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Campaign Nonviolence is a new, long-term movement to mainstream active nonviolence –making nonviolence an obvious and natural way of living and of fostering a world that works for all.

How? By studying the principles and methods of nonviolence. By sharing the stories of nonviolence. By striving to live nonviolence. By building the means of nonviolence. And by taking nonviolence public: in our neighborhoods, schools, religious communities, organizations, cities, and societies.

Campaign Nonviolence – Join Today!

1cnvCampaign Nonviolence invites all of us to:
  • Practice active nonviolence toward ourselves, toward all others, and toward the world.
  • Join people everywhere in building and nurturing a culture of active nonviolence.
  • Take nonviolent action together.
  • In Campaign Nonviolence’s first year, we will take public action for a more nonviolent world September 210-27, 2014 in Washington, DC and in cities across the US and beyond.  Launched on the International Day of Peace, Campaign Nonviolence Week 2014 wiill call for concrete policy shifts toward reversing the climate crisis, ending poverty and abolishing war, with an initial focus on banning military drones.

Beyond 2014 Campaign Nonviolence will continue to build this people power movement for peace, economic justice, healing the planet, and for the well-being of all.

Campaign Nonviolence – Join Today!

Campaign Nonviolence Update:

Campaign Nonviolence (CNV) is moving swiftly ahead now.  Our first CNV state and local promoters conference call will be happening this coming ThurdayJanuary 9th.  These promoters will work with us to help organize CNV groups and build this movement throughout the United States and beyond.  If you are interested in becoming a CNV Promoter in your region and would like to join us on the call, RSVP here.  We are working on a full listing of CNV Promoters by state on our website and will post that soon.

Campaign Nonviolence Florida reports that it is organizing a full schedule of activities across the state this year.  This will include using our Engage book in a CNV study group from January through April.  Along with that they are sponsoring a Day Without Hate event on April 15 and have invited Pace e Bene’s Kit Evans to speak at local schools.  See their full plan here!

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire, and Civil Rights leader Vincent Harding have endorsed Campaign Nonviolence. Join them in building this long-term movement for active nonviolence connecting the dots between war, poverty, and the environmental crisis. Here are ways to get involved!

  •  Form a Campaign Nonviolence study group
  • Hear John Dear and Kit Evans on their national speaking tours
  • Read John Dear’s new book, The Nonviolent Life
  • Get nonviolent action training
  • Spread nonviolence education
  • Spread the pledge!
  • Become a local or state CNV Promoter
  • Do social media
  • Form CNV coalitions
  • Ask organizations to endorse
  • Like CNV on
  • Practice nonviolence in your life and community
  • Form affinity groups
  • Host action training
  • Create a local nonviolent action in September!

Campaign Nonviolence has been initiated by Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service. Endorsers include: Global Exchange, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Hip Hop Caucus, Peaceworkers, Veterans of Hope, Changemakers Communications, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Franciscan Action Network, Popular Resistance.

Sign the Campaign Nonviolence Pledge!
Explore becoming a Campaign Nonviolence Promoter!
Become an Organizational Endorser!

  • Diana Barahona

    This reeks of something the capitalist class came up with.

  • kevinzeese

    Interesting reaction. If I am reading you correctly it sounds like you are someone who does not understand the power of strategic non-violence.

  • From a Washington Post headline:

    Peaceful protest is much more effective than violence for toppling dictators

    www dot washingtonpost dot com

  • Diana Barahona

    When was The Washington Post ever in favor of overthrowing the capitalist class? Real revolutionaries learn from real revolutions, not bourgeois newspapers.

  • It was a study. Check it out.

    The uprising in Tunisia was effective because it was non-violent. Violent uprising don’t get the backing of the people and they are easily suppressed (violently) by the state.

    Conversely, violent action by the state on peaceful protesters swings support wildly against the state and for the people. At this point, the state’s henchmen (police, military, etc.) generally turn their guns around and join the people.

