Empowerment world-wide

In February 2001, a little later than originally planned, 70 people from 20 countries on five continents met for a week at the Gandhi Labour Foundation in Puri on the Gulf of Bengal, in order to exchange experiences of empowerment, to raise questions, and to search for new answers1.

Empowerment: International Dimensions

Although international cooperation among political movements is as old as the movements themselves, it has become more important in times of economic globalization. Since the UN Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, solidarity has entered official discourse in discussion of an international "civil society." Rather than add to that discussion and the growing NGO-ization of popular movements, I want to examine the experience of one movement--War Resisters' International (WRI)--with international cooperation through the lens of empowerment. As an international network of pacifist and nonviolent organizations, WRI focuses on the grassroots level and works to achieve change at the leadership level by indirect means.

Collective identities: trap or tool for empowerment?

Collective identities — „we" as queers, as whatever group you like — are often perceived as empowering, as providing a sense of belonging. On the other hand through their very existence, collective identities produce new boundaries of „in" and „out", and new norms of behaviour that limit peoples’ freedom to be and to do. Not only can identity be disempowering, but it can also threaten peoples’ lives, as nationalist and homophobic attacks show. Maybe I’m stating the obvious here. I consider none of all the collective identities normally discussed (be they ethnic, gender, or nation-based) as „natural"; all of them are social constructions. This doesn’t mean they don’t exist, or that they don’t have an influence on our lives, but it means that we have an active role too in our collective identities, in stabilising or de-constructing them. As I am a gay man, I will mainly write from this perspective. However, I’m convinced similar processes are at work in the construction of other collective identities, and therefore my thoughts are not limited to issues of gay identities.

Nonviolence and Social Empowerment

Julia Kraft und Andreas Speck

Practical peace policy through civil intervention in everyday life

(Forum 3, AG 8)


Andreas Speck, Patchwork, Oldenburg (Oldb.)

Impulsreferat auf dem Osnabrücker Friedenskongreß 1998


Zivile Intervention im Alltag als eine Form der Friedenspolitik, der Begriff ist so weit gefaßt, daß er eigentlich schon gar nicht mehr faßbar ist. Darunter fallen individuelle Handlungen, die unter dem Stichwort "Zivilcourage" zusammengefaßt werden – also z.B. individuelles und beherztes Eingreifen bei rassistischen oder sexistischen Übergriffen, z.B. im Bus oder in der U-Bahn –, auf der anderen Seite aber auch im lokalen Alltag eingebettete Aktionen von handelnden Gruppen wie z.B. die Unterstützung von Flüchtlingen, der Aufbau von Netzwerken zur Unterstützung von Illegalisierten, aber auch demonstrative Aktionen wie z.B. tägliche oder wöchentliche Mahnwachen, Boykottaktionen, "giroblau", das Einkaufen mit Wertgutscheinen für Flüchtlinge etc...

A Movement Action Plan for Turkey

These pages are an assessment of the seminar "A Movement Action Plan for Turkey". The seminar took place in Sigacik near Izmir from April 4 to 8, 1998 and was the first of its kind in Turkey. Copies of this documentation are available from Patchwork.

The Movement Action Plan

A tool for analysing the progress of your movement

Silke Kreusel and Andreas Speck

Activists often feel disempowered, although their movement is doing well and on the road to success. Understanding the way a movement works and recognising its success therefore can empower movement activists and groups. The Movement Action Plan (MAP), developed in the 1980s by Bill Moyer, is a good tool for this, as it describes the eight stages of successful movements and the four roles activists have to play.

Strategic Assumptions
MAP is based on seven strategic assumptions:

Victory in defeat as nuclear transport goes through

On 25 April, a transport of spent nuclear fuel rods reached the intermediate storage site in Gorleben, Lower Saxony (Peace News September 1994, January 1995), the way having been cleared of protesters by 15,000 police in the county of Wendland and throughout the railway network. The bill for the police operation alone is estimated at 55 million marks (£25 million). ANDREAS SPECK looks at the history of the anti-nuclear campaign and suggests how to sharpen strategies for nonviolent protest.


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