3 Dec 2008

Manual on a non-violence action

"On Sunday, no violence expected" is what
Wild Strawberries Movement expects,
but we should be prepared for someone outside coming
in and starting a fight. In that case, people should be
prepared. If someone starts violence, we should think
in advance as to what our response should be. The best
response is for everyone to immediately sit down. DO

The problem is, if the march is open to outsiders,
we have no way of knowing if the "enemy" is introducing
someone into the march whose purpose is to stir up
trouble for the TV cameras."


A nonviolent direct action practice could take three possible directions (or both). One is where some of participates are planning to do an action where we will probably get arrested. The other is where we think that maybe the "enemy" side just possibly would introduce an agent into our midst, and, pretending to be one of us, start a fight, start attacking the police, or whatever. A third is where the "enemy" sends their people at us with fists flying. In all three situations, the object is to deal with the situation without resort to use of violence. Not only do we not want any violence from our side, but we want our nonviolence to be very obvious to any of the media that might be around. Remember, most of the media is hostile to you, and they would like nothing better than to portray you as the "violent elements 暴力" -- as happened in the Meilidao incident of 1979.

One of the elements is cultivating an atmosphere of calmness and determination, with no place for expression of anger. The problem with not having any shows of anger, however, is that the media likes colorful scenes of conflict. If it bleeds it leads. No blood? Well then, says the media, at least let us see some fists flying. That is what they are thinking. And if
we don't give the media a display of anger, we just may not get on TV.

we should be most afraid of is an uncontrolled situation. An agent provocateur comes in, with the purpose of stirring people up and getting into a fight. The agent could either start a fight with the marchers, or start throwing things at the police. In either case, we have to be able to react quickly.

With or without a training, here is what I think
we should do. First, we must have everyone in the march register beforehand. We must then join a squad. (In actions that We should be in, these are often called "affinity groups," where each group determines its own course of action.) Let's say a squad has 12 people. E
ach squad must walk together, and there are no allowing people from outside to join that squad. One person in the squad is the Peacekeeper. He or she has an armband and a whistle. At the first sign of trouble, she or he blows the whistle, and everyone immediately sits down. The violent one is thereupon immediately identified. At the sound of the whistle, the peacekeepers from nearby squads come over and, as calmly as possible, persuade the violent party to calm down, and, if necessary, to leave. If it looks like force is necessary, then call in the police.

The march will be open to outsiders. If along the way someone wants to join, they must still register, then be assigned to a squad.

With or without the training, before the march begins the organizers must tell everyone in the march what the rules are, and how nonviolence must absolutely prevail. Tell people what they must do. Sit down, don't react to provocations.

nonviolence training
nonviolent direct action (this usually means illegal actions which are nonviolent)
Gandhian techniques

For both theory and practice, this page is excellent.