Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

Ideas & Trends

Articles

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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Ideas & Trends

Comment réaliser la jonction de l’action virtuelle à l’action réelle au sein de la lutte non-violente ?

J’ai pu participer au cours de mon lycée à de nombreuses manifestations et autres évènements s’opposant à l’inaction climatique de nos dirigeants. L’hiver de 2018-2019 vit l’engouement de mes camarades et ma personne exploser, chacun se targuant d’être le plus écolo et, surtout, le plus engagé. Pourtant, au bout de quelques semaines, le vent de fraîcheur et de révolte pour la planète s’était éteint, et mêmes les plus engagés se faisaient discrets. Cette vague d’engagement sitôt levée sitôt éteinte ne s’est pourtant pas limitée à mon lycée de banlieue parisienne. […]

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Ideas & Trends

How Can Donors Best Support Nonviolent Movements?

Why does such a small percentage of human rights funding support grassroots organizing and nonviolent movements? Why and how have some donors chosen to support the work of grassroots organizers and nonviolent social movements? What can we learn from their experiences? A forthcoming, ICNC-supported special report, Dollars and Dissent opens the black box of donor decision-making. It brings to light common tensions donors have faced when considering support for grassroots organizing […]

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Ideas & Trends

Greater Peril, Greater Reward? A New Risk Assessment Tool for Activists

In March 2019, following numerous community pleas to curb graft among local police that had fallen upon deaf ears, residents of Kyere, Uganda tricked a notoriously corrupt police officer into a bribery arrangement. They caught him red-handed. Emerging from their hiding places in a community market, they seized the officer and arrested him—a man who had often used the same power of arrest to extort from them! This effective sting operation occurred without any of the usual police brutality toward activists. […]

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Ideas & Trends

La creación de instituciones alternativas como método y expresión de la resistencia civil

En 1973, el académico Gene Sharp estableció el estándar pionero en la clasificación de los métodos de acción no violenta, documentando 198 de ellos y dividiéndolos en tres grandes categorías: protesta y persuasión, no cooperación e intervención no violenta. Cuarenta y cinco años después, la publicación del ICNC titulada Tácticas de resistencia civil en el siglo XXI, del autor Michael Beer en Nonviolence International, asume la formidable tarea de actualizar, ampliar y reclasificar el universo de los métodos de resistencia civil. Entre sus numerosas contribuciones […]

 

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Ideas & Trends

Should We Train Movements when We Disagree with their Goals?

As Covid emerged in 2020 and altered our lifestyles, some of us who offer nonviolent movement trainings in the United States became aware of the anti-Covid vaccine, anti-health mask campaign launched across the Canadian border, in Ottawa. The campaign spread somewhat to the U.S. North, notably resulting in a trucker blockade in February 2022 at the Ambassador bridge connecting Windsor, Ontario with Detroit, Michigan. The phenomenon left many of us trainers asking many thorny questions about ethics. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Bridging the Online-Offline Divide in Nonviolent Movements

“I participated regularly in Fridays for Future marches to fight climate change during my high school years. At the beginning, in the winter of 2018-19, my entire high school here in France went into a climate change frenzy. But after a few weeks the enthusiasm had died down, and even the most outspoken students on social media suddenly seemed much less engaged. According to the Fridays for Future website, this rapid drop in participation was not unique to the French context. […]”

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Ideas & Trends

What’s Next in the Push for Democratization in Tunisia?

A coup d’état is underway in Tunisia that threatens the success of the Arab world’s only democratic hopeful. On July 25, 2021, President Kais Saied used national protests calling for a dissolution of parliament as a justification to invoke emergency law across the country. Under the state of exception, Saied sacked his prime minister, dissolved parliament with military support, and has since silenced journalists, lawmakers, political opponents, and dissidents through a slew of prison sentences, military trials, house arrests, and convictions in absentia. […]

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