Civil Disobedience Training


Nonviolent Response to Personal Violence

Nonviolence focuses on communication:

1. Your objectives must be reasonable. You must believe you are fair and you must be able to communicate this to your opponent.

2. Maintain as much eye contact as possible.

3. Make no abrupt gestures. Move slowly. When practical, tell your opponent what you are going to do before you do it. Don't say anything threatening, critical, or hostile.

4. Don't be afraid of stating the obvious; say simply, "You're shouting at me," or "You're hurting my arm."

5. Someone in the process of committing an act of violence has strong expectations as to how his/ her victim will behave. If you manage to behave differently-in a nonthreatening manner you can interrupt the flow of events that would have culminated in an act of violence. You must create a scenario new to your opponent.

6. Seek to befriend your opponent's better nature; even the most brutal and brutalized among us have some spark of decency which the nonviolent defender can reach.

7. Don't shut down in response to physical violence; you have to play it by ear. The best rule is to resist as firmly as you can without escalating the anger or the violence. Try varying approaches and keep trying to alter your opponent's picture of the situation.

8. Get your opponent talking and listen to what s/he says. Encourage him/her to talk about what s/he believes, wishes, fears. Don't argue but at the same time don't give the impression you agree with assertions that are cruel or immoral. The listening is more important than what you say- keep the talk going and keep it calm.

-- Adapted from an article by Markley Morris


ACT UP Direct Action Guidelines

History of Mass Nonviolent Action

Nonviolent Response to Personal Violence

Practicing Nonviolence

Nonviolence Training

Affinity Groups and Support

Steps Toward Making a Campaign

Consensus Decision Making

Legal Issues/Risking Arrest

Legal Flow Chart: What Happens in an Arrest and Your Decisions

Legal Terms: What They Mean

Jail Solidarity

see also the following:

The Demonstrator's Manual (crucial)

Marshal Training Manual

Getting Arrested: Why do we do it?