The (five)pages which follow are imperfect and incomplete. We hope you’ll also find them beautiful, as they capture first glimpses of a powerful, emerging vision. These five pages attempt to distill an enormous amount of input from a great many of us who are finding resonance with one another in our shared longing for an authentic home within the wider movement landscape. As disciplined practitioners of integral nonviolence—love-driven changemakers, life-defenders, justice-seekers— awake to the current world emergency, our responsibility, and our privilege to serve, we look to create a space for the fullest expression of our passion, intelligence, and creativity, and of our fierce and resolute resistance.
We are aware that plenty is missing from this document. We find this to be especially evident in relation to the subject of reparations and atonement, particularly from the vantage point of people of color and the ways people of color relate to this need and commitment. That and other incompletenesses are an important part of what’s bringing us together January 26-February 14, 2018, when we hope to expand on the ideas introduced here. We hope to come away from that time together with a working statement of principles, aims, and means that we can begin testing with trusted friends and co-workers in the struggle.
It also feels important to clarify that while the following document signals the emergence of a multi- layered integral nonviolence movement, the gathering this coming winter will center especially on one specific and essential goal: the coalescence of a core team committed to carrying out open, disciplined, principled-strategic nonviolent direct action, anchored always by a lived commitment to decolonization and concrete, material reparations to those on the receiving end of patriarchy’s and white supremacy’s oppression and domination. We believe that only the unflinching commitment and action of such a team can adequately catalyze the other elements touched on in this document, and that only such actions can generate the magnetic pull to draw them together.
We see this team as an inevitable and necessary catalyst, and our upcoming gathering is for those who are ready to join it, and to make a start together. Only after making a start together in the realm of action will we turn our full attention to the work of debating and refining the macro-vision described in the following pages. If that visioning work is not grounded by on-the-ground resistance experience, and shaped by those ready and willing to carry out such open resistance, we fear it will not carry the strength to fully honor the love, longing, and sense of responsibility that reside in our hearts.
Here’s a rough, initial sketch of how we might organize our time together, very much subject to change:
Jan 26: arrival to Harrisonburg
Jan 27: connecting, fellowship, trust-building
Jan 28 to Feb 2: collective nonviolent direct action (to be determined: basic idea is to locate ourselves in an action setting so we can assist a local front lines group, and/or devise, plan and implement our own action(s))
Feb 3 to 8: creating the DNA of a nonviolent peace team movement
Feb 9 to 13: crafting overarching training frameworks and specific trainings to onboard nonviolence practitioners into the movement
Feb 14: departure
With love, strength, and courage,
A grateful & excited molecule of this emerging de-centralized collective of nonviolent life-defenders
a powerful and courageous plan with its fair share of chutzpah! The wisdom of your approach reminds me of the quote from Marianne Williamson… “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”