Embracing the inevitability of conflict by practicing nonviolent ways to wage it, manage it, and resolve it.
The key questions for this pillar are:
- How can we embrace and prepare for the inevitability of conflict?
- How can we resolves, wage, and manage conflicts nonviolently?
Conflict can spawn all sorts of negative outcomes – bullying, gangs, mental abuse, verbal harassment, social ostracization, etc. But conflict can also be an opportunity for positive outcomes – social change, understanding new perspectives, awareness of injustice, challenging assumptions, etc. Conflict, in and of itself, is not something to be avoided or prevented, necessarily. Rather, it is an unavoidable aspect of life and human relationships that if managed, waged or resolved in a particular way can actually be the source of needed growth and change.
There are numerous examples of individuals, programs, and organizations that seek to transform conflicts nonviolently – be they peer mediation programs, dialogue groups, conflict resolution trainings, restorative justice practices, nonviolent social movements, etc. Educators committed to building peaceable communities learn from these examples, gain inspiration from their methods and actions, and incorporate these skills into their own work.
CeaseFire is one such organization. The trailer below is for the award winning documentary, The Interrupters, which “tells the moving and surprising stories of three Violence Interrupters who try to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they once employed….They believe that the spread of violence mimics the spread of infectious diseases, and so the treatment should be similar: go after the most infected, and stop the infection at its source. The singular mission of the “Violence Interrupters” — who have credibility on the streets because of their own personal histories — is to intervene in conflicts before they explode into violence (The Interrupters).”
Reflection Question: What is one example of a conflict of which you have been a part that led to a positive outcome? How was that conflict waged, managed, or resolved so that it allowed for such an outcome?
- Lantieri, Linda and Patti, Janet. Waging Peace in Our Schools.
- Ury, William & Fisher, Roger & Patton, Bruce. Getting to Yes.
- Pranis, Kay. The Little Book or Circle Processes.
- Boal, Augusto. Theater of the Oppressed.
- Creative Responses to Conflict.