As usual, an interesting episode – and huge respect to Rose Abramoff. But, as so often in discussions of climate activism, it feels a shame that there’s so little reference to the experience and scholarship accumulated over many decades, by nonviolent direct action (NVDA) movements. For example, in relation to property damage, most sets of Nonviolence principles do not equate property damage with violence. It may or may not be Nonviolent (and may or may not be a good idea): it depends on the context and how it’s done.

For example – is it done (as you said) with love, compassion, and kindness? And is it likely to help us win, or is it more likely to set the movement back? Relating to the first point: in the highly effective, loving, compassionate, “Seeds of Hope” East Timor Ploughshares action, 5 women broke in to a BAE factory, and disarmed, with hammer blows, a warplane bound for Indonesia, to be used in the genocidal war against the people of East Timor. (Andrea Needham, one of the women, has written an excellent book “The Hammer Blow” about this action.) On the second point: George Lakey, one of the elders of NVDA movements, has explored whether property destruction can get in the way of victory, rather than accelerating it – eg in his excellent book “How we win: a guide to nonviolent direct action campaigning”.

NVDA training often uses a “spectrum” exercise, to help deepen participants’ thinking about what nonviolence is, and its depth and power.


The whole point of this exercise is that there is no single “correct” definition. But there are various sets of principles – eg:



One great way in to the broader Nonviolence community (in the US, but with a global perspective) is wagingnonviolence.org Great people to talk with, for their decades of experience and wisdom in NVDA, would be George Lakey – or his colleague Daniel Hunter, author of the “Climate Resistance Handbook” (Both American) – or in the UK, Angie Zelter – author of “Activism for Life”. Or there are many, many, many more!

Thanks again – a great podcast series!

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Good for Rose for standing up for her values. It seems we’ll have to be willing to give up our careers to do the logical thing. I’ve had to displease my superiors, miss out on funding, and walk away from career options too--it’s tough. I’ve had friends in climate studies mysteriously ‘commit suicide’ under circumstances that don’t add up. In a way, it feels less lonely to hear Rose’s story. Thank you.

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