Nobody is born nonviolent

World without Wars and without Violence aims to develop a worldwide commitment to nonviolence as a methodology of action, as a social system and as a lifestyle. Its objective is to achieve a world free of wars as well as physical, economic, racial, religious, sexual, psychological, ecological and moral violence. “Human beings are historical beings whose mode of social action changes their own nature” (Silo). This is the root of both our responsibility and our freedom. And it opens our future.

Nobody is born violent... Or nonviolent for that matter. So Gandhi's "Be the change you want to see in the world" is a great invitation to get rid of the rubbish this violent system has fed us and transform ourselves into the intentional beings that can create the world we all want. See the
Active Nonviolence Training (ANVT) exercises. World without Wars and without Violence international site is on

Monday, 24 October 2011

Active Nonviolence Group at Occupy London

The Active Nonviolence Group at OccupyLSX opens on Thursday Oct 27th with its first Workshop on Active Nonviolence Training, from 5 to 6 pm at Tent City University.
This is an experiential workshop. The interest of the ANV Group is to combine training in Nonviolence from different points of view and offer the tools to everybody interested.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Where is the #Occupy movement going? Convergence of diversity in London Tent City

The tents are up, the assemblies are lively and participatory, consensus about what we do not want is strong; the placards denounce the dying System with passion and humour, and occasionally the conversation gets jammed when people smell discord. We are tired of being divided by a System that promotes competition and individualism, and so, we are a bit afraid of upsetting the harmony.

There seems to be a point where people in the discussion groups that feed the General Assembly of Occupy the London Stock Exchange start to get nervous and express doubts about discussing certain issues. This happens when it is obvious that there are conflicting opinions. There is a kind of fear that the #Occupy movement will fragment. Of course we value consensus, but in my view we should also value the diversity of alternatives that exist to this violent and dehumanising System. If we are going to emerge from this wonderful global occupation with concrete proposals we need to start collecting and discussing the alternatives, because the world many hope for is not monolithic and uniform but decentralised and pluralistic, giving people the choice to organise their communities with the model they like best.

There may be immediate proposals to start dismantling the economic system: The Tobin, or Robin Hood tax to help curb the excesses of speculation (even if Merkel and Sarkozy like the idea. They think about gathering funds to balance the books, but this tax is also a disincentive to speculation). The taxation raised can be invested in health, education, housing and Green energy research helping to boost production and start to move the wheels of the economy and curb unemployment.

But this should not be a gift to the system - ‘we solve your problem and then it's back to business as usual’. The tax should go hand in hand with a change in the "money as debt" system. This can only be done by creating a 0% interest national Bank that is also responsible for deciding when to print money, rather than left in the hands of private international, profiteering banks. A merger between the "nationalised" (aka "bailed out") banks and perhaps the Post Office (run by employees as a Co-op is not such a bad idea) could do the trick. And of course, taxing wealth and closing tax havens and loopholes has to be implemented as soon as possible. But these are only immediate measures, not a new System.

Outrage will mobilise a lot of people, but adding to that a positive image of the future could mobilise many more. Otherwise it runs the risk of becoming another French Revolution, where bloody revenge on the oppressors take people's minds away from the creation of a horizontal system, and vertical power and privilege was recreated with different characters, as happened with the Russian Revolution. If we do not realise that the revolution, or change, or transformation, or whatever word fits into our scheme of things, is personal as well as social we will not be able to create something truly new. The power structure needs to disappear from our minds first.

The violence of the system is in us - because we were born and bred inside this system. We are lucky enough to see that it can be different, but that obscure part is indelibly ingrained in us and has to be cheerfully and lovingly exorcised. Doing nothing means mechanically going back to allowing our leaders and bankers to maintain the status quo and the power imbalance.

If we manage that we can create a system not for the1%, not even for the 99% but for the 100%. And nobody will be plotting *their* revenge. There are many working groups and commissions emerging from the Occupy/Indignados/Spring movement and they will come up, no doubt, with different proposals for the future. Let us celebrate the richness of this diversity without worries for these models will converge in practice if we are also humanising ourselves internally.  

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Occupy the London Stock Exchange

Demands to end the violent, unfair and dehumanising system that has taken humanity to the brink of disaster are being heard in 950 cities. In London St Paul's cathedral's yard is being set up as a tent city with its own restaurant, media office, first aid point, info tent, open university, recycling centre and more services appearing every day. Small groups discussions and general assemblies allow everybody to have a say. "This is what real democracy looks like" is the slogan, and it works. In the heart of London's financial district, hardly 100 yards from the London Stock Exchange, a dialogue is taking place between demonstrators and City workers, an exercise in nonviolence we are all learning from.

Friday, 7 October 2011

ANVT 12 - Organisation

We live in a system that creates pain and suffering in millions of people who feel isolated because competition and individualism are promoted as the desirable models of personal interaction. This is presented as "freedom" but the register in people is of growing oppression. The system promotes divisions (“divide and conquer”) to prevent a change in its direction. 

