Nonviolence and the revolution

I’ve been consumed with “what would revolution involve today?”

The one thing I am sure of is that nonviolence is the only method that will work.

I’ve been reading “Across that Bridge” by US Congressman John Lewis, who led the Selma march. I saw the new movie SELMA last night for the first time. For days I’ve been watching the video trailer for the movie with that awesome song by John Legend. And I’ve been reading “The Radical King” by Cornel West.

I’ve been watching videos of Martin Luther King, Jr, speaking. Not only are his words inspiring, but seeing and hearing him takes me back to those days. It is disconcerting to see a period of time that I lived through as a part of history now, and to try to put that into context today.  I Have a Dream speech

I’ve seen the rise of nonviolent, civil disobedience training and practice.

Before I decided to join the Keystone Pledge of Resistance movement, though, we had an online discussion among members of the Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) Earthcare committee concerning the use of nonviolent civil disobedience. I was surprised to find we did not totally agree. The caution related to paying attention to the spirit in which the action was performed, and I have kept that in mind since.

The summer of 2013 I participated in a two day training session in Des Moines, sponsored by the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), to train the trainers for the national Keystone Pledge of Resistance network, which came together by people signing the Pledge online:

“I pledge, if necessary, to join others in my community, and engage in acts of dignified, peaceful civil disobedience that could result in my arrest in order to send the message to President Obama and his administration that they must reject the Keystone XL pipeline.”

Sent: Monday, July 29, 2013 4:29 PM   Congratulations on completing your training this past weekend! As an Action Lead, you are now a living, breathing, non-violent threat to the Keystone XL Pipeline. We at Rainforest Action Network are very glad you have stepped up, and ready to support you in your role.

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Keystone Pledge of Resistance training, Des Moines, 2013

I then returned to Indianapolis, where others who had signed the Pledge and I organized our local action, which would be to block the doors of the Federal Building in downtown Indianapolis. We’ve held six training sessions, and have held several demonstrations related to Keystone. Significantly, the last training session was also attended by members of Indy10, the group of young people who went to Ferguson, Missouri, during the unrest related to the militarized police response to the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager. This group, which I have been peripherally involved with, has organized several marches and ‘die ins’ in Indianapolis related to the Black Lives Matter campaign that has grown up nationally in response to Ferguson.

The Lakota tribe and other Native Americans have trained hundreds in nonviolent civil disobedience. “Idle No More” and “Moccasins on the Ground” are the names of two of their campaigns.

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

In a broader context, the “Moral Mondays” movement has spread across the land, including coming to Indianapolis last fall. The movement began in North Carolina in 2013, when the NAACP organized marches to, and acts of civil disobedience in the state legislature, to protest unjust laws there. A group of around 100 have met monthly over the past year to organize Indiana Moral Mondays. Six of us from North Meadow Friends, and Erin Polley, the Indianapolis AFSC staff person, have been involved. Last October we launched the movement, with a weekend of workshops (including an environmental justice panel that included some of my friends from the KI Eco Center including Imhotep and Alvin). The Moral Mondays movement leader, Rev. William Barber, the state president of North Carolina’s NAACP, led several sessions, and spoke at the end of our march from Crispus Attucks high school to the state Capitol building. We have continued organizing, and are beginning to move our work to the statehouse.

Indiana Moral Mondays march October 2014

Indiana Moral Mondays march October 2014

Indiana Moral Mondays march October 2014

Indiana Moral Mondays march October 2014