Nonviolent Advocacy
Nonviolent networking for peace with justice ...

Seeking to help build a world based on truth, justice, peace, compassion and nonviolence,
to make it possible by learning, acting, reflecting, and acting again, in nonviolent ways.
Join us in this effort.

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NONVIOLENCE -- Nonviolence is a way out of the cycle of violence that is current and dominant in our world. In theory and practice, nonviolence is a way of life, and collectively, it is a method of transforming conflict and creating options for peace. It combines firm resistance with respect and regard for all people, including those involved in conflicts that already are or can be violent. Nonviolence connects to a deep spirit, with a key understanding that reconcilation among humans and between humans and creation is necessary and possible. It is a practice, and as such, is systematic, learned, applied, reflected upon in theory, and practiced again.
-- Wes Rehberg, Nonviolent Ways Project

Six Principles of Nonviolence

·         Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people. It is active nonviolent resistance to evil...

·         Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding. The end result of nonviolence is redemption and reconciliation...

·         Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice, not people. Nonviolence recognizes that evil doers are also victims.

·         Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform. Nonviolence willingly accepts the consequences of its acts...

·         Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate. Nonviolence resists violence of the spirit as well as the body. Nonviolent love is active, not passive. Nonviolent love does not sink to the level of the hater. Love restores community and resists injustice. Nonviolence recognizes the fact that all life is interrelated.

·         Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice. The nonviolent resister has deep faith that justice will eventually win.

ML KING CENTER – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Six Steps for Nonviolent Social Change

·         Information Gathering: In order to understand and articulate the issue, problem or injustice facing the community, you much first research, investigate and gather all vital information that will increase your understanding of the problem. Know all sides of the issue, including the other party's position.

·         Education: It is essential to inform others about your issue. This minimizes misunderstandings, and gains you support and sympathy.

·         Personal Commitment: Eliminate hidden motives and prepare yourself to accept suffering, if necessary, in your work for justice.

·         Negotiation: Using grace, humor and intelligence, confront the other party with a list of injustices and a plan for addressing and resolving these injustices. Nonviolent communication does not seek to humiliate, but to call forth the good in an opponent.

·         Direct Action: Used to morally force the opponent to work with you in resolving the injustices, direct action imposes a "creative tension" into the conflict.

·         Reconciliation: Nonviolence does not seek to defeat the opponent, but to seek his/her friendship and understanding. It is directed against evil systems, forces, policies and acts not against persons.

ML KING CENTER – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Four Nonviolent Intervention Techniques

 1. INTERPOSITION: Used when two forces are in confrontation. A third force intervenes to prevent or reduce the violence, often physically. Interpositioners move themselves between the two forces with their bodies, nonviolently.

2. OBSERVING/MONITORING: Best known in elections where violence is expected, it’s also used to maintain zones of peace and to monitor cease-fires.

3. PROTECTIVE ACCOMPANIMENT: Peaceworkers become nonviolent bodyguards in this technique for persons, groups, or locations such as villages. Usually international, they bring the spotlight of international attention to a situation.

4. PRESENCE: This technique influences a field of conflict by introducing a different behavior, by modeling behavior beyond what people might feel safe to do, by influencing the “energy field” around the conflict zone, by openly not cooperating with the dynamics of intimidation.

From Training for Change’s Third-Party Nonviolent Intervention workshop and trainer’s manual.

The Four Spiritual Laws of Peace

1. All people are made in the image of God and therefore born with dignity and value, worthy of respect. Whereas it is true that humanity by nature is capable of malice, it is also true that humanity by nature is capable of compassion.

2. Dehumanization of the Other is a form of violence and always precedes acts of violence. It is rooted in ignorance and one or more of the following: fear, overconsumption, and the psychological projection of our own inadequacies onto the Other.

3. The antidotes to ignorance, fear, overconsumption, and projection are truth, love, humility, selflessness, and service.

4. Nonviolent reconciliation is rooted in the common humanity shared by conflicting parties. A peacemaker must therefore assume that there is at least a shred of humanity (the image of God) in the Other.

Compiled by Mark M. Mattison

Nonviolent Response to Personal Violence

Nonviolence focuses on communication:

1.    Your objectives must be reasonable. You must believe you are fair and you must be able to communicate this to your opponent.

2.    Maintain as much eye contact as possible.

3.    Make no abrupt gestures. Move slowly. When practical, tell your opponent what you are going to do before you do it. Don't say anything threatening, critical, or hostile.

4.    Don't be afraid of stating the obvious; say simply, "You're shouting at me," or "You're hurting my arm."

5.    Someone in the process of committing an act of violence has strong expectations as to how his/ her victim will behave. If you manage to behave differently-in a nonthreatening manner you can interrupt the flow of events that would have culminated in an act of violence. You must create a scenario new to your opponent.

6.    Seek to befriend your opponent's better nature; even the most brutal and brutalized among us have some spark of decency which the nonviolent defender can reach.

7.    Don't shut down in response to physical violence; you have to play it by ear. The best rule is to resist as firmly as you can without escalating the anger or the violence. Try varying approaches and keep trying to alter your opponent's picture of the situation.

8.    Get your opponent talking and listen to what s/he says. Encourage him/her to talk about what s/he believes, wishes, fears. Don't argue but at the same time don't give the impression you agree with assertions that are cruel or immoral. The listening is more important than what you say- keep the talk going and keep it calm.

ACTUP NY -- Adapted from an article by Markley Morris of War Resister’s League

Guidelines for a Peaceful Rally

    • Our attitude will be one of openness and respect toward all people we encounter, even those whose positions we detest.
    • We will use no violence, verbal or physical, toward any person.
    • We will carry no weapons. We will carry nothing in a way that it can be construed as a weapon – poles for carrying signs, banners, etc.
    • We will refuse to retaliate with violence if threatened, but will find nonviolent ways to deal with conflict, calling on assistance of peacekeepers that are present if necessary. This is why they are present.
    • We will not damage or disrespect any property.
    • We will not bring or use drugs or alcohol other than for medical reasons. This includes being under the influence when coming to the rally.
    • We will not run.

Adapted from Michigan Peace Team’s adaptation of an article by Markley Morris of War Resister’s League


Nonviolent Strategy

·  Nonviolent protest and persuasion - identifying, naming and pointing to what we think is wrong; helping others understand. Tactics include petitioning, picketing, demonstrating, lobbying.

·  Nonviolent noncooperation - refusing to participate in the identified wrong. Tactics include boycotts, strikes, tax resistance.

·  Nonviolent intervention - Facing the identified wrong and stepping in the way, interfering. Tactics include physical obstruction, blockades, civil disobedience, sit-ins.
-- from Gene Sharp, The Politics of Nonviolent Action, as summarized in From Violence to Wholeness, Pace e Bene Nonviolence Center

PDF bifold handout version of guidelines

CD training guide drawn from ACTUP-NY and WRL

Convergence of nonviolence and liberation theology

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