Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

Ideas & Trends

Articles

Insider Threats: A Closer Look at Infiltrators and Movement Security Culture

In activist circles, sooner or later people can become concerned about the possibility of infiltrators in our midst. During intense periods of activity, I know of times when that concern has become nearly overwhelming. People look at others with suspicion, and mistakes, missteps, or miscommunications by a friend can become a source of doubt. It’s important to note that at such times, the fear of infiltrators itself can become a poison of its own. […]

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Ideas & Trends

“Que la fuerza excesiva esté contigo”: Cómo los activistas pueden manejar la represión para ganar

El 8 de noviembre de 2011, estudiantes de la Universidad de California en la ciudad de Davis ocuparon noviolentamente una acera peatonal, como parte de una campaña desplegada en todo el sistema de sedes de la UC, para protestar contra un alza en los costos de matrícula y el corte de fondos a las universidades. Unos días antes, la policía había usado sus bastones contra estudiantes y personal de la facultad en otro campus, la Universidad de California en Berkeley, y había destrozado un campamento similar al desplegado en la UC Davis. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Peopleless Protest: Bridging the Online-Offline Divide for Greater Movement Impact in the Covid-19 Period

People have rushed to reinvent their campaigns since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis. Some shifted their focus to community support, lockdown monitoring, and popular education. Others reassessed methods of conveying their message. One of them was Europe Must Act, a pan-European nonviolent movement calling for the evacuation of refugee camps in Greece. I was fortunate to participate in the organization’s process of rethinking campaign strategy and thereby engineered, introduced, and helped implement the concept of peopleless protests. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Paradigm Shift: Media Imagery and the BLM Movement

There is no denying the drama of the worldwide mass demonstrations against systemic racism generally, discriminatory policing particularly, and George Floyd’s murder specifically. For weeks and weeks, it has unfolded in both predictable and surprising ways. In my experience, honed from decades in the news media, newsrooms begin to lose interest in such phenomena after about two weeks. But, as with practically everything else associated with this movement, the media attention has held steady. […]

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Ideas & Trends

¿Despertar de la resistencia en América Latina?

2019 resultó ser un año muy movido para las sociedades del mundo que decidieron escribir nuevas páginas de resistencia civil. Las acciones no violentas en demanda de derechos, justicia y libertad fueron increíblemente diversas, enérgicas e inspiradoras en América Latina, donde el despertar popular sacudió regímenes y cambió gobiernos capturando la atención mundial.

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Ideas & Trends

Property Damage, Violence, Nonviolent Action, and Strategy

The opinions about property damage during protests are all over the map. Please entertain mine for a minute, as I’ve been thinking a lot about this since the 1960s, when my friends destroyed Selective Service files to interfere with the draft for the preposterous Vietnam war. I thought about property destruction harder when some of my mentors hammered on nuclear weapons in symbolic disarmament. I followed their footsteps and reflected on it while incarcerated for these sorts of acts. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Have Movements Disappeared during Lockdown?

Such a long period of lockdown, dominated by social distancing, fear of the virus spreading, and the omnipresence of state leaders in mainstream media all certainly represent challenges for movements. Holding demonstrations would present health risks and/or are outlawed, and alternative forms of protest do not draw as much media and public attention. Have movements disappeared? […]

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Ideas & Trends

Too Much Coverage of U.S. Anti-shutdown Protests? A Journalist Chimes In

You are not imagining things if you think recent anti-COVID-19-shutdown protests captured the news media’s attention with speed, regularity and intensity that many civil resistance campaigns can only envy. Several scholars and co-founders of a website that tracks news accounts of U.S. protests compared coverage of the anti-shutdown protests with that given to bona fide civil resistance actions such as last September’s nationwide climate strikes. As the researchers reported on Vox last week, the difference is stark. […]

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Ideas & Trends

COVID-19 can trigger revolution—here’s how!

“People worldwide are alert to the ramifications of COVID-19, and many are already organized and taking action to seize this crisis for the better. What remains to be seen is whether these fragmented efforts coalesce into collective power. Our ability to harness this power will determine whether we are able to leverage this pandemic in a way that transforms oppressive social, economic, and political systems. […]”

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Ideas & Trends

Power-grabbing in Guise of Crisis Response: Lessons from the NATO Bombing of Serbia in 1999

Governments worldwide are using the pandemic to tighten control and clamp down on dissent. Is this virus going to strengthen the autocrats’ grip on power? And what can we do now and in the future? Although I don’t have experience with epidemics (the smallpox outbreak, the last epidemic in Yugoslavia, happened a year before I was born), I do see some similarities between the current moment and the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999, which came when our movement Otpor was just a few months old. […]

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