Thursday, July 04, 2019

Happy Interdependence Day

Over the years, the traditions and cultural feelings associated with holidays change; Mothers' Day began as a peace holiday and morphed into a gauzy Hallmarked thank you to Mothers in general, Veterans' Day began as Armistice Day commemorating the cessation of bloodshed and the beginning of peace and prosperity but transmogrified into pure gratitude for armed forces, and Columbus Day is slowly converting to Indigenous Peoples Day of acknowledgement that we in America all live on land once occupied by the Original nations who were victims of genocide and massive theft. 
So! Holiday change is the only thing permanent, to be a bit Buddhist about it. We might open ourselves to new possibilities.
Trump wants to hijack the 4th of July for his campaign and is willing to steal $2.5 million out of the National Park Service funds to run today's DC event, where he will speak despite decades of presidents showing respect for the public event by graciously choosing not to orate in that event. Trump's 4th is all about Dependence on his version of the strongman rule, flanked by military posturing with tanks and fighter jet flyovers--did Putin help him plan this?
Instead of Independence Day, can we consider moving our thinking toward Interdependence Day, a day in which we acknowledge that all deserve a place of safety, that all deserve refuge from war, that all deserve health care, and that all deserve an education, and that we are absolutely dependent on the health of our environment, our food, our air, and our water every day?
Celebrating the interdependence that creates our beautiful diversity and our magnificent strength makes so much more sense than the xenophobic militaristic bombast that we now see. As Trump moves against migrants, homeless, women, and even the families of military members who seek citizenship through active duty in combat zones, we can decide to transform our day to our most hallowed values of respect and care, honoring the contributions of all.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Pushing students, pushing myself

Each academic year I average about 300 students in my various classes. The only one I teach every term is my undergrad nonviolence course, which always fills. This summer term I'm at 45 students, for example, from many majors across campus, which I regard as perfect. They are smart, in from Sociology, Political Science, Anthropology, English, Education, Engineering, Criminology, Business, Public Administration, Women's Studies, Black Studies, all the wondrous other fields in the School of Gender, Race and Nations, etc. Plug in the eclectricity!

This is the first week of summer term. We introduce ourselves, we watch the 1982 Gandhi film with Ben Kingsley, and we read the first 12 pages of A Force More Powerful by Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall. Students post at least a half thousand words on either or both. 


Now is when I like to try to set the outer rails on the wide path to success in my course for all students. So, I am as clear and frank as I can be, for better or worse. I can think of no more important field of study and I keep trying to get my teaching right after all these decades. This is my effort today, in this term.

To help them think about how to approach learning and theoretically applying what we learn: 
Happy Thursday, as we close in on the last days of Week 1. The weeks are a bit busier in the summer, as we stick 11 weeks of material into just 8 weeks.
I regard our challenge in the field of Nonviolence to be to construct hypotheticals informed by history and creative thinking. 
By this I mean that the challenge as I see it, academically, is to ask of any conflict scenario, "How can this be at least hypothetically be resolved using only nonviolent methods?"
Constructing that nonviolent path in our minds is fed by three streams: our understanding of nonviolent theory, our grasp of the contours of nonviolent campaigns that have succeeded historically, and finally, by our imagination. Knowledge of the theory and history is crucial, but not often enough under the most trying circumstances. Einstein, who had plenty of knowledge, said that, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." We need it all if we are going to transform our bleeding, sometimes very unjust world.
So! In our course, we have free speech, but we only get academic credit for applying these three streams to our arguments. Since reading my posts is required, I know you are all now cracking my brain and will earn excellent grades!

