Nobody is born nonviolent

World without Wars and without Violence aims to develop a worldwide commitment to nonviolence as a methodology of action, as a social system and as a lifestyle. Its objective is to achieve a world free of wars as well as physical, economic, racial, religious, sexual, psychological, ecological and moral violence. “Human beings are historical beings whose mode of social action changes their own nature” (Silo). This is the root of both our responsibility and our freedom. And it opens our future.

Nobody is born violent... Or nonviolent for that matter. So Gandhi's "Be the change you want to see in the world" is a great invitation to get rid of the rubbish this violent system has fed us and transform ourselves into the intentional beings that can create the world we all want. See the
Active Nonviolence Training (ANVT) exercises. World without Wars and without Violence international site is on www.worldwithoutwars.org/

Monday, 24 October 2011

Active Nonviolence Group at Occupy London

The Active Nonviolence Group at OccupyLSX opens on Thursday Oct 27th with its first Workshop on Active Nonviolence Training, from 5 to 6 pm at Tent City University.
This is an experiential workshop. The interest of the ANV Group is to combine training in Nonviolence from different points of view and offer the tools to everybody interested.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Where is the #Occupy movement going? Convergence of diversity in London Tent City

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The tents are up, the assemblies are lively and participatory, consensus about what we do not want is strong; the placards denounce the dying System with passion and humour, and occasionally the conversation gets jammed when people smell discord. We are tired of being divided by a System that promotes competition and individualism, and so, we are a bit afraid of upsetting the harmony.

There seems to be a point where people in the discussion groups that feed the General Assembly of Occupy the London Stock Exchange start to get nervous and express doubts about discussing certain issues. This happens when it is obvious that there are conflicting opinions. There is a kind of fear that the #Occupy movement will fragment. Of course we value consensus, but in my view we should also value the diversity of alternatives that exist to this violent and dehumanising System. If we are going to emerge from this wonderful global occupation with concrete proposals we need to start collecting and discussing the alternatives, because the world many hope for is not monolithic and uniform but decentralised and pluralistic, giving people the choice to organise their communities with the model they like best.

There may be immediate proposals to start dismantling the economic system: The Tobin, or Robin Hood tax to help curb the excesses of speculation (even if Merkel and Sarkozy like the idea. They think about gathering funds to balance the books, but this tax is also a disincentive to speculation). The taxation raised can be invested in health, education, housing and Green energy research helping to boost production and start to move the wheels of the economy and curb unemployment.

But this should not be a gift to the system - ‘we solve your problem and then it's back to business as usual’. The tax should go hand in hand with a change in the "money as debt" system. This can only be done by creating a 0% interest national Bank that is also responsible for deciding when to print money, rather than left in the hands of private international, profiteering banks. A merger between the "nationalised" (aka "bailed out") banks and perhaps the Post Office (run by employees as a Co-op is not such a bad idea) could do the trick. And of course, taxing wealth and closing tax havens and loopholes has to be implemented as soon as possible. But these are only immediate measures, not a new System.

Outrage will mobilise a lot of people, but adding to that a positive image of the future could mobilise many more. Otherwise it runs the risk of becoming another French Revolution, where bloody revenge on the oppressors take people's minds away from the creation of a horizontal system, and vertical power and privilege was recreated with different characters, as happened with the Russian Revolution. If we do not realise that the revolution, or change, or transformation, or whatever word fits into our scheme of things, is personal as well as social we will not be able to create something truly new. The power structure needs to disappear from our minds first.

The violence of the system is in us - because we were born and bred inside this system. We are lucky enough to see that it can be different, but that obscure part is indelibly ingrained in us and has to be cheerfully and lovingly exorcised. Doing nothing means mechanically going back to allowing our leaders and bankers to maintain the status quo and the power imbalance.

If we manage that we can create a system not for the1%, not even for the 99% but for the 100%. And nobody will be plotting *their* revenge. There are many working groups and commissions emerging from the Occupy/Indignados/Spring movement and they will come up, no doubt, with different proposals for the future. Let us celebrate the richness of this diversity without worries for these models will converge in practice if we are also humanising ourselves internally.  

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Occupy the London Stock Exchange


Demands to end the violent, unfair and dehumanising system that has taken humanity to the brink of disaster are being heard in 950 cities. In London St Paul's cathedral's yard is being set up as a tent city with its own restaurant, media office, first aid point, info tent, open university, recycling centre and more services appearing every day. Small groups discussions and general assemblies allow everybody to have a say. "This is what real democracy looks like" is the slogan, and it works. In the heart of London's financial district, hardly 100 yards from the London Stock Exchange, a dialogue is taking place between demonstrators and City workers, an exercise in nonviolence we are all learning from.

Friday, 7 October 2011

ANVT 12 - Organisation

We live in a system that creates pain and suffering in millions of people who feel isolated because competition and individualism are promoted as the desirable models of personal interaction. This is presented as "freedom" but the register in people is of growing oppression. The system promotes divisions (“divide and conquer”) to prevent a change in its direction.