Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

How to Become Self-Taught in Civil Resistance in a Repressive Context and with Few Resources

Abdourahman embarked on self-study of the strategy of nonviolent action in a repressive climate. He had just served four years in prison for participating in an opposition coalition meeting for which he was serving as secretary general at the time. Simply by typing “how to bring down a dictatorship without violence” into a search engine, he discovered some key texts on nonviolent resistance that had been translated into French and made available free of charge on the websites of CANVAS, ICNC, and other educational organizations. […]

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Interviews & People

Comment devenir autodidacte de la résistance civile dans un contexte répressif et avec peu de ressources

Abdourahman s’est lancé dans l’auto-apprentissage de la stratégie de l’action non violente dans un contexte très répressif. Il sortait de quatre mois de prison pour avoir participé à une réunion de crise de la coalition d’opposition. Simplement en tapant le terme « comment vaincre une dictature sans violence » dans un moteur de recherche, il a découvert quelques livres clés sur la résistance non violente, traduits en français et mis à disposition gratuitement sur les sites de CANVAS, d’ICNC, et d’autres organisations engagées dans l’éducation sur ce sujet. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Для сотрудников служб безопасности: пособие по поддержке продемократических движений

Когда граждане в борьбе за демократию оказывают гражданское сопротивление авторитарному правлению, как им могут помочь сотрудники правоохранительных органов, внутренней безопасности, разведывательных служб и военнослужащие страны? […]

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Ideas & Trends

How to Achieve Robust Discipline to Succeed: A Guide for Pro-Democracy Movements

“Dictatorships project unwavering discipline when they exercise—or aspire to exercise—enduring control over their societies. In response, movements must work on honing and harnessing their own discipline. Being more disciplined than their opponents gives movements an edge in winning. Discipline is a behavior that is learned and perfected through practice and training. It has less to do with command and control structures through which orders are given or punitive sanctions are exercised. […]”

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Movement Commentary

Revealing Hidden Injustices: The Filipino Struggle against U.S. Military Presence

“The September 2020 pardon of U.S. Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton for the killing of a young Filipina transgender woman, Jennifer Laude, served as a public reminder that a U.S. military presence remains in the Philippines years after the last actual U.S. base was closed in 1992. Protests against the killing, led by local LGBTQ+ and women’s rights groups, erupted in the aftermath of both the original crime in 2014 and Pemberton’s recent pardon. The movement, known as Scrap the VFA!, provides lessons for other nonviolent movements, particularly those with less visible or moving targets (such as financial corruption). […]”

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Scholarship & Research

Resisting Stolen Elections: Lessons from the Philippines, Serbia, Ukraine, and Gambia

Discussion has grown for months about how the upcoming U.S. election results could be contested and possibly subverted. No one knows for certain what will happen, but there are precedents we can learn from about how attempts to overturn election results have been stopped. Four cases in recent decades—one in Southeast Asia, one in Africa and the other two in Eastern Europe—involved an incumbent president or party attempting to steal an election only to have it reversed through large-scale nonviolent direct action. This article looks at these cases, and identifies key lessons. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Nonviolence, Nonviolent Action… A Frivolous Semantic Debate?

We have learned from our international participants that carelessness with regard to terminology—conflating nonviolence (a set of beliefs) with nonviolent action (actual conflict)—is counterproductive at best and dangerous at worst. It plays into the hands of authoritarians, who thrive on confusion, to dismiss as elitist the aspiration to use precise terminology. We owe it to ourselves—and we owe it to nonviolent movements on the front lines of societal change—to talk about their actions in a way that does them justice. […]

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