Tag Archives: nonviolent

Dr. Juan Masullo Lecture On “Refusing To Cooperate With Armed Groups” – December 1

We are excited to be a co-sponsor of this event featuring Dr. Juan Masullo, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University. Read more about the event below, and we hope to see you there.

REFUSING TO COOPERATE WITH ARMED GROUPS:
Civilian Agency and Nonviolent Resistance in the Colombian Civil War
Thursday, 1 December 2022
4.15-5.30 pm, Science Center 199

Swarthmore College (directions)

How do communities living amidst violence activate their agency and organize nonviolent resistance to protect themselves from armed groups’ violence and rule? In this talk, Dr. Masullo will explore the conditions that led ordinary and unarmed civilians in Colombia to collectively refuse to cooperate with heavily armed groups. 

Juan Masullo is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University. He is also a co-editor of Qualitative & Multi-Method Research, the biannual publication of APSA’s Qualitative and Multi-Method Research Section, and associate editor of the International Studies Review. 

Sponsored by the Department of Political Science, Latin American and Latino Studies, and the Peace and Conflict Studies Department.

LIVE panel with Ruth McDonough ’08, Sultana Khaya, and co. engaged in unarmed civilian protection and nonviolent struggle in Western Sahara

Ruth McDonough ’08 (Religion; Peace and Conflict Studies; Linguistics) is currently engaged in unarmed civilian protection in the home of the Khaya sisters, Saharawi nonviolent activists calling for an independent Western Sahara, who have been under de facto house arrest for more than 500 days.. Learn more.

On Wednesday April 20, we are hosting a hybrid in-person/online event to:

1.) learn more about Western Saraha
2.) join a LIVE panel from the Khaya sisters’ home.

Where: Join online (links below) or come to Kohlberg Hall Room 230

10:30 AM EDT – Primer on Western Sahara by Professor Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, Coordinator of the program in Middle Eastern Studies, and co-author of Western Sahara: War, Nationalism, and Conflict Irresolution.
Online: Register at https://bit.ly/wsahara

11:00 AM EDT – Join the live online panel with Ruth McDonough ’08 and the rest of the team.
Online: Register at https://bit.ly/3jIDzi4

Online participation by the public is welcomed.


Ruth McDonough

Ruth is a current member of the Unarmed Civilian Accompaniment based at the Khaya family home in Boujdour, Western Sahara. Ruth has been an Arabic teacher and strong proponent of cross-cultural understanding and peacebuilding and is the site Director of Middlebury College’s Jiran: Arabic Community Action Summer 2021 to present. Previously, she was head of the World Languages and Cultures Department at The American School in London–London, UK; Arabic Teacher at The American School in London, UK; Field Instructor at Where There Be Dragons, Amman, Jordan; Arabic Teacher at Arabic Summer Academy–Boston, MA, USA; Curriculum Consultant at One World Now, Seattle, Washington and Portland State University–Portland, OR, USA and Arabic Teacher at Buckingham Browne & Nichols School–Cambridge, MA, USA. Ruth served as co-founder/facilitator of Anti-Racism Enquiry Group at The American School in London, co-chair of the Upper School Diversity Committee and co-advisor to SHADES at Buckingham Browne & Nichols School–Cambridge, MA, USA. She is skilled at international and outdoor program management as Ecology Facilitator and Wilderness Trail Co-Leader at The American School in London, UK and an emergency wilderness responder. Ruth lived and traveled in many Arab countries and is proficient at several languages including English, Arabic, French and American Sign Language. She earned a BA in Religion at Swarthmore College with minors in Linguistics and Peace & Conflict Studies and a Certificate in Humanistic Integrative Counseling from CPPD Counseling School.

Sponsored by the Peace and Conflict Studies Program and the Department of Religion at Swarthmore College
Contact: Lee Smithey, lsmithe1@swarthmore.edu

Polarization as Possibility: The Justice Strategizing of Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The video of the event announced below is now available!


Our friends at the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship at Haverford College are sponsoring an exciting online event on January 21, 2022 titled “Polarization as Possibility: The Justice Strategizing of Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King, Jr.” featuring our own George Lakey and Professor Terrance Wiley of Religion and Africana Studies at Haverford College.

Conflict is challenging for many of us, but the insights of King and Rustin offer hope.  King encountered violent conflict across America yet received the Nobel Peace Prize. His mentor Rustin urged “angelic troublemakers” to act more boldly.  What can we learn from the organizing leader behind much of the Civil Rights Movement, Bayard Rustin, who was born in nearby West Chester, PA, and raised in a Quaker household? How did King and Rustin’s theories of change leverage polarization toward possibility, and what does it mean for us in today’s environment? 

Read more and register.

Honors Program Adapts and Thrives in Virtual Environment

Professor Smithey’s and Prof. Paddon Rhoads’ honors seminars were covered in this story by Ryan Dougherty about the honors program during the pandemic.

“Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies and Sociology Lee Smithey invited six authors to join his honors seminar on nonviolent civil resistance. Students heard the inside story from the writers whose books they were reading.“The results were pretty special,” says Smithey, whose hybrid seminar was held both online and, on warmer days, on the lawn outside Trotter Hall. “And the authors were each impressed with their conversation with the students and the level at which our students engaged the literature.”

Read more…

Assistant Professor of Political Science Emily Paddon Rhoads’s honors seminar had a hybrid format, with six students studying in person and three online.

Religion, Race, and Environmental Activism after Standing Rock

All are invited to an event on Tuesday (April 20) at 7:00 p.m.: “Religion, Race, and Environmental Activism after Standing Rock” at Montclair State University. Professor Smithey will participate in the panel that follows a screening of Half-Mile, Upwind, On Foot.

Some of you will remember a similar film screening at Swarthmore College in 2019.

All are welcome, and you can register to attend online (or in person) using this link

Observing Nonviolent Action for Climate Justice

On Wednesday, a group of students from Professor Smithey’s Climate Disruption, Conflict, and Peacemaking course observed a nonviolent action mounted by Earth Quaker Action Team. EQAT has called on the private electric utility PECO to distribute 20% of its electricity from local solar installations by 2025. Currently, solar makes up less than half of one percent of PECO’s energy portfolio.

Swarthmore students watch on as EQAT blockades a driveway

Activists blockaded PECO service centers in Phoenixville, Coatesville, and Warminster saying that PECO is not preparing for the climate disruption crisis and is not properly investing in the region it serves. EQAT’s campaign is called “Power Local Green Jobs”.

Swarthmore students watch as EQAT blockades a driveway

Four activists were arrested at the Phoenixville site, where Swarthmore students observed. News coverage, including statements from EQAT and PECO, are available here and here. EQAT’s press release is here.

Bill Ehrhart ’73 and Soldiers for Peace

This morning, I listened to a radio documentary titled “Soldiers for Peace” by Kate Ellis and Stephen Smith via APM reports. The documentary (accessible below) details the participation of veterans and active duty soldiers in the anti-war movement during the Vietnam War. You can find a rich didactic page with photos and excerpts on the APM website.

Bill Ehrhart '73
Bill Ehrhart ’73

The documentary includes Swarthmore alum, writer, and poet Bill Ehrhart ’73, who was a veteran and student of Prof. Thompson Bradley, who passed away this semester. Earlier today, I posted a poem Ehrhart wrote in honor of Bradley. Another poem by Ehrhart and clips of interviews with him appears on the “Soldiers for Peace” page about the radio documentary.

Prof. Lee Smithey

Soldiers for Peace – Part 1:

Soldiers for Peace – Part 2:

 

“Half-Mile, Upwind, on Foot” film screening and panel

Please join us for a film screening of Half-Mile, Upwind, on Foot, with the filmmaker and anti-pipeline activists featured in the film.

This film documents the efforts of two communities challenging fossil fuel pipeline projects in Pennsylvania, including the Mariner East 2 pipeline that cuts through Delaware County, not far from Swarthmore College.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019
7:00 – 8:30 P.M.
Scheuer Room in Kohlberg Hall
Swarthmore College

This event is open to the public. You can find directions and a campus map on the College’s website. Download a flyer and bring a friend.

Brian McDermott, the filmmaker, writes:

Half-Mile, Upwind, On Foot tells the story of communities who are working to challenge two different pipeline projects in Pennsylvania that are considered by many to be disruptive, dangerous, and unnecessary. A protest sign rests on the ground next to the bucket of a backhoe.Through use of eminent domain, billion-dollar pipeline projects are being developed close to homes, schools and community centers—all for the delivery of natural gas and “highly volatile liquids” overseas. The film shares stories of people who are rising up to assert their basic right to a clean, sustainable environment and a safe community as they are confronted by extraction companies and an unfriendly system that often favors corporate power over the rights of people.

In the film, we meet Ellen Gerhart, a retired special education teacher and grandmother who was jailed twice for protesting the taking of three acres of her land (through eminent domain) for use by a pipeline company. Ellen catalogues the degradation of nature that has been taking place on her property, and she gives an overview of some of the ways companies take advantage of their use of eminent domain. We then follow Ginny Marcille-Kerslake, a geologist who testified in court against a pipeline company and successfully stopped construction on her land by documenting how the pipeline construction was damaging the environment.

We also hear from a group of Catholic Sisters known as the Adorers of the Blood of Christ who built a chapel in a pipeline’s path on their land as an expression of religious freedom and their belief in caring for the earth. Sister Bernice Klostermann provides us with a history of the Adorers who settled in Pennsylvania and she teaches us why it is important to preserve the land.

Untitled design

We are then introduced to Malinda Harnish Clatterbuck (a Mennonite pastor) and Mark Clatterbuck (a Professor of Religion at Montclair State University), the Co-Founders of Lancaster Against Pipelines who have been working tirelessly for the past four years to protect communities and to inspire others to take action. They reveal what they’ve learned about eminent domain law and regulations regarding pipeline construction, and they provide insight into how extraction companies are able to receive permits for projects even when those projects may be damaging to the environment or disputed by a large number of citizens. Mark and Malinda  also demonstrate how communities can move forward in peaceful ways to protect what they love.

