Thursday, 8 March 2007

NVDA meme spreads

In today's Guardian G2, there's an article on the spread of NVDA. A piece on how organisations like Seeds of Change are offering workshops to activists on direct action - bit like TTT I think.

Made me think about how we spread the method beyond the usual suspects. The more we spread these ideas to different interest groups and communities the more powerful the tool becomes. While TTT is clearly linked into many campaigning organisations, we need to think through how we get to those that are either unaligned or those that are in organisations but have no idea about NVDA. Given that two of the highest profile NVDA campaigns in the 20th century were for national liberation (India) and civil rights (USA), and were not for or about white people, we should perhaps also think through why these methods have little current resonance with people from black or minority ethnic communities?


DD said...

I think I understand your musing, but I'd also say that while there are similarities in the India independence and Civil Rights movements, the dynamics are different too.

The Indians were saying, 'hey this was our country for a good long time before you got here, so would you leave now, please?' And the African-Americans were saying, 'hey, haven't you noticed, we've got the same same civil and political rights as you do cuz the constitution says we're all equal under the law. Hello! Are you paying attention?'

Either way, the movements were a long time maturing. Is your question, how to help movements mature and embrace NV as a tool? Spray with NV speed-gro (TM) and watch the peace flow! ha.

What is 'ethnic community' btw? Is it about nationality and/or race? Does it mean anything other than non-white-British? I'm currently reading 'Who do we think we are' by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, which is wonderful. But the book is leading to me more questions, rather than answers (not necessarily a bad thing!)

Back to NV, in the solidarity work I've done in Latin America, I know heaps of people using NV as a their primary tools. And the whole global movement for social justice -- World Social Forum, fair trade, alternative currency communities, V-day movement, Free Software, etc movements are held together by a thread of NV. In some groups it's a thicker more pronounced thread than in others. But I think (hope) that NV is growing.


It is an interesting question though (in the context of the UK). I, personally, don't feel I know enough BME community organizations and their strategies to know which approaches they take.

... But could it be that most groups using NVDA action are headed up by white middle-class types (and dare I say, male) and the BME community doesn't feel welcome in those groups? Or the approaches/culture to organizing are different, and cooperating is not comfortable because no one knows how to address/bridge the differences?

In my solidarity work with US groups in Mexico, I often heard about how 'we' always wanted 'them' to join us, and diversify 'us'. Do white folks say that here too? But, hhhmm, good question -- what tools are the BME communities using? And a something I'd like to know more about too. I'll be right back, I'm going to go check it out and see what 'they' are doing ... ;-)

DD said...

...round and round and round and round... what I was trying to say was that I don't think I'd agree that NV doesn't resonate with BME communities, but then I don't know that I know enough to say that. I'd like to find out more.

Carl Reynolds said...

dd you raise a host of issues - thanks. I'd like to focus on the one about how we spread these ideas in a non-imperialist way. I think this means active outreach in the spirit of solidarity and sharing, and with a non-insistent intention. But I concur that this needs reflection, some research and negotiation. 8

soph said...

Well I agree Carl, this is of major interest to TTT, we've just been limited by resources but want very much to listen to and talk with people who are 'up against it' in UK and see if/how NV approach could serve and be developed by them.
Commonly NVDA hasnt got far unless there is a situation where people are really up against the wall and therefore have a deep and unavoidable motivation for finding a way through.

Which has been one of the frustrations/challenges for NVDA peace movement in UK - the issues don't matter enough/or people don't feel the pinch enough to as in your example, switch from mass demos to mass blockades
We've got various contacts, ideas, just waiting for people to go exploring......