Nonviolent Change Journal

Publication of the Research/Action Team on Nonviolent Large Systems Change,
an interorganizational project of the Organization Development Institute

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Vol. XX, No.2            Winter, 2006


Nonviolent Change Journal helps to network the peace community: providing dialoguing, exchanges of ideas, articles, reviews, reports and announcements of the activities of peace related groups and meetings, reviews of world developments relating to nonviolent change and resource information concerning the development of human relations on the basis of mutual respect.



Reviews, Notes, and Websites





Review of Paul R. Dekar, Creating the Beloved Community: A Journey with the Fellowship of Reconciliation (Telford, PA: Cascadia Publishing, 2005, 326pp.) by Rene Wadlow (


     The Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) began symbolically on the eve of the First World War as Henry Hodgkin, a British Quaker, and Friedrick  Siegmund-Schultze, the German pastor of Potsdam and chaplain to the Kaiser , parted after the creation of the World Alliance for  Promoting International Friendship through the Churches.  They said "We are one in Christ and can never be at war."  A few weeks later, Germany and England were at war.  Henry Hodgkin helped draft a statement first for the Quakers and then for the creation in England of the Fellowship of Reconciliation which said in part " That the Power, Wisdom and Love of God stretch far beyond the limits of our present experience, and that He is ever waiting to break forth into human life in new and larger ways."


     In Germany, Siegmund-Schultze faced the death penalty for his pronouncements against the war and was forced into exile.  He lived until 1969, thus seeing the Second World War as well as some of the most aggressive phases of the Cold War.


     Hodgkin who had been a missionary doctor in China had good contacts among American Quakers as well as among the YMCA which had been active in China and with others such as Grace Hutchins, a former principal of a school in Wuchang, China, who became the associate editor of the FOR magazine. He drew upon these contacts to organize a branch in the USA in November 1915.  What was remarkable for the time was that among the 68 founding members, half were women.  Some of the women went on to help found shortly afterwards two, not specifically religious, peace organizations: Emily Greene Balch and Jane Addams - the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom; Tracy Mygatt and others - the War Resisters League.


     After the war in 1919 Christian peacemakers met in England to develop an international body; the International Fellowship of Reconciliation was officially founded in 1923 with England and the USA as the strongest groups.  Paul Dekar's book is a journey primarily through the US branch but as events in the rest of the world crowd in on the US, peacemakers from other countries appear in the narrative.


     At the end of the First World War, the newly organized US-FOR turned its attention to economic injustice which had been partly hidden by the war effort.  FOR leaders were active in defense of trade unions and cooperatives, public ownership of important means of production, a universal minimum wage.  As Reinhold Niebuhr, the chair of the national council in 1931 and 1932 wrote "A society which tries to create truth, beauty and goodness while it rests upon untrue and unjust foundations deserves to be convicted of hypocrisy and must inevitably lose the good will of those who are victimized by its injustices.  There can, therefore, be no health in the cultural and spiritual life of Western society as long as its present economic system is not seriously modified."


     Norman Thomas, the Socialist Party candidate for US President a number of times was the FOR Executive Secretary in 1917-1919 and continued as an active leader as was his brother Evan.  A.J. Muste, who was one of the best known of the Executive Secretaries, wrote in 1929 as the economic depression got under way, "The Fellowship of Reconciliation envisions as the goal of history the kingdom of God, an order of society in which there shall be no master and no slave, no exploiter and no exploited; where each human being shall be regarded as an end in himself; where each shall contribute according to his ability; and each shall share according to his need; an order of society based on cooperation, not competition and strife; where fellowship shall be a reality and not a lovely dream or a pious wish."


     Closely linked to the struggle against economic injustice was the challenge to racism.

Many African-Americans were both poor and discriminated against in housing, employment, transportation and education.  FOR activists helped to adopt techniques of Gandhian non-violence to challenge racism.  As Bayard Rustin, one time FOR staff member wrote "At times freedom will demand that its followers go into situations where even death is to be faced.  Resistance on the buses would, for example, mean humiliation, mistreatment by police, arrest, and some physical violence inflicted on the participants.


     "But if anyone at this date in history believes that the 'white problem' which is one of privilege, can be settled without some violence, he is mistaken and fails to realize the ends to which men can be driven to hold on to what they consider privileges.

"This is why Negroes and whites who participate in direct action must pledge themselves to non-violence in word and deed.  For in this way alone can the inevitable violence be reduced to a minimum."