My first response to their responses to the film (which included a worry that the Gandhi film was inaccurate in that Gandhi seemed too calm and reasonable almost all the time, and that some random writer had called Gandhi a "manipulator") and the reading (which was really well done): 
Very good posts to begin, with some good challenges. 
Excellent close read of the Ackerman and DuVall introduction, with astute and inquisitive observations. You extracted a great deal from the short read. I do want to note that in our text, the authors bracket the stories with the intro and conclusion, in which you find short but powerful bursts of theory. The stories are really the data, only written in lively page-turning style. It's the best Intro to Nonviolence text I've ever found and its findings have held as empirical and case study research has poured in ever since. I'm glad you made the note of the connections between code of conduct, ethical standards, and strategy. It is absolutely key.
The Gandhi film is actually quite accurate, historically, though I agree that Ben Kingsley's portrayal may be more saintly than Gandhi actually was. Indeed, this course doesn't rely on Gandhi's personality in any way and if that is any problem in the film, it's pretty much irrelevant. What I love is the critique that Gandhi was "a manipulator." Um, yeah...that was his role, if he wanted to liberate India. Manipulate people by telling the truth. Manipulate social forces by revealing to them that they have power. But the film, long as it is, didn't cover a great deal of even more profoundly positive aspects of Gandhi's life.
For example, the film starts and ends with his assassination and never explains much the motives of the assassin and his confederates. I would analogize them very roughly in our modern context to the man who sent pipe bombs to Democrats, liberal celebrities, etc., or to the mass shooter in Christchurch, New Zealand, or the mass shooter in 2017 at the mosque in Quebec City. It was a hate crime, done by a Hindu nationalist who was enraged that Gandhi expressed love for Muslims. Gandhi was "manipulating" the new liberated Indian government to make reparations to Muslims for what had been done to them in the split of India from Pakistan and in the bicommunal violence of the greatest refugee flow in human history. Hindu nationalists--still active and still memorializing Gandhi's assassin to this day--hated Gandhi for his attempts at justice, at forgiveness, and reconciliation. So these Hindu nationalists still traduce Gandhi's memory and engage in serious manipulation of the facts. 
Was Gandhi a perfect saint? Nope. Was anyone, ever? Do we throw out decades of astonishing accomplishments that have changed human history for the better because we find a flaw in his personality? If so, the world has no one worth emulating and never has. I hope we aren't that cynical.

Image result for gandhi film

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Rethinking reparations

Aaron Campbell was young, black, unarmed, and suffered from mental illness. He was involved in some chaotic multiparty verbal conflict, police were called, and they shot him dead.  
With his hands up. Unarmed.
Even off-duty black cops report being pulled over at alarmingly high rates. How much worse must it be for young black drivers who are not police officers?
The significant issues with racial profiling include, but are not limited to: 
·       black drivers and even black pedestrians being searched much more frequently for dubious probable cause.
·       With higher rates of police interest, it naturally leads to higher rates of discovery (e.g., drugs), higher rates of arrest, charges, convictions and incarceration.
·       lower ultimate rates of employment due to increased rates of criminal record.
·       more poverty.
·       more poverty-driven crime.
·       even more profiling as a direct result of higher rates of crime.
Thus behold the perfect positive feedback loop with negative consequence. Profiling leads to more arrests of the profiled group that leads to all the other social and personal consequences and then to the resultant additional profiling.
Now comes a social movement gaining traction straight into the US presidential primary--at least amongst Democratic candidates. Marianne Williamson was first to declare she would make it a central campaign issue, then Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, and now Kamala Harris. Others are even mentioning it.
Amongst the black intellectual peerage, Ta-Nehisi Coates and others are cogent about the justice, moral, and ethical rationales for making reparations. In many ways, Coates is the spark for this modern revisit and rethink. His 2014 essay from The Atlantic, "The case for reparations," is a magisterial work, a litany of egregious treatment of African Americans from colonial-era slavery through 20th century legal theft--really robbery, since the bad laws were ultimately backed by the armed agents of the state if it came to that. He broadened and deepened this and we see it finally seriously emerging now.
My partner, who is African American, rejects the notion of reparations that start with sending out money before fixing the core problems that still drive such high rates of pain and suffering in the black community. 
"Start with universal health care," she says. "That looks like equal benefits for all and that is exactly what we don't have right now. Fix that first."
She is the daughter of a health care professional who made her own emendation to that disparate delivery system in her Ohio town by bringing a small but significant mobile clinic to provide at least a fraction of the basic health care so unfairly missing from the black community there. 
She is a health care professional herself and hopes to bring such services to more who need it. She practices and thinks about health care and declares that racism is a threat to public health--indeed, there is a movement to push the Centers for Disease Control to make the same declaration, a movement she helps lead.
So reparations are a complex set of inquiries, not just an up-or-down 40 acres and a mule question.
From my standpoint in my field of Conflict Transformation, it's the multivariate nature of such a problem that may provide a complex but effective way forward with more, not less, opportunity. Each facet of the problem--from serious debt directly owed for slavery itself, to the awful long trail of residual consequences of the racism inherent in that slavery history, right down to the skewed social indices in health, wealth, incarceration, education, and employment--presents opportunities for creative and authentic problem-solving. 
My sons are African American. They are unarmed. I want them to live out their natural lives and it's disproportionately unlikely they will. Ask yourself, my fellow white people, how that might make you feel about starting a truly helpful, human national conversation about fixing as much of this as we can, as is actually reparable? What if a social construct were a direct threat to your children?
Aaron Campbell and thousands of others are never coming back--no repair is possible. But it is just possible that he, Kendra James, Oscar Grant, James Jahar Perez, and those thousands of summarily executed young unarmed African Americans did not die in vain--if we manage to radically reduce racism going forward and make reparations thus more than simple legal settlement that ignores ongoing harm.
—30—

