Nonviolence and Civil Disobedience

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Statement of Purpose

The Nonviolence and Civil Disobedience Working Group supports the spirit of nonviolence that underlies Occupy Boston through personal, strategic and collective approaches to nonviolence. The Working Group is a resource and part of the network for practices, discussions, trainings on what it means to be nonviolent, modes of civil disobedience, creating community and how philosophies of nonviolence in the tradition of Barbara Deming, Martin Luther King and Gandhi can be practiced by Occupy Boston.

Philosophy and Approach

Based on Martin Luther King Jr.'s 6 principles of nonviolence:

First, nonviolence is resistance to evil and oppression. It is a human way to fight.

Second, it does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his/her friendship and understanding.

Third, the nonviolent method is an attack on the forces of evil rather than against persons doing evil. It seeks to defeat the evil and not the persons doing the evil and injustice.

Fourth, it is the willingness to accept suffering without retaliation.

Fifth, a nonviolent resister avoids both external physical and internal spiritual violence -- not only refuses to shoot, but also to hate, an opponent. The ethic of real love is at the center of nonviolence.

Sixth, the believer in nonviolence has a deep faith in the future and the forces in the universe are seen to be on the side of justice.

Community Gathering

Community Gathering from Nonviolence Working Group – March 19, 6:30-9, St. Paul’s Cathedral, 138 Tremont St., Boston.

In the Spirit of Bayard Rustin: An Exploration of the Power of Nonviolence.

Please join the Nonviolence working group for an evening of community-building, participation, exploration and engagement on nonviolence. The evening is dedicated to Bayard Rustin whose 100th birthday is March 17. The program will be grounded in the history of nonviolent political action as well as contemporary issues of theory, NV communication, and organizing. Opportunities for questions, commitments, exercises and activities.

Workshops, Trainings and Roundtable Discussions

All Workshops, Trainings and Roundtable Discussions are open to the public and participation is welcome.


*Friday, November 25, 2011: Nonviolence/Civil Disobedience Training, 10 - 12 PM.

*Monday, November 21, 2011: Nonviolence/Civil Disobedience Training, 6 - 8 PM.

*Saturday, November 19, 2011: Nonviolence/Civil Disobedience Training, 10 - 12 PM.

*Friday, November 18, 2011: Nonviolence/Civil Disobedience Training, 2 - 4 PM.

*November 12, 2011: Roundtable Discussion: What is Violence? / What is Nonviolence?, 3 - 4:30 PM.

*November 9, 2011: Workshop: The Practice of Nonviolence and Civil Disobedience, 6 - 8:30 PM.

*November 7, 2011: Roundtable Discussion: What is Violence? / What is Nonviolence?, 6 - 7:30 PM.

*October 29, 2011: FSU Workshop: The Practice of Nonviolence and Civil Disobedience, 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM.

*October 22, 2011: FSU Workshop: The Practice of Nonviolence and Civil Disobedience, 2:00 - 4:30 PM.

*October 19, 2011: The Practice of Nonviolence and Civil Disobedience, 1:00 - 3:30 PM.

Working Group

All Working Group meetings are open to the public and participation is welcome.

*Thursday, February 16, 2012: Working Group meeting, 3PM.

We discuss proposals, tactics, logistics, and the philosophy of nonviolence.

Meet at Friends Meeting House, 5 Longfellow Place (2 bolcks from Harvard Square)

*Thursday, January 26, 2012: Working Group meeting, 3PM.

*Wednesday, December 7, 2011: Working Group meeting, 1PM.

*Wednesday, November 30, 2011: Working Group meeting, 1PM.

*Wednesday, November 23, 2011: Working Group meeting, 1PM.

*Wednesday, November 16, 2011: Working Group meeting, 1PM.

*Wednesday, November 9, 2011: Working Group meeting, 1PM.

*Wednesday, November 2, 2011: Working Group meeting, 1PM.

*Saturday, October 29, 2011: Working Group meeting, 12:30 - 2:30 PM.

*October 26, 2011: First Working Group meeting, at South Station mezzanine, 1 PM.

Proposals

The following proposal was blocked by the General Assembly on November 20, 2011:

A Proposal by the Occupy Boston Nonviolence & Civil Disobedience Working Group

On Sunday November 20, 2011 the Nonviolence and Civil Disobedience Group will present an amendment to the Statement of Purpose (a living document) that was ratified by Occupy Boston's General Assembly on October 23, 2011.  Both the ratified statement and the amendment appear below:


The following living document was ratified by Occupy Boston’s General Assembly (GA) October 23, 2011:

We the people who have occupied Dewey Square, under the name Occupy Boston, have done so in order to maintain a place, where all voices are welcome for the open discussion of ideas, grievances, and potential solutions to the problems apparent in our society. We are and will be holding general assemblies where proposals may be brought to the group as a whole, to be consented to. We have and will continue to occupy this space for the purpose of DEMOCRACY.

 

The Nonviolence and Civil Disobedience Working Group proposes the following amendment to be added to the Statement of Purpose above:

“In the spirit of nonviolence, Occupy Boston affirms the dignity inherent in every person. We have learned over 100 years that nonviolent discipline builds powerful, respectful and inclusive movements. When we act in the collective name of Occupy Boston we will do so nonviolently.”

 

A public meeting to discuss this proposal will occur on:

Friday, November 18, 2011, at the Fed Plaza across from the GA stage at 4pm.