     The title of the book "Creating the Beloved Community" comes from an oft-used phrase of Martin Luther King Jr. in describing the aim of overcoming the tripartite personal, economic, and political oppression.  As James Lawson, who later became FOR chairperson, wrote in 1959 " Only if the Negro is strong enough to love and forgive, while pressing on for a new society, will the end to segregation and racial hatred arrive."


     As Dekar points out "FOR members have not typically held a narrow view of peacemaking.  FOR members have sought not only to oppose war, but also to identify and alleviate causes of war." As Alfred Hassler, FOR Executive Secretary from 1958 to 1974, wrote " Those of us who believe in the ability of non-violent methods to deal effectively with this problem of social change and revolution must consider whether it is enough to apply the tactics of non-violence to individual circumstances in isolated places, or whether we must not now seek a total strategy that envisions a non-violently organized total world community in which the well-being of all is the responsibility of all."  He went on to stress the necessity for individuals of all countries to identify as world citizens and to shape a wider vision of the world at peace.  He saw the need to provide concrete, visible, and simple means by which greater numbers of people might contribute to shaping life on earth in different ways and to use new technologies in more appropriate ways.


     Dai Dong, a Vietnamese term for "a world of great togetherness" was such a transnational effort linking war, ecology, poverty and other social issues, especially at the time of the 1st UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm 1972.  As Dekar notes "Dai Dong and FOR highlighted a people-centered development vision that embraced an agenda markedly different than that of the world's governments."


     As we look over the history of FOR, we are reminded of a talk in 1967 of Martin Luther King Jr. "The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.  One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal."








Vandana Shiva, Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace is $15.00 paper, $40.00 cloth, from South End Press, 7 Brookline Street, Cambridge, MA 02139 (800)533-8478

email to:     or visit their website:



Elizabeth Boardman, Taking A Stand: A Guide to Peace Teams and Accompaniment Projects is available from Northwest Society Publishers.


The Non-Profit Directory 2005, containing more than 85,000 Non-Profit organizations and Foundations located in the United States and Canada, is available for $149.95 from Canada Books, 26 Bellevue, St-Anne-des-Lacs, Qc, Canada, J0R 1B0 (450)224-9275.


Recent publications from the Open Society Institute and Soros Foundation, which can be downloaded from its website: , include: Open Society News: The Decade of Roma Inclusion; OSI's EUMAP and Media Program, Television Across Europe: Regulation, Policy, and Independence, indicting the pivotal role of television in supporting democracy in Europe is under threat; OSI, Report of the Second European Forum on Access to Justice; and OSI, Covering Oil: A Reporter’s Guide to Energy and Development.



World Watch Institute produces a number of publications including State of the World published annually at the beginning of each year as a resource "for those who understand the importance of nurturing a safe, sane, and healthy global environment through both policy and action"; Vital Signs an annual providing comprehensive, user-friendly information on key trends and includes tables and graphs that help readers assess the developments that are changing their lives for better or for worse.


Worldwatch Global Trends, an annual CD with instant access to each of Worldwatch's 220 global indicators. Each trend contains a PowerPoint slide and an Excel spreadsheet containing graphs, charts and raw data. The spreadsheets are easily manipulated to include one’s own data for research comparisons or for use in presentations;


 World Watch Magazine, a bi-monthly ed on the latest developments in population growth, climate change, species extinction, and the rise of new forms of human behavior and governance; and an ongoing series of Worldwatch Papers by the same team that produces State of the World and Vital Signs. Each 50-70 page Paper provides cutting-edge analysis on an environmental topic that is making—or is about to make—headlines worldwide.


These publications are available separately or together in a subscription to State of the World Library. For details go to:, or contact Worldwatch Institute, P.O. Box 188, Williamsport, PA 17703, (888)544-2303 or (570)320-2076,







Global Beat, has been an excellent source of information and further sources for Nonviolent Change, at:        Global Beat also has an E-mail list serve.


The International Crisis Group (IGC) carries regular reports and sets of recommendations about difficult developing situations around the globe, and has been an extremely helpful source of information and ideas for this journal:

 IGC also has a regular E-mail report circulation sercvice that can be subscribed to on its web site.


Europa World Plus: Europa World/Regional Surveys of the World On Line is at:



Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR):


Peace Media publishes a monthly web magazine at:



The Open society Institute and the Soros Foundation:


The inaugural issue of the Culture of Peace Online Journal has been posted at:



©2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006. All rights reserve. The Nonviolent Change Journal is published by the Research/Action Team on Nonviolent Large Systems Change - an interorganizational and international project of The Organization Development Institute.  Opinions expressed are solely that of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editing staff, Nonviolent Change Journal, Organization Development Institute.