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.
Suggested donation: $50 or $15 concession (However, price is not a barrier – contact us.)
Sydney date: Saturday, 8 April, 9.30 for a 10 am start, finishing at 4 pm
Co-facilitators: Justin Whelan and Gill Burrows, Pace e Bene
Venue: Community Room, level 2, Pilgrim House, 262 Pitt St, Sydney.
RSVP essential here
Enquiries: 02 9150 9713 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Gill has been passionate about nonviolence since attending her first Pace e Bene workshop and believes that active nonviolence is a spiritual practice and a lifelong challenge. Gill was a founder member of Pace e Bene Australia [PeBA] in 2005 and is a volunteer on the PeBA coordinating committee. Gill is one of the PeBA facilitation team who offer workshops and retreats around NSW. Being retired has freed Gill to spend time on nonviolence, climate and peace activism as a member of ARRCC, Pax Christi, her local parish Ecology group and several other climate, peace and justice activities.
A lifelong activist whose first protest event was in the womb, Justin has joined and led numerous nonviolent direct actions in support of peace, human rights and the environment. Justin was one of the initiators of Love Makes a Way, which he continues to help lead, and was one of the proponents of the Uniting Church in NSW & ACT’s resolution to divest from fossil fuels in April 2013. In his spare time he researches social movements with a particular interest in strategic nonviolent struggle.
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