Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

News, Insights, Thoughts

Articles

An Activist-Scholar’s Insights on Researching Civil Resistance and Environmental Justice

Given the scale, intensity, and compounding effects of climate change, it has never been more important to defend the environment. To make matters more urgent, resource conflicts are becoming increasingly deadly in the past couple of decades. This is why people refer to environmental activism nowadays as a “suicide mission,” especially in countries that emerge from colonialism with commodity-dependent economies and weak political institutions. […]

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Interviews & People

The Case for Nonviolent Struggle in Togo, According to Togolese Activists

The Gnassingbé regime, a family dynasty that has been in power since the late 1960s, is doing everything it can to steer the struggle toward violence—which is precisely why it’s so important for activists on the ground to remain nonviolent. To resist violence itself. This is apparently no easy task. […]

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Interviews & People

A Personal Homage to Gene Sharp

While central Uganda was boycotting regime-friendly companies, staging industrial strikes and marching in the streets, I was trying to figure out how to help my neighbors resist a massive land grab by foreign companies. Unaware of one another at the