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Nonviolence and trust

This week I joined others from my town in a State Department initiative called City Pair; in this case, "pairing" Portland, Oregon with both Montreal and Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. It was illuminating.
We met with government officials and law enforcement--city, provincial, and national. We met with a research team looking at factors contributing to hate and political violence. 
The Portland team represented elected officials, police, the city equity lead, nonprofit leadership, and alternative methods of security (me).
So my role should have been to tell the Canadians that my way is best, no violence, no threatened violence, no arms, only nonviolent means of keeping the public safe. 
That is my dream, of course. And that is what we work on in our Portland Peace Team. We are a member of a network of peace teams across the US and Canada.
However, we are based not just on nonviolence, but on trust. We thread some fine needles in that regard. 
Do we claim we have all the answers? It's the opposite; we claim no one has them all.
Do we claim we can keep everyone safe if they just follow our lead? Gosh, no. That would define ignorance and arrogance. 
Of course, arming agents of the state or private security offers no guarantee either. Indeed, doing so offers some additional risks, as we see in the figures of who gets shot by police, including disproportionate numbers of unarmed people of color, resulting in loss of tens of thousands of years of human lives. 
So we are circumspect in making our assertions, which may not "sell" our nonviolent methods in a presentation or discussion, but it is instructive that those who request our services frequently reach out repeatedly. We must be providing some comfort to their leadership. 
What we do is based on trust. 
Groups trust that we are (for the purposes of the event) nonpartisan, nonviolent, and unaffiliated with police or any governmental agency at any level.
Media members trust that we will be all that and that we will remain calm and focused on the well being of everyone. This is crucial because media will convey to the public the nature--nonviolent or not--of the participants in the event. This will directly contribute to recruiting more to the next event or alienating more and diminishing the numbers and effectiveness of the movement.
Police trust us to be all those things. We are never their agents, but we will liaise with them, on our own behalf and, if asked by the group requesting our presence, on their behalf as well. 
Do all the parties trust us from the get-go? Of course not; just as we teach our children, trust must be earned and protected carefully and with integrity--it can take a long time to develop and a short time to destroy. 
We often do peace team deëscalation trainings for an hour or so before a demonstration at which we've agreed to be. The people who come to be trained are those who are part of the group that invited us. So my first question is, "Who considers themselves to be activists?"
All hands shoot up. "Not today," I say. "Today you support your coalition in a different way, by being neutral and deëscalating conflict that seems headed out of control. That is the conflict that can harm the image and thus the recruiting power of your campaign."
Building trust is what our public discourse and decision-making is about. While Trump lies an average of 12 documented times each day and wrecks trust, millions of us average folks are working to rebuild it at every level. 
I return from beautiful Quebec with many new friends. Some may not agree with my methods, but we found trust amongst us, the foundation of possibilities. 
—30—
Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director and on occasion an expert witness for the defense in court. 

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Courting justice...

