The Gandhian Iceberg

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Embodying Integral Nonviolence on Our Path to a Livable Future

In common usage, the word nonviolence, which for Gandhi represented the most powerful force available to humankind, has devolved to mean nothing more than the tactical rejection of the use of physical force in conflict situations. For this reason, a growing number of changemakers have begun using the phrase integral nonviolence to denote the integrated, life-encompassing philosophy and practice that Gandhi taught and modeled.

This two-day workshop, based on the book The Gandhian Iceberg, explores the powerful and comprehensive nature of integral nonviolence, and its direct application to our lives and to the social movements we are building and carrying forward. The workshop builds on Gandhi's basic philosophical framework, complemented by consideration of nonviolence in other contexts, particularly the civil rights phase of the African American Freedom Movement. Fundamentally, though, the workshop is about our own lives and work, here and now, in the face of the current climate change emergency and the intensification of social crises and division in and far beyond the United States.

Over the course of the two days, through small group sharing, personal reflection, mini-lectures, readings, and video segments, we will carefully examine the three core areas of integral nonviolence practice, as modeled by Gandhi:

self-purification: the process of aligning practice and principle at the personal level.

constructive program: the hands-on community-based work of building a just and life-sustaining society within the shell of the current oppressive and destructive society.

satyagraha: bold, direct, and militant nonviolent resistance to forces and structures of domination.

For a deeper dive into the concept of the Gandhian Iceberg, check out Chris Moore-Backman's book, The Gandhian Iceberg: A Nonviolent Manifesto for the Age of the Great Turning.