Violent Protests? Agents Provocateurs? ICNC Has Information, Insight
Ongoing mass demonstrations protesting the alleged murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police have raised anew old questions and concerns about what happens when violence enters the mix and about infiltration by persons or groups intent on sabotaging the movement or campaign – agents provocateurs.
• Blog: Property Damage, Violence, Nonviolent Action and Strategy. A new posting by veteran civil resistance activist, educator and peace activist Tom Hastings.
• Blog: Marketing Violence: A Closer Look at the ‘Diversity of Tactics’ Slogan. Popular posting by Steve Chase, ICNC’s Manager of Academic Initiatives, a longtime activist, and former professor.
• Article: Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict. In their groundbreaking work, scholars Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan “assert that nonviolent resistance is a forceful alternative to political violence that can pose effective challenges to democratic and nondemocratic opponents, and at times can do so more effectively than violent resistance.” Their extensive research found that nonviolent actions are more than twice as likely to be successful than are violent ones.
• Blog: Let’s Get Real! Facing Up to the Agent Provocateur Problem. Insightful blog post by ICNC’s Steve Chase.
• Abstract: Agents Provocateur, Violent Flanks, and Nonviolent Movements: A Historical and Strategic Perspective. A preview of a forthcoming addition to ICNC’s Monograph Series by Tom Hastings, Adam Vogel and Steve Chase.
PANDEMIC, SHUTDOWNS SPARK INNOVATIVE APPROACHES TO CIVIL RESISTANCE
Despite being confined to their homes due to COVID-19 shutdowns, and even at the risk of retaliation, some activists in the Global South have found ways to keep their movements invigorated and to get powerholders’ attention, according to the presenters of “Creative Resistance During Pandemic,” a recent ICNC Webinar.
Ingabire Merab and Phil Wilmot of Uganda and Luke Espiritu of the Philippines said rather than silence their movements, the raging worldwide pandemic and government restrictions have galvanized resistance movements, spawning new tactics that are sometimes surprisingly effective.
“[We] ask workers to do a noise barrage within their own homes and record this in social media so that, even with these restrictions, workers will be able to see that we are not silenced by this,” said Luke Espiritu, national president of the Solidarity of Filipino workers. He said his organization also now hosts weekly webinars for activists – a routine that has drawn the media attention his workers’ rights movement long craved.
“Before the lockdown and the quarantine, media doesn’t cover us,” Espiritu said. “But because of our webinars, where we are able to articulate our issues […]Read more!
As an advisor to Ayatollah Khomeini during the Iranian Revolution, Mohsen Sazegara witnessed the power of nonviolent resistance as the U.S.-backed Iranian Shah was overthrown in 1979. He went on to support the establishment of the Islamic Republic and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, but about a decade later, he began taking issue with the regime’s human rights record, as well as many other issues, and was imprisoned several times. He eventually left the country in 2005. Now, Sazegara uses his position as a diaspora activist to equip his fellow citizens with the civil resistance tools and knowledge they need to succeed in pushing for democracy in Iran.
New Blog Post
Minds of the Movement author Geoffrey Pleyers writes:
Just months ago, mainstream news worldwide was chronicling the wave of protests that set 2019 apart as one of the most dynamic in years. Since February, one single issue has dominated media coverage, social media and our conversations in daily life: the pandemic and the urgent tasks to bring it under control. All of a sudden, there seems to be no place left for nonviolent movements for dignity, better democracy, more equal society, and less corruption and repression—all claims that are more relevant than ever in the new global context.
Such a long period of lockdown, dominated by social distancing, fear of the virus spreading, and the omnipresence of state leaders in mainstream media all certainly represent challenges for movements. Holding demonstrations would present health risks and/or are outlawed, and alternative forms of protest do not draw as much media and public attention. Have movements disappeared?
Absolutely not. Activists are dedicating much more time and energy to other activities, some of which may potentially be steering long-term change […]Read more!
For Activists & Organizers
ICNC provides practical, relevant information and educational opportunities about civil resistance to activists and organizers around the world.
Our view is that nonviolent struggle is a social science that can be studied and understood. Practitioners can increase their chances of success by learning lessons from each other as well as from cutting edge academic scholarship on this topic.Learn More
New from ICNC Press
The Path of Most Resistance: A Step-by-Step Guide to Planning Nonviolent Campaigns by Ivan Marovic, is a practical guide for activists and organizers of all levels, who wish to grow their resistance activities into a more strategic, fixed-term campaign. It guides readers through the campaign planning process, breaking it down into several steps and providing tools and exercises for each step. Upon finishing the book, readers will have what they need to guide their peers through the process of planning a campaign. This process, as laid out in the guide, is estimated to take about 12 hours from start to finish.Learn More
Or, if you are interested in civil resistance and don’t know where to start, we’ve made a list of general introductory resources–many of them short articles–to introduce you to the field. See our list of ten key resources for activists and organizers.Visit the Resource Library
ICNC Translations Program
Translating civil resistance literature into diverse languages is one of the most powerful ways to spread knowledge and increase the effectiveness of nonviolent movements struggling for rights, freedom, and justice. Learn more about our translations program.
We also currently host resources on civil resistance in over 70 languages and dialects on our website.Find Translated Resources
For Scholars & Students
The discipline of civil resistance has developed enormously in recent years, driven by new quantitative and qualitative scholarly research, as well as by numerous nonviolent movements around the world.
