Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

Ideas & Trends

Articles

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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Ideas & Trends

Does Protesting Do Any Good?

Years ago, when U.S. President Ronald Reagan was fixated on Nicaragua, a U.S. general was quoted in a Talk of the Town column in The New Yorker as saying that conditions were so ripe that a U.S. invasion of Nicaragua would be “as easy as rolling off a log.” We protested. Peace people traveled to Nicaragua to volunteer in […]

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Ideas & Trends

A Field Whose Time Has Come

When I got involved in the field of civil resistance in 2002, it was the beginning of an exponential growth curve. This fact was not immediately obvious. I worked as the assistant to Gene Sharp at the Albert Einstein Institution, a very small non-profit organization with an office in the basement of a building in Boston. We didn’t have […]

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Ideas & Trends

Memory and Movements in Building Singapore’s Civil Society

It took them decades to work up the confidence to publicly share their stories from that awful day, 30 years ago, when Singapore’s secret police showed up at their doors, rummaged through their homes, arrested them, deprived them of sleep and interrogated them in ice-cold rooms. Some took slaps across the face so hard that they saw stars […]

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Ideas & Trends

Let’s Get Strategic! Why Moving “Beyond Violence and Nonviolence” Is Flawed

I recently read Ben Case’s article “Beyond Violence and Nonviolence,” published in ROAR Magazine on June 5, 2017. In it, Case argues that using a diversity of violent and nonviolent tactics can increase the effectiveness of movements struggling against oppression. As someone working on a forthcoming website about the strategic value of […]

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