Ultimately, we hear Senator Andrew Dinniman reinforce what many citizens had suspected all along: eminent domain is being compromised in Pennsylvania, and those who oppose the demand for public safety and a clean and sustainable environment, are actually opposing the Constitution of Pennsylvania.

Co-sponsors: Peace and Conflict Studies, Environmental Studies, the Office of Sustainability, and the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsiblity. 

Download a flyer:

Half Mile poster rough draft 4-9

Webinar on the Paradox of Repression and Nonviolent Movements

On November 15, 2018, Prof. Lee Smithey joined his co-editor and colleague, Prof. Lester Kurtz (George Mason University) to talk about their new edited book, The Paradox of Repression and Nonviolent Movements (Syracuse University Press). The webinar was recorded, and you are welcome to view it here. The Communications Office, also published a piece on the College’s website that you may also read below. You can learn more about the book at http://paradox.swarthmore.edu


Professor Lee Smithey
Associate Professor Lee Smithey

Lee Smithey, associate professor of peace & conflict studies and sociology, is a co-editor and contributor to a new book, The Paradox of Repression and Nonviolent Movements (Syracuse University Press, 2018), that offers an in-depth exploration of the use of repression in political arenas and its unintended effect of sometimes fanning the flames of nonviolent resistance.

“The concept of backfire, or the paradox of repression, is widely understood to be fundamental to strategic nonviolent action, but it has not been fully investigated. It was work that needed to be done,” says Smithey, who in addition to writing and teaching about nonviolent resistance has also participated in peaceful protests. “Power is not only about repression but also about building public support.”

The book, edited by Smithey and Lester Kurtz, a George Mason University sociology professor, is meant as a tool for scholars and activists to understand how repression works, as well as to study significant incidents when nonviolent activists took measures to help make repression a defining moment. For example: “When authorities are seen as attacking or disrespecting widely shared symbols, they may mobilize people in defense of shared collective identities,” write Smithey and Kurtz.

The editors first wrote about the topic in 1999, but organizing for the new book began in 2009—bringing together diverse, global contributors to study how repression can energize nonviolent movements and how nonviolent activists have worked to manage repression in their favor. It includes the grassroots efforts of nonviolent resistance such as Women of Zimbabwe Arise, who bravely joined forces as “mothers of the nation” to stand against dictator Robert Mugabe.

As they planned the book, Smithey and Kurtz organized a two-day writing retreat for the contributors to help build an integrated approach to the project. “It was intellectually exciting,” Smithey says. “We were committed early on to making this book a collaboration between academics and practitioners.”

One practice the book’s authors explore is called repression management—enacted by withstanding or avoiding repression or by creating scenarios in which repression against nonviolent activists would more likely elicit a sense of public outrage (and ultimately support).

One example, Smithey says, is the now-iconic photo of Ieshia Evans, who stood stoically in a flowing dress and faced a line of law enforcement officers in riot gear as she protested the shooting death of Alton Sterling. The photo, taken in downtown Baton Rouge, La., on July 9, 2016, quickly became a cultural touchstone.

The Paradox of Repression and Nonviolent Movements also examines the psychological costs for agents of repression, elites’ attempts to avoid triggering the paradox of repression, repression of online activism, and the work of overcoming fear.

“Repression is an attempt to demobilize nonviolent movements by sowing fear,” Smithey says, “but activists can work together to overcome fear and continue to mobilize.”

The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict will host a webinar by Smithey and Kurtz Nov. 15 from noon to 1 PM. Smithey will also offer an Alumni Council webinar on the book on Nov. 28. 

Pipelines and Nonviolent Civil Resistance

Lancaster Against Pipelines Pequa Creek

On Wednesday November 7, Malinda Clatterbuck, a co-founder of Lancaster Against Pipelines and a staff member at the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund will speak in our “Climate Disruption, Conflict, and Peacemaking” course in Science Center room 183 at 10:30-11:20.  You are welcome to attend to hear more about the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline and local resistance.  (An RSVP to lsmithe1 would be welcome but not necessary.)

Last year, our class toured part of the route of the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline, including property owned by the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, a Catholic order that is fighting the seizure of their land through eminent domain.

After class on November 7, anyone is invited to join us at noon for a brown-bag conversation over lunch in the new Sproul Hall kitchen (Room 205 in the Hormel/Nguyen Intercultural Center). Brown bag means you bring your own lunch. Drop by Essie Mae’s next door to grab some food if you wish, and then come join us.  No need to RSVP.

You can read more about Lancaster Against Pipelines and their partners, the Sisters of the order Adorers of the Blood of Christ at http://www.wearelancastercounty.org/
The new documentary film, Half-Mile, Upwind, On Foot, features clips of interviews with Malinda and the sisters. See  https://vimeo.com/283257412

Half-Mile, Upwind, On Foot trailer from Brian McDermott on Vimeo.