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Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and others saw that sometimes a situation calls for action rather than words. Many of us in the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) are feeling that now is such a time. We are planning some specific nonviolent direct actions (NvDA) soon. We note that all successful movements have incorporated NvDA, otherwise known as peaceful civil resistance, as a way of symbolically highlighting the importance of the issues at stake.
To prepare for the coming actions, ARRCC is hosting some one-day workshops with facilitators from Pace e Bene who specialise in NvDA skills development and the spirituality of non-violence.
At the workshop we will review several ways we may take action against injustice, while remaining compassionate and nonviolent. This is not only about civil disobedience. You may want to be involved, or you may simply want to learn more about what civil resistance involves and explore whether or not you want to participate in some way. This will be a safe environment, with plenty of opportunity to raise questions and concerns.
Brisbane date: Saturday, April 8th, 9.30 for a 10 am start, finishing at 4 pm
Where: Multi-Faith Centre, Griffith University, Nathan campus, 170 Kessels Rd, Nathan. 4111.
Facilitator: Jason MacLeod and Penny Barringham, Pace e Bene
Enquiries: 02 9150 9713 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Suggested donation: $50 or $15 concession (However, price is not a barrier – contact us.)
The content will include the symbolic and strategic role of civil resistance, different roles people can play, the process of ‘getting arrested’ so people understand what that involves. We will run a nonviolent direct action role-play to give people a chance to try it all out, and finish with informing participants of actions being planned. These workshops are not a place for debating climate science or for exploring the history and spirituality of civil resistance. The emphasis in this workshop is on ‘getting ready’ to take action.
Jason MacLeod is an educator, organiser and researcher. He teaches civil resistance at the University of Sydney, is a training associate with the Change Agency and conducts civil resistance training and education for people in non-democracies. He is the author of ‘Merdeka and the Morning Star: civil resistance in West Papua’ (2015) and the People Power Manual series with James Whelan. Jason has accompanied the West Papuan freedom movement since 1991 and is active in climate justice, refugee rights and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander movements for self-determination. He lives and works on Jagera Country, Inala, Brisbane and gives thanks to Traditional Owners of the Maiwar Catchment, past and present, for continued residency. He is a Quaker and has aspirations to look after chickens.
For the past four decades Penny Barringham has combined a deep involvement with people and facilitating training with those who want to learn together. Penny completed post graduate training in Social Work, has many years’ experience in community development and supporting people who are socially isolated and vulnerable. With her husband Neil she helped develop a small NGO called A Place To Belong
Penny is passionate about nonviolence and providing training in as many contexts as possible within our community. Penny has involvement with Non Violent Communication, regularly facilitates Non Violent Project workshops, has organised and facilitated a number of Pace e Bene Engage training courses. Penny has previously enjoyed working with Jason to organise some NvDA training with Love Makes a Way for the Sanctuary movement.
Nonviolence in the spiritual traditions
Nonviolence is at the heart of the Gospels and all the major faiths.
“To practice nonviolence, first of all we have to practice it within ourselves.” Thich Nhat Hanh
“You see that the world is going toward destruction and violence. And the specialty of violence is to create hatred among people and to create fear. I am a believer in nonviolence and I say that no peace or tranquillity will descend upon the people of the world until nonviolence is practiced, because nonviolence is love and it stirs courage in people." Abdul Ghaffar Khan
“Love, overflowing with small gestures of mutual care, is also civic and political, and it makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world. Love for society and commitment to the common good are outstanding expressions of a charity.” Laudato Si’, para. 231, Pope Francis
“Unless we use the weapons of the spirit, denying ourselves and taking up our cross and following Jesus, dying with Him and rising with Him, men will go on fighting, and often from the highest motives, believing that they are fighting defensive wars for justice and in self-defence against present or future aggression.” Dorothy Day
“(There is) enormous power potential inherent in nonviolent action and in resistance to an opponent possessing vastly superior means of violence.” Hannah Arendt