Archive | June, 2013

Discovering the Unexpected Power of Nonviolence

Erica Chenoweth found that from 1900 to 2006, nonviolent campaigns were twice as effective as violent ones in achieving their goals. And when nonviolent movements overthrow unjust regimes, they are far more likely to establish democracies and protect human rights, and less likely to lapse into civil war than violent movements.

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Nonviolent Movements at the Crossroads of History

“George Lakey is one of the foremost strategists for building effective nonviolent movements that I know in the world. And he walks his talk. He’s not just teaching activism — he’s doing it. He has a very skillful way of helping other people grow so they become stronger and more powerful activists.”

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The Street Spirit Interview with Erica Chenoweth

Nonviolent campaigns were effective against dictatorships; against highly repressive regimes that use violent and brutal repression; and also in places where people would expect a nonviolent campaign to be impossible to even emerge in the first place — such as very closed societies with no civil society organization to speak of.

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The Street Spirit Interview with George Lakey

“The reason why people believe that violence is more powerful than nonviolence is not accidental. That is the message that is taught to us by the 1 percent. In all societies in which people believe violence is more powerful than nonviolence, the 1 percent has messaged that, has drummed that into people’s consciousness.”

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Keeper of the Dream: Bernard Lafayette Carries on the Living Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement

Dr. Lafayette brought into our midst the powerful legacy of the Freedom Movement that won seemingly impossible victories against unimaginable odds — victories won on the “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma; during bus burnings and Freedom Rides in Mississippi and Alabama; and while organizing poor tenants in the tough slums of Chicago.

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The Street Spirit Interview with Bernard Lafayette

Martin Luther King had a new approach — massive civil disobedience and massive non-cooperation. The only reason a system of oppression can exist is with the cooperation of the oppressed. Once the oppressed refuse to cooperate, the system can’t continue to exist. Martin Luther King learned this new method from Mahatma Gandhi.

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Bringing Martin Luther King’s Message to the Next Generation

The message of Kingian Nonviolence can be traced in an historical line from the civil rights organizers of the Southern freedom movement in the 1950s, through the anti-Vietnam War struggles of the 1960s, on through the anti-nuclear and anti-apartheid movements of the 1980s, all the way to today’s young activists.

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Building the Positive Peace Warrior Network: The Street Spirit Interview with Kazu Haga

Our goal is to ensure that Dr. King’s legacy is alive with us, so that when that bullet was fired into his chest, they missed the target. King had a vision that this philosophy could be effective not just in the struggle against segregation, but also in the struggle against militarism and economic injustice.

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A Life Consecrated to Compassion and Justice

On the bleak streets of the Tenderloin, a sister took a stand against inhumanity. Her solidarity was inspired by the beatitudes and consecrated to the poor.

The Invisible Natural Cathedral of People’s Park

Builders, please go away. Allow the beauty of an Invisible Natural Cathedral to remain, a living shrine of open space that gives refuge to all people.

Street Spirit Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin

This atrocity was happening in a very wealthy city. It was happening right under our noses. It was very visible. And there was not the united voice of the faith community speaking out. That was the spark of Religious Witness. From that moment, I knew what I had to do.

Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin, Part Two

“What’s forming in my mind is Jesus in the temple when he became angry at the unjust and very exclusive systems of society. That is the very reason that there are the poor and the marginalized. It is not enough just to provide food, clothing and housing.”

‘Such Is the Magic and Spirit of People’s Park’

The mayor has no understanding of the awful defeat the loss of People’s Park would be. No comprehension of the cost in lives and the sacrifices people have made for the Park’s ideals. So many still find it a refuge in a country needing a political and spiritual overhaul.

I Remember Who I Am

“And Now Where?” Lithograph by Rockwell Kent

By and by, I calm down. I meditate. I pray. It is a beautiful day. The sun is setting. I weave my way toward the spot where I sleep, where nobody knows where to find me. I look to the stars, and say my prayers to the God who believes in Me.