Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

News, Insights, Thoughts

Articles

Demand Escalation: How Nonviolent Movements Raise the Heat on Powerholders

In places as diverse as Algeria, Chile, Ecuador, Hong Kong, France, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan, people first came together to seek redress in a certain policy space (in the form of a “reformist” campaign) before escalating their demands for a leader’s removal or seeking greater systemic change (in the form of a “maximalist” campaign). In a recent project, I identify this “demand escalation” phenomenon as an increasingly prominent path of unscheduled government change and find that it is not unique to the current generation, limited to a certain regime type, or a specific geographical region. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Los Movimientos Latinoamericanos Comprometidos con la Disciplina Noviolenta, Desplazándose a Canales Institucionales

La pandemia de este año no ha impedido a la gente en América Latina agruparse y empujar por sus agendas de derechos, justicia y democracia. En algunos casos, el mal manejo o la inacción con relación al COVID-19 incluso provocó demostraciones masivas, como fue el caso de Brasil. Pero esta no es la única tendencia en términos de resistencia civil que se puede identificar en la región este año. Aunque la violencia permanece como el instrument a elegir por muchos grupos no estatales, por amplio margen, el estereotipo del guerrillero con un fusil como símbolo del luchador por la libertad, el cual ha plagado la conciencia colectiva de Latinoamérica por décadas,[…]

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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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Movement Commentary

Friend a Political Prisoner, Join a Revolution

“Belarus’s struggle for democracy began in August 2020 and repression has only intensified in recent months. People have been arrested even just for wearing white-red-white socks (symbolic colors adopted by the movement), and criminal prosecution of activists is common. However, strong solidarity and will to make change through nonviolent action are countering these forces. Both in the detention centers and outside, Belarusian people live under constant pressure and need to be supported. This was the main reason we created the Politzek.me project. […]”

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Scholarship & Research

What Role Does Social Trust Play in Civil Resistance?

For popular nonviolent campaigns to work, they must effectively mobilize both activists and bystanders while maintaining nonviolent discipline. In a world of diminishing social trust, this becomes exceptionally difficult. I address this challenge in my forthcoming ICNC research monograph, examining how trust shapes two important elements of civil resistance: mobilization and nonviolent action across Africa. […]

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Movement Commentary

Against Settler Colonialism—and for a Just, Sovereign and Sustainable Puerto Rico

Abandoned billboard signs overlooking the Caribbean Ocean are spray-painted with #yankeegohome as you drive west on Highway 2 in Puerto Rico. The stories of displacement have become increasingly common since 2019. Entire communities, including elders, must find new homes as millionaires buy up property, taking advantage of a law passed under former Governor Ricky Rossello’s administration as Act 60—before he was ousted from office in the summer of 2019 by the most widespread protests in the history of Puerto Rico […]

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Movement Commentary

Civil Resistance against Climate Change: Insights from Australia

Extinction Rebellion and Fridays for Future burst onto the world stage in 2018 to demand urgent action on the climate crisis. These movements organized strikes, blockades and demonstrations, building on the work of activists before them. But how frequently do climate activists use civil resistance? How do they sustain their campaign and organizing despite various challenges and repressive responses by the opponents and their allies? And what has civil resistance against climate change been able to achieve?

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Interviews & People

“Vala, Ljeposava”: Organizing and Nonviolent Action against Mistreatment of Women in the Balkans

Last November, Montenegrin politician Dritan Abazovic publicly commented that female politicians and women in general should stay out of negotiations to form a new government so that they are not overburdened with complicated political matters. The statement provoked major backlash in Montenegro, and two female activists, known as Jeka and Joka, using the pseudonym Ljeposava, decided it was time for women to take things into their own hands. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Movement Magic? How Movements Mobilize Material Resources

While movements initially have few resources, and nearly no cash, many thrive and often succeed in achieving their goals. How do they mobilize resources to achieve their objectives? What sort of strategies do they use to generate material resources needed in their campaigns? To answer these questions, we studied three movements from northwest Mexico. In all three cases, we found that the key to mobilizing material resources was that movement leaders focused on communicating powerful messages and building public trust, which encouraged volunteers to join them. […]

 

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Scholarship & Research

From Civil War to Civil Resistance to… Peace? Transforming Conflict in Nepal

Between 1996 and 2006, Nepal experienced a civil war that resulted in the deaths of over 17,000 people. The beginning of the conflict caught by surprise political leaders and international observers alike. The country had just transitioned to a parliamentary system—brought about by the largely nonviolent Jana Andolan or “People’s Movement” of 1990—and many believed Nepal was on a stable and peaceful path toward democracy. Just as remarkable, however, was how the conflict ended […]

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