by Auriel Niemack, South Africa

On Thursday we were graced with three speakers from the International Cente on Non-Violent Conflict, Jack Duvall, Maciej Bartkowski and Mary King, who all spoke to various aspects of non-violence and civil resistance. One of the key points in Jack Duvall’s presentation that I found to be important were his explanations of the emergent properties of civil resistance, such as consent, reason, self-rule, representation, resilience, and transformation. I found this valuable as he articulated the necessary factors for civil resistance in a way that I had not yet understood.

Dr. Bartkowski’s lecture on movement formation provided us with insight on how movements emerge, and the various dilemmas that they face. He spoke at length on the critical nature of the framing process and the importance of strategy and planning for civil resistance movements, which I found to be highly informative. Dr. King then spoke to us about her personal experiences during the Civil Rights Struggle during the 1960s in the USA.

I found Dr. King’s presentation fascinating because, while her presentation style differed from her colleagues, it also complemented the content that had been delivered earlier. Dr. King’s presentation centered on how non-violent tactics learnt from the Indian independence movement were applied to the Civil Rights (CR) movement in US. Drawing on her personal experience as part of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (a key organization in the American CR movement), Dr. King provided a contextual analysis of the events, peppered with personal anecdotes.

She also spoke about the people who had inspired the late Dr. Martin Luther King Junior, such as Mohandas Gandhi, other notable luminaries Jim Lawson and Bayard Rustin. I appreciated her insights on how the movement progressed, and the techniques and strategies that formed part of the non-violent direct resistance. It was a highly informative day, providing us with many insights into non-violent resistance, as well as a keen analysis of civil resistance. For me, I learnt a great deal during the day, and am grateful for the resources provided.