Movements and Protests









Struggle or consensus?

What can Indian Popular Movements learn to us today?

Reclaim Gandhi

Global strategy

Nordic countries and India:

1. 1917 - 1947 Solidarity and Popular Education

2. 1948 - 1969 Peace

3. 1970 - 1989 Environment

4. 1990 - 2005 Global democracy

More links


Saltmarschen svenska







Webbpage on Gandhi, Indian Popular Movements and

1930 Saltmarch 2005

made by the Popular Movement Study Group and the Oeresund Committe for Salt March Jubilee



Saltmarch participants 1930 and demonstrators against making commodities

out of environment and the public sector, Gothenburg 2001.


We won – in 1930 when the Salt march in India became the beginning of the end of the British colonial empire and inspiration to solidarity movments all over the world.

But our opponents came back again –
either because they do not dare to believe in that another world is possible or only because they wish to keep their privilegies

Now they try to set us up against each other –
by revising the history about the Salt march , so many believe Gandhi stood for passive resistance and that reform and revolution are opposite to each other.

But we take Gandhi back again!
He used direct action and was critical towards people who used the idea of nonviolence as an excuse for passivity.


The Öresund Committé of the Saltmarsch Jubilee




in Reclaiming Gandhi

and the Salt March Jubilee!

Spread information!
Arrange a meeting or make an exhibition!
Participate in common activities!

You and your organisation can participate in many ways. All support is welcome. Look at our website for more information in Sedish. Here you will find more information in englsih. The Salt March Jubilee will be celebrated in Denmark, Finland, Sweden and at many other places all over the world at the same time as a people walk the same way as 75 years ago in India. You will find more information on


Information material in english:


Pressrelease on Nordic activities

Poster, se above with higher quality: Reclaim Gandhi, JPEG

Reclaimi Gandhi, high density pdf file poster (13,6 Mb).

Brochure, wordfile.

Gandhian and Indian Popular Movement influence in the Nordic countries

World Social Forum and the history of the Global Justice Movement

” Against such a well-prepared and effectively orchestred offence the Anglo-Indian government cannot be inactive. It must arrest Gandhi – and thus, this fantast envisages, India would take a great step towards liberation…”

Dagens Nyheter 8 april 1930, biggest daily in Sweden

” There is enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed”








Struggle or consensus?

What can Indian popular movments learn to us totday?

Reclaim Gandhi

Global strateyi

Nordic countries and India

1. 1917 - 1947 Solidarity and Popukar Education

2. 1948 - 1969 Peace

3. 1970 - 1989 Environment

4. 1990 - 2005 Global democracy

More links

Gandhi meets workers in Lancashire that have lost their jobs due to the Indian boycot of British clothes during his struggle for freedom against the British empire.



On the way to the sea

The Saltmarch

Gandhi together with 78 followers started on the 12th of March 1930 a more than 300 km long walk from Sabarmathi Ashram to Dandi at the coast to protest against the tax on salt. This effected the poor especially hard. The marchers intended to brake the englishmens monopoly on salt On the 6th of April they committed the crime.


Links to articles on the Salt March:

Dandavate on the Saltmarch:


Other english articles:,

The Salt March - Gandhi's and My Own, By Jan Oberg TFF director, illustrated story on his 2002 tour meeting old participants and commenting the past and present:

Links to photographs and videos on the Saltmarch:


GandhiServe Foundation, (se also picture gallery under Gandhi 1930):

Mahatma Gandhi Foundation - India

Kamat's Potpourri

The Saltmarch reaching the Sea at Dandi

Confrontative nonviolence

Direct action which is directed against oppressive acts, not against the opponent as a person. When one is breaking laws which are oppressive one uses ones strength and stays to take the punishment to force those in power to show were they are standing. With direct action for a just cause the power of the privileged is undermined.


A comparisment between Gandhis, Kaundas och Fanons view on violence in the struggle against colonialism:

Women make illegal salt

Self reliance
Thousands of participants in the march were put in prison but soon hundreds of thousands Indians made their own salt from the Sea and the trade with the illegal salt became uncontrollable to the British. This effort on selfreliance Gandhi called contructive acts and as important as resistance against oppression. The power of the British had fallen into pieces and the way was opened to independence 1947.

