Both Art and his wife, Peggy, have been involved in nonviolent peacebuilding and third-party nonviolent intervention in the Middle East. In fact, Peggy is currently in Iraq. Art began working with Christian Peacemaker Teams in 1995, and in Hebron Journal, Gish describes his personal experiences in trying to use nonviolent tactics to “get in the way” (to use CPT’s slogan) and stand with Palestinians while building relationships with settlers, police, and others across deep political, psychological, and emotional divides.
Our thoughts go out to Peggy Gish and the rest of Art’s family and friends.
Back in March, Assistant Professor Lee Smithey offered a live internet webinar on “Nonviolent Strategy, Tactics, and Collective Identity” for the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, where he is an academic advisor. He looks at how tactical choices and their execution are closely related to the construction of collective identities in social movements. Studying collective identity has helped social movement scholars understand why people participate in collective action, but less attention has been paid to the relationships between tactical choices and collective identity. Strategies and tactics can reflect, reaffirm, or challenge collective identities. Innovative nonviolent methods can create tension as activists work to resolve what they do with who they feel they are. However, much of the power of nonviolent action lies in the ways tactics and methods leverage culture by tapping into identities that demarcate or crosscut movements, opponents, allies, and by-standing publics.
The Swarthmore College Peace Collection was recently awarded a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation that will support the copying and preservation of five films documenting mid-20th century nonviolent movements. Created by members of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), the oldest religious, pacifist organization in the U.S., the films examine the philosophy on nonviolence, present different examples of successful nonviolent resistance, and contain footage of anti-nuclear demonstrations in 1959 and 1960.