community safety initiatives. Although no longer active Pt’chang has left a valuable legacy both through people they trained and materials such as this.
Excerpts from this handbook are also included as separate articles on the Commons. The full manual can be downloaded from the box at the bottom of this page.
Nonviolence is a very powerful weapon. Most people don’t understand the power of nonviolence and tend to be amazed by the whole idea. Those who have been involved in bringing about change and see the difference between violence and nonviolence are firmly committed to a lifetime of nonviolence, not because it is easy or because it is cowardly, but because it is an effective and very powerful way.
Welcome to the Nonviolence Training Project’s Trainers’ Resource Manual!
In different times and places, people struggling against injustice have referred to their particular method as people power (Phillipines), satyagraha (India), positive action (Ghana) and political defiance (Burma).Throughout history, movements such as these have challenged and deposed dictators,stopped armies, undermined corporations, established basic human rights and halted entire industries, all without the use of violence. The overall strategy and the hundreds of practical techniques that these people’s movements have used to win against seemingly overwhelming odds are sometimes referred to as nonviolence.
In the Australia-Pacific region, nonviolence has a long association with the movements for environmental protection, nuclear disarmament and international solidarity. Nonviolent tactics including strikes, boycotts, marches, sit-ins and blockades have played a central role in movements for the rights of women, workers and indigenous people.
As the history of popular struggle against injustice shows us, there here is nothing passive about nonviolence. Its use frequently involves bravery, courage and personal strength, yet its global history and widespread application indicates that it is within the reach of even the most marginalised people as a tool for change. In the words of Australia nonviolence scholar Robert Burrowes, nonviolence is the politics of ordinary people.
One of the advantages of nonviolence is that, because it they doesn’t depend on physical strength or weapons, it can be used by almost anyone: women and men, old people and young people. Its power doesn’t come from access to external resources, but from human qualities available to all people: courage, creativity, self-discipline, co-operation, conviction, compassion.When these qualities are combined with a common understanding of the political dynamics that enable nonviolence to succeed, dramatic social change occur with surprising speed.
While it is a method for change accessible to all, to succeed, nonviolence requires organisation, discipline, persistence in the face of repression and strategic application. Whether oriented towards reform or radical change, these skills can be learned and systematically applied. Since at least the middle of last century, nonviolent movements in different parts of the world have used a variety of methods to share knowledge about nonviolence. In many countries, various forms of nonviolence training have played an increasingly critical role in equipping social movements with the skills and knowledge to wage effective nonviolent struggle.
This manual aims to contribute to the body of practical on nonviolence training, and support the work of people working to increase the power and effectiveness of grassroots social movements.
Project Worker – Nonviolence Training Project
How to use this manual 15
Nonviolence training: a brief history 19
Empowered Learning 29
Training skills overview 39
Defining nonviolence 49
- Nonviolence Photos 51
- Nonviolence quotes 53
- Violence/nonviolence brainstorm 65
- Nonviolence spectrum 67
- Nonviolence Sociogram 69
- Three spheres of political action 73
- Nonviolence matrix 75
- Two, four, eight exercise 78
Power and conflict 80
- Chair power 82
- Consent theory of power 84
- The Mattress Game (Pillars of oppression) 87
- Using power: brainstorm and tableaus 89
- Tug o war 91
- Us and them 93
Learning from other movements 95
- Nonviolence Timeline 96
- Case study analysis 98
- 198 methods of nonviolence exercise 100
Strategic frameworks 103
- The spectrum of allies 106
- Power mapping 108
- Strategy in an hour! 110
- People-sized strategy board game 112
- Village exercise 114
Nonviolence and communication 117
- To feed back or not to feed back? 119
- Active listening role play 121
- Four exercises for active listening 123
- Passive – aggressive – assertive 127
Working in groups 129
- Task and maintenance: what makes groups work? 130
- Ankle walk 132
- Mingle: a flexible experiential activity 133
- Fishbowls and other exercises for observing group dynamics 135
- Quick decisions 137
- More quick decision scenarios 139
Preparing for nonviolent resistance 141
- Dealing with fear 142
- Elephant game 144
- Trapped and chasies 149
- Identifying triggers 152
- Confidence in the face of violence series 154
- Voice control 157
- Body Language 159
- Tips for dealing with anger and violence 160
- Sack of potatoes 162
- Non-technical blockade techniques 166
- How to lead roleplays 169
- How to lead roleplays: part II 172
Appendix 1: Games for groups 177
Appendix 2: Case studies 183
- Moved by love, never driven by intimidation 184
- The Freedom Ride – Challenging The Colour Bar 187
- The Vietnam War 191
- A Nation Within a Nation 195
- Green Bans 199
Appendix 3: Sample agendas 203
Appendix 4: GNU Free Documentation License 211