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From the perspective of co-intelligence, the essence of violence is domination, the imposition of one's will upon the behavior, circumstances and even consciousness of another. The essence of non-violence is partnership, the sharing of diversity, common ground, responsibility and destiny. Nonviolence aims to evoke the spirit of partnership among the best parts of everyone involved. Nonviolence assumes the limited wisdom but basic goodness of all participants: If they can contact their own basic goodness then they can join together to generate greater wisdom. The power of this derives from the fact that all of us, deep inside, have a common core that allows us to resonate with each other, to feel each other's pain and suffering, so that resonant intelligence can operate.

Part of strategic nonviolence is the bottom-up enforcement of democracy. Individual non-violent activists become empowered by the realization that there can be no oppression without cooperation from the oppressed. Through nonviolent direct action, they take charge (to a greater or lesser extent) of an oppressive situation, putting political, economic and/or moral pressure on oppressors to act like the good, peer human beings they are beneath their facades of social power. If they don't respond, then the pressure (at least in theory) can be increased until they must at least ACT like decent human beings. At which point peer dialogue can begin.

It is contrary to the spirit of nonviolence to dominate a former oppressor. The goal of nonviolent coercion is peerness, not domination. Nonviolence assumes that peers, working together, can achieve greater truth and more effective solutions than any of them can achieve alone. That is the essence of collective intelligence.



The Nonviolent Peaceforce hires and trains people from all over the world, and places small groups of them in countries experiencing war (or threatened by it) for extended periods of time to support peace in a variety of creative ways, including relationship-building, witnessing, accompaniment, and many other interventions that they develop themselves in context.

Pendle Hill is a Quaker center with many programs, courses and other resources.

Nonviolent Communication is one of the more powerful teachings and networks we know of for living nonviolence personally and interpersonally.

The METTA Center for Nonviolence

War Resisters League

The Albert Einstein Institution has some great resources, particularly its' list of 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action.

The King Center Glossary of Nonviolence was a great resource for many years but the people behind it have moved on to other things. You can still browse a wealth of information in the web archive of

Articles, Papers, Books, and Film

"The Philosophy of Nonviolence" by David McReynolds

Papers by Randy Schutt

Joan V. Bondurant, Conquest of Violence: The Gandhian Philosophy of Conflict (1965, University of California [revised]).

Michael Nagler's Is There No Other Way?

Bill Moyer's (not the TV Bill Moyers) Doing Democacy

Any books by Harvard historian Gene Sharp, such as The Politics of Nonviolent Action (1973) (usually available in three parts: Part One: Power and Struggle, Part Two: The Methods of Nonviolent Action and Part Three: The Dynamics of Nonviolent Action), Social Power and Political Freedom (1980), Gandhi as a Political Strategist (1979) and Civilian-Based Defense (1990). Sharp used history as a laboratory to prove that nonviolence was as effective or more effective than violence, especially if you take into account how little study, training and strategizing has gone into most nonviolent campaigns. He elucidates hundreds of nonviolent techniques and hundreds of stories from history, many of which (like nonviolent successes against Nazi regimes) boggle the mind. His crowning thesis was that populations could be trained to successfully resist any oppression, domestic or foreign, making nonviolence the ultimate in defense strategies. His work inspired the formation of the (now-defunct?) Civilian-Based Defense Association. See the excellent list of articles and websites on Civilian-Based Defense at The Memory Hole.

Look for the following films in film libraries or at PBS:

  • Bringing Down A Dictator
  • A Force More Powerful

See also

Co-intelligence thoughts on 1999 Seattle WTO demonstrations

The Case for Non-violent Responses to Y2K Disruptions



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