Gandhis philosophy:

Men make illegal salt at Dandi


It was the Indians and Gandhi that in 1907 started to used confrontative nonviolence in 1907 in South Africa in their struggle against racist laws. Later Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and popular movements all over the world were inspired by Gandhi. Det var indierna och Gandhi i Sydafrika som 1907 började använda icke-våld i sin kamp mot rasförtycket. Senare inspirerades Martin Luther King och Nelson Mandela i sin kamp mot rasförtrycket i USA och Sydafrika av Gandhi, en kamp som främjade frihet och rättvisa i hela världen.

On Gandhis influence in South Africa:

On Gandhis influence on US popular movements:


Struggle and consensus?
There is also a lot of ciriticism against Gandhi and the Indian noinviolence movment. Struggle against social oppression in a society divided by class or caste are sometimes subordinated to the need of consensus in a struggle against a common foreign enemy. Buth the interesting with Gandhi is that he sometimes succeeds in going beyond the classical divide among popular movements and work for both struggle and consensus, reform and revolution.

Gandhi and the Politics of Nonviolence, Meneejeh Moradian and David Whitehouse, a marxist criticism:

Many articles on Gandhi:


What can Indian popular movements learn to us today?
Indian popular movments have played an important role for the liberation of the whole world from colonial oppression and to the struggle for the environment and global justice. Already 2.500 years ago Jainism and Buddism started as protests against despotic elites and lack of respect for life. 1885 the first anticolonial organisation started, Indian National Congress. That became the beginning of a long and fruitful liberation struggle with the Salt march as a height.

Contrary to many other countries where liberation movements came to power have popular movements in India continued to work independently, not seldom in opposition to the government end often with Gandhi as source of inspiration. From the movement against alcohol among women in Himalaya the Chipko movement evolved in 1973 with the help of the self-confidence stemming from fighting the drinking habits of the men. The peoples´ movement against the building of Narmada dams changed in 1988 their tactics. Instead of influencing politicians direct action was used. Villages were people lived were occupied in spite of that they were supposed to be forcely evicted and put under water. Finally the movement forced the World Bank to take back its loans to the project.



Half a million small farmers in Karnataka demonstrated in 1993 against WTO and transnational corporations demands on patent on life. The Karnataka farmers and the National Peoples´ Movements Alliance were strongly behind establishing Peoples´Global Action against ”Free” Trade and WTO, 1998. PGA used the Indian emphasis on confrontative nonviolence and civil disobedience as the foremost means in the strugglöe against corporations, WTO, Wolrld Bank and IMF. PGA initiatied Global Action Days all over the world and contributed to the rise of the global justice movement. Arundhati Roy, Medha Patkar och Vandana Shiva continous to be an inspiration to popular movements international cooperation. A cooperation were Indian peoples´movements succeeds to unite the struggle for peace, environment and global justice.


Social Movements in India, Vinod Raina:

People´s Global Action (spanska, engelska mm):

WSF and the history of the globasl justice movement with an analysis from a class perspective and the role of Indian popular movments:


Reclaim Gandhi

It is time to reclaim Gandhi. The system criticism that Gandhi worked for included not only freedom from foreign rulers. It also contained a broader view and a constructive program for both personal and social change. Today there is a risk that Gandhi is turned into a tool by those who want to spread passivity. Is his urge for confrontation with oppressive systems concealed to us and replaced by a system adaptated passive resistance? We who have taken the initiative to the Salt March Jubilée in the Nordic countries sees it as important to reclaim Gandhis urge for courage and radical struggle against oppressive systems. Against a view on Gandhi as a ”spiritual superman” who demands from us impossible tasks to refrain from violence under all circumstances we want to put him into his social and historical context.

Gandhi is dead. Long live Gandhi - The post-Gandhi Gandhian movement in India (1998)

Gandhi Today, Tord Björk:

Global strategy
In Mumbai 2004 popular movements from all over the world met when World Social Forum for the first time was held outside Brazil. That contributed to a democratisation av popular movment cooperation and a better recognition of diversity. More than ever WSF opened up for new oppressed groups and was scrutinised both from within and from the outside. This has made WSF a lot more democratic and possible to discuss. At the same time Mumbai Resistance was organised by hundreds of popular movwments and political parties as an alternative to those who wished a more radical struggle against imperialism out of whom some were excluded from WSF.
Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam with roots in both India and Finland organised another alternative meeting were popular movements and political parties could have a dialogue as also parties cannot take part in WSF. Not the least, popular movements inspired by Gandhi tries to bring together groups from all the strands in the movement.


