Agents Provocateurs, Violent Flanks, and Nonviolent Movements: A Historical and Strategic Perspective
When the adversary of a civil resistance movement sends infiltrators to join the movement, what do these covert operators do, and what impact do they have? Furthermore, how can civil resistance organizers respond creatively and strategically? This study explores known and alleged cases of infiltration of civil resistance movements, and the ways in which infiltrators attempted to gather intelligence or discredit the movement by pushing participants away from nonviolent means and towards violence. It provides a framework for understanding the impact of agents provocateurs and other forms of covert action.
Tom H. Hastings, Ed.D., is Coordinator of the undergraduate program in Conflict Resolution at Portland State University. He is a former member of the Governing Council of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA), past co-chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Association, and sat on the boards of both the IPRA Foundation and the Oregon Peace Institute (OPI). He is a long-time member of the Academic Advisory Council of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. He directs PeaceVoice, an OPI program, and has written several books and many articles about nonviolent action and peace studies topics. He is a former Plowshares resister and a founding member of two Catholic Worker communities and currently lives in Whitefeather Peace House.
Adam Vogal, is the president of the Oregon Peace Institute and also the associate editor of the Oregon Peace Institute’s highly effective and influential national PeaceVoice program. He is also the coordinator of the Portland Peace Team, a nonpartisan group of peace professionals and community members who provide de-escalation training and nonviolent security for social justice movements who wish to uphold nonviolence centered values. Adam holds an M.S. in Conflict Resolution from Portland State University and is certified in advanced mediation and negotiation. He instructs individuals and groups in these skills as well as in nonviolent communication, de-escalation, bystander intervention, restorative justice, consensus process, and mindfulness.