Necessity defense

By Tom H. Hastings
We do not belong to those who shrink back for we know the tragic truth of history. When oppressed people shrink back they will always be forgotten and destroyed.
--Reverend William Barber II[1]
This essay is meant to help those who are especially interested in the court proceedings of nonviolent resisters[2]. This includes nonviolent resisters, their lawyers, and those experts in strategic nonviolent civil resistance who may be asked to provide expert testimony validating the use of the necessity defense for resisters. 
In general, the necessity defense is known as an affirmative defense, a narrative that contextualizes and validates the otherwise apparently illegal actions of the nonviolent resisters. The classic example is the passerby who sees the house on fire, the child at the window screaming for help, and who decides instantly to break into the burning house to save the youngster. That bystander committed trespass, destruction of property (the door), and possibly other offenses under various local or state laws and ordinances, but if an overzealous police officer arrests the intervening passerby and the prosecutor seeks conviction, a good lawyer will offer the necessity defense to secure a verdict of not guilty because the jury would consider “competing harms” and conclude the trespass and breaking and entering were relatively minor harms when placed against the danger to the child’s life.
In the context of the law as experienced in the US Civil Rights movement, Dr. King wrote that they were sometimes breaking a good law for a good reason and sometimes they were breaking a bad law. When that bad law institutionalizes racism, the Civil Rights movement meant to overturn that bad law. Sometimes that good law is protecting poor public policy that results in very harmful poverty or places noncombatants in danger of becoming war victims. Increasingly, a strand of thinking by legal experts is coming to the conclusion that the legal professionals should not be neutral but rather should be advocates for the environment, lending more skills and expertise to civil, criminal, and lawmaking efforts to protect our environmental commons.[3]
As to the requirements of employing the necessity defense[4], one is that a prosecutor will fight it, possibly with a pretrial motion to exclude it, usually on the grounds of salience; that is, the prosecutor will claim, often successfully, that the questions of guilt or no guilt are unrelated to all the myriad issues the defense wishes to bring to the court’s attention, such as morals, stifling poverty, racial hatred, military dominance of our government, or global climate chaos. The prosecutor will normally urge the judge to direct the defense to the germane issue: did the defendant do the actions that resulted in legal charges or not? Most often the judge will rule for the prosecution and exclude the necessity defense, thus rendering the courtroom a more or less sterile environment excluding most of the truth required to have an honest examination and a fair trial. 
The Poor Peoples Campaign, for example, offers nonviolent resistance to poverty, militarism, racism and environmental injustice. Experts in those areas are required to present the necessity defense, as well as at least one expert in nonviolent resistance. In many cases excluding the necessity defense simply makes a travesty out of the legal system and clearly favors the perpetrators of poverty, racism, militarism and what many refer to as actual eco-terrorism, that is, the corporations profiting from our massive consumption of fossil fuels. How can we begin to turn this around? Climate chaos resisters, for instance, wryly observe that former US Vice-President and 2007 Nobel Laureate Al Gore declared in September 2008 that, “If you’re a young person looking at the future of this planet, and looking at what is being done right now, and not done, I believe we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience.”[5]
One piece of this attempt is dealing with one of the questions the defense lawyers must answer, which is, Did the defendant have any reasonable expectation of success when she violated the law in her attempt to change policies she claimed are harming others? In order to do so, the defense lawyer will often employ expert witnesses, first to establish that there is in fact imminent danger but it’s a remediable or at least mitigatable problem.
The clear distinction between lawful protest and resistance resulting in arrest needs emphasis; nonviolent campaigns that do not involve acts of actual resistance are not contemplated here. They are almost always precursors to resistance, both for collectives and for individuals, which should be emphasized, of course, in court testimony by defendants themselves, a catalog of their legal activities that helped produce a condition of lack of perceived effective alternatives to nonviolent resistance, or a justifiable sense that, at the least, nonviolent resistance needed to be added to the prongs of a campaign’s multipronged approach to addressing the announced goal.
Part of what many nonviolent resisters are attempting to do is what researchers term “public pedagogy,”[6]i.e., using the drama of their resistance action to help educate the voting, purchasing, consuming public about the immediacy and severity of the problem. The “public curriculum” of nonviolent resistance, studied via discourse theory, can be a powerful augmentation to the outreach efforts of advocates for better policies to eliminate poverty, militarism, racism, and environmental injustice. Judges and juries are helped by understanding this, and indeed become a component of exactly this. Or, as author activist Bill McKibben noted in Scientific American, “When 1,253 people got arrested in front of the White House, almost no one in the country had heard of this Keystone thing outside of Nebraska and a few other places along the pipeline route.”[7]

Other social movement researchers have termed civil resistance as “participatory democracy,” and have highlighted the frame proffered by movement spokespeople as risking arrest in response to “an emergency.”[8]
The history of presenting a necessity defense is long. From Rosa Parks to draft board raids to nuclear power plant construction to nuclear disarmament to migrant rights to gay rights to women’s right to vote and to a much longer list of such actions, campaigns, and movements that included nonviolent civil resistance, the necessity defense is demonstrably salient and often highlighted further when its proffer is denied[9]. This is how society itself becomes a “fully informed jury.”


