Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

News, Insights, Thoughts

Articles

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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Ideas & Trends

Delivering the Story: Why Movement Reporting Matters

It would have taken extra effort for anyone in the U.S. on January 21 to avoid news of the massive women’s marches and demonstrations ballooning across the country that day. Media were all over the event – broadcast, cable, radio and social – encamped for day-long coverage of the throngs weaving through […]

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Ideas & Trends

Why Violence Undermines Protest

After Donald Trump entered the White House on January 20, calls by progressive activists for organized resistance to his administration’s policies were followed by protests in Washington, other cities, and on university campuses. Although many groups involved in the “Resistance” are nonviolent, their effectiveness can be jeopardized by those who use […]

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Ideas & Trends

Let’s Get Real! Facing Up to the Agent Provocateur Problem

In my June 20 post, “Let’s Get Strategic,” I critique the argument for mixing violent and nonviolent tactics in our movements, or what is often euphemistically called a “diversity of tactics.” In this post, I want to add that as an activist, I also have never seen anyone promoting violent tactics get real enough to mention, let alone […]

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Interviews & People

Madagascar: No Defection Too Small, No Act of Resistance Too Isolated

There are often misconceptions about the country of Madagascar, thanks in no small part to the animated children’s movie. While my country is not home to talking lions and zebras, it is home to some 25 million people who just a few weeks ago celebrated the 57th anniversary of their country’s independence from […]

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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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Ideas & Trends

Does Protesting Do Any Good?

Years ago, when U.S. President Ronald Reagan was fixated on Nicaragua, a U.S. general was quoted in a Talk of the Town column in The New Yorker as saying that conditions were so ripe that a U.S. invasion of Nicaragua would be “as easy as rolling off a log.” We protested. Peace people traveled to Nicaragua to volunteer in […]

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Interviews & People

Our Civil Resistance Journeys

What sparked your interest in civil resistance? What does it mean for you in your life, and for the lives of others? And why does it matter for understanding the state of the world today? It would be impossible to answer these questions in one, or even a few blog posts. But as Minds of the Movement Co-Editor, my goal for this blog is to […]

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Ideas & Trends

A Field Whose Time Has Come

When I got involved in the field of civil resistance in 2002, it was the beginning of an exponential growth curve. This fact was not immediately obvious. I worked as the assistant to Gene Sharp at the Albert Einstein Institution, a very small non-profit organization with an office in the basement of a building in Boston. We didn’t have […]

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Ideas & Trends

Memory and Movements in Building Singapore’s Civil Society

It took them decades to work up the confidence to publicly share their stories from that awful day, 30 years ago, when Singapore’s secret police showed up at their doors, rummaged through their homes, arrested them, deprived them of sleep and interrogated them in ice-cold rooms. Some took slaps across the face so hard that they saw stars […]

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