In depth

Finding out more

Finding out more

On this occasion we present various resources which may be useful for the study of nonviolent thought and its actions. There are many resources about nonviolence available on the Internet. We would like to highlight a speech (both the text and the images); an institution, the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict, and two manuals on nonviolence.

Speech by Martin Luther King Jr.

If one had to choose the five most outstanding speeches of nonviolent action, there is no doubt that Martin Luther King's speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963 would be among them. The message was clear and conclusive: all types of racism must be opposed, firmly, but without the use of physical force. As a result, one day the day will come in which racism has disappeared.

The Catalan version of the entire speech is available at:

But as an image is sometimes worth a thousand words, you can also see the recording of the speech at:

International Center on Nonviolent Conflict

As mentioned above, there are many resources on the Internet focusing on nonviolent action. However, we thought that this one is one of the most interesting and comprehensive. The website, in English, contains an initial more theoretical section, giving a detailed explanation of what nonviolence exactly is, the basic concepts, and frequently asked questions... The second section talks about movements and campaigns. It contains news on current campaigns and a historical overview of cases of nonviolent resistance. Another section includes all types of resources such as books and interviews. Finally, another tab looks at the centre, its activities and its academic advisors.

To round things off, we would like to highlight two manuals that cover the subject of nonviolence from very different perspectives

Howard Clark; Javier Gárate; Joanne Sheehan (coord.). The Nonviolence Handbook. War Resisters' International, 2010

The Nonviolence Handbook. War Resisters' International is a downloadable book ( available in various languages, including Spanish and English. This manual is completely focused on activists, as individuals interested in nonviolent action, to help them find out about it and implement it. The book contains an introduction, followed by a campaigning advice and then examples of some campaigns carried out in various contexts. The manual also includes twenty exercises providing training in nonviolent resistance.

Gene Sharp; Joshua Paulson. Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice And 21st Century Potential. Extending Horizons Books, 2005

Waging nonviolent Struggle, while not rejecting activism, has a more academic focus. In its introductory section, it analyses the reasons for nonviolence and its methods. The second section refutes some of the clichés about nonviolence (ineffective, slow, mainly Asian...) over twenty chapters, each of which looks at a different case history, and reviews some of the successes of nonviolent resistance. The third part of the book focuses on the dynamics on the nonviolent struggle. Finally, Sharp looks at the challenges in the future that nonviolent resistance must face if it is to continue to be useful during the twenty-first century. We give a few examples of the case studies listed by the author in the book below.

The Russian Revolution of 1905

The Russian Empire was governed by the Tsars with an iron fist, as they believed in their divine right to govern, with a society that was changing from being mainly rural and agrarian to urban and industrial. These changes led to discontent. In December 1904, a strike broke out at the Putilov metal plant in Saint Petersburg. By January, 150,000 workers were on strike in the capital, as well as many more all over the country. The trigger for the revolution was the repression of the peaceful march that took place on Sunday 9 January, which led to numerous deaths and was a catalyst for similar actions elsewhere in the Empire. Over the next six months, the bargaining between the more moderate factions of the government and the opposition continued. In October, the Saint Petersburg Soviet called for a general strike, a refusal to pay taxes and a mass withdrawal of cash from banks. Finally, the Tsar was forced to sign the October Manifesto, which made concessions to many demands from the liberal parties but almost none by the socialist groups. The political movements continued until December of that year, when the Moscow Soviet attempted to undertake a violent revolution. The lack of organisation and its lack of support elsewhere in Russia led to the revolution's total defeat within a week.

Defence against a coup d'état, Germany 1920

At the end of the First World War, the situation in Germany was untenable. Finally, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated and a new regime was established: the Weimar republic. The change in the system did not lead to social peace, but instead aggravated the situation with constant general strikes. In that situation, on 12 March, the military officers Kapp, Bauer, Ehrhardt and Lüttwitz organised a coup d'état. The response from the public was to begin a general strike which completely paralysed the country. Sharp's analysis does not make it clear whether the leaders who were defeated by the strike or their own incompetence. As an example, he explains its financial difficulties, which led them to consider robbing the German central bank, even after they had taken over the government. Four days later, with the country paralysed, and governing it impossible, the plotters decided to leave government and return power to the civilian regime.

Norwegian teachers against fascism, 1942

The Nazis invaded Norway in April 1940. Military resistance was insignificant after the first two months. The Nazis' brutal repression led to the population engaging in symbolic acts of protest, although these were not organised. In February 1942, the collaborationist regime of Vidkun Quisling attempted to create a Fascist Youth Front and Fascist Teachers' Union in which participation was compulsory. In response, over 80% of the teachers wrote identical letters to the government, refusing to join a fascist group. Tens of thousands of letters were then sent within a very short time, in this case by parents, in a protest involving practically the entire country. The government decided to close the schools for a month. In March, a thousand Norwegian teachers were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Afterwards, almost 500 teachers were sent to Kirkenes, a work camp near the Arctic circle. The reprisals became known to the population, which forced the project for the establishment of the fascist group and the structures to put it in place to be abandoned. By November, all the teachers had returned to their home towns.

Saving Jewish husbands in Berlin, 1943

Towards the end of the Second War and after defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad, the elite Leibstandarte unit of the SS returned to Berlin with a mission: to make the city a place completely free of Jews. On 27 February, the Jews that still remained in Berlin were all imprisoned. The wives of those arrested, who were mostly from mixed marriages, found out where their husbands were, in Rosenstrasse, and began to meet there. They decided to come back the next day to demand that their husbands be allowed to return home. The protests continued on 1 March, but the deportations to Auschwitz also began on that day. The protests continued until Goebbels himself decided to release approximately 2,000 Jews who had been imprisoned in Rosenstrasse. The decision was due to the poor image of the protests created and the need to improve morale among Berlin's population. The release was therefore a direct consequence of the stubborn resistance of the women demonstrated.