The purpose of this section is to indicate the existence of important works on the theory and practice of nonviolence and civil resistance in other languages and provide a preliminary introduction to key authors and titles in four major European languages.
It is designed partly to inform all those who might be interested, but in particular for those whose first language is not English and might find French, German, Italian or Spanish books and articles easier to read.
The French section includes works by Lanza del Vasto, an exponent of Gandhian nonviolence, and by two leading scholars in the field: Jean-Marie Muller and Jacques Sémelin. The German titles include publications by Hildegard Goss-Mayr, who through the International Fellowship of Reconciliation played a key role (with her husband Jean Goss) in promoting nonviolent resistance to repressive regimes; and longstanding scholars of civil resistance, for example Theodor Ebert, as well as more recent theorists such as Martin Arnold, are also represented. The Italian section includes works by Aldo Capitini, Danilo Dolci and Pietro Pinna, who were after 1945 pioneers of nonviolence and war resistance. There are also sub-sections on the successful struggle to achieve legal recognition of conscientious objection to military service in Italy, and on forms of civil resistance to the Mafia. The Spanish list includes titles from a significant literature on civil disobedience, and its expression in the major movement of resistance to conscription (‘insumisión’) from 1988-2000. There is some cross-referencing between sections: for example Muller is listed in Spanish translation, and del Vasto and Sémelin in German.
All literatures draw on the historical evolution of ideas of nonviolent resistance, for example the writings of Etienne de la Boetie on the potential of non-cooperation, Henry David Thoreau on civil disobedience, Tolstoy on refusal to cooperate with war and violence, and above all Gandhi’s development of a theory and strategy of ‘satyagraha’.
The Dutch anti-militarist Bart de Ligt wrote on the potential of mass noncooperation and defiance in the context of the 1930s in his influential Conquest of Violence. More recently Gene Sharp’s highly influential works elaborating on the potential of nonviolent action to overthrow repressive regimes have been widely translated from English – in particular his pamphlet From Dictatorship to Democracy, translated into over 30 languages, including Spanish and Italian.
The titles in all four languages focus primarily on the theory of nonviolence and in particular the theory, strategy and methods of civil resistance (including civil disobedience), drawing on examples from a range of movements. In addition they list selected titles on Gandhi and the concept of nonviolent civilian defence (topics covered in the introductory section of Volume 1 of this Guide). A much more extended list of titles, also covering a wider range of movements using methods of nonviolent action, will in due course be available on our website: http://civilresistance.info.