Peace & Justice Groups Offering Nonviolent Direct Action Training & Resources

During the 2016 election season, we started tracking a noticeable renewal of strategic interest in direct action and civil disobedience from UFPJ member groups and partners. Our Peace Pledge campaign brought thousands of campaigners to register their re-commitment to these practices, to resist rising militarism from both major political parties in the US.  

Communities across the country are experiencing a measurable increase in institutional attacks on women, Muslims, immigrants, workers, poor, disabled, indigenous, and people of color. Many groups and individuals fare reaching out to us asking, “How can I get involved in resistance through nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience?”

We have reached out to non-violence organizations, networks, and trainers to compile a list of groups and their resources to reach the specific needs of a wide range of communities. We insist that all non-violence training must include a strong and dedicated focus on, and inclusion of, anti-oppression training, and we are working to increase our resources in this area. Below is a compilation of trusted groups with links to their resources which, we hope you will find useful in your local organizing and movement building.

Alliance of Community Trainers

ACT offers trainings and preparations in all aspects of organizing and mass direct action: strategic planning, campaign building, effective action planning, tactics for actions, street health and safety, nonviolence, civil disobedience, directly democratic decision making, meeting facilitation, anti-racism and cultural sensitivity, nuts and bolts organizing, conflict resolution and training for trainers and organizers. We see ourselves as supporting the goals of the organizers and participants in an action, and we prefer to work with the organizing team to craft trainings that can meet the specific needs of each community and situation. 

Lisa Fithian has been a leader in UFPJ through ACT. She also manages a personal site of resources for organizers.

Organizing for Power, Organizing for Change 
Lisa Fithian’s Resources for Organizers and Trainers

This website is full of resources for organizers, activists, students, journalists, or anyone trying to learn about creating positive social change.  The resources are broken up into section corresponding with the Building Blocks of Change, along with some others.

Lisa Fithian has been working for nonviolent social change since the mid  1970’s.  She Over the years she has been a student, labor and community organizer on a broad range of issues.  From environmental justice to student and worker rights, from peace and global justice to immigration and housing, Lisa continues to use a wide range of strategies and tactics and encouraged nonviolent direct action as one of the most effective strategies for change.

American Friend’s Service Committee (AFSC) Nonviolent Direct Action Training

As a resource to local communities of activism, conscience, and resistance, AFSC SENE works with community groups and partner organizations to provide basic and in-depth training in the theory and practice of symbolic, strategic, and tactical nonviolence. As part of the New England Nonviolence Trainers’ Network, AFSC SENE has access to a diverse community of trainers and facilitators united only in their commitment to social change through the power of nonviolence.

If your group is preparing a nonviolent campaign, or if you are considering participation in an act of civil disobedience, we strongly urge you to seek training in methods of nonviolent action. Call us at the AFSC office or send us an email for more information and a confidential chat.

AFSC SENE also organizes and promotes trainings geared toward building the base of trained, action-ready community members in anticipation of future struggles.

Beautiful Trouble – A Toolbox for the Revolution

Beautiful Trouble is a book, web toolbox and international network of artist-activist trainers whose mission is to make grassroots movements more creative and more effective.

We’re a collaborative effort by 70 artist-activists-strategists and 10+ leading creative campaign organizations including the YesMen/YesLab, Ruckus Society, Other 98% and others. Praised by Naomi Klein as “elegant and incendiary,” the book is being used by campaigns and classrooms across North America and Europe; it just sold its 10,000th copy, and has been translated into six languages. A beta of the web toolbox (you’re looking at it) is online, and offers all the book content (and more) to the public under a creative commons license.

The Change Agency

The Change Agency Education and Training Institute is an independent social movement initiative based in Australia with some involvement in international projects.

Our team includes James Whelan (founding director), Kate Smolski (Community Organising Fellowship co-director), Fee Mozeley (Community Organising Fellowship coordinator) and several associates with whom we work from time to time.

Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR)

FOR perpetuates and strengthens the story of nonviolence and illuminates nonviolent practices in the world today. Since 1915, the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) has carried on programs and educational projects concerned with domestic and international peace and justice, nonviolent alternatives to conflict, and the rights of conscience. An interfaith, tax-exempt organization, FOR promotes active nonviolence and has members from many religious, spiritual, and ethnic traditions. FOR offers militant nonviolent civil disobedience trainings

preparing communities for targeted nonviolent action grounded in deep abiding love.

