Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

Ideas & Trends

Articles

Let’s Get Ethical! Nonviolent Resistance and Morality

In my June 2017 “Let’s Get Strategic” post, I explained my disagreement with the conclusion of Ben Case’s “Beyond Violence and Nonviolence” article, in which he promotes the idea that violence can be strategically effective for grassroots movements. There’s a further claim in Case’s article, which I did not address previously, but which merits an additional response. […]

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Ideas & Trends

“Living in the Truth”: Revisiting the U.S. Anti-War Movement of the 1970s

With recent protests in the United States capturing headlines, it is sometimes easy to lose sight of largescale mobilizations from decades past. Several notable episodes took place during the 1970s, when myriad groups nationwide—and especially in Washington, D.C.—protested U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Now is a better moment than any to […]

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Ideas & Trends

Strategic Nonviolence is not Civil Resistance

When developing a new field of study in the social sciences, the selection of terms for key concepts can be crucial. Certain words may evoke multiple meanings because they are filtered through a reader’s cultural experiences and personal imagination. Failure to account for this possibility can diminish the clarity of research and even […]

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Ideas & Trends

Democracy Insurance

Here’s a basic rule of public policy: If a society wants a capability, it has to pay for that capability. If we want a fire department, we have to direct our time, energy, people, and funds to build and support it.  If we want a Center for Disease Control, or a Federal Emergency Management Agency, we likewise have to […]

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Ideas & Trends

Mindful Activism: The Power of Mindfulness in the Streets

Decades after Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh explicitly joined activism with mindfulness-based practices in a global spotlight, activists in pockets around the world have begun to incorporate techniques of mindful attention to the present moment into their movement activities. However, public and scientific interest in mindfulness has focused […]

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Ideas & Trends

Another Inconvenient Truth: Normal Channels Are Not Enough

A few weeks back, I sat in a movie theater watching Al Gore’s new movie about his efforts to avert climate chaos through citizen education, lobbying, and high level negotiations. The film is funny, heartbreaking, insightful, scary, and, even hopeful at times. Yet, I’m not sure that Gore fully understands what is involved […]

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Ideas & Trends

Marketing Violence: A Closer Look at the “Diversity of Tactics” Slogan

After my July 18 article on agents provocateurs was posted, I heard from a young activist who wrote, “Loved your article. It has surprised me how many people in my social media bubble support black bloc/antifa stuff.” She is not alone. The blackbloc/antifa folks have found a positive and strategic sounding way to market their negative […]

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Ideas & Trends

Delivering the Story: Why Movement Reporting Matters

It would have taken extra effort for anyone in the U.S. on January 21 to avoid news of the massive women’s marches and demonstrations ballooning across the country that day. Media were all over the event – broadcast, cable, radio and social – encamped for day-long coverage of the throngs weaving through […]

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Ideas & Trends

Why Violence Undermines Protest

After Donald Trump entered the White House on January 20, calls by progressive activists for organized resistance to his administration’s policies were followed by protests in Washington, other cities, and on university campuses. Although many groups involved in the “Resistance” are nonviolent, their effectiveness can be jeopardized by those who use […]

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Ideas & Trends

Let’s Get Real! Facing Up to the Agent Provocateur Problem

In my June 20 post, “Let’s Get Strategic,” I critique the argument for mixing violent and nonviolent tactics in our movements, or what is often euphemistically called a “diversity of tactics.” In this post, I want to add that as an activist, I also have never seen anyone promoting violent tactics get real enough to mention, let alone […]

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