For more information please visit our Occupy Boston website wiki at:

http://wiki.occupyboston.org/wiki/Nonviolence_and_Civil_Disobedience_(Working_Group)

Links

David Solnit Video about WTO and the benefits of revolutionary non-violence in civil discourse:

http://www.afsc.org/friends/revolutionary-nonviolence-david-solnit-people-power-and-creativity

Feedback, Notes and Contributions

OVERALL NV/CD LOGISTICS-

 

PREPARATION

in advance let your support person know –

-what life details you need taken care of if in jail (plants, animals, etc.)

-what you are doing about being arrested/going limp/giving identification

-what you need to stay calm

-any medical issues

 

ANTICIPATING CD

Wear comfortable clothes suitable for being dragged. (For women overalls or clothing which cannot be pulled up is helpful).  Wear layers for hot inside/cold outside. (Shoes without laces. no belts).

Remove jewelry.

Tie hair back or cover (so it doesn’t get pulled)

Decide about glasses or contact lenses (securing them, removing contact lenses.) With tear gas scenarios, contact lenses are not a good idea.

No lotions, cream, make-up (tear gas sticks to it.)

Legal Number on arm in permanent marker.

Zip-loc bag (inside bandana with vinegar for tear gas). multi-purpose.

Wrist wraps (softens the plastic handcuffs).

Sandwich or snacks in baggies/plastic containers, water bottle

book, cell phone, medicine labeled, paper and pen etc. whatever you need to sustain being in jail. (In some cases,  you can end up in a cell with everything . In some cases they will take everything, bag it and return it later. Sometimes they can take it anyway.)

No weapons of any kind.

 

DECISIONS REGARDING ARREST

Risking arrest or not

“cooperating “ with the police by walking or going limp

(It’s useful to have a buddy of the same gender within your affinity group who is doing exactly what you are.)

 

DURING MASS ARREST

Use of silence or song to maintain group solidarity.

Sitting shoulder to shoulder.

Once arrests begin, if you need to walk with police once arrested, make it known

(You can let police know they can use a stretcher or more officers to help drag a person. Tell them they are hurting you. “The whole world is watching”. They cannot really process much more than this in the situation.)

 

DECISIONS ONCE ARRESTED-.

Producing ID (if so, carry it with you. if not, give to your support person. )

Giving your name (If not giving your name, decide on a “name” that your support person can use to track you in jail.)

Paying bail.






As per the priority proposal process, there were two public meetings to discuss the proposal below. The proposal was workshopped various times and was tabled in favor of the proposal above.

1. Monday, November 14, 2011, from 4-5 PM at the Federal Reserve circle directly across the OB sign tent on Atlantic Avenue.

2. Wednesday, November 16, 2011, from 1-2PM, meeting at the Gandhi statue and then moving to the South Station mezzanine.


On Thursday November 17, 2011 the Nonviolence and Civil Disobedience Group will present an amendment to the Statement of Purpose (a living document) that was ratified by Occupy Boston's General Assembly on October 23, 2011.  Both the ratified statement and the amendment are included below:


The following living document was ratified by Occupy Boston’s General Assembly (GA) October 23, 2011:

We the people who have occupied Dewey Square, under the name Occupy Boston, have done so in order to maintain a place, where all voices are welcome for the open discussion of ideas, grievances, and potential solutions to the problems apparent in our society. We are and will be holding general assemblies where proposals may be brought to the group as a whole, to be consented to. We have and will continue to occupy this space for the purpose of DEMOCRACY.


The Nonviolence and Civil Disobedience Working Group proposes the following amendment to be added to the Statement of Purpose above:


“Occupy Boston is a nonviolent movement in word and deed.  We have learned from movements over the past 100 years that keeping a nonviolent discipline is the most effective means to build powerful and successful movements."




This experimental proposal was submitted for workshopping at the Facilitators Working Group meeting on Friday, November 11, 2011

The Nonviolence and Civil Disobedience Working Group Proposes A Statement of Commitment to Nonviolence by Occupy Boston.

“We have learned from movements over the past 100 years that keeping a nonviolent discipline is the most effective means to build powerful and successful movements. This is crucial in attracting allies among the rest of the 99%. Occupy Boston is a nonviolent movement in word and deed. Even the smallest amount of violence to people or property by anyone in our movement can be destructive to Occupy Boston. The powers that be will try to infiltrate our movement and encourage or initiate violence. We will resist nonviolently any attempt by anyone to initiate violence or to respond with violence when instigated by the police or others."


- This statement is inspired by longtime activist David Hartsough’s response to the violent events that occurred at Occupy Oakland.



A Statement of Solidarity with Occupy Oakland/San Francisco

"We have learned from movements over the past 80 years that keeping a nonviolent discipline is the most effective means to build powerful and successful movements. This is crucial in attracting allies among the rest of the 99%. We commit ourselves as Occupy Oakland/San Francisco to maintain our commitment to nonviolence in word and deed. A little violence to people or property by anyone in our movement can be very destructive to our movement. The powers that be will try to infiltrate our movement and create violence. We will resist nonviolently any attempt to start violence by anyone or to respond with violence when instigated by the police or others."

  • The paragraph above was drafted by longtime activist David Hartsough in response to the disturbing events at Occupy Oakland. It is offered for consideration by all the occupations.




"We have learned from movements over the past 100 years that keeping a nonviolent discipline is the most effective means to build powerful and successful movements. This is crucial in attracting allies among the rest of the 99%. We commit ourselves as Occupy Boston to maintain nonviolence in word and deed. We will resist nonviolently any attempt at violence by anyone."

- adapted from the statement of Occupy Oakland/San Francisco

Contact

Guiding Principles for Property Destruction