Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

Movement Commentary

Articles

Survival and Resilience: From the Frontlines of Myanmar’s Pro-Democracy Movement

The following is a personal narrative shared with ICNC by a pro-democracy organizer who fled Myanmar following the brutal crackdown of anti-coup protests in February 2021. His account comes from the frontlines of the country’s decades-long struggle for democracy, which has been punctuated by civil war and brutal repression at the hands of the Tatmadaw. Our contact shares his personal experience with repression but also a message of resilience and solidarity that hopefully resonates with activists living under harsh dictatorships worldwide.

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Movement Commentary

The Bersih Movement and Democratization in Malaysia

“Today, the Bersih movement continues to be committed to democratization and clean elections in Malaysia. Bersih’s actions aim to induce political change not by empowering people to bring down the regime, but instead by improving the integrity of institutions so that the people can legitimately vote the government out of power. The movement has left a legacy in Malaysian politics by promoting civic awareness of the right to vote and a sense of togetherness in a nation with multiracial and multicultural roots. […]”

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Movement Commentary

Pulling Away Putin’s Pedestal: Opportunities and Challenges for Nonviolent Resistance

La Boétie knew then, as do the Russians driving civil resistance in the cities and towns of Russia today, that the tyrant is one man. By himself he cannot do anything. Understand Putin’s sources of power and peel away the pillars of support that prop him up, and the man’s rule will collapse. Already we are seeing early signs of mass civilian-based noncooperation. Last week the entire staff at independent Russian TV station Dozhd walked out live on air while declaring “no to war” after being shut down over their coverage of the Ukrainian invasion. […]

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Movement Commentary

Serbian People Bid to Nip Lithium Mining in the Bud

For the last few months, people in the western part of Serbia near the city of Loznica have been struggling to preserve their homes and livelihoods from the invasion of lithium mining investors. This region is rich in jadarite ore from which much-demanded lithium metal is extracted (used in nearly all technology). But the extraction procedure itself would not come without consequences for the environment and the local population. […]

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Ideas & Trends

What Soldiers and Police Should Do at a Protest (Series Part II)

What you do when on duty at a protest can influence others around you. By being calm and nonthreatening, you can ease tension. If you talk with protesters and laugh at their humorous stunts, you can set an example for other troops. Simply making light-hearted comments to your colleagues like, “Wait a second, I think I see my dentist in the crowd, don’t shoot” can make them think twice about engaging in potentially brutal behavior against peaceful protesters. […]

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Movement Commentary

Pigs in Parliament: Uganda’s Anti-Corruption Struggle

The Jobless Brotherhood pulled off their first action in 2014, when activists released two pigs painted yellow (the color of the ruling party) in the Ugandan Parliament while in session. The pigs were wearing tags with written descriptions of corrupt acts that ruling members of Parliament had committed. Pigs were chosen to symbolize the corrupt Ugandan elites who are “eating” public funds. In order to infiltrate Parliament, the activists had befriended the guards for six months. […]

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Movement Commentary

The Arts in Today’s Movements: Insights from Nigeria’s #EndSARS Campaign

In my previous blog post I talked about the destructive role that agents provocateurs played in Nigeria’s #EndSARS campaign, which took place last fall. But there were many examples of beauty and constructive power in this movement as well. One of those was in the form of artistic resistance that emerged from diverse communities across the country. In this post, I will share a few examples below–including photography, video, inspirational designs, illustrations, graphic design, paintings, music and dance—and also offer some analysis of the roles that they played in the campaign. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Nigeria: How Agents Provocateurs Triggered Government Repression during the #EndSARS Movement

On October 3, 2020, a young man was said to have been shot in front of a hotel in Ughelli, Delta State, Nigeria by a police officer working with the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a division of the Nigerian Police Force. The incident served as a watershed event for popularizing the Twitter campaign #EndSARS, which had begun in 2017. […]

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Movement Commentary

How a Commonplace Slogan Became a Dilemma Action in Afghanistan

President Biden’s decision to complete US troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan by August 31 has elicited strong reactions at home and internationally. While opponents of the decision claim that it emboldens the Taliban and gives them a sense of victory, supporters hail the decision as an end to the long US engagement in Afghanistan. Regardless of the merits of either view, the fact remains that violence escalated across Afghanistan just after this announcement. The Taliban have increased their attacks throughout Afghanistan, in a few cities, and particularly in rural areas.

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Movement Commentary

Small Victories and Stumbling Blocks: Georgian Activists Mobilize to Protect their Environment

The country of Georgia is stumbling towards parliamentary elections this autumn, against a complex backdrop of political violence and discord. Amid the disarray, a number of nonviolent campaigns for environmental protection are percolating all over the country. Although some of these campaigns—“Shukruti” and “Namokhvani” to name just two of them—are successfully galvanizing support from civil society allies to counter harmful mining and damn-building activities, the road to long-term success will no doubt be a long one. […]

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