Originally published in xxx
Our world is far from perfect. The gap between those on the top and those on the bottom of the societal pyramid is deeper and broader than just some decades ago. The nature is reduced in many ways; we loose species, pollution reduce life quality, and global warming are just a few of many consequences of what is called “development”. Our economical system is collapsing and the few winners ends up with enormous wealth while the majority are without an income. Violence against women is a huge problem in all societies. States are still using wars as a way to solve conflicts. Private and state run surveillance systems are reducing our privacy more than ever in human history. Minorities of different kinds are victimized and brutally suppressed. Greece, the cradle of democracy, are now faced with serious threats against basic democratic rights and freedoms. Children are today born in a world far worse off than the one their parents were born into.
This is unacceptable and unsustainable! There is a duty for every responsible human being to do our utmost to turn these trends around. Anyone who take on such a task will soon realize the huge forces they are up against. Stakeholders with enormous economical and political forces will do their best to prevent the growth of any popular movement fighting for a more just, more equal, and less repressive world.
History show us that ordinary people have successfully taken on such challenges before. Legal slavery is gone, women have got their right to vote, most colonies are liberated, and animals rights are on the rise. It is difficult but far from impossible! For any individual or organization to join a movement for a better world there are some essential needs.
We need to know the history of social movements. Past experiences must be the foundations for future struggles. There is a need to mobilize and organize stronger movements. And the activists needs a well equipped toolbox with nonviolent techniques.
This handbook includes suggestions for how to train and educate people to achieve the skills necessary for an efficient movement. Any army will train their soldiers for at least a year prior to deploying them at the battlefield. I see no argument why a nonviolent activist would need less training and preparation.
All successful movements must spend time and resources into preparations, exercises, training, and education. The present handbook should be included in the obligatory curriculum for every activist.
There is today overwhelming evidence that nonviolent movements are superior to violent ones. They have succeeded in changing regimes, influence powerful institutions, forced companies to more acceptable policies, and compelled politicians to accept demands “from below”.
We must learn from these cases and develop the strategies and techniques further. And may be the most important task of all is to develop concrete, sustainable, and good alternatives to what we are fighting against. It is not to enough to protest, pull down, and remove! We must be able to replace the structures we oppose!
My hope is that Greece once again can be a source of inspiration for humans all around the world looking for good alternatives to authoritarian and repressive structures. Please be good at documenting all your activities and make serious evaluations of your campaigns and actions available for activist in other parts of the world. Together we can be part in building a movement for better world for the generations to come.