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A reader's guide to web literature on the theory and practice of nonviolence.
ALNAP Annual Review 2001
Edited by Rachel Houghton with Kate Robertson
Chapter 1: Compared with the application of evaluation to development cooperation (see Box 1.2 above),
its application to humanitarian action has been slower. This was partly the result of initial
resistance but also of technical, practical and methodological difficulties (discussed later). The
first evaluations of humanitarian action weren't undertaken until the second half of the 1980s.
On the evidence available, 1993 appears to have been the year in which the evaluation of
humanitarian action took off (see Figure 1.2). Since then, however, a boom has been
underway in the use of evaluation by the humanitarian system. Interestingly the sharp
increase in the number of evaluations in 1993 appears to follow on from the 1991 funding
increase (see Figure 1.1) with an approximately two-year time lag.
Scholar Responds to Sept. 11
Lederach, John Paul.
Let me conclude with simple ideas. To face the reality of well organized, decentralized, self-perpetuating sources of terror, we need to think differently about the challenges. If indeed this is a new war it will not be won with a traditional military plan. The key does not lie in finding and destroying territories, camps, and certainly not the civilian populations that supposedly house them. Paradoxically that will only feed the phenomenon and assure that it lives into a new generation. The key is to think about how a small virus in a system affects the whole and how to improve the immunity of the system. We should take extreme care not to provide the movements we deplore with gratuitous fuel for self-regeneration. Let us not fulfill their prophecy by providing them with martyrs and justifications. The power of their action is the simplicity with which they pursue the fight with global power. They have understood the power of the powerless. They have understood that melding and meshing with the enemy creates a base from within. They have not faced down the enemy with a bigger stick. They did the more powerful thing: They changed the game. They entered our lives, our homes and turned our own tools into our demise.
Peacekeeping Lessons at the UN
Lakhdar Brahimi, et al
Summary of Recommendations: The Panel supports the Secretariat’s effort to create a pilot Peace-building Unit within DPA, in cooperation with other integral United Nations elements, and suggests that regular budgetary support for this unit be revisited by the membership if the pilot programme works well. This programme should be evaluated in the context of guidance the Panel has provided in paragraph 46 above, and if considered the best available option for strengthening United Nations peace-building capacity it should be presented to the Secretary-General within the context of the Panel’s recommendation contained in paragraph 47 (d) above;
Greenstock, H.E. Sir Jeremy, etal.
ABSTRACT: When the Government of the United Kingdom learned that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had asked Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi to convene a panel of experts to make recommendations to improve UN peace operations, we felt that this discussion was too important to be confined to the halls of the United Nations in New York. Once the panel’s Report was published, therefore, we asked the Center on International Cooperation (CIC) of New York University and the International Peace Academy (IPA) to convene discussions of the issues raised by the Report.
The bedrock principles of peacekeeping — consent of local parties, impartiality, and the use of force only in self-defense — remain an important part of peacekeeping. Nevertheless, impartiality should be seen in terms of the fair application of a mandate, not as an excuse for moral equivocation. In Africa in particular, there was strong support for more robust mandates for peacekeepers to deal with spoilers. The European meeting also emphasized the need for robust tactics, particularly in the early days of establishing a mission, before civilian personnel (other than humanitarian organizations) were on the ground. Training more regional staff (at least non-military staff) would help enable swift deployment of operations. African participants contemplated the need for better trained and equipped African regional or even continental peacekeeping forces in light of the reluctance of major powers to contribute troops to operations on the continent. There was some debate over whether this was feasible or whether — to mitigate the dominant role of regional hegemons and the lack of indigenous resources — it would be best to develop capacity and response jointly with the UN. The European meeting acknowledged a European role in building capacities in other regions.
