WARNING: May contain opinions
The Shanti Sena or "Peace army" was made up of Gandhi's followers in India. Its non-violent methods have been adopted by other movements such as the World Peace Brigade, Nonviolent Peaceforce, Swaraj Peeth and the Rainbow Family of Living Light.
"Shanti Sena" is a term first coined by Gandhi when he conceptualized a nonviolent volunteer peacekeeping program dedicated to minimizing communal violence within the Indian populace. The words "Shanti" and "Sena" both come from Sanskrit. Shanti means peace and Sena means army, or a drilled band of men. The word "Sena" has been criticized for its connection to militarism, but for Gandhi, it had strong metaphorical and spiritual qualities connected to its use in the Hindu vedas.
Latest Activity: Mar 3, 2012
In addition to the vibe that we are *all* responsible for keeping the peace, and the encouragement for everyone to be involved in what we occupiers see as a community responsibility, it's important to know that there is also a Shanti Sena Clan that sees peacekeeping as being their primary volunteer service at a occupy. There is some consistency in networking and communications for more serious or ongoing situations, as well.
Just as with any volunteer service, some people don't want to do it at all. Others are happy to help out when the need arises. Others, such as myself, consider ourselves on duty 24 hours a day. Naturally, the degree of experience and competence varies, as does the degree to which people communicate with others about day-to-day or ongoing situations.
Examples of when to put out the word gathering-wide that Shanti Sena help is needed would be an instance of a lost child, or a violent person who is out of control.
Examples of when a Shanti Sena Council might be called is an occurrence of sexual assault or the consideration of what to do with a mentally ill person who is a danger to self or others.
As with any other function of the gathering, there is no real organization, but there is a lot of co-ordination and cooperation. And as with any other function of the gathering, sometimes it runs very smoothly and sometimes there are problems. Sometimes the people involved are wonderful, and sometimes they are assholes.
A general word of caution: if someone tells you something that doesn't sound or feel right, like "You should give me all your money to hold because I'm Shanti Sena," they are lying. There are stories over time of abuses committed in the name of Shanti Sena. This really upsetting.
No one has authority over anyone else at a occupy. Shanti Sena are peace-keepers, mediators, diplomats, crisis counselors, and so forth. They are *not* cops, and have no right to violate anyone's rights. They only time there is a moral or legal right to detain or restrain someone or instruct them to do something they would otherwise not do, is when there is imminent danger to self or others.
The following guidelines are a working definition only - formulated by me as I write - and are open to additions, corrections, and whatever discussion or argumentation we wish to enter into
Finally, I would like to say that by and large, I have seen this informal system work very well. Fortunately, we don't have do take drastic action very often, having found more creative and effective ways of communicating and teaching people what is necessary to live healthy and safe in a community without rules or laws. It's amazing, but we really do maintain functional, peaceful anarchy at the gatherings. Nothing short of a miracle, in fact. I guess we're back to giving ourselves credit - with a little help from our friends, naturally! Call it voluntary compliance with common sense, temporary insanity, or whatever, but somehow, we do it.
In love and service,
I would Like to thank rainbow sister Carla for writing this for us.
The agents-provocateur who foist their agenda of property destruction upon otherwise lawful peaceable assemblies are in dire need of being unmasked and subjected to citizens arrest. Of course…Continue
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