Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

The Succession Crisis: What Implications for Activists?

The reason we try to understand the succession crisis that embroils many dictatorships is rather practical: we would like to figure out ways for movements to use this opportunity to expand political space, maybe even push the regime for concessions and, further down the road, achieve substantive political changes towards democratization. The wobble that represents the “S-word”, succession, should be seen an opportunity for the movement, but one that does not automatically lead to disintegration regime. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Anatomy of a Dictatorship—and Its Hidden Infirmity

In the last decade, many countries have been backsliding into authoritarian rule. Serbia, the country where I was born, is one of them. This is a scary development that prompts us to focus on the democracy crisis, and many observers do. But there is another crisis brewing, largely unnoticed: the dictatorship crisis. It may sound like a paradox but currently authoritarian rule is experiencing a resurgence and going through a crisis at the same time. The resurgence is apparent, promoted even, but crisis is not being seen as authoritarian countries are less transparent than democracies and would rather keep their weaknesses hidden. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Respect: What Does It Have to Do with Civil Resistance?

Taking the moral high road as an activist often germinates as an internal commitment to a certain philosophy—the philosophy of nonviolence. Yet observing a certain set of ethics in our movement practice can also bring strategic advantages in asymmetrical conflict between oppressors and the oppressed. The two qualities are inseparable, moral nonviolence and strategic nonviolent conflict being two sides of the same coin. Over the last half-century of being a front-line activist and nonviolent resister in North America, I have begun to discern some of the finer points of civil resistance in practice. […]

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Movement Commentary

“Mahsa, Your Name Will Be a Symbol”: Revolution and the Prospects of a New Iran

The 1979 Islamic Revolution overthrew the monarchy of Iran, and an Islamic dictatorship was established in its place. Over the ensuing four decades, people have nonviolently defied the regime and challenged its policies. However, because of the lack of communication channels with the free world, combined with the military power of the regime, the people have not been able to spread their voices. Until now… On September 16, 2022, Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, died in custody of the Morality Police after being detained for allegedly breaking the law requiring women to wear the hijab. […]

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Editorial

Defying Militarism: Valuable Resources and Avenues for Collective Action

In an earlier post, I argued that we observers of international affairs are responsible for critical thinking when consuming the news. This is particularly true when reading stories about political violence published in mainstream news outlets in the country where I live currently, the U.S. In this second part of my argument, I highlight news outlets that courageously report on alternatives to war, as well as nonviolent resistance to the war in Ukraine. I also discuss specific ways readers can collectively defy militarism in terms of how they consume media. […]

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Editorial

War in the Name of Peace: Toxic Media Narratives and How to Spot Them

Amid the horror and uncertainty of war, concerned world citizens flock to the media. We cling to our screens, apps, papers, and radios to make sense of astonishing tragedies, to know how to respond, and for reassurance that things will be under control soon. In such moments, it is vital that we not suspend our critical assessment of the stories we are sold. As I’ve been emphasizing to my university students since the Russian government began its full-scale, unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine: notice the narratives. […]

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Movement Commentary

Solidarity, Perseverance, Civil Disobedience: The Struggle for Abortion Access in Northern Ireland

The protest outside Belfast City Hall in June 2022 was a moving display of solidarity with activists in the United States in the bleak aftermath of the overturning of Roe v Wade. It was also yet another grassroots gathering in the ongoing struggle for abortion access in Northern Ireland. Despite three years having passed since the repeal of harsh, historic legislation that criminalized abortion, a de facto political blockade still prevents women from receiving rights-compliant healthcare. […]

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