Nonviolent Social Change

Pax Christi International is part of a very broad social movement for change in our world, which believes in the use of Nonviolent Social Change to promote peace.

The key element of this social change process is dialogue that can occur anywhere and everywhere: at home, at work, in schools and universities, in churches, community centres, shops, and theatres, through newspapers, magazines, radio or the Internet. The dialogue can engage only two people, dozens in a large public gathering, and everything in between. It can be formal or informal.

 

Nonviolent Changes in the World

Through the years, we have seen the power of nonviolence, and the astounding effect that peace movements can have in shaping the future of a peaceful world. Social and peace movement activity helped defeat apartheid in South Africa, kept alive the hope for a lasting peace in Northern Ireland, and the hope for independence in East Timor. These are not insignificant achievements.

The Cold War came to an end mostly without violence, and the peace movement greatly contributed to this. Today, for example, Pax Christi International works for a nonviolent and peaceful end to the Occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

 

Pax Christi and Nonviolent Social Change

Pax Christi International’s dedication to peace has translated into countless nonviolent actions of its members around the world. All of these activities follow the principle of nonviolence and spread the message of “Love of one’s neighbour.” Although a Christian organisation, our hearts and minds are always open to our spiritual brothers and sisters of other faiths. Active Nonviolent Social Change is seen as a crucial strategy to peace.

Nonviolence is at the very centre of the fundamental structure of many Pax Christi Member Organisations, such as the Library on Wheels for Nonviolence and Peace in Palestine, or the Centre for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights in Croatia. Pax Christi in the Philippines has started the Niall O’Brien Center for Active Nonviolence, Reconciliation and Community Futures. Other Member Organisations have developed concrete and educational steps towards an active, nonviolent way of life.

Some members of Pax Christi International participate in nonviolent actions such as accompaniment work in, for instance, the “Peace Communities in War Zones” (such as in Colombia and the Philippines), or the Ecumenical Accompaniment work with churches and civil society organisations in Palestine and Israel. They combine the dimensions of Protection (to civilians), Monitoring, Solidarity (with victims), and Advocacy.

Pax Christi International has released a publication entitled: An Introductory Handbook to Non-violence from the Perspective of Conflict Transformation. The publication is a contribution to the existing programs on non-violence and its relationship with the transformation of conflict and power. The intention of the manual is to contribute to the processes of non-violent transformation in the Latin America region.

 

Implementation

Members of Pax Christi International have chosen different tools or methodologies for active Nonviolent Social Change. These include meetings, debates, petitions, vigils, protests, solidarity visits, public witnesses for peace, demonstrations, and media statements.

Following the First Regional Consultation for the Middle East in Lebanon, a project was designed to create a nonviolent grassroots network in the Middle East. As a first step, practical training courses on nonviolence were organised in Lebanon and Jordan.

Pax Christi International and its Member Organisations have issued a wide range of audio-visual and printed publications on active nonviolence in a variety of languages including French, English, German, Dutch, Arabic, Russian, and Portuguese.