[1] Barber (p. 25)
[2] This essay does not contemplate the spurious arguments that violent or armed resistance is on equal legal footing with nonviolent resistance, e.g., http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/09/cliven-bundys-lawyer-compares-his-armed-resistance-to-selma-marchers/

[3] Tom Lininger, Green Ethics for Lawyers, 57 B.C.L. Rev. 61 (2016), h p://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol57/iss1/3
[5]Temperature Gauge. (2009). Earth Island Journal, 23(4), 14.
[6]McGregor, Callum (2015). Direct climate action as public pedagogy: The cultural politics of the Camp for Climate Action. Environmental Politics, 24(3), 343-362. doi:10.1080/09644016.2015.1008230
[7] Bill McKibben: Actions speak louder than words. (2012). Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 68(2), 1-8. doi:10.1177/0096340212438383
[8] Evans, Geoff (2010). A Rising Tide: Linking local and global climate justice. Journal of Australian Political Economy,(66), 199-221.

Talking to police

Police liaison work

Many activities potentially fall under the rubric of police liaison work. Some campaigns use none, or some, or all of these components. 
·      Reaching out to police or other armed agents of the state to inform them that an event will occur.
·      Negotiating with armed agents of the state.
·      Requesting police presence.
·      Requesting police not be armed.
·      Requesting police not be present.
·      Requesting police escort.
·      Requesting police protection.
·      Defining the roles and Code of Nonviolent Conduct of the movement, the resisters, the participants, and the peace team so police are informed.
There are reasons, in general, to do one or more of these activities, and at times those reasons vary with local or state history, quality of relationships, presence of violent counter-demonstrators, or other concerns. 
It is crucial to establish several factors to the police if there is liaison work:
·      All participants in the campaign comport themselves in adherence to the Code of Nonviolent Conduct agreed upon by the movement. Anyone not doing so is not a part of the campaign.
·      The peace team will attempt to de-escalate all conflict that is violent or threatens to become violent. This includes police violence to anyone. While we do not do so physically, we will make all other attempts that seem reasonably possible. 
·      No one in the campaign, including the peace team, will inform to the police on unlawful actions that may occur by any party in the course of the event. The peace team is not a part of the police, not agents of the police, not the “eyes and ears” of the police, only an internal team working to preserve public safety in general and the nonviolent image of the movement in particular.
At times the role of police liaison is given over, with guidelines, to the peace team. It is not advisable to have off-the-record communications with any armed agents of the state; movement leadership must be given reports of all salient elements of any communications with police. Ideally, all participants should know germane particulars of any caveats or expectations about police in advance of any action.
There are advantages and disadvantages to such liaison work. Some disadvantages: 
·      Movement members who have legitimate distrust or fear of police may transfer some of that distrust and alienation to the campaign.
·      Police may interfere with plans that otherwise would have been doable and successful. 
·      Police may incorrectly regard the peace team as their agents.
Some advantages:
·      If better communications result in higher credibility a more relaxed police presence, brutality and interference may be mitigated or eliminated.
·      If police feel they are not going to be attacked by anyone associated with the movement, and if there is no property destruction or unpermitted road/transit blockage, they may be gradually eased further and further back.
·      If not immediately, at some point the campaign may be able to negotiate specifics such as no profiling, no dogs, no riot gear, no rough treatment, no interference in assembly and other harsh or unhelpful police practices.

Photo: Portland Peace Team interposes between Patriot Prayer Proud Boys and Antifa at the request of Portland area refugees. 

