Difference between revisions of "Nonviolence and Civil Disobedience (Working Group)"

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

Revision as of 04:58, 17 November 2011

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.

Workshops and Roundtable Discussions

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

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

We'll meet at Gandhi statue, and move to the circle at the Federal Reserve building directly across the sign tent on Atlantic Avenue. In case of bad weather the meeting location is at the South Station mezzanine.

What is violence? What is non-violence? How should I react if someone is violent toward me? How can I prepare myself to react that way in the heat of the moment? Is violence ever justified? These are complex questions with no magic answers, and even people who have many values in common may wrestle with these questions differently. This roundtable session seeks to open up respectful conversation around these questions, and everyone at Occupy Boston and the public are welcome and invited to participate. The session will be co-facilitated by members of the Nonviolence and Civil Disobedience Working Group.

This is the second in a series of discussions and information gathering sessions on attitudes toward violence and non-violence, what it means to be nonviolent, and the modes of violence that manifest themselves at Occupy Boston and the global Occupy movement. The principles of Nonviolence will be discussed and highlighted by short illustrative exercises.

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

Meet at Gandhi statue, workshop held at Dewey Square plaza. In case of bad weather the meeting location is at the South Station mezzanine.

This workshop is both philosophical and practical and attempts to equip us with the skills necessary to engage in courageous acts of non-violent civil disobedience. The philosophical perspective explores why we engage in CD and use a non-violent approach. The practical perspective explains how to engage in CD non-violently. Gandhi talked about a truth force. He believed to act and think non-violently is not something we do only during an action, but in every step of every day.

We will discuss briefly a history of non-violence and CD. We will talk about what is violence, why non-violence, and why civil disobedience. How to respond non-violently to violence, how to practice non-violence, listening skills, and de-escalation of violent situations will also be addressed. We will learn skills to stay calm in stressful situations. I have some legal experience with these situations, but that is not the focus of this workshop.

Rick Colbath-Hess, LICSW, has been a labor and human rights activist for many years, working on many grass roots campaigns in the labor, Palestinian rights and human rights movements. He is an adjunct faculty member teaching courses in leadership, grass roots politics, and community organizing at the College of Public and Community Service at UMass Boston. He has received many awards for his work, including a Peace and Justice Award from the City of Cambridge.

*Monday, 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.

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

Meet at Gandhi statue at Dewey Square plaza, in case of bad weather the meeting location is in the South Station mezzanine.

This meeting will include a one hour discussion concerning the proposal listed below (in the proposal section). We will also discuss workshop and round table agendas, proposals, tactics, logistics, and the philosophy of nonviolence.

*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

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

or email us at:

OccupyBostonNonviolence@gmail.com

Links

Feedback, Notes and Contributions

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

OccupyBostonNonviolence@gmail.com