Almost exactly sixty years ago, in September 1962, the New England Committee for Nonviolent Action (CNVA) officially changed its headquarters address to a historic farm in Voluntown, Connecticut. At that point, many of the members had been living in Connecticut for just over two years — ever since the first Polaris Action Summer in 1960, which had kicked off a radical new antiwar movement in the region. More were locals who were inspired to join the movement. With the acquisition of the farm in Voluntown, the New England CNVA could feel a little more secure as well as have the space and resources to develop a degree of self-sufficiency. Long before the hippie movement, the rise of the New Left, the environmental movement, or many other progressive groups, the CNVA had recognized the necessity for American society to change to one that works in harmony with the natural ecology, promotes a fair and egalitarian economy, defends human and civil rights, and opposes war. Indeed, the CNVA was one of the first groups in the United States to articulate the connections between all of these seemingly separate issues.
The following pamphlet gives a good overview of the goals, methods, purpose, and general history of the New England CNVA over its first decade. For such a relatively small group, the range of projects pursued and relationships made is staggering. From the Providence CORE chapter and the Hartford Black Caucus all the way to Guatamalan nuns, Japanese Buddhist monks, and beyond, the organization was not just a node in a network that spanned the globe, but was an active bridge-builder in that network.
Yet the New England CNVA never lost sight of the important work to be done locally on the ground. The move to the farm signaled the New England CNVA’s intention to establish a permanent oppositional presence in the vicinity of the “submarine capitol of the world” from which the organization could continue to press on Electric Boat workers’ consciences and promote the idea of economic conversion. We are proud to continue the New England CNVA legacy in Voluntown six decades later.
(Click on the cover image below to download the full 8-page PDF)
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Swann, Marjorie. Decade of Nonviolence: Through The Years With New England CNVA (c. 1970)
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