Peace teams

Peace teams

When nonviolent civil resisters intentionally confront a bad law--or a good law for a good reason--they know that part of what they are doing is part of what they are doing is stepping forward having prepared themselves for provocations. They want the public to see that they mean it when they claim to be nonviolent. They want their opponents to believe it when they, the challengers and resisters, assert their nonviolence and confront a social wrong in favor of a social good.
Their opponents or the targeted group usually have a legal right to use violence to enforce the law. Adversaries often know that they have put the resisters in a very hard dilemma. If the resisters back down, the opponents win public approval. If the resisters are violent--even in justifiable self-defense--the spin from the official channels will use that violent self-defense as an excuse, in turn, for the violence that the opponent actually started. Carefully selected moments of any violent self-defense will be featured again and again in news media as evidence that the challenger movement is composed of liars, and they are not nonviolent at all. Of course if the challengers never claimed to be nonviolent in the first place that is the easiest of all to defeat, as the record clearly shows again and again
The wider public will usually dismiss any nonviolent resistance if it turns to violence, especially if the civil resisters need to change public opinion on the issue in order to succeed. If the public is widely in support of the policy change, or protection of policy, which the civil resisters are advocating, the amount and nature of violence on the part of the resistance campaign is more negotiable. But especially in the early stages of the mobilization, when much of the public often holds a status-quo-ante opinion, the ranks of the resistance need to prove their innocence, because the wider public will reject it on the flimsiest of evidence, or suspicion. Even angry expressions on the faces of nonviolent resisters will be used to justify almost all measures against them. 
When a movement materializes with marches or processions in the streets, or even golds a public hearing or other public gathering, who will help the participants to offer the sort of behavior that will enhance the image of the movement and its purposes? Campaign and movements frequently have specially trained peacekeepers to help de-escalate conflict. They often focus on campaign participants who might be rightfully escalated by counter-demonstrators. The peacekeepers, sometimes called monitors or vibeswatchers, help to defend the image of the campaign to the broader public by reducing or eliminating the incidences of aggressively reactive or enraged behavior by movement participants. 
Is this fair? Of course not. If everything were fair we would not need to struggle in the first place. It is simply reality. We either work with reality or accept that what we are doing may be only for our own satisfaction, that we are not agents of social change, but rather we want to make ourselves feel good as self-justifying and often self-righteous, sometimes self-described "radicals." It is a bit like trying to fix the broken sewage system by denouncing the broken pipe in an arrogant memo. Some of us may instead choose to head down into the sewage to try to fix that broken pipe. We will suffer for it, but at least we have a good chance of fixing it if we have also managed to bring the right tools and materials. We accept the reality and are determined to work with it, even though it's totally unfair. We want tangible change.
This reality means we must be willing to suffer violence without returning it. This reality means we must recruit far more numbers to join our ranks if we want the change to succeed. Peace teams lower the barriers to recruitment by helping the campaign members prepare to avoid outbursts that will alienate the public, if and when media broadcasts show images of masked thugs throwing stones or full soda cans at cops. Those “radicals” with masks can reduce recruitment by making the civil resisters look dangerous.  Agents provocateurs engage in exactly that sort of provocation in order to harm movements. Peace teams can mitigate that threat. 
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Bp_7CN0MxQE/U_thRBZ9GCI/AAAAAAAAEAk/PzObp_JDUdw/s1600/John%2BLewis%2BCivil%2BRights%2BMovement.jpg
John Lewis beaten by Alabama state troopers on Bloody Sunday, 7 March 1965, generating massive participation, which boosted passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act
We prove that we mean it when we say we are nonviolent when the peace team can separate the violent actors from the larger movement. We can achieve a number of things with that ongoing proof, including but not limited to: 
·        keeping the public discourse focused on our issue rather than on our behavior.
·        gaining public sympathy, however grudging, if police, soldiers, National Guard, or counterdemonstrators act violently toward us. 
·        gaining the trust of law enforcement, and usually reducing the level of violence against us, by reducing both the fear of us and imposing “backfire”[1](see Glossary at end for meaning) costs upon them.
·        lowering the barriers to recruitment so that those who do agree with us see that we would not commit violence that excuses and provokes a violent crackdown, and, so, our numbers generally rise.
·        allowing sympathetic mainstream news media to change their frames through which they view us and to show us in a better and better light.

Hence peace teams to help us to create, cultivate, and defend our reliance on nonviolence.
How do peace teams operate?
·        They never argue, debate, nor do they insult or demean anyone.[2]
·        They work in teams of 2-6 unit members and keep track of all of them throughout any event.
·        They focus first on bystander intervention if violence breaks out or seems imminent.
·        They focus on de-escalation of all conflict, worrying primarily about the behavior of the campaign participants. 
·        They establish themselves as listeners, affirm all parties’ humanity, and seek to take belligerents out of play by separating them from their targets, what mental health workers call redirection. 
·        They tend to use the CLARA method, Center, Listen, Affirm, Respond, Add. First they center themselves, then listen, then affirm the basic respect for all, then if possible respond by asking follow up questions, then, at times, add information that can help the belligerent person contextualize the identity or personhood of the target.
·        They are nonpartisan for the entire event, neither carrying signs nor clapping, nor singing or chanting. 
This nonviolent safekeeping force can often prevent the image of a campaign slip into alienating categorization by defusing or redirecting destructive behaviors that might otherwise be associated with the coalition. 




[1]“Nonviolence turned violent attacks on their head, using them to gain the moral high ground.”¾Barber (p. 119). All violence backfires.
[2]Hunter, Daniel & Lakey, George (2004). Opening space for democracy: Third party nonviolent intervention, curriculum and trainer’s manual. Philadelphia, PA: Training for Change.