Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

Movement Commentary

Articles

Union de Niños y Niñas Trabjadores de Bolivia: A Children’s Movement in Bolivia

“The place doesn’t matter. Nor the food, nor the rain. What matters is that we have made ourselves heard. The revolution doesn’t happen in 5-star hotels with buffets of food and it doesn’t happen in the springtime when everything is beautiful. It happens in the moments of crisis,” said 15-year old Alfredo Turqui about demonstrations in La Paz, Bolivia. […]

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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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Movement Commentary

Part Two: A Civil Resistance Trainer’s Story, and Takeaways for Educators

In my previous blog post, I shared with you my personal journey to becoming a civil resistance trainer and outlined a few takeaways about effective training approaches. In this post, I expand on those takeaways, which I hope civil resistance trainers in other parts of the world can use to improve their work. […]

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Movement Commentary

Russia: Inside the Nonviolent Struggle to Save Khimki Forest

When I helped found a grassroots movement called “Save Khimki Forest” in 2006, it was a bleak time for activists in Russia. People were unsure of how to build a movement on an issue like protection of the environment. All we knew was that we had to do something when the Russian government announced plans to […]

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Movement Commentary

Nonviolent Resistance Succeeds Even when the People Behind It Falter

I recently finished watching the television show “Narcos,”  a popular American crime drama detailing the life of illegal narcotics king Pablo Escobar. For 17 years, Escobar kept Colombian and U.S. forces on their toes; killing, smuggling and kidnapping at will before being gunned down in the streets of Medellin. Yet the mystery […]

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Interviews & People

On the Inside and Out: Reflections of an Exiled Activist

For more than a decade, I struggled not to be imprisoned for my nonviolent resistance against the Ethiopian government’s violence against the Oromo people. Inspirational events such as the Arab Spring Revolutions had convinced me that an activist should be brave enough to challenge the situation and show courage to make […]

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Movement Commentary

Turning the Dissent of a Few into the Resistance of Many

In my interactions with people from around the world, I’ve been asked a recurring question: how do we build mass mobilization in a society that is demobilized? In other words, how do we transform the dissent of the few into resistance of the many? The question is often born out of activists’ frustration with a perceived […]

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Movement Commentary

We Shall Overcome… Our Frustration First

For the first time in Hong Kong’s history, people waged a two-and-a-half month long nonviolent occupation in 2014. Hundreds of thousands of brave Hong Kong citizens took over highways and traffic roads; people created cleaning squads and recycling teams; artists and craftsman put up artwork with yellow umbrellas on them; indie food stalls […]

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Movement Commentary

Uprooting Corruption in Uganda: Protest or Persuasion?

In places like Uganda where political leaders leverage their influence as a personal business, institutional tactics like dialogue and advocacy tend to fail. They simply pose no substantial threat to the kleptocrats. Yet one coalition in Uganda has managed to score a significant success rate using primarily […]

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Movement Commentary

Defending Paraguay’s Constitution: Setbacks, Second Thoughts and Small Victories

It was the night of March 31, and a Congress in flames at the hands of angry protesters was the international image for the political catastrophe that was ensuing in Paraguay. After months of threatening to pass a bill that would approve re-election for the executive, a majority of  […]

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