Fighting Against Natural Gas Collective (FANG)

FANG is comprised of members from PA, ME, RI, MA, CT, MD, and DC who operate under the guidance of the FANG Core, (FANG’s steering committee). As the scope of our work grew, to reflect the inherent intersectional goals and identities of our leadership and membership, we formally changed our name to The FANG Collective in 2016, removing “Fighting Against Natural Gas” as the focus. Currently, The FANG Collective has three campaigns local to the Northeast: Stop Spectra, No New Power Plant, and No LNG IN PVD. More information about these movements can be found on the campaigns page.

Nonviolence International

Researches and promotes nonviolent action, a culture of peace, and seeks to reduce violence and passivity worldwide.  We believe that all people of every culture and religion can employ appropriate nonviolent methods for personal fulfillment,  positive social change and international peace.

The Nonviolence Training Hub

A partnership of nonviolence training organizations and individuals offering educational programming for nonviolent transformation in our lives and our world. We invite all nonviolence trainers and training organizations to submit your trainings below. Once approved they will be listed on our Training Calendar page. If you or your organization would like to be displayed on this site as a nonviolence training organization listed under the Training Partners page, click here. Keep in mind, this is not required in order to display your training. Types of trainings include: introducing nonviolence, nonviolent social change, communicating nonviolently, nonviolent conflict transformation, spiritually-based nonviolence, training for trainers.

Pace e Bene – Campaign Nonviolence (CNV)

Campaign Nonviolence is a long-term movement to build a culture of peace by mainstreaming active nonviolence—and by joining with people, organizations, and movements everywhere in the long-term nonviolent struggle to abolish war, end poverty and racism, reverse climate change, and challenge all violence. See the CNV Call for Nonviolent Action–and join people in hundreds of cities this year — September 16-24, 2017 during the Campaign Nonviolence Week of Actions — to take action connecting the dots between war, poverty, racism and the climate crisis and calling for concrete policy shifts for peace, economic justice, and environmental healing.

Ruckus Society

The Ruckus Society provides environmental, human rights, and social justice organizers with the tools, training, and support needed to achieve their goals through the strategic use of creative, nonviolent direct action. Working with a broad range of communities, organizations, and movements – from high school students to professional organizations – Ruckus facilitates the sharing of information and expertise that strengthens the capacity to change our relationship with the environment and each other.

We believe building partnerships with organizers and communities to create spaces for participatory learning, networking, and resource sharing is the most powerful way we as individuals can contribute to actualizing positive social change. With an ambitious commitment to social justice and environmental activism and a small staff, Ruckus is busy. To achieve our goals we rely on a diverse network of over 150 talented, committed trainers, coordinators and workers who volunteer their time to train other people to be effective nonviolent activists and direct action organizers.

School of the Americas Watch (SOAW)Handbook For Nonviolent Action

SOA Watch is a nonviolent grassroots movement that works to stand in solidarity with the people of Latin America and the Caribbean, to close the SOA/WHINSEC and to change oppressive U.S. foreign policy that the SOA represents through vigils and fasts, demonstrations and nonviolent protest, as well as media and legislative work. . We are grateful to our sisters and brothers throughout Latin America and the Caribbean for their inspiration and the invitation to join them in their struggle for economic and social justice.

On November 16, 1989, six Jesuit priests, their co-worker and her teenage daughter were massacred in El Salvador. A U.S. Congressional Task Force reported that those responsible were trained at the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA) at Ft. Benning, Georgia.

Training for Change

Has provided activist training for groups standing up for social, economic, and environmental justice through strategic nonviolence, for over 20 years.  We’ve led hundreds of workshops and trained thousands of people – from striking steelworkers to interfaith coalitions for immigrant rights – in the skills they need to effectively create change.  Using our unique experiential approach, we create learning environments that provide the practical tools and insights that activists can use, as well as opportunities for real growth, transformation, and empowerment.

War Resisters League (WRL)

WRL believes change happens through the implementation of revolutionary nonviolence. Nonviolent Direct Action (NVDA) is powerful. There are many dramatic images of nonviolent action; indeed, the ability to dramatize an issue is one of the strengths of nonviolence. However, this drama doesn’t just happen. It gestates – in groups or cells of activists, in discussions, in training sessions, in reflecting on previous experiences, in planning, in experimenting, in making contacts.

As a 94 year old organization, War Resisters League has been training for, and doing, nonviolent direct actions since the 1940’s. As a radical organization, we go to the roots, not only of the problems but also the solutions. WRL declares its commitment to “strive nonviolently for the removal of all the causes of war, including racism, sexism and all forms of exploitation.” While addressing the root causes of war, we also nurture the roots of nonviolent action, recognizing that blooms will be stronger if we root ourselves in nonviolent direct action training and history.

Resources include: planning nonviolent campaigns, organizing effective actions, trainings for nonviolent actions, and training resources.