From 8 January and for the next two weeks, there's an exhibition called 'Nonviolence Works' at St Mary's Cathedral on Regent Street, Wrexham, open every day between 8.30am and 5pm until 22 January.
Members of Wrexham Peace & Justice Forum called in on the opening day to have a look.
individual actions may seem insignificant, but together...
...the small steps of many people...
...can have an astonishing impact
banner and leaflets: please take one
NONVIOLENCE WORKS EXHIBITION
The exhibition contains brief information about a selection of 60 successful nonviolent actions which have taken place over the last century:
'In everyday life - and between nations - disputes are usually solved without resorting to violence. We must remember that violence is the exception; nonviolence is normal' [exhibition leaflet].
Most of the actions were described in just two or three lines of text, so it's more of a starting point for further study than anything else, although a few of the accounts have been expanded into fuller explanations, accompanied by pictures of the protagonists.
The examples chosen came from across the globe and included a wide range of nonviolent approaches and tactics including a lot of civil disobedience: non-compliance with unjust laws; passive resistance; mass trespass; boycotts; disruption of military exercises; blockading with small boats; occupations; tree-hugging; singing banned songs; graffiti; sit-ins; strikes and, er, unstrikes.
In 1956, Danilo Dolci organised a 'strike in reverse' to draw attention to the Sicilian poor, who were unemployed, hungry, homeless, oppressed by the Mafia and ignored by the Church. On one occasion, Dolci turned up with a gang of unemployed men and set to work to repair holes in the road. Arrested and incarcerated for 'obstruction', he garnered wide publicity and support for the action from many public figures, with famous lawyers offering their services for free. On another occasion, he began a fast with friends after the death of a child from starvation, with agreement that if Dolci died, his friends would in turn take his place until the government responded to their demands. After Dolci had spent eight days fasting in the house of the dead child and in the face of mounting public outrage, the government was shamed into providing a pharmacy, paved streets and a sewerage system in the impoverished fishing village of Trappeto.
WHYL AGAINST NUCLEAR POWER
Anti-nuclear activists might be interested to read about the actions of the locals at Whyl in Germany. In 1975, inspired by the success of a direct action campaign against a lead factory in the nearby French town of Marckolsheim the previous year in which both towns had cooperated, the people of Whyl went on to stage a huge rally attended by 30,000 people, then occupied the site of a proposed nuclear power station for eight months, the occupiers including whole families in many cases. The power station was never built.
NONVIOLENCE FOR CHANGE
The exhibition leaflet declares that 'all over the world people have recognised the power of nonviolence to confront injustice and bring about change.' Nonviolence can change 'political and public consciousness' as well as raising 'awareness of the danger, injustices and problems associated with, for example, nuclear weapons, road building, GM crops, discrimination against women, the arms trade...'
Call in and see the exhibition for yourselves if you live in or near Wrexham.
MEETING IN LONDON
For Londoners, there's a meeting next week to discuss ideas about how to bring about peaceful change through nonviolent resistance:
Date: Thursday 13th Jan 2011, 7pm
Location: Room B102, Brunei Gallery, SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG.