The Common Good

Books, Films, and Studies on the Surprising Power of Nonviolence

Soj1105At Sojourners, we have always been advocates of principled nonviolence. But all too often, conventional wisdom has seen nonviolence as passivity, even in the face of injustice.

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The events in Egypt and elsewhere in the region this year were vivid reminders of the power of civil resistance -- and demonstrate once again that nonviolent action is anything but passive or quiescent. That's why Gandhi referred to it as "satyagraha," or truth force. And why the heroes of the civil rights movement are often called freedom fighters. History has shown that justice rarely happens naturally or on its own; it is usually the fruit of long, hard, determined struggle by those directly affected and their allies.

The May issue of Sojourners magazine is all about nonviolence. Here is an extended list of Sojourners articles, and other films, websites, and books on the history, strategy, and implementation of nonviolent resistance.

Resources from Sojourners:

Christians and Nonviolence: Designed to spark discussion and thought about how to live out God's call for justice in our world. Each session includes Sojourners articles, questions for discussion, and ideas for further study.

Putting Down Stones: A Faithful Response to Urban Violence: A tool to help people set down their weapons and lay the foundation for initiatives that lead to peace. It offers Christians and other people of conscience encouragement and guidance to use their gifts and skills to bring about reconciliation and justice. Our hope is for the church and the wider community to discover the next steps that can be taken to heal our cities and ourselves.

Liberation without War: Is there a nonviolent way to overthrow dictators and achieve democracy? by Jack DuVall. (Sojourners, February 2004). "To make nonviolent struggle the global boulevard to political liberation, we must relentlessly propagate the ideas and strategies that pave its way to victory. Former president Jimmy Carter has said that 'nonviolent valor can end oppression.' But not until we all enlist to help the valiant."

Celebrate the Peace Parade, by Rose Marie Berger. A review of eight books on nonviolence, in theory and practice.(Sojourners, November 2010).

More Books on Nonviolence, by Rose Marie Berger. A review of nine books on nonviolence in history, strategy, and community. (Sojourners, November 2010).

God's Politics Blog posts on Nonviolence: Read from hundreds of blogs on the intersection between nonviolent resistance, current political issues, and faith.

Films:

Egypt: Seeds of Change. This 25-minute People & Power documentary from Al Jazeera reveals behind-the-scenes coverage and interviews on the planning, strategy, and implementation of Egypt's nonviolent protests.

Wael Ghonim: Inside the Egyptian Revolution TED Talk. Ghonim, the Google executive and Egyptian activist who was detained during the revolution, speaks passionately about the role of the internet in the protests and discusses how "Egyptians have proven that the power of the people is much stronger than the people in power."

Muslims & Christians Unite 2011. This moving film footage from the Egyptian revolution, set to beautiful, prayerful music, brings the viewer into a series of examples of how Muslims and Christians came together to pray and protect themselves and their holy spaces from attacks by pro-regime forces.

Websites:

International Center for Nonviolent Conflict . ICNC aims to educate the global public, influence policies and media coverage, and educate activists and organizers on nonviolent resistant. Their website is full of webinars, academic papers, and countless resources for those who would like to engage with civil disobedience.

Canvas - Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action & Strategies in Belgrade, Serbia. CANVAS's website serves as a "nonviolent struggle multimedia library." Watch videos, look at photos, and learn, up front about how nonviolent resistant has and is being used to bring justice to the people. An entire section of their website is also dedicated to training people in the methods of protest and persuasion, noncooperation, and nonviolent intervention.

Gene Sharp's 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action: Video Project on Facebook. This Facebook page aims to create "a collaborative reading from Gene Sharp's text." The Facebook page creator states that "all are invited to participate in a collaborative audio-visual reading of gene sharp's list of 198 methods of nonviolent action."

Books:

A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict by Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall (Palgrave Macmillan, 2001). As Sojourners magazine article How to Change the World: A training manual in nonviolent revolution states, A Force More Powerful is an " in-depth look at 10 decades of political struggle, social upheaval, and military action in 24 nations on five continents-including Russia, Germany, El Salvador, Argentina, the Philippines, the West Bank and Gaza, Czechoslovakia, Burma, China, and Serbia. The book and videos form a definitive account of the great nonviolent conflicts of the past 100 years. The entire project provides the best current tactical, strategic, and pragmatic material available for students of social change."

Nonviolent Struggle: 50 Crucial Points by Srdja Popovic, Andrej Milivojevic, and Slobodan Djinovic (CANVAS, 2006). With practical wisdom accumulated from successful nonviolent campaigns all over the world, this how-to guide fills the gap "between the tremendous theoretical insights about strategic nonviolent conflict developed by scholars

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