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Thinking about mainstreaming nonviolence

Posted by Ken Butigan
11.22.14

Campaign Nonviolence has the audacious goal of mainstreaming nonviolence.  What might this mean?

Broadly speaking, mainstreaming nonviolence will involve the process of steadfastly unmaking our culture of violence and building a just, peaceful and sustainable culture by activating the power of nonviolent change in our lives and our world.  It will be a long-term process requiring action, courage, creativity, sacrifice, relentless persistence, personal transformation, and comprehensive movement-building for social change.  It will likely involve many steps, including:

  • Challenging our culture’s belief in violence.
  • Spreading the vision, principles, methods and tools for nonviolent alternatives.
  • Transforming violence and injustice though the power of cooperation, compassion and creativity.
  • Fostering the nonviolent transformation of our lives, our communities, our institutions and our societies.
  • Transforming the situations we find ourselves day to day; creating small and larger projects in our communities that can further nonviolent options; and launching innovative efforts designed to help our larger society change its minds about violence and create the political, social and cultural will for the nonviolent path.

Mainstreaming nonviolence is not about creating a utopia or an ideal world. Instead, it is a process where increasingly people everywhere have tools to grapple with violence and injustice nonviolently – and to build out a more nonviolent way in our everyday realities and in the larger world.

Here are just a few ways, in no particular order, by which we will know we are making progress on mainstreaming nonviolence…

  • Nonviolence and peacebuilding education is offered K-12 in all schools in the United States.
  • Nonviolent Life Training – equipping us for life, for work, for relationships, for raising children, and for being agents of nonviolent social change – is widespread and considered as typical as taking Driver’s Education or going to college.
  • Peace circles designed for transforming conflict and promoting restorative justice are an integral part of every organization, institution, and business.
  • More of the U.S. budget is devoted to building out the thoroughgoing infrastructure, rehabbing, and soft energy paths that will be needed to reverse the climate crisis than to funding the Pentagon.
  • Every mall has a nonviolence support center!
  • The minimum wage is a living wage.
  • Nonviolent options are taken more seriously than violent ones when an international crisis erupts.
  • The mega-violence of nuclear arms is seen for what it is, and these catastrophic weapons are entirely dismantled.

And many, many other things.

Each of these will take enormous effort.  So here are two questions we might mull on.

What are some other ways we will know we are making progress on mainstreaming nonviolence?

What are some concrete things we can do to help meet these objectives in our own lives, communities, or societies?

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