Grassroots Organizing & Activism

Founded in 2014, World BEYOND War (WBW) is a global grassroots network of chapters and affiliates advocating for the abolition of the institution of war and its replacement with an alternative global security system. Tens of thousands of people across 192 countries worldwide have signed onto World BEYOND War’s Declaration of Peace, including over 700 organizational pledge signers.

I understand that wars and militarism make us less safe rather than protect us, that they kill, injure and traumatize adults, children and infants, severely damage the natural environment, erode civil liberties, and drain our economies, siphoning resources from life-affirming activities. I commit to engage in and support nonviolent efforts to end all war and preparations for war and to create a sustainable and just peace.

Our Theory of Change: Education + Action

Nonviolent Direct Action

Distributed organizing — through an intersectional lens — builds power at the local level and wins real, concrete improvements in people's lives, while growing the global anti-war movement.

World BEYOND War currently coordinates 22 chapters in 12 countries and maintains partnerships with 93 affiliates around the world. WBW functions through a decentralized, distributed grassroots organizing model focused on building power at the local level. We don’t have a central office and we all work remotely. WBW’s 7 part-time staff provide tools, trainings, and resources to empower the chapters and affiliates to organize in their own communities based on what campaigns resonate most with their members, while at the same time organizing towards the long-term goal of war abolition. Key to World BEYOND War’s work is the holistic opposition to the institution of war at large – not only all current wars and violent conflicts, but the industry of war itself, the ongoing preparations for war that feed the profitability of the system (for example, arms manufacturing, weapons stockpiling, and the expansion of military bases). This holistic approach, focused on the institution of war as a whole, sets WBW apart from many other organizations.

World BEYOND War provides chapters and affiliates with resources, trainings, and organizing support to amplify both online and offline events and campaigns for peace and justice. This could range from strategic campaign planning, to petition hosting, website design, graphic design, social media campaigning, meeting facilitation, webinar hosting, grassroots lobbying, direct action planning, and more. We also maintain a global anti-war/pro-peace events listing and an articles section of our website, for posting and amplifying the events and happenings of chapters and affiliates.

Organizing 101

Defined by the Midwest Academy, organizing involves building a movement around a certain issue; setting clear short-term, intermediate, and long-term goals, strategies, and tactics to achieve those goals; and ultimately, using our people power (our strength in numbers) to put pressure on key decision-makers who have the jurisdiction to give us the change we want to see.

According to the Midwest Academy, direct action organizing meets 3 criteria:

  1. Wins real, concrete improvements in people’s lives, such as shutting down a military base.
  2. Gives people a sense of their own power. We don’t organize on behalf of others; we empower people to organize themselves.
  3. Alters the relations of power. It’s not just about winning one campaign. Over time, the chapter or group becomes a stakeholder in its own right in the community.

In the 30-minute Organizing 101 video below, we provide an intro to organizing, such as how to pick targets, strategies, and tactics.

Intersectionality: Fusion Organizing

The notion of intersectionality, or fusion organizing, is about finding cross-connections between issues to build grassroots power as a unified mass movement. The war system is at the heart, the nexus, of the social and ecological ills that we’re facing as a species and planet. This presents us with a unique opportunity for intersectional organizing, connecting the anti-war and environmental movements.

There can be a tendency to stay within our issue silos – whether our passion is opposing fracking or advocating for health care or opposing war. But by staying in these silos, we impede progress as a unified mass movement. Because what we are really talking about when we advocate for any of these issues is a restructuring of society, a paradigmatic shift away from corrupt capitalism and imperialistic empire-building. A reorientation of government spending and priorities, which are currently focused on maintaining global economic and political hegemony, at the expense of the safety, human rights, and civil liberties of people abroad and at home, and to the detriment of the environment.

World BEYOND War approaches organizing through an intersectional lens that recognizes the multi-faceted impacts of the war machine and finds opportunities for collaboration with a diversity of partners towards our shared goal of a peaceful, just, and green future.

Nonviolent Resistance

Nonviolent resistance is key to World BEYOND War’s approach to organizing. WBW opposes all forms of violence, weaponry, or war.

In fact, researchers Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan have demonstrated statistically that, from 1900 to 2006, nonviolent resistance was twice as successful as armed resistance and resulted in more stable democracies with less chance of reverting to civil and international violence. In short, nonviolence works better than war. We also know now that countries are more likely to experience the onset of nonviolent campaigns when there is a greater amount of mobilization globally – nonviolence is contagious!

Nonviolent resistance, coupled with strengthened institutions of peace, now allows us to escape from the iron cage of warfare into which we trapped ourselves six thousand years ago.

From taking action to block the arms trade to promoting a global nuclear ban, from campaigning in solidarity with communities in active war zones to amplifying calls for decolonization, World BEYOND War’s organizing work takes many forms around the globe. Through our distributed organizing model, our chapters and affiliates take the lead by working on strategic issues of importance to their local communities, all with an eye towards the larger goal of war abolition. Below is a short list of some of our featured campaigns.

Featured Wins of World BEYOND War and Allies

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