Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

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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Movement Commentary

From Hope to Despair: One Year After Lebanon’s October Revolution

Exactly one year ago, Lebanese took to the streets in massive rallies under the renowned slogan kilon yaani kilon (“all means all”), denouncing the country’s corrupt oligarchy. These unprecedented protests were leaderless and decentralized, both in urban and rural areas, and carried a message of hope and unity that condemned the sectarian and divisive agenda of the ruling class. Commentators coined the term “October Revolution” to define these protests, giving the impression that it would result in a transition of power. […]

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Movement Commentary

A Banner in a Coffin: Djibouti’s Nonviolent Struggle against Authoritarianism

In our culture, when a coffin is carried down the street, pedestrians and vehicles must come to a halt to observe a moment of silence in memory of the deceased being carried. In this case, it was our coffin. In the middle of a large, motionless crowd, our activists laid down the coffin and then dispersed in a flash. The street erupted in turmoil! No one had never seen anything like it before! Had a crime been committed? Why would a coffin be placed in the middle of the street? All of these questions aroused emotion, confusion and commotion at the scene of action. […]

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Movement Commentary

Une banderole dans un cercueil : La lutte nonviolente contre l’autoritarisme à Djibouti

“Dans notre culture, le passage d’un cercueil en ville, à pied ou à véhicule, est toujours synonyme d’une immobilisation des passants à piétons et de véhicules en circulation qui doivent absolument observer un moment de silence et des prières à la mémoire des personnes décédées et transportées en cercueil. Ce qui était le cas pour notre cercueil. Face à des gens immobilisés et assez nombreux le long de la rue, nos activistes déposent « le corps sans vie » et disparaissent dans la nature comme un éclair. La rue est en émoi ! Du jamais vu ! Est-ce un crime ? Pourquoi aurait-on déposé le cercueil et la personne décédée en plein milieu de la rue ? […]”

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Movement Commentary

Pour les membres des forces de sécurité : un guide de soutien aux mouvements pro-démocratie

Quand des citoyens s’engagent dans la résistance civile pour défendre la démocratie et lutter contre un régime autoritaire, comment les forces de l’ordre, les membres de la sécurité intérieure, les services de renseignement et l’armée du pays peuvent les aider ? En Biélorussie, certains membres des forces de sécurité viennent de jeter publiquement leurs cartes d’identité militaires et leurs uniformes à la poubelle pour protester contre le dictateur au pouvoir depuis plusieurs décennies. […]

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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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Movement Commentary

For Members of Security Forces: A Guide to Supporting Pro-Democracy Movements

Let’s say that you serve in the police, interior security, intelligence services, or the military. A ruler at the helm orders you to repress a pro-democracy movement and its unarmed people who are going out to protest against him. You do not agree with what the ruler and his political sycophants expect from you. Deep down, you know you would be no longer serving the country and its people if you were to follow those orders. You are looking for ideas on how to delay, derail, or go against the ruler’s orders to suppress the nonviolent movement. You are not alone. […]

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