...both North and South are worried about losing control of their agenda. In the South, the concern is that the development agenda will be sidetracked by implementation of the Brahimi Report. I think it is becoming clear, however, that development and conflict management are linked, and that more and more people recognize this. In the North, states worry that other security priorities may be sidetracked by a focus on peacekeeping. In this area, the Millennium Summit and its aftermath, particularly the focus on Africa, have made conflict management more clearly a developed-world priority within the whole concept of a more effective approach to development.
Lessons Not Learned:A second lesson from those earlier cases is that the logic of war wins out every time over other concurrent policies, particularly diplomatic negotiations and humanitarian goals. The evolution from a military strike of revenge, demanded by an outraged public opinion in the United States, to a war against Osama bin Laden, then to a war against the Taliban, and therefore eventually to create an entirely new state and the security and economic bases of its survival is also a pattern we have seen before. Familiar also is the underestimation by the U.S. military of the enemy's will and ability to resist such that tactics, timing, and even goals have to be rapidly adjusted once the air war has begun. In the Balkans, the effort to combine three objectives simultaneously - a humanitarian operation, a war (dominated by air power and intelligence, in particular), and political negotiations - proved time and again that the logic of war comes to dominate all the other objectives. The war creates more refugees and internally displaced persons, makes aid workers hostages or forces them to flee the country entirely, and creates conflicts over communication and transportation routes between the military and humanitarian operations, which hinder both....
A third lesson regards economic strategy. A fatal flaw in all "post-conflict" economic policy is the prior need of a functioning government and functioning proper financial and legal institutions - to absorb the aid delivered, adopt the necessary policies, and implement those decisions.8 Such governments and administrations do not exist under conditions of war and severe war damage - human capital is the scarcest commodity after wartime, but the Afghan case may well be the worst - and the intense political conflicts and maneuvering that characterize the first post-war years leads necessarily to extensive delays in their creation. Recent revisions in economic strategy aimed at improving the record of post-conflict assistance give far more recognition than in the past to the importance of institutions to economic development. Nonetheless, experience thus far has not succeeded in creating the necessary employment, agricultural revival, and basic social services (education, health care, safe water and sewers, food distribution, roads, public safety) that are essential to sustaining the peace, rebuilding the state, protecting human rights, and returning refugees and the internally displaced population. That almost all economic activity in Afghanistan is done illegally - surreptitious, smuggled, or criminal - as a result of a decade of war will force this need of donors for sovereign counterparts and functioning (if devastated) economies into harsh focus very soon. Reconstruction programs assume, moreover, that a political agreement, which they insist must come first, will produce such a government. They can then proceed. In fact, the reverse, were it possible, is more likely to succeed - using a reconstruction program to generate incentives for political agreement and cooperation and thus for peace.9
The Work of TR Young
ABSTRACT: This paper will serve as a starting point from which to understand the epistemological advantages accruing from a conflict methodology. In the pursuit of insight, understanding, validity and other ways of "knowing", these advantages include additional dimensions of meaning, additional levels of awareness, additional sources of data, as well as dimensions of dedication lost to the "impartial" researcher. Conflict methodology, as an epistemological tool, restores moral responsibility to the research act; no longer can the social scientist claim neutrality in the knowledge process; s/he is part of the process by which society is created and recreated and must accept both the good and evil for which s/he is in part responsible.
Among the conditions requiring the techniques of conflict methodology in contemporary society; East and West, one may cite the recent growth and development of the large, complex organization as the central arena in which life is experienced and behavior constrained. There is also the systematic evasion of reciprocity typically found in mass society. There is as well, the emerging superiority of the military as the dominant institution across societies; there is the vast increase in the technology of data control largely dedicated to exploitative ends. We urgently require a repertoire of conflict methodologies by which to counter these developments and to promote those conditions of social organization which promise a better chance to survive and which promise to force large scale establishments to serve human ends rather than continue the use of human genius and human skill to serve corporate ends.