  • Diana Barahona

    I admit that I don’t see how strategic nonviolence accomplishes anything but reforms, especially when the emphasis is on the nonviolence and not on the actions and what people are trying to accomplish. It seems to elevate the tactic to the level of a goal. But if the goal is, as it should be, the overthrow of the capitalist system, then creating an army of “peace police” only benefits the ruling class. No capitalist class was ever overthrown by anything but an army of workers and peasants.

  • Diana Barahona

    The capitalist class was not overthrown in Tunisia; there was simply a change of governments. The Arab Spring was skillfully managed behind the scenes (some say created) by the United States government to install neoliberal governments of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has a cozy relationship with the CIA. (Read Tony Cartalucci’s Land Destroyer Report and Voltaire Network).

  • Re: “The capitalist class was not overthrown in Tunisia; there was simply a change of governments.”

    A brutal dictator, friendly to the US, was removed from power. Free and fair elections were held. The republic was restored. Things are much better in Tunisia now than before the Revolution. Show me one country that where the people are in complete power? It doesn’t exist.

    Now Tunisia did that while having the lowest gun ownership out of 178 countries surveyed. See, “Number of guns per capita by country” in Wikipedia.

    Re: “The Arab Spring was skillfully managed behind the scenes (some say created) by the United States government to install neoliberal governments of the Muslim Brotherhood…”

    Highly unlikely. The US was very happy with its US friendly dictators and fought to keep them in power. Without a doubt, the US government backed the military takeover of Egypt and the ousting of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

  • Diana Barahona

    Before using terms such as “highly unlikely” and “without a doubt,” you should read something other than The Washington Post. The U.S. helped get the Muslim Brotherhood elected in Egypt. However, when the party was opposed by mass demonstrations and resorted to increasing authoritarianism, it gave the go-ahead to the Egyptian military to replace him with another leader acceptable to the U.S. The U.S. also tried to impose the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, but was defeated by the Syrian army, backed by the Syrian people, with the strategic support of Russia (and Russian weapons).

    “The swift action by Egypt’s military to arrest Mohamed Morsi and key leaders of his Muslim Brotherhood organization on July 3 marks a major setback for Washington’s “Arab Spring” strategy of using political Islam to spread chaos from China through Russia across the energy-rich Middle East.”

    “One year after the secretive Muslim Brotherhood seized power and put their man, Mohammed Morsi in as President and dominated the Parliament, Egypt’s military has moved in, against a backdrop of millions of people on the streets protesting Morsi’s imposition of strict Sharia law and failure to deal with the collapsing economy. The coup was led by Defense Minister and army chief General Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.

    “Significantly, el-Sissi was appointed as a devout Muslim younger general by Morsi last year. He was also trained and well-regarded in Washington by Pentagon leadership. That he leads the coup indicates the depth of the rejection of the Brotherhood inside Egypt.”

    “Washington Islamist strategy in crisis as Morsi toppled”
    by F. William Engdahl

  • Diana Barahona

    To the moderators: Here is what Eva Golinger wrote about USG funding of the Albert Einstein Institution. Note that the source is the AEI’s own reports.

    “Why, for example, was the Department of Defense willing to fund Gene Sharp’s 1960s doctoral dissertation? Why did the neoliberal National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and International Republican Institute (IRI) make donations to the AEI in the past? Why has Sharp himself insisted misleadingly in a letter to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez that “We have received no government funding ever,” knowing full well that the NED and IRI were created by the US government to conceal its covert activities behind a non-governmental façade, and that these very institutions constitute the spearhead of the imperial attack on the Venezuelan Revolution? (Incidentally, in an unpublished email, Zunes himself contradicts Sharp by admitting that these institutions do indeed constitute “government funding.”) Finally, why does the AEI divert attention by arguing that this NED and IRI funding occurred long ago, when the IRI is credited in the organization’s annual reports as sponsoring the AEI’s recent and ongoing efforts in Serbia and Burma?

