A Force That Works: Nonviolent Action and Civil Disobedience

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Why is the idea of force always associated with violence and aggression? There is a whole field and ideology that utilizes nonviolent action to enact change that supports social and environmental justice. This course will examine the history, theories, techniques, and effectiveness of nonviolent action and civil disobedience.

We will explore a variety of topics, movements, and skills through lecture, films, readings, speakers, and discussions. The speakers will include nonviolent activists who've engaged in civilian disobedience themselves. The course will also include training in civil disobedience and direct nonviolent action. These will hopefully include training in direct action planning, support skills, basics of blockades, and introduction to climbing techniques. Through these trainings, you will learn the strategies for effective nonviolent protests and action.

In the spirit of experiential learning, we are open to the direction of the course based on student needs and interests. The vision and hope is to educate and inspire students to use what they've learned to support their own causes and make that "change you seek in the world," (Gandhi, one of the few well-known nonviolent activists).

Facilitator email(s): 
[email protected]

Seville Statement on Nonviolence (1986)



Seville Statement on Violence, Spain, 1986
  Believing that it is our responsibility to address from our particular disciplines the most dangerous and destructive activities of our species, violence and war; recognizing that science is a human cultural product which cannot be definitive or all-encompassing; and gratefully acknowledging the support of the authorities of Seville and representatives of the Spanish UNESCO;


Yes! Magazine Interview with Vandana Shiva on Gahndian Methods for Modern Movements

Vandana Shiva on Gandhi for Today’s World

Interview by David Barsamian

Some say terrorism makes Gandhi irrelevant. Vandana Shiva, farmer, seed saver, and global justice activist, says we need him more than ever.

Vandana Shiva is an internationally-renowned voice for sustainable development and social justice. She spoke in New Delhi with David Barsamian, founder of Alternative Radio, during his December 2008 trip to India and Pakistan. Here are her thoughts on why Gandhi’s philosophy is still relevant­even in a world where terrorism is on the rise.

Vandana Shiva addresses protesters at the mass civil disobedience at the coal-fired Capitol Power Plant in Washington, D.C., March 2, 2009. Photo by Franziska Seel

David: In the wake of the attacks on Mumbai in late November 2008, there was a piece in the Sunday Express, “The Irony Gandhiism Presents in Today’s Terror-Infested India.” The writer said, “It’s time the government became doubly stern about its steps to combat terrorism. India may be the land of Mahatma Gandhi, but today’s situation warrants crude and cunning ways to counter extremism. That alone can ensure peace, harmony, and joy in the country.”

Vandana: Unfortunately, “crude” means of dealing with violence and terror just breed more violence and terror. As we saw after 9/11, the war on terror has created more terrorists. I think anyone who says that Gandhi is irrelevant in today’s world doesn’t understand either terrorism, its roots, or Gandhi. Suicide bombers don’t get created out of the blue; they are created as a result of decisions, systems, and processes.


Resource Center of the Americas
3019 Minnehaha Ave S. Below Glaciers Cafe
Minneapolis, MN 55406
United States
Phone: 651-592-6275
Facilitator's experience: 
Courtney is currently a graduate student in Conflict Transformation and Sustainable Development focusing on social movements, human rights accompaniment, Third Party Nonviolent Intervention, and civil disobedience. She has previously worked as a Family Support Worker and with victims of domestic violence in the Twin Cities and victims of war in Sri Lanka. She has also been involved in the restorative justice movement as a facilitator and Healthcare is a Human Rights campaign in the state of Vermont. Courtney enjoys engaging others in academic settings and learning from other's ideas. For the past year, she has been working with Nonviolent Peaceforce, Witness for Peace, and the New Tactics Project in Human Rights. Robyn Skrebes is currently the regional organizer for Witness for Peace Upper Midwest. She is also one of the founding members of Child Protection International, which works to end child abduction in Southern Sudan. She also sits on the board of directors for Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition. Her experience is in organizing, training, and activism. Robyn is extremely passionate about documenting her work and experiences through photographs.
Facilitator phone number(s): 
651 592 6275
Class minimum size: 
Class maximum size: 
Class times: 
Wed, 02/24/2010 - 18:45 - Wed, 05/12/2010 - 21:00
Wed, 03/10/2010 - 18:45 - Wed, 05/26/2010 - 21:00
Wed, 03/24/2010 - 18:45 - Wed, 06/09/2010 - 20:00
Wed, 04/07/2010 - 18:45 - Wed, 06/23/2010 - 20:00
Wed, 04/21/2010 - 18:45 - Wed, 07/07/2010 - 20:00
Wed, 05/05/2010 - 18:45 - Wed, 07/21/2010 - 20:00
Additional class time information: 
If people want to take the class and can not make the date and time, we can try and make adjustments.
Resource Center of the Americas
3019 Minnehaha Ave S. Below Glaciers Cafe
Minneapolis, MN 55406
United States
Phone: 651-592-6275
44° 56' 52.872" N, 93° 14' 2.3388" W
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