Taken from "People Power and Protest Since 1945: A Bibliography of Nonviolent Action" Compiled by April Carter, Howard Clark and Michael Randle. The bibliography and a supplement are available on sale from Housmans bookshop or online at 1
H. Preparation and Training for Nonviolent Action
Movements that expect their nonviolent actions to be met with violence generally pay attention to how to prepare themselves for that reaction. However, nonviolence training has come to involve much more than that – a range of activities embracing personal empowerment, group formation, campaign planning, strategy development and preparation and evaluation of actions. This section focuses strictly on preparation for action.
Nevertheless the dividing lines between preparation for action and nonviolence as a way of life are by no means clear. A quality such as self-discipline, for Gandhi, was something best instilled by daily participation in constructive programme activities. - constructive work was, he said, the best training for satyagraha (nonviolent direct action). Rather than self-discipline, today's activists are more likely to emphasise the element of “empowerment” necessary for action. Again, however, they treat this not as a quality simply to be “switched on” during a particular event but as something that touches on attitudes underpinning everyday behaviour.
Many materials used in nonviolence training overlap with other forms of workshops – conflict transformation, pedagogy of the oppressed (Paolo Freire), theatre of the oppressed (Agosto Boal), nonviolent communication (Marshall Rosenberg), or the Alternatives to Violence programmes on institutional and domestic violence. Nonviolent action training has evolved according to what people have found useful and practical. Therefore workshop leaders have been eclectic in choosing and developing methods, using whatever works in their experience and culture, be it from the world of human potential workshops, of religious or spiritual practices, of business management options analysis or be it from other forms of campaigning.
Without going back to any of these sources, this section narrowly addresses preparation for nonviolent action. It omits technical “how-tos” (such as on fence-scaling, making tripods, ways to lock on to objects, coping with tear gas) as well as briefings on the legal consequences of actions.
A much fuller – but somewhat dated - Annoted Bibliography of Nonviolent Action Training produced by Nonviolence International can be found at 2. This includes reports and evaluations of nonviolent action training workshops in all continents as well as handbooks produced for particular actions or campaigns.
Beck, Sanderson, Nonviolent Action Handbook (Goleta, California: World Peace Communications, 2002, pp95), introductory texts, downloadable from or print copies from World Peace Communications, 495 Whitman St. #A, Goleta, CA 93117, USA. MARGINAL.
Clark, Howard, Crown, Sheryl, McKee, Angela and MacPherson, Hugh, Preparing for Nonviolent Direct Action (London: Peace News/CND, 1984 pp80). A small book written for and by activists in the 1980s British nuclear disarmament movement, placing nonviolent direct action in a wider strategic framework, urging a small group approach to organising nvda, describing a range of tools and exercises, and offering short success stories. Fanny Tribble's cartoons provide a humorous commentary on the text.
Coover, Virginia, Deacon, Ellen, Esser, Charles and Moore, Christopher, Resource Manual for a Living Revolution (Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, first edition 1977, latest 1985), 351 pp. Familiarly known as “the Monster Manual”, this was the source book for English-speaking nonviolence trainers in the 1970s and 1980s. Produced collectively within the US Movement for a New Society, the Resource Manual aimed to be comprehensive – dealing with theory, working in groups, developing communities of support. personal growth, consciousness raising, training and education, organising for change, and offers a host of exercises and other tools for preparing and evaluating nonviolent action, plus a section on practical skills (cooking, sign making, legal support).
Desai, Narayan, Handbook for Satyagrahis: A Manual for Volunteers of Total Revolution (New Delhi: Gandhi Peace Foundation, 1980. pp 57). The founder of the Institute for Total Revolution outlines a Gandhian approach to nonviolence training.
Fisher, Simon, Abdi, Dekha Ibrahim, Ludin, Jawed, Smith, Richard, Williams, Steve, Williams, Sue, Working with Conflict: Skills and Strategies for Action (London: Zed, 2000, pp185). Includes exercises and advice on active nonviolence.
Francis, Diana, People, Peace and Power: Conflict transformation in action (London: Pluto 2002, pp264). In addition to reflecting on her experiences as a workshop facilitator, Francis includes various tools and exercises. Puts people power and active nonviolence firmly at the centre of conflict transformation.
Genetix Snowball Handbook for Action: A Guide to Safely Removing Genetically Modified Plants from Release Sites in Britain (1998), 3, is a detailed guide to the issues and methods of this “campaign of nonviolent civil responsibility”.
Greenpeace, Nonviolent Direct Action – advice sheets on planning actions, running a nonviolent direct action workshop and nvda and the law from 4
Hartford, Bruce, Notes from a Nonviolent Training Session (1963, edited 2004), and Nonviolence and Nonviolent Training (2004), 5 describe the practical and philosophical content of the nonviolence training of the US civil rights movement. MARGINAL
Herngren, Per, Paths of Resistance: The Practice of Civil Disobedience. (Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1993, 214pp). Reflections and practical advice on civil disobedience by Swedish Ploughshares activist covering, amongst other things, nonviolence, affinity groups, accountability and overcoming fear.
