Jason McLeod / Lecturer in Community Development, University of Queensland
Benny Wenda / West Papuan Independence Leader
Date: Wednesday, June 19th, 2013
Time: 2:00pm – 3:30pm
Description: Mainstream research into the dynamics of civil resistance has been built around investigations of how ordinary people remove dictatorships without resorting to violence. One particular area neglected is independence or secessionist struggles. Current examples include those in Palestine, Tibet, Western Sahara, and West Papua — all situations where an indigenous population is attempting to overthrow what is perceived to be a foreign occupation, or separate from an existing state in order to create a new state. One reason secession goals are more difficult to win than anti-dictatorship struggles is that they challenge the prevailing international order and require more complex strategies. Protagonists wanting to secede from an existing state need to wage nonviolent resistance in three distinct domains: the occupied territory, the territory of the occupier, and the societies of the occupier’s international allies. Through participatory and experiential methods and through using West Papua as a case study, this session explores the concept of “expanding the nonviolent battlefield”.