Friday, 30 September 2011

ANVT 11: Virtues

This Workshop can be carried out by any group and it not only improves self-esteem but also interpersonal relationships at work, study, home, political activism or any other environment.

It is common for human relationships to be based on criticism, since the prevailing system is based on competition.  It is not only common but even expected that people will put each other down in order not to be left behind.  In this way we all fear what others think of us and our positive qualities go unrecognised.  This contributes to the sense of dehumanisation and isolation created by our environment. It lowers our self-esteem, and we have already seen how important this is to improve our activities. If there is no trust between people, working together or living together in communities becomes a rather unpleasant experience.
In this exercise we will learn to focus on our and other people’s positive characteristics in order to improve our communication and sense of solidarity towards others.
1.      Each participant writes down a list of their own best qualities
2.      Write down the list of the positive qualities that the other members of the group tell you about, (the group takes each participant one by one and gives them a number of virtues they see in each person, never criticism)
3.      or, if people do not know one another, write down what family and friends have told you are your positive qualities whether you believe them or not.
4.      Each person compares the list they wrote about themselves with the qualities that others see in them and makes comments to the group.  Try to remember how you feel when you are treated by others on the basis of criticism or on the basis of your virtues and compare registers.
5.      Write down a list of people you know in the table, according to the headings and list their virtues.
6.      Write down a couple of projects you are interested in focusing on your virtues.  Choose which of your virtues you can support yourself with to develop these projects.  (Break into groups to interchange).
7.      Plan for the week to pay attention to and acknowledge the positive qualities of those you meet in your daily activities and family, friends, etc.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

United for Global Change UK #15oct

On October 15th people from all over the world will take to the streets and squares. From America to Asia, from Africa to Europe, people are rising up to claim their rights and demand a true democracy. Now it is time for all of us to join in a global non violent protest. The ruling powers work for the benefit of just a few, ignoring the will of the vast majority and the human and environmental price we all have to pay. This intolerable situation must end. United in one voice, we will let politicians, and the financial elites they serve, know it is up to us, the people, to decide our future. We are not goods in the hands of politicians and bankers who do not represent us. On October 15th, we will meet on the streets to initiate the global change we want. We will peacefully demonstrate, talk and organize until we make it happen. It’s time for us to unite. It’s time for them to listen. Real Democracy Now!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

ANVT 10 - Discrimination

This work is designed as a seminar to be carried out by a group of people. However its elements can be applied informally during any kind of conversation in which we can all become more aware of issues related to discrimination. Two of the exercises appeared in earlier postings but their inclusion here is due to their direct relevance to the issue at hand.

Jane Elliot, a teacher in the USA, the day after Martin Luther King’s assassination decided to continue his work by creating an experience of discrimination in her class. She started by telling children with brown eyes that they were better than the children with blue eyes.  The blue-eyed were excluded from games and eating together with the brown-eyed.  On the second day she reversed the roles and sure enough it was the brown-eyed children who were excluded.  On the third day she explained that there were no differences and that she had done this as an experiment to give them an experience of what it is like to be discriminated against.
Twenty years later the now grown-up subjects were filmed stating how important that experience had been for them, to learn about how not to discriminate.  One of the most important conclusions was that Jane proved that children performed at their worst on the day that they were discriminated against, dispelling in this way the myths created by so-called “scientific research” about differences in IQ in various ethnic groups.
- Consider the following riddle:
A man and his son are run over in a car accident.  The father dies at the scene and the son is rushed to hospital for life-saving surgery.  The surgeon arrives at the operating theatre and says “I cannot operate on this child, he is my son”.
How can this be? (See i)
- From whose book does this extract come?
“We put down briefly in Khartoum, where we changed to an Ethiopian Airways flight to Addis.  Here I experienced a rather strange sensation.  As I was boarding the plane I saw that the pilot was black.  I had never seen a black pilot before, and the instant I did I had to quell my panic.  How could a black man fly a plane?  But a moment later I caught myself: I had fallen into the…. mind-set, thinking Africans were inferior and that flying was a white man’s job.  I sat back in my seat, and chided myself for such thoughts……” (See ii)

Sunday, 28 August 2011

London prepares to resist the Arms Fair 2011

"Arming repressive regimes.
Boosting arms companies' profits.
All the latest killing technology.
It's an event you don't want to miss.

The arms fair DSEi (Defence & Security Equipment International) brings arms buyers and sellers from across the world to London. From 13-16 September, acres of weaponry, from fighter jets and battleships to drones and tear gas, will be on display to thousands of visitors in an immense arms dealing extravaganza.
The arms fair takes place on our doorstep, and with our money, so we need to be there to stop it. Join us on 13th September for a day of mass action against the arms fair." See the CAAT website

