Gospel nonviolence in action: Examples from around the world

As a child, Rabbie played in the alleyways by his home on Benson Street, one of Monrovia's main thoroughfares and the site of fierce fighting during the civil war. Photo by Cameron Zohoori, Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC

Alleyway near Benson Street, one of Monrovia’s main thoroughfares and the site of fierce fighting during the Liberian civil war. Photo by Cameron Zohoori, Creative Commons licence CC BY-NC

What does Gospel nonviolence look like in action? The Fellowship of Reconciliation held a joint conference with the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship looking at this, and included a talk from the Revd David Mumford. Over a series of 14 blogs, some short and some longer, he outlines the different themes and topics covered in his presentation. 

Organised withdrawal of labour can be a very powerful nonviolent action. Indeed, there was even a successful strike at the Vorkuta coalmines in 1953 – part of the Stalinist gulag – and in spite of bloody reprisals working conditions were improved.

In Northern Ireland, a general strike led by the Ulster Workers Council in May 1974 caused the overthrow of the Sunningdale Agreement (which enshrined cross-community power sharing in Northern Ireland). The strike was predominantly nonviolent but in some areas was enforced violently by protestant paramilitaries.

Over the past thirty years we have seen the collapse of authoritarian communism in Eastern Europe without violence and the ending of apartheid in South Africa without a bloodbath. Liberia ended its civil war in 2003 helped by blockades organised by a coalition of Christian and Muslim women.