Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

News, Insights, Thoughts

Articles

Beyond Protest: Harnessing People Power for the New Decade

2019 is being called the year of protest. Citizens across the globe are galvanizing, in large part over the nexus of corruption, inequality, and a sense that governments and political elites are unaccountable and unresponsive to their needs. What comes next? How can people power be harnessed for the long haul? How can we move from the year of protest to a new decade of transformation? […]

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Ideas & Trends

What Nonviolent Struggles against Authoritarianism Can Learn from Movements across Africa

This year, the global spotlight was briefly placed upon Sudan during its overthrow of Omar al-Bashir, and to a lesser extent, Algeria’s popular resistance to Abdelaziz Bouteflika whose 20-year rule has met its end. Yet 2019 has yielded at least nine other African political uprisings from which we can learn. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Lessons of Uprisings Around the World: The Present Moment, and Possible Future

A wave of largely nonviolent uprisings throughout 2019 has led to a wave of media articles on this topic: Why are so many people protesting now? Is this part of a larger trend? Are there common issues driving these uprisings? Where will these uprisings lead? The international landscape is complicated, and the differences between the many uprisings of 2019 are just as interesting as potential commonalities. […]

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Movement Commentary

Georgia’s Pro-Democracy Movement in Full Swing as 2020 Elections Approaches

Last week, protests resurged in the Republic of Georgia when Bidzina Ivanishvili, leader of the ruling Georgian Dream party, failed to pass election reform ahead of the 2020 parliamentary elections. The party had promised this concession to pro-democracy protesters last summer, following political controversy that ushered in a new era of Georgian history. Although the country’s pro-democracy movement is still in its early stages, it’s never too early to evoke some key strategic considerations. […]

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Movement Commentary

Corruption in the Balkans: An Out-Spin of the Rise of Authoritarianism?

Corruption is spreading through the Balkans as countries like Bulgaria, Serbia, and Macedonia are impacted by the government-backed construction sector. Monuments, renovations, demolitions, and kitsch construction projects are being commissioned by state governments—not to create something that will last for future generations, but instead to launder money for government officials and private businesses. […]

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Movement Commentary

Why Do Hong Kong Protesters Use Pepe the Frog as an Icon for Freedom and Democracy?

A German radio station recently contacted me to ask why Hong Kong protesters have started using Pepe the Frog as a mascot for their pro-democracy protest. This question is intriguing considering that internet memes of Pepe are known in the West for their hatred and racist slurs, rather than freedom and democracy. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Is the Rising Obsession with Digital Security Paralyzing People Power?

A growing obsession with digital security among human rights organizations and progressive donors in East Africa seems to be compromising the efficacy of once-impactful movements. How? For one thing, it’s detracting from planning offensive movement strategy. Second, it’s diverting focus away from countering widely prevalent traditional forms of repression and surveillance (such as spying, trailing, and wiretapping). […]

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Ideas & Trends

In a Time of Democratic Backsliding, How Should Civil Society Be Supported?

Imagine you’re in a country in which democracy is under attack. A few years ago a demagogue won an election, packed his administration with loyal supporters, and they’ve broken norms and expectations of governance ever since. They are using the power of government to enrich themselves, entrench their rule, and battle their opposition. What’s more, they seem to be getting away with it. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Communications, and Why It’s Vital for Today’s Nonviolent Campaigns and Movements

Nonviolent campaigns usually seize the latest technologies available, perhaps leading some organizers mistakenly to think that e-mail blasts produce effective civil resistance. Yet communications is a larger, more comprehensive component for effective nonviolent action, possessing kaleidoscopic capacities. […]

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Movement Commentary

Greta Thunberg and the Power of Strategic Movement Messaging

Though Greta Thunberg is not the leader of the youth climate change movement (which defines itself as leaderless), she has emerged as an eloquent spokesperson and almost singlehandedly has fashioned a powerful moral narrative for the movement. She has done so by using imagery, subconsciously resonating with pop culture, pushing social boundaries, and evoking moral authority. […]

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