Hunter, Daniel and Lakey, George, Opening Space for Democracy: training manual for third-party nonviolent intervention (Philadelphia: Training for Change, 1501 Cherry St. Philadelphia PA 19102-1477 USA, 2004, pp634). Devised as a training resource for the Nonviolent Peace Force, this manual contains hundreds of training activities in detail, over 60 handouts with the content of how to defend human rights against violence, an integrated 23-day curriculum, many tips for trainers, and mini-essays on pedagogical theory. Most of the book can be downloaded from 6
Jelfs, Martin and Merritt, Sandy, Manual for Action (London: Action Resource Group, 1982, pp81) – a shorter and more readable version of a mimeographed manual produced by Martin Jelfs after the early 1970s wave of British nonviolence training. Descriptions of various tools and exercises.
Lakey, George and Oppenheimer, Martin, Manual for Direct Action (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1965, pp??) Produced during the US civil rights movement. Foreword by Bayard Rustin.
Macy, Joanna, Despair and Personal Power in the Nuclear Age (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 1983, pp??). Includes 47 group exercises to “ignite creative responses” to the nuclear threat. Out-of-print but consult
Moyer, Bill (with JoAnn McAllister, Mary Lou Finley, and Steven Soifer), Doing Democracy: The MAP Model for Organizing Social Movements (Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers, 2001, pp228). From his central insight that some movements could not recognise when they were succeeding, Bill Moyer constructed his model MAP – Movement Action Plan – as a tool of strategic analysis for nonviolent movements. The book includes case studies of five US movements: civil rights, anti-nuclear energy, gay and lesbian, breast cancer, and anti-globalisation.
Nonviolence Training Project, Nonviolence Trainers Resource Manual (Melbourne, May 1995, pp. 211 – printed version available from Pt’chang Nonviolence Training Project, PO Box 2172MDC, Fitzroy VIC 3065, Australia or downloadable as pdf from [http://www.nonviolence.org.au/downloads/trainers_resource_manual_may05.pdf.] Wide-ranging manual with sections on Defining nonviolence, Power and conflict, Learning from other movements, Strategic Frameworks, Nonviolence and communication, Working in groups and g Preparing for nonviolent action. Also includes case studies of action campaigns and a variety of sample agendas. The web page www.nonviolence.org.au/training/ lists a number of resources, and information sheets.
Olsen, Theodore and Shivers, Lynne, Training for Nonviolent Action (London: War Resisters' International, 1970, pp42). An introduction, long out-of-print.
Rose, Chris, How to win campaigns: 100 steps to success (London: Earthscan 2005, pp231). Tips from an environmental campaigner and communications consultant who has worked for Greenpeace, among other organisations. MARGINAL.
The Ruckus Society web page offers manuals on Action Planning Manual and Media among other topics, plus numerous links to other weg pages. 7
Schutt, Randy, Papers on Nonviolent Action and Cooperative Decision-Making, 8, a nonviolence trainer's sample agendas and workshop notes dealing with Preparing for Nonviolent Action, Nonviolent Action Strategic Planning, Cooperative Decision-Making and Interpersonal Behaviour.
Sharp, Gene, Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential (Porter Sargent 2005, pp598) includes an appendix (pp525-541) on “Preparing a Strategic Estimate for a Nonviolent Struggle” based on Robert Helvey's work. A checklist of questions for such a Strategic Estimate is an appendix in Robert Helvey's On Strategic Nonviolent Conflict: Thinking about Fundamentals (Boston, Mass. Albert Einstein Institution, 2004, pp178) or downloadable from 9
Smuts, Dene and Westcott, Shauna (eds), The Purple Shall Govern: A South African A to Z of Nonviolent Action (Cape Town: Oxford University Press/Centre for Intergroup Studies, 1991, pp 165). An illustrated introduction to the methods of nonviolent action – ordered alphabetically and using primarily South African examples.
Starhawk, Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority and Mystery (New York: Harper Collins, 1990, pp370). Based in Starhawk's experience in 1980s peace movement affinity groups, this exploration of eco-feminist spirituality proposes an understanding of power along three axes – power-over, power-within and power-with. the book includes many “exercises, rituals and mediations for individuals and groups” on themes connected with empowerment, group functioning, preparing for action, and recovering from violence. Starhawk's web page includes a section on resources for trainers developed by herself and by others, including sample short and long agendas used in the anti-globalization movement and a wide range of advice sheets.
Taylor, Richard K., Blockade: A Guide to Nonviolent Intervention, Maryknoll NY, Orbis Books, 1977, pp. 175. Part 2 is a manual for direct action (also published separately, but now out-of-print) derived from the campaign to block supplies to Pakistan from US East Coast ports during Pakistan's repression in East Bengal.
Trident Ploughshares, Tri-Denting It Handbook (3rd edn 2001), 10, has sections arguing the illegality of nuclear weapons before introducing the campaign and its action philosophy and suggesting how to prepare for action.
Turning the Tide – a British Quaker project - offers information sheets on various elements of preparing for nonviolent action, currently Planning a campaign, Nonviolence and active nonviolence, Power, How change happens and Consensus decision-making. It also publishes Making Waves, a newsletter. Find taster sheets here: http://turning-the-tide.org/resources/manual#Taster%20Sheets Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BJ
War Resisters League, Handbook for Nonviolent Action (New York: War Resisters League, Donnelly/Colt Graphix, 1989, reprinted 1991, 1995, 1999, pp36). Designed as a tool for learning about different aspects of nonviolent civil disobedience actions, this draws on the handbooks produced for some of the major US civil disobedience actions of the 1970s and 1980s, and covers every stage of action preparation from planning a campaign to evaluation.