Building a Culture of Nonviolent Resistance for Democracy
We live in a time of transition. There is a greater understanding of the interconnections between living beings and the planet. And there is a greater understanding that the current way of life and political system do not function for the majority of people. A nonviolent culture of resistance is growing and alternative systems that are more peaceful, just and sustainable are being created. We explore this transition with Rivera Sun, author of the newly-released book The Dandelion Insurrection. Sun tells the story of building a nonviolent movement to overcome a plutocracy within a highly militarized state. Her novel is both inspiring and instructive. We then spoke with Stephanie Van Hook and Michael Nagler of the Metta Center for Nonviolence. They provide tools and training for nonviolent skills and coordinate the Shanti Sena Network of Peace Teams.
Relevant articles, books and websites:
Militarism and Violence are So Yesterday: It’s Time to Make Peace the Reality by Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese
The Dandelion Insurrection by Rivera Sun
Essays of the “Man From the North” by Rivera Sun
Can unarmed peacekeeping work in Syria? It has in South Sudan by Stephanie Van Hook
Rivera Sun lives in an earthship in the high desert of New Mexico. She gets up before dawn (and the lizards) and starts her day by drinking pu’erh tea and baking bread in her outdoor adobe clay oven. Rivera has written eight theatrical plays, published two books of inspirational poetry, two breathtaking novels, and written/performed many dance theater productions. Her work has received standing ovations from coast to coast and touched the hearts and souls of many.
Rivera believes in being an embodiment of love-in-action in all that she does. A passionate participant in creating a just, sustainable, and peaceful world, she takes the responsibility of life seriously . . . and with a good dose of humor. Her novels focus on the social issues of our times, positing creative solutions as well as muckraking through the causes of suffering.
“Life is the ultimate adventure!” Rivera says.
Indeed, for Rivera Sun, it has been a non-stop wild ride from birth onward. She is a twin, grew up on an organic farm on the Canadian border of Maine, attended Bennington College in Vermont, headed to the west coast to pursue dance and theater, toured nationally with solo performance works, and now lives and writes in the desert of New Mexico.
Rivera is easy to connect with on Facebook and Twitter, or through the Rising Sun Dance Theater website. She encourages her readers to reach out, write reviews, and share their favorite quotes with others
Stephanie Van Hook is passionate about the power of deep nonviolence and constructive conflict resolution almost as much as the actual, concrete alternatives that nonviolence offers when it comes to reconstructing a society that works for everyone. She believes that people, when given the opportunity, can cooperate, work harmoniously with trust and integrity and build what they need without waiting for power structures to give them watered down versions of their highest ideals about human possibility. She serves as Director of Conflict Resolution Service on the Green Shadow Cabinet.
Michael Nagler is Professor emeritus of Classics and Comparative Literature at UC, Berkeley, where he co-founded the Peace and Conflict Studies Program in which he taught the immensely popular nonviolence course that was webcast in its entirety as well as PACS 90, “Meditation” and a sophomore seminar called “Why Are We Here? Great Writing on the Meaning of Life” for fifteen years.
Among other awards, he received the Jamnalal Bajaj International Award for “Promoting Gandhian Values Outside India” in 2007, joining other distinguished contributors to nonviolence as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and peace scholar and activist Johan Galtung in receiving this honor.
He is the author of The Search for a Nonviolent Future, which received a 2002 American Book Award and has been translated into Korean, Arabic, Italian and other languages; Our Spiritual Crisis: Recovering Human Wisdom in a Time of Violence (2005); The Upanishads (with Sri Eknath Easwaran, 1987), and other books as well as many articles on peace and spirituality.
He has spoken for campus, religious, and other groups on peace and nonviolence for many years, especially since September 11, 2001. He has consulted for the U.S. Institute of Peace and many other organizations and is the founder and President of the board of the Metta Center for Nonviolence Education. Michael has worked on nonviolent intervention since the 1970’s and served on the Interim Steering Committee of the Nonviolent Peaceforce.
Michael is a student of Sri Eknath Easwaran, Founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, and has lived at the Center’s ashram in Marin County since 1970.