Friday, 26 August 2011

ANVT 9 - Valid Action

Is it the same to do one thing or another? Are all actions the same? Or if we ask in another way: Do all the actions we do have the same value? If this is not true, how can we know what action has more value, what is better and what is worse or what is “good” and what is “bad”?
In our experience, not everything is equal. There are neutral actions that make us neither better nor worse – they are more or less habitual or pleasant. There are others that harm us, which are contradictory. And finally, there are other actions which are very positive and which we call “valid actions”.
In New Humanist thinking, the foundation of valid action is neither given by ideology, nor by religious commandments, beliefs or social legislation, even when these things may be very important. The basis of valid action is not given by any of these things.  It is given by the internal register of the action.
And what is the register of a valid action? The register is one that we experience as unitive.  We feel good and in agreement with ourselves because we are thinking, feeling and acting in the same direction and we are treating others, as we would like to be treated.
The register also gives us the sensation of internal growth: the sensation that something has improved in us when we acted that way.
And it is also something that we want to repeat, something that we would do a thousand times over if we could. It extends into the future and gives us a project for the future in the sense that if we could repeat this action something would continue to grow and improve inside of us.
To summarise, valid action is characterised by:
·         Thinking, feeling and acting in the same direction.
·         Treating others, as we would like to be treated.
·         A desire to repeat the action.
·         A feeling of personal growth.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

ANVT 8: The Experience of Peace

"Carry peace in yourself and carry it to others" were the closing words of the first public address by Mario Rodriguez Cobos, aka Silo on May 4th 1969. But how can we find peace in a world that is so full of violence? As Eirene writes this posting the blame game rages after the London riots, the world economy titters on the verge of another Banks and speculation induced recession, Nato has succeeded in producing regime change in Libya and London is preparing for one of the largest Arms Fairs in the world. Enough to disquiet anybody; but if we really want to bring about non-violent change we need to plan our actions without internal violence. This is what ANVT (Active Nonviolence Training) is all about. Here is an exercise to help us on this road, and to start to get in touch with the little spark that dwells deep inside every human being’s consciousness. When we recognise it in ourselves, we recognise it in others and humanity becomes one, a wonderfully diverse and multicoloured one.

Monday, 8 August 2011

ANVT 7 - Relaxation

These are techniques we can practice in order to be capable of giving different responses to situations of violence as well as developing better control and a more intentional relationship with our environment.

Of course the techniques here described can be used to help us sleep, or "relax", getting away from it all, but they have been specifically designed to be able to relax in the middle of daily life, in the middle of tense situations when we want to give a response that is intentional, that opens the future for ourselves and for others and that can build around us a culture of nonviolence.

Monday, 20 June 2011

19J in London

Real Democracy, 15M, 19J, Trafalgar Square on June 19th. Creativity is the key to Active Nonviolence

Saturday, 18 June 2011

June 19th, Real Democracy Now

International Day of Action ~ Trafalgar Square, London, 6 pm 
Active Nonviolence, the force that will change the world!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

ANVT 6 - Personal Experience of Violence

This workshop can be done as a personal reflection but it is richer in experience if shared with friend, or used in preparation of nonviolent campaigns.

Personal experience of violence

  1. What is violence from an experiential point of view.
  2. What is your own experience of violence, whether as victim or as perpetrator.  Classify the experience according to the type of violence:  Physical, Economic, Psychological, Racial, Religious, Ecological, Sexual, Age-related, etc 
  1. Describe the types of violence that worry you the most, whether you are directly involved or not.  Describe how this affects your image of the future.

Friday, 10 June 2011

ANVT 5 - Detecting our own discrimination

Being an ancient goddess Eirene is a little weary of technology, and a nervous flyer. She was moreover surprised by her own reaction the first time she flew with a female pilot in a Jumbo Jet, and realised then how much the stereotypes fed to us by the prevailing culture can affect even those dedicated to eradicate discrimination. She probably would have kept this episode as a shameful secret had it not been for the following paragraph:

“We put down briefly in Khartoum, where we changed to an Ethiopian Airways flight to Addis.  Here I experienced a rather strange sensation.  As I was boarding the plane I saw that the pilot was black.  I had never seen a black pilot before, and the instant I did I had to quell my panic.  How could a black man fly a plane?  But a moment later I caught myself: I had fallen into the…. mind-set, thinking Africans were inferior and that flying was a white man’s job.  I sat back in my seat, and chided myself for such thoughts……”

Can you guess who the author is?

Monday, 30 May 2011

ANVT 4 Pasive Resistance Video

I am sharing here a video from 1938, done by Disney, of all people, a rather uncharacteristic piece of work different from most other cartoons by him or others. Cartoon violence is so well satirised in the Simpson's Itchy and Scratchy. Instead this is a masterclass in Passive Resistance, great for the young and the not so young. Some may find it too hippy, but this is 1938, well before flower power! 
It can be watched in Youtube with better definition.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

ANVT 3. Course 1 General Scheme

Course 1 General Scheme
We shall develop in this blog some Workshops dealing with different aspects of nonviolence training. The principle of "personal change as a function of social transformation" guides the design of these exercises in which we learn by observing ourselves and discussing these issues with others.  

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Active Nonviolence training (ANVT) 1


A man and his son have a car accident.
The father dies at the scene and the son is taken urgently to hospital for surgery. 
At the Operating Theatre the surgeon says: "I cannot operate on this boy, he is my son."

How is it possible?