Constructive program, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, echoing Gandhi, is powerful. Sometimes it is the most powerful tool we have because it draws out our ability to express what we want, instead of just resisting what we don’t. It puts us, in the dynamic of conflict language, on the offensive, instead of the defensive. And people from all over the world are using it to great effect, whether or not they call it constructive program or something else.
Before Rhodesia was officially Zimbabwe, there were those who desired and dreamt of Zimbabwe. And it was not a private dream taking place in the hearts of a few. Revolutionaries held community meetings called “pungwe” the Shona word for ‘sunrise’, which was a space to imagine, discuss, debate, dance and live the new Zimbabwe into life. Much more than your average community meeting or even your Occupy “general assembly,” the pungwe was an active, eclectic gathering of spirit and culture, of education and politics, and of hope and person-power. As one Shona author, Chengeri Hove, put it,“The fighters always had something to say. When they had nothing to say, they had something to sing. When they had nothing to sing, they had something to dance.” They knew, in other words, that independence alone would not be sufficient for their dream–they needed to reinvigorate and lay the basis for a shift in culture.
Imagine using this creative method–living the world we want to make real–for our nonviolent struggles today!
Gather a group of friends and create a nonviolent “pungwe” in your local area.
The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299 firstname.lastname@example.org