ICNC runs a number of grant-supported academic and educational programs to meet the growing demand for cutting edge research, applied knowledge and practical skills in this field. Look at our research, writing, teaching and other educational offerings and review current calls for proposals or applications.Learn More
Academic Online Curriculum
ICNC’s Academic Online Curriculum on Civil Resistance (AOC) is an online resource to advance curriculum development, teaching, and research on civil resistance. It offers an extensive and regularly updated set of resources in this field, organized into clearly structured topics and case studies, and drawn in part from content that we and various academic collaborators developed for the ICNC university seminars we’ve led since 2009.
Anyone can register to use the AOC at any time and it is free to use.
Topics on the AOC include:
– Civil Resistance: Nature, Ideas and History
– Strategic Considerations in Civil Resistance Struggles
– Types of Civil Resistance Struggles
And more!Register now!
Calls from ICNC Academic Initiatives
Throughout the year, ICNC is offering a number of academic opportunities, resources, and support that it makes available to scholars and students. The field of civil resistance has grown immensely and these academic programs aim to respond to the growing demand for knowledge and skills and contribute to expanding the quality of education, research, and curriculum related to civil resistance. This page includes the current and past calls for the ICNC’s educational and research programs, such as learning opportunities, curriculum support, and research grants.
One of our calls, the Rapid Field Research and Data Collection Program, accepts applications on a rolling basis and interested applicants can apply for the program throughout the year.Learn More
New from ICNC Press:
Preventing Mass Atrocities: From a Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) to a Right to Assist (RtoA) Campaigns of Civil Resistance
by Peter Ackerman and Hardy Merriman
Available in: English, Arabic, and Spanish
Events of the last decade demand new approaches to atrocity prevention that are adaptable, innovative and independent of a state-centered doctrine. With the aim of reducing risk factors such as civil war, we argue for a new normative framework called The Right to Assist (RtoA)….See ICNC Press Publications
For the Policy Community
Civil resistance movements have a proven role in advancing human rights, democratic governance, and curtailing corruption. They are a critical factor in addressing root causes of human suffering and reducing deadly violence in the world.
It is incumbent for members of the policy community who care about these issues to understand how movements work; their historic record of making change; and when, how, and under what circumstances external actors can take actions that are helpful to movements.Learn More
New From ICNC Press:
Preventing Mass Atrocities: From a Responsbility to Protect (RtoP) to a Right to Assist (RtoA) Campaigns of Civil Resistance
by Peter Ackerman and Hardy Merriman
Available in: English, Arabic, and Spanish
Events of the last decade demand new approaches to atrocity prevention that are adaptable, innovative and independent of a state-centered doctrine. With the aim of reducing risk factors such as civil war, we argue for a new normative framework called The Right to Assist (RtoA)….Read More
Powering to Peace: Integrated Civil Resistance and Peacebuilding Strategies
by Veronique Dudouet
This report explores the complementary ideas and practices that civil resistance and peacebuilding approaches present, each from different points along the conflict transformation spectrum. Both strategies oppose violence in all its forms, and seek to pursue just peace by peaceful means. However, they take different approaches to conflict transformation, in particular how they analyze primary causes of violence and how they respond to conflict. Drawing on a number of case studies, this report aims to help practitioners and scholars understand how integrating these strategies can help establish a path for “powering to peace.”Learn More
A Movement-centered Support Model: Consideration for Human Rights Funders and Organizations
ICNC President Hardy Merriman writes: “What makes civil resistance movements effective? If funders and human rights organizations can identify key factors that answer this question, then their efforts can be oriented towards trying to support the development and growth of those factors. […]”Learn More
Activist-scholar Tom Hastings writes for Minds of the Movement: “The opinions about property damage during protests are all over the map. Please entertain mine for a minute, as I’ve been thinking a lot about this since the 1960s, when my friends destroyed Selective Service files to interfere with the draft for the preposterous Vietnam war. I thought about property destruction harder when some of my mentors hammered on nuclear weapons in symbolic disarmament. I followed their footsteps and reflected on it while incarcerated for these sorts of acts. […]”Read now!
Janjira Sombatpoonsiri writes: “เมื่อไม่นานมานี้ ปรากฏการณ์พลังประชาชนนำโดยเยาวชนเริ่มปรากฏขึ้นใหม่ในประเทศไทย แต่การประท้วงที่เพิ่งเริ่มต้นใหม่จะแปรเปลี่ยนเป็นขบวนการเคลื่อนไหวระดับประเทศได้หรือไม่นั้น ขึ้นอยู่กับยุทธศาสตร์ที่มีประสิทธิภาพ และวิสัยทัศน์ต่ออนาคตที่เป็นเอกภาพ แม้ว่าสถานการณ์การระบาดของเชื้อไวรัสโคโรนาไปทั่วโลกจะเป็นอุปสรรคใหม่ต่อขบวนการเคลื่อนไหว แต่เหล่านักศึกษาก็พยายามแสวงหาการประท้วงออนไลน์รูปแบบใหม่ๆ […]”Read now!
Geoffrey Pleyers writes: “Just months ago, mainstream news worldwide was chronicling the wave of protests that set 2019 apart as one of the most dynamic in years. Since February, one single issue has dominated media coverage, social media and our conversations in daily life: the pandemic and the urgent tasks to bring it under control. […]”Read now!