  • kevinzeese

    There is no doubt that the US government uses nonviolent strategies as one of its tools for toppling government’s they do not like. However, does that make the strategy wrong? Does that mean nonviolence does not work? Or, does that mean it does work? We need to go to lots of sources for information on effective strategy – but the goal is: what is effective?

    Do you think a guerrilla war with the United States would be effective? Terrorist acts against banks? Even the Weather Underground members have admitted it was a mistake taking that route and many commentators on the history of that era see those tactics as critically undermining movements that were being very successful.

  • kevinzeese

    You should read the research and then judge for yourself. The book is “Why Civil Resistance Works” and it examines 100 years of resistance movement, violent and nonviolent. It finds that nonviolent worked better than violent twice as often. It also looks at nonviolent movements that failed and those that succeeded. The key difference seems to be becoming a mass movement rather than a fringe movement. There are other factors as well, e.g. creativity in tactics, having the support of a majority of the population (even though only a small percentage are mobilized). The findings the authors put forward make sense to me, indeed they seem like common sense.

  • kevinzeese

    A dictator was overthrown and the resistance to the power structure continues. Revolutions happen in stages. The Arab Spring in Tunisia and the US are still in progress.

    I agree the US and the military in the region have been very skillful in co-opting and thwarting the movements, but they are not giving up. The story is ongoing.

  • kevinzeese

    I know that Campaign Nonviolence is not corporate funded or government funded. Indeed, they need funding!

    I’ve been a critic of tactics, being too close to the Obama administration for my taste, but I do see grass roots members of pushing more aggressive tactics and pulling the leadership with them. There are many frontline enviro groups doing very aggressive work, but even these avoid violence as a tactic because it only empowers the security state.

  • Thanks.

    “…resistance to the power structure continues. Revolutions happen in stages.”
    So it does!

  • On the lighter side:

  • Diana Barahona

    The USG and corporate foundations create and fund many kinds of “civil society” groups. One group, the Albert Einstein Institution, promotes nonviolence as if it were the only acceptable method of struggle. Since the USG is the most violent, militaristic government in history, you have to ask yourself what it aims to accomplish by funding this group. It may be that it was just a good cover to get money to opposition groups in Venezuela and other targets of destabilization. But I am already visualizing a lot of fanatical adherents of nonviolence actively opposing people who choose to use tactics that are more militant, because these people are going for more than just a photo-opportunity, a concession or even a change of faces.

    I am against fetishizing this tactic because there has never been an anti-capitalist revolution in the United States, and so we have no idea what the most effective method of struggle will be. When you say that nonviolence has worked, I ask what the goal was. How often have union bureaucrats, NGOs and other leaders cut a deal with the adversary and claimed victory? Even the FMLN, which used to be a revolutionary political-military organization, got a CIA asset elected president in 2009 and claimed victory. Based on that, you could say that accepting neoliberalism and devoting all of your energy to electoral politics is a winning strategy. But the truth is the FMLN abandoned the goal it had originally proclaimed when they took up arms, which was a socialist society.

    Incidentally, 350 was a creation of the Rockefeller Brothers intended to channel the energy of the climate movement into lobbying and electoral politics (the Obama campaign) as well as into getting government support for alternative energy ventures that would be profitable for 350’s corporate sponsors. So in light of what the Rockefellers wanted, 350 can claim to be a success.

  • kevinzeese

    Why do you think fighting the biggest military in history, with the most effective weapons, supported by militarized police is a good strategy? Why fight them where they are strongest? It is not a question of fetishizing a strategy, it is being smart about what works. Common sense and history show violence is less effective, especially when the other side has overwhelming force. I look at the changes in Latin America where strategic resistance worked to throw out the oligarchs (Bolivia, Venezuela, Uruguay,…) compared to countries like Colombia where violence failed and strengthened the power structure.

    My goal is to win, and I don’t see a path to winning with violence in the United States. That approach unifies the opposition to the movement with the security state. We need to divide them, not unite them.