3 x Mumbai 2004:


MR 2004:

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam on Mumbai 2004:

Challenging Empires, antology on theWSF-process publisched by the Indian Viveka Foundation:

Aspects of Indian Economy: The Economics and Politics of the World Social Forum, Lessons for the Struggle against 'Globalisation'


Nordic countries and India

The links between popular movments in india and the Nordic countries has existed since the beginning of the 20th century and been active since then. The history of this influence and the situation today is told and anlysed in this article by Tord Björk.


1. 1917–1947 Solidarity and Popular education
Nordic popular movment contacts with the Indian liberation movement began when the Danish missionary Esther Fæhring met Gandhi in 1917. This laid the foundation to a lasting Nordic-Indian cooperation that contributed to a new national school system that combined practice and theory and focused on the needs of the countryside and women. The result was also that Ellen Hørup after the Salt March 1930 set up the first international solidarity organisation for India. This also became the first Nordic solidarity movement with a third world country.


Gandhi and Nordic Countries part I, Tord Björk:

Mahatma Gandhi and the Nordic countries, Holger Terp och E.S. Reddy:

Gandhi och Ellen Hörup:

Icelandic Peace March against the US base at Keflavik 1961

2. 1948 – 1969 Peace

The cold war between US and Soviet Union started more openly in 1948. This created obstacles to popular movements all over the world. In a small scale World Citizens Movement started in Sweden in 1949 inspired not the least by Gandhi. During the 1960s World Citizen Movement activists March against Keflavik became the foremost in direct actions on the streets against both the US and Soviet atomic bomb and later against the US war in Vietnam. In England long marches and direct actions against the atomic bomb started in the 1950s inspired by the nonviolence of Gandhi. These actions spread to Iceland and Denmark 1960, Sweden 1961 and Norway and Finland in 1963.


Gandhi and Nordic Countries part II, Tord Björk:


3. 1970 – 1989 Environment
Gandhis thoughts on the importance of making resistance and take confrontations with nonviolent means supporting a society built on self-reliance was decisive inspiration to great political struggles in the Nordic countries. Gandhis philosophy inspired occupations at Mardøla in Norway 1970 and Koijärvi in Finland 1979 which both contributed to the emergence of a broad environmental conciousness. In Sweden the inpiration came from the Chipko movement. In 1987 the Swedish Chipko movement occupied the forest in Bohuslän to stop the construction of a motorway. After the action 400 people were sentenced in the biggest political trial in modern Swedish history. The motorway was built, but on other places new roads were stopped.


Gandhi and Nordic Countries part III, Tord Björk:


Demonstrators at the EU-summit in Gothenburg 2001

4. 1990 – 2005 Global democracy
1990 the Indian criticism against the existing Western development model was important to Nordic environmental- and solidarity organisations criticizing the growing influence on UN and global politics by transnational corporations. Indian popular movements were among the initiators of Peoples´ Global Action which inspired the Nordic Anti-Capitalist Network building on PGA principles. A long-term cooperation between popular movements in India and Finland has resulted in the creation of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – Democracy Forum working for global justice and democracy and cooperation between environmental, workers, solidarity, and other movments as well as political parties. Indian popular movments continues to cooperate and influence popular movments in the Nordic countries.


Gandhi and Nordic Countries part IV, Tord Björk:

Nordic Anti-Capitalist Network:,

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam:


More links:

Gandhian Institute Bombay Sarvodayan Mandal:

Mahatma Gandhi Foundation - India:

Gandhibiography with pictures:

Criticism of Gandhi and his followers; Gandhi after Gandhi after Gandhi, Ashis Nandy:

Bibliography on Danish, Norwegian and Swedish litterature on and by Gandhi:

The global history of popular movements, summary, Jan Wiklund:

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam Glossary of Political India:



More links on Gandhi on this webbpage (mostly english articles, but description in Swedish):


You will find more links at the Swedish and Nordic version of this website: Saltmarschen start




Temasida upprättad i november 2004 av Tord Björk,, uppdaterad 2005-03-04