Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

Interviews & People

Articles

Criminalizing Boycotts: Reflections on the BDS Movement (Video Interview)

Since 2013, advocating boycotts on behalf of Palestinian rights has been illegal under Israeli law. Supporters and lobbyists for the Natanyahu government have also been working hard to pass similar laws in the United States. ICNC recently spoke about this criminalization of boycotts with Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh […]

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Interviews & People

Martin Luther King’s Little-Known Journey to Civil Resistance

King had never imagined himself as a prominent civil resistance leader in Montgomery, let alone the U.S. Yes, he had experienced racism, and hated it, but all black folks in the country had experienced racism and hated it. He had also read a bit of Gandhi and Marx at Boston University and written several thoughtful papers about social gospel movement theologians who challenged the Church to take up the fight for social justice. Yet, in December 1955, all these ideas were mostly academic concerns for King. […]

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Interviews & People

An Activist-Scholar’s Insights on Researching Civil Resistance and Environmental Justice

Given the scale, intensity, and compounding effects of climate change, it has never been more important to defend the environment. To make matters more urgent, resource conflicts are becoming increasingly deadly in the past couple of decades. This is why people refer to environmental activism nowadays as a “suicide mission,” especially in countries that emerge from colonialism with commodity-dependent economies and weak political institutions. […]

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Interviews & People

The Case for Nonviolent Struggle in Togo, According to Togolese Activists

The Gnassingbé regime, a family dynasty that has been in power since the late 1960s, is doing everything it can to steer the struggle toward violence—which is precisely why it’s so important for activists on the ground to remain nonviolent. To resist violence itself. This is apparently no easy task. […]

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Interviews & People

A Personal Homage to Gene Sharp

While central Uganda was boycotting regime-friendly companies, staging industrial strikes and marching in the streets, I was trying to figure out how to help my neighbors resist a massive land grab by foreign companies. Unaware of one another at the time, we were simultaneously applying different forms of nonviolent resistance that Gene Sharp had taught us in his works. […]

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Interviews & People

The Rev. Dr. James Lawson on “Human Endeavors for Hope and Change”

Over the years, the Rev. Dr. James Lawson has amassed a treasury of nonviolent civil resistance methodologies, which, ever the teacher, he is eager to share, provided the listener appreciates the value of know-how. After all, he says, it takes more than a riled up spirit to build and sustain a movement; it takes study and planning too. […]

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Interviews & People

Building Self-reliance and Alternative Institutions: An Interview with Ramesh Sharma of Ekta Parishad

From humble beginnings three decades ago, Ekta Parishad (“unity forum” in Hindi), a pluralistic movement for defending rights of marginalized communities in India, has grown to become today one of the world’s most massive—and exemplary—nonviolent movements. Last fall, I met Ramesh Sharma, National Coordinator of Ekta Parishad, and came to realize the richness, depth, and intelligence of this movement. […]

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Interviews & People

A Civil Resistance Trainer’s Story, and Takeaways for Educators (Part 1)

Over the past few years, I have been working as a civil resistance trainer and educator in various parts of Pakistan including Azad and Jammu Kashmir. At times, my work to spread knowledge about civil resistance for human rights, peace, and democracy has brought me to cross red lines drawn by patriarchal principles in Pakistani society (and so many other places in the world). […]

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Interviews & People

Overcoming Mental Health Challenges as Movement Leaders and Activists

If we believe that peace, human rights and environmental justice have both cultural and economic value, then it behooves movement workers to address the mental health needs of activists committed to creating those ‘products.’ But that’s a long-term solution, and we are hurting now. How do we address pain now? […]

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Interviews & People

How Do Nonviolent Movements Shape History? An Interview with Jacques Semelin

I recently had the good fortune of interviewing Jacques Semelin, an historian and political scientist who has notably studied civil resistance during Nazi and communist Europe. Speaking with him brings past and present together. It is as close as I can get to experiencing—over an hour-long conversation in Paris last August—how past nonviolent movements […]

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