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Nonviolent Direct Action

Nonviolent Direct Action

Strategic nonviolence is a rich tradition within social change movements, generating theoretical exploration, research, different group formations and tactical innovation. In this topic you’ll find case studies, manuals, inspiring quotes, training materials, and practical how-to-guides.

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TED talk: Fighting with nonviolence

Peace activist Scilla Elworthy maps out the skills we need – as nations and individuals – to fight extreme force without using force in return.

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TED talk: Courage is contagious

The “Whose Streets?” documentary tells the story of the protests from the perspective of the activists who showed up to challenge those who use power to spread fear & hate.

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TED talk: How the US government spies on people who protest – including you

What’s stopping the American government from recording your phone calls, reading your emails and monitoring your location? Very little, says surveillance and cybersecurity counsel Jennifer Granick. The government collects all kinds of information about you easily, cheaply and without a warrant — and if you’ve ever participated in a protest or attended a gun show, you’re likely a person of interest. Learn more about your rights, your risks and how to protect yourself in the golden age of surveillance.

Large group blocking intersection near Federation Square and Flinders Street Station in Melbourne.

Media Checklist for Actions

A thorough checklist to help you prepare for traditional and social media in the lead up to an action, including some considerations for non-violent direct actions. Download as a handy printable pdf from the box at the bottom of this page.

Smiling archers carry cut out letters spelling peace.

A collection of nonviolence quotes

A collection of quotes to be used as part of training on strategic nonviolence and nonviolent direct action. The sixty quotes are chosen deliberately to represent a diversity of opinion in regard to nonviolence. Perspectives from women and men, from Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Buddhist perspectives are included as well as activists from the global south.

Cover of Gene Sharp's 'The Politics of Nonviolent Action: Part Two The Methods of Nonviolent Action'

198 Methods of Nonviolent Action

Stuck in a rut when it comes to campaign tactics? Explore Gene Sharp’s 198 methods of nonviolent action which are classified into three categories: nonviolent protest and persuasion, noncooperation (social, economic, and political), and nonviolent intervention.

Front cover of Pt'Chang's Nonviolence Training Project Trainers' Resource Manual

Nonviolence Trainer’s Resource Manual

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. 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.

Cover of the Pt'chang Nonviolent Community Safety and Peacebuilding Handbook

Nonviolent Community Safety and Peacebuilding Handbook

This handbook is a handy and unique resource for activists and community workers engaged in work for peace at a community level throughout Australia. It includes practical ways to intervene in violence, to transform conflict and to build peace.

A group of police officers stand side by side, surrounded by seated activists with arms interlinked.

A Resource for Activists Working Through Trauma

We need to talk about how we both prepare ourselves for, and support each other through our responses to stress and trauma, whether it be from police brutality, another institutional force, or from conflict within our own communities.

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ChangeMakers 1.4: When Anger Works Part 1

The story of the powerful #FeesMustFall student movement in South Africa. When a growing movement of young people places itself in harms way to stop injustice, it can be powerful and unpredictable.

Cover of Iain McIntyre's 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: The AIDEX '91 Story'.

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life: The AIDEX ’91 Story

In 1991 over 1000 protesters blockaded the National Exhibition Centre in Canberra with the goal of shutting down the Australia International Defence Exhibition. This book includes a detailed account of the blockade, the context of the growth of the Australian arms industry, and the words of the protesters themselves.

Black and white photograph of a group of men marching with arms interlinked. Banner reads 'Support BLF Green Bans'.

Green Bans

In the 1970s Sydney builders labourers refused to work on projects that were environmentally or socially undesirable. This green bans movement, as it became known, was the first of its type in the world.

Black and white photograph of four protestors standing in front of Old Parliament House. Placards read 'Land Ownership Not Lease', 'Land Rights or Else!', 'Why Pay to Use Our Own Land', 'Which Do You Choose: Land Rights or Bloodshed?'. 'Legally This is Our Land. We Shall Take It If Need Be'.

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy was established in 1972 when the Coalition Government failed to recognise the land rights of Indigenous people. From its inception, the Embassy has been interwoven into Canberra’s physical and political landscape, blending black politics, symbolism and theatre that opponents have found difficult to counter.

Black and white photograph of protestors standing next to bus.

The Freedom Ride

The Freedom Ride through western New South Wales towns in February 1965 drew attention to the racism in these towns. Aboriginal student Charles Perkins was, by the end of the journey, a national figure in the fight for Aboriginal rights.

Camp Walmadan Booklet

The struggle to protect James Price Point was a multi-faceted, organic campaign, fuelled by creativity, ingenuity and a fierce sense of independence and justice. The Camp Walmadan booklet gives an insight into a recent successful community campaign. It also provides a great overview of the kinds of issues to consider when organising a large scale direct action convergence.

A group of smiling protestors under a tarp shelter. A banner reads 'Coal Out, Renewables In'.

Beginners guide to a blockade camp

Many successful campaigns have based their direct action from blockade camps and include the wins against the damming of the Franklin river, stopping the Jabiluka uranium mine, and the proposed gas hub at Walmadan/James Price Point. It can be a scary thing, heading to a blockade camp for the first time. Here are some tips to get you started.