    Think of occupy — when it was floundering in the early phase what saved it was police violence against nonviolent resistance. The use of pepper spray on women who were under arrest and doing nothing violent brought us support, and even divided the police. If those women who were pepper sprayed had been throwing apples or batteries at the police, the police would have been supported in their violence. The same was true with the kettling on the Brooklyn Bridge. We grew because of police abuse, if we had been violent we would have lost that moment.

    You just seem to be taking an unthinking position not based on much evidence of success or based in much logic.

  • Ken Butigan

    We stand at a monumental crossroad in human history. At a time of permanent war, growing poverty,threats to civil liberties, ecological devastation, the enduring terror of nuclear weapons, and the scourge of the structural violence of racism, sexism,homophobia, and economic injustice, humanity faces the challenge and opportunity to choose powerful and creative nonviolent alternatives. We can continue to opt for the devastating spiral of violence and injustice, or we can build democratic, multiracial, and nonviolent societies where the dignity of all is respected and the needs of all are met. True peace and long-term human survival depend on this.

    A deeply ingrained conviction is that we have only two fundamental choices for social struggle: violence or passivity. This belief has been reinforced for thousands of years by systems of domination that have not only wielded widespread violence but have devoted enormous energy to establishing
    the violence belief system: that only violence saves, that only violence
    creates justice, that only violence works. Since at least the Babylonian
    empire, this script has been dominant and human beings everywhere have been indoctrinated in it. One must ask why domination systems train us in violence.

    The historical record is increasingly showing us that this is because it
    reinforces these systems. They prefer to contend with violent resistance struggles. Not only does it generally have more might than armed resisters, it uses armed struggle against the resisters psychologically and sociologically.

    And now–as an earlier comment in this thread highlighted–we have proof.
    Chenoweth and Stephan’s “Why Civil Resistance Works” (2011) demonstrates that violent strategies have been half as effective as nonviolent ones in 323 struggles for social change from 1900 to 2006. They offer a series of reasons for this: nonviolent struggles generally solicit greater participation from the populace, they are more likely to weaken and even remove the pillars of support on which these systems are founded, are more likely to make the violence of the system clear, and, when they are successful, are more likely to foster more democratic societies than struggles conducted violently.

    Violence is any physical, verbal, institutional, or structural behavior, attitude, policy or condition that disrespects, dominates, dehumanizes, diminishes, or destroys ourselves, our fellow beings, or our world. We find violence abhorrent when domination systems inflict it. We should also be similarly aghast at the thought of our using this kind of destructiveness in the service of
    justice. But for the longest time we thought there was no other way.

    Now we know there is an alternative. There is another way to struggle. There is another way to abhor injustice and to do something about it. It is what we call active nonviolence.

    Active Nonviolence is a force for transformation, justice, and the well-being of all that is neither violent nor passive. It is transforming power (Alternatives to Violence), cooperative power (Jonathan Schell), the love that does justice (Martin Luther King, Jr.) and love in action (Dorothy Day). It is an active form of resistance to systems of privilege and domination, a philosophy for liberation, an approach to movement building, a tactic of non-cooperation, and a practice we can employ to transform the world (War Resisters League). It challenges the power of and belief in violence and its destructiveness geared toward threatening, dominating, or defeating others. Liberating Nonviolence, by contrast, is a form of unifying power: connecting, compassionate, communicative, and creative.

    It derives its power from what the late writer and activist Barbara Deming called “two hands” that are always in powerful and creative tension: noncooperation with injustice and steadfast regard for the opponent as
    a human being. It thus has the potential of challenging the symmetrical violence of escalation by taking the violence out of one side of the equation. It is a stand for justice and a method for helping to create it. It pursues this goal,
    not with passivity or retaliation, but with the third way of creative engagement and loving and determined resistance.

