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Peace Studies at Manchester University | Plowshares | Indianapolis Peace Institute | Journal of Religion, Conflict, and Peace
  Volume 36  

October

2009

 


Introduction: Varieties of Nonviolence

by Abigail Fuller

The genius of nonviolent action lies, in part, in its creativity. At its best, nonviolence takes forms that are unpredictable, innovative, and inspiring. Yet while the most dramatic instances of nonviolence are the ones that usually capture attention --marches, sit-ins, civil disobedience--ordinary people all over the world practice nonviolence daily in countless quieter, though no less
influential, ways.

In this issue of the Bulletin, we look at some of these people and practices, primarily in the United States. Ben Leiter's piece on nonviolent resistance in Venezuela describes the student-led demonstrations in 2007 that opposed the government shutdown of a television station and the expansion of presidential powers. Laura Dell and Colleen Hamilton both critique the current system of food production and consumption and outline some nonviolent alternatives. Focusing on consumption, Hamilton advocates eating locally-grown (hence seasonal) foods as part of building "local living economies." From the production side, Dell describes a health-oriented revolution in farming that would consist of polyculture, growing perennial grains, and regionalism.

Mary Cox compares two Hiroshima-based organizations with the common goal of preventing nuclear weapons from being used again. In his article, Nick Kauffman relates the challenges and promises of helping youth who have been released from detention facilities to integrate back into society. From Phil Stoltzfus, we learn about the debut of the Minnesota Peace Team, a group of peace activists who worked to defuse violence during the 2008 protests outside the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis.

Richard Johnson, who has written and taught about Gandhi, looks at the upsurge of popular support for Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. Johnson asks whether this phenomenon constitutes a nonviolent movement, and he discusses the possibilities for nonviolent activists to continue influencing Obama and his presidency.

Finally, Kate Brelje created The Gandhi Transformation Series, a collection of works in response to the content of Professor Tim McElwee and Professor Richard Johnson’s course on Gandhi. Created in 2007, the project uses visual representation and verbal description to chronologically reflect the nonviolent social change that Ghandi brought to India.

Many different people, using many different kinds of nonviolence to build a more peaceful and just world.


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