Each week, ICNC features 5-10 news stories from around the world related to nonviolent conflict. These stories are shared with you via our website, our News Digest, Facebook, and/or Twitter. Featured news stories are ones that can stimulate conversation about the phenomena of nonviolent conflict and civil resistance. ICNC does not necessarily endorse any of the views expressed in these articles or any comments left by visitors to our site. Featured articles remain posted for 30 days, after which time they can be found by searching our nonviolent conflict news database.
Matthew Bennett, The Spain Report, September 10, 2014
In an interview yesterday with Catalunya Radio, Oriol Junqueras, the leader of Republican Catalan Left (ERC), called for Catalans to undertake a campaign of civil disobedience, "like Martin Luther King did", if Madrid refuses to allow Catalans to hold a vote on independence on November 9, adding that Catalonia should declare independence if enough people vote 'yes'. "More than 80 percent of citizens say that we must have a vote", said Mr. Junqueras, speaking two days before Catalonia's annual Diada Day celebrations, asking: "What will they do, come and take away the ballot boxes [while] the voting stations are full of people?"
James Pomfret, Reuters, September 11, 2014
Few were surprised when China's highest law-making body announced an electoral package on Aug. 31 that said any candidate for Hong Kong's chief executive in the 2017 election had to first get majority support from a 1,200-person nominating panel - likely to be stacked with pro-Beijing loyalists. For Beijing, Western-style democracy conjures up visions of "colour revolutions" and the "Arab Spring", of chaos and instability that could pose a mortal threat to the ruling Communist Party. Yet the pro-democracy movement is vowing to press on with its campaign of civil disobedience. It is threatening to lock down Hong Kong's main business district with sit-ins in October, protesting what they call "fake" Chinese-style democracy.
Peter Pomerantsev, The Atlantic, September 9, 2014
"If previous authoritarian regimes were three parts violence and one part propaganda," argues Igor Yakovenko, a professor of journalism at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, "this one is virtually all propaganda and relatively little violence." The point of this new propaganda is...to keep the viewer hooked and distracted-to disrupt Western narratives rather than provide a counter-narrative. "Once the norms of journalism are dismissed," George Packer writes, "a number of constraints and assumptions fall away." As the consensus for reality-based politics fractures, that space becomes ripe for exploitation.
Peter Beaumont, The Guardian, September 12, 2014
Forty-three veterans of one of Israel's most secretive military intelligence units - many of them still active reservists - have signed a public letter refusing to serve in operations involving the occupied Palestinian territories because of the widespread surveillance of innocent residents. The signatories include officers, former instructors and senior NCOs. They allege that the "all-encompassing" intelligence the unit gathers on Palestinians - much of it concerning innocent people - is used for "political persecution."
Vivienne Matthies-Boon, MERIP, September 5, 2014
"The system of fear is back," whispers an Egyptian political activist. "It is showing its teeth, saying 'I'm baaack.'" The cross-ideological ties of the late Mubarak years are badly frayed. An April 6 leader says: "We used to be in dialogue with the Islamist youth. But now, because of the frustration and rage with the current regime, they no longer listen and talk to us. We cannot control them anymore." There is a renewed crackdown on civil society, which the media also accuses of working on behalf of "foreign elements." As one activist sums up, "We have to go into hibernation, to regroup and reflect on all that has gone wrong over the last three years. Then, hopefully, one day we can reemerge stronger."
Matt Mulberry, openDemocracy, September 9, 2014
More than 50 years after organizing the Nashville sit-ins and other successful campaigns in the US civil rights movement, the Rev. Dr. James Lawson returned to Nashville last month to help educate activists on the dynamics of nonviolent action, at the second annual James Lawson Institute. For eight days, almost 50 North American organizers learned from veterans of successful campaigns in the US and Canada and from leading scholars. The touchstone was the civil rights movement as James Lawson had helped lead it, examined in part through Erica Chenoweth's historical model of successful movements, noting that effective nonviolent struggle is contingent on mobilizing diverse participation.
Priyanka Borpujari, Boston Globe, September 8, 2014
In the state of Manipur in northeast India, a young poet named Irom Sharmila Chanu began to fast in November 2000. Her intention was to protest the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which gives sweeping powers to the army to make arbitrary arrests or shoot on sight. Every year in the nearly 14 years of her hunger strike, Sharmila is produced in the court, where she asserts the continuation of her fast and is hence re-arrested again. And the saga continues - each year, editorials appear in Indian newspapers about her fast and struggle to repeal the AFSPA. Violations by the army continue indiscriminately.
Philip N. Howard, NY Times, September 8, 2014
Hungary has become a disturbing example of how a political elite can roll back democracy, even in the heart of Europe. Leveraging an electorally successful right-wing populism, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has staged an autocratic crackdown on the nation's press. The restrictions on media freedom have had an enormous political impact. By the last general election, in April, the government had effectively reined in all of the country's broadcast media outlets. The media controls that made government voices the dominant ones dampened public enthusiasm for the election.
Raul Zibechi, Upside Down World, September 4, 2014
Two years after the fall of the Fernando Lugo government and one year after the rise of Horacio Cartes of the Colorado party, social movements show signs of rebuilding, with remarkable leadership of the campesino movement facing agribusiness and repression. The Paraguayan campesino movement led protests for three days last month, with roadblocks, gatherings in various parts of the country, and marches in cities. Among the mobilized groups are the National Campesino Federation, the National Coordinator of Rural and Indigenous Women, and several trade union sections and political parties.
Grace Kwinjeh, Mail & Guardian, September 5, 2014
Past experience has shown how costly opposition groups' inability to work together for a common agenda has worked against them and favoured the ruling party. The inability to unite and collectively work towards the dismantling of Zanu-PF's stranglehold has been and continues to be the undoing of Zimbabwe's opposition. The increasingly despondent and uninspired electorate are in dire need of political solutions to the issues affecting their daily life and the rot of corruption presided over by an uncaring ruling elite.