Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

News, Insights, Thoughts

Articles

“Living in the Truth”: Revisiting the U.S. Anti-War Movement of the 1970s

With recent protests in the United States capturing headlines, it is sometimes easy to lose sight of largescale mobilizations from decades past. Several notable episodes took place during the 1970s, when myriad groups nationwide—and especially in Washington, D.C.—protested U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Now is a better moment than any to […]

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Scholarship & Research

Why Do Some Movements Fail to Bring Positive Outcomes, and How Can This Be Changed?

My previous post looked at how nonviolent movements often play a role in political transitions and democratization. However, in some cases, nonviolent movements succeed in ending an incumbent authoritarian’s rule, but are unable to consolidate gains and instead the situation deteriorates. Such impacts can be observed in three types of […]

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Scholarship & Research

Do Civil Resistance Movements Advance Democratization?

Two recent books, Social Movements and Civil War and Civil Resistance in the Arab Spring: Triumphs and Disasters, examine the aftermath of the Arab Spring, and come to the conclusion that civil resistance movements can lead to rising violence, authoritarianism and failed democratization. As Adam Roberts, one of the editors of Civil Resistance in the Arab Spring, observes […]

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Ideas & Trends

Strategic Nonviolence is not Civil Resistance

When developing a new field of study in the social sciences, the selection of terms for key concepts can be crucial. Certain words may evoke multiple meanings because they are filtered through a reader’s cultural experiences and personal imagination. Failure to account for this possibility can diminish the clarity of research and even […]

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Interviews & People

“The Right Side of History”: Interview with the President of Mauritania’s Anti-Slavery Movement

The Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA) is on the frontlines of the nonviolent struggle against slavery and discrimination of oppressed groups in Mauritania — a country where an estimated 43,000  to 140,000 or more people remain […]

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Ideas & Trends

Democracy Insurance

Here’s a basic rule of public policy: If a society wants a capability, it has to pay for that capability. If we want a fire department, we have to direct our time, energy, people, and funds to build and support it.  If we want a Center for Disease Control, or a Federal Emergency Management Agency, we likewise have 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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Ideas & Trends

Mindful Activism: The Power of Mindfulness in the Streets

Decades after Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh explicitly joined activism with mindfulness-based practices in a global spotlight, activists in pockets around the world have begun to incorporate techniques of mindful attention to the present moment into their movement activities. However, public and scientific interest in mindfulness has focused […]

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Ideas & Trends

Another Inconvenient Truth: Normal Channels Are Not Enough

A few weeks back, I sat in a movie theater watching Al Gore’s new movie about his efforts to avert climate chaos through citizen education, lobbying, and high level negotiations. The film is funny, heartbreaking, insightful, scary, and, even hopeful at times. Yet, I’m not sure that Gore fully understands what is involved […]

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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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