    If you are interested in going more deeply into this, here are some sources:

    Waging Nonviolence:

    Global Nonviolent Action Database:

    Erica Chenoweth Interview:

    How nonviolent struggle fired the 1%:

    Nonviolence and the Battle of Seattle:

    Nonviolence and Diversity of Tactics:

    If you want to go even deeper, you can watch a videotaped two semester course at the University of California at Berkeley by one of the best thinkers on nonviolence, Michael Nagler:

    Semester 1:
    Semester 2:

    But don’t take our word for it. Go out and experiment with it yourself and
    see if this works. That’s what I have been doing for a few decades. At first I
    acted my way into thinking. But then I discovered that there is a power here
    that systems of domination don ‘t want us to tap. I’ve seen it upend policies of foreign intervention, discrimination against homeless people, and nuclear testing. Now we have the opportunity to build on and expand this power that domination system fear.

  • Wow! Thanks for that wonderful post and associated reading/research.

  • Diana Barahona

    What is your definition of success? What is your goal? To focus on tactics before you have even come to an agreement on this fundamental question is putting the cart before the horse. It is elevating a tactic to a level where the tactic replaces the goal. Nonviolence itself becomes the goal. Read Eva Golinger’s critique carefully.

  • ingamarie

    A very interesting and informative discussion. I would be interested in further interchanges that look at the world we want…..because it seems to me that violent or non-violent, the addiction to capitalism has something to do with its normalization… occupies everything, and while we discuss tactics…..and strategies……..ideologies and other abstractions, we don’t seem to spend much time visualizing, imagining or describing the world we are trying to put in its place. How do we begin constructing a society that is non-oppressive, equalitarian and based on somethingys other than the accumulation of capital, status, stuff? Because if we had different goals, other dreams, than maybe we could journey past all this either-or into a world more satisfying and sustainable.

    I don’t have the answers, but now that I have grandchildren, these are becoming my questions.

  • Diana Barahona

    By “goal,” I actually was not talking about defining the kind of society we want. In the first place, we already know what we want. In the second place, our ability to achieve what we want is going to be drastically limited by conditions that are beyond our control, even in the unlikely event that we were to take power tomorrow.

    What I meant by “goal” is, do we propose to take power, and if so, how are we to accomplish that? Do we want to “topple a brutal dictator”? Obama both has the power of a dictator and is as brutal as they come. He tortures, assassinates, engages in wars of conquest and subjugation, and represses internal dissenters. But just as is the case with the governments mentioned above, overthrowing Obama would just result in his being replaced by another, just as brutal, because the political leaders serve a ruling class. And it is that ruling class–the transnational capitalist class for those who care to know who our masters are–that has to be destroyed before we can ever hope to change society.

    But the purveyors of nonviolence aren’t proposing to “topple a brutal dictator,” much less overturn the system. Instead they are proposing to “call for concrete policy shifts toward reversing the climate crisis, ending poverty and abolishing war, with an initial focus on banning military drones.” In other words, they are not proposing a revolution but merely asking the ruling class to implement some reforms. And by the way, spent about seven years lobbying for action on global warming with zero results.

    One way to interpret this is that they have crafted their goal (reforms) to conform to what their tactic (nonviolent action) is capable of achieving. Put another way, they have set their goals low because they felt that reform was the most that nonviolence could achieve–at least the kind of nonviolent action that they felt comfortable with, since there are forms of nonviolence that put people at risk of severe repression. This is what I mean by making the tactic the goal. The only rational way to achieve change is to first define the goal (overturning the capitalist system) and then to figure out which tactics will be most effective in achieving this.

    Another idea I disagree with is that promoting nonviolent action is going to get the masses out in the streets. There has not yet been sufficient economic instability for people to come out. When you see widespread protests it is always for economic reasons, not because the president is a “brutal dictator.” What I think is going to happen with this campaign is that it is going to bring out activists who believe reform is possible, but not many more. The nationwide protests that organized changed nothing, and there is no more urgent issue than stopping global warming. If they couldn’t get people out for that one, all-important issue, then I don’t think people are going to come out to stop drone assassinations, whether they are promised nonviolence or not.