Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

News, Insights, Thoughts

Articles

What Future for Women’s Rights in Poland? (Video Interview)

On this day last year, Poland’s high court declared unconstitutional a law that authorized abortions in the case of fetus malformations. The move sparked protests in cities and small towns across Poland, many of them sprinkled with creative, sarcastic and humorous signs, slogans and posters. Some Polish diaspora groups in major cities worldwide actively joined the protests. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Nigeria: How Agents Provocateurs Triggered Government Repression during the #EndSARS Movement

On October 3, 2020, a young man was said to have been shot in front of a hotel in Ughelli, Delta State, Nigeria by a police officer working with the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a division of the Nigerian Police Force. The incident served as a watershed event for popularizing the Twitter campaign #EndSARS, which had begun in 2017. […]

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Scholarship & Research

Toward More Sustainable Movements: What Path for Building Relationships between Social Work and Civil Resistance?

In my previous blog post, I discussed how social work experience and perspectives are a valuable resource to support communities engaged in civil resistance. I reasoned that a profession that brings skills and resources to address psychosocial, material, and relational well-being—and which claims an ethical accountability toward social justice—should work in partnership with those who put their own well-being on the line to advance a more just society through nonviolent action. If nonviolent movements can draw support from social work, couldn’t that positively impact the sustainability and perhaps even the success of their work? […]

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Ideas & Trends

ความเสียหายต่อทรัพย์สิน ความรุนแรง ปฏิบัติการไร้ความรุนแรง และยุทธศาสตร์

ปัจจุบันเราอยู่ในช่วงเวลาของการเคลื่อนไหวที่มีพลังอย่างมาก และกำลังสร้างแรงกดดันต่อพวกเราทุกคน ไม่ว่าจะเป็นกลุ่มที่เรียกร้องความยุติธรรมและขอให้ตำรวจหยุดเข่นฆ่าคนผิวสีที่ไร้อาวุธต่อสู้ กลุ่มที่เดือดร้อนอย่างมหาศาลจากการแพร่ระบาดของโควิด 19  กลุ่มธุรกิจขนาดเล็กที่ถูกทำลายและปล้นสดมภ์ และกลุ่มที่เพียงหวาดกลัวแม้แต่จะออกไปไหนมาไหนในช่วงเวลานี้

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Interviews & People

“Intruders of Institutional Politics”: Why Do Activists Sometimes Run for Office? (Interview)

On October 17th, local elections will be organized in North Macedonia. For the first time in the history of the state’s independence—obtained exactly 30 years ago to the day—several cities, including the capital Skopje, have lists with independent candidates. This is of immense importance for Macedonian society, because the government has frequently attempted to sabotage elections with ad hoc changes to election rules. Earlier this week, I interviewed Dragana Velkovska, long-time activist and founder of the movement Zelen Human Grad (ZHG, translated as Green Humane City), who is running for member of the Skopje City Council. I wanted to find out why she decided to enter local politics this year, after over a decade of organizing with grassroots groups. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Unraveling and Reporting Nonviolent Struggles for Rights, Freedom and Justice

Beyond raising public awareness of long-lived racial injustices, the 2020 Black Lives Matter demonstrations had another salutary effect: They created an opportunity for journalists to dive deeper into social justice issues and grassroots movements. The story was simply too big to ignore and would not go away, requiring journalists to look for new angles and details to keep their reporting fresh and relevant. […]

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Movement Commentary

How a Commonplace Slogan Became a Dilemma Action in Afghanistan

President Biden’s decision to complete US troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan by August 31 has elicited strong reactions at home and internationally. While opponents of the decision claim that it emboldens the Taliban and gives them a sense of victory, supporters hail the decision as an end to the long US engagement in Afghanistan. Regardless of the merits of either view, the fact remains that violence escalated across Afghanistan just after this announcement. The Taliban have increased their attacks throughout Afghanistan, in a few cities, and particularly in rural areas.

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Ideas & Trends

Dilemma Actions to Amplify the Power of Nonviolent Campaigns

In the spring of 2013, Turkish police made a public announcement at a metro station in Ankara warning passengers to “act in accordance with moral rules” after having spotted a couple engaging in a public display of affection. The admonishment backfired, and the next day, dozens of couples staged a “kissing protest” at the metro station. The incident went viral on social media, and a flood of photos and videos of couples kissing further flustered city police. […]

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Scholarship & Research

Does Nonviolent Resistance Foster Peace?

In February 2006, as Nepal entered its tenth year of civil war, with several failed ceasefires, there was little prospect for peace with the Maoist rebels. Yet, two months later, after forming an alliance with Nepal’s Seven Party Opposition, the Maoists joined a national strike. This initiated a pro-democracy nonviolent movement that successfully removed King Gyanendra from power and led to a peace agreement, achieving in a few months what the armed rebellion had failed to achieve in ten years. The case of Nepal reminds us that ordinary people are not powerless actors in the context of civil war […]

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Scholarship & Research

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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