The Work of Brian Martin
Whistleblowing and Nonviolence
Whistleblowers have a lot to learn from nonviolent activists, such as how to build support, organize campaigns and carry out actions. On the other hand, there are a few things that nonviolent activists can learn from the experiences of whistleblowers. One important lesson is that action is necessary inside organizations as well as outside
Gene Sharp's Theory of Power: Review Essay
ABSTRACT: Gene Sharp, the world's leading writer on non-violent action, uses a theory of power based on a division between rulers and subjects and on the withdrawing of consent as the main avenue for effecting political change. From the point of view of structural approaches to the analysis of society, Sharp's picture leaves out much of the complexity of political life, such as the structures of capitalism, patriarchy and bureaucracy which do not fit well with the ruler-subject picture. As a set of conceptual tool for social activists, however, Sharp's theory of power is far superior to structural approaches.
COMMENTARY gm: Brian Martin gives a thoughtful account of what it is like to study nonviolence in an academic setting, particularly for scholars who are sympathetic with Marxist traditions of structural analysis, otherwise known as critical theory. Martin writes about the talented activist whose ideas will be consistent with sophisticated academic analysis, but who arrives through other paths. Although Martin does not say it, we could go on to observe that the talented activist is not necessarily interested in assessing her ideas against the background of academic literature.
Nonviolence versus capitalism.
ABSTRACT: Conventional approaches to problems of capitalism, including state socialism and
social democracy, rely ultimately on violence via the exercise of state power.
Nonviolent action provides a principled yet pragmatic method for challenging
capitalism in a self-consistent fashion, yet most nonviolence theorists since Gandhi
have not given capitalism sustained attention.
"Ch.1 : Introduction"
COMMENTARY gm: Compatibility is Martin's project--compatibility beteen ideas of activists and ideas of specialized, critical theorists. For critical theory, the category of capitalism is treated like Du Bois treated the category of race prejudice. Du Bois defined the problem of the century as the problem of the color line. Critical theorists would define the problem of social change as the problem of capitalism. For the critical theorist, social change that does not challenge capitalism is no social change at all.
Technology for nonviolent struggle.
ABSTRACT: Organised nonviolent struggle, using methods such as strikes, boycotts and noncooperation, is a possible alternative to military methods. However, compared to military funding, there has been hardly any financial and organisational support for nonviolent struggle. Putting a priority on nonviolent struggle would lead to significant differences in technological development and scientific method. Research and development relevant to a number of areas--especially communication and survival--are assessed in terms of their relevance to nonviolent struggle. The findings are used to suggest how science and technology used for the purposes of war and repression can be converted most effectively to serve the purposes of nonviolent struggle.
"Prologue: The Vision of Aldous Huxley"
COMMENTARY gm: A generous bow to Aldous Huxley's 1946 book, Science, Liberty and Peace, which argues for nonviolent developments in science and technology. Oil and nuclear power are two examples that Huxley offers when he argues that some forms of science and technology can be destructive. Martin wants to extend Huxley's vision and emulate a reader-friendly style.
Brian Martin Replies Aug. 18, 2001:
Thanks for your initiative in commenting on my publications.
I'm very much in tune with your emphasis on relevance of ideas to activists. This is covered in chapter 8 of my book Information Liberation [see link below].
Like many others, I perceive two strands within anarchism, one subscribing to nonviolence and the other accepting (usually reluctantly) some role for violence. Tolstoy and Gandhi fit within the former camp, as do many current activists in War Resisters' International and elsewhere.
Information liberation: Challenging the corruptions of information power.
Section 9.: We can no longer meet worldwide violence through counter-violence; the era of violent revolutions is over. First of all they are pointless in the face of the real balance of power; secondly, they never achieve the humane goal, for violence - including counter-violence - always produces fear and new violence. This is a psychological principle, which up to now has not been disproved by any revolution. For global peace work we therefore need a basically different concept. One central point in this new concept is that of global field creation through selective intervention, in short: the principle of fields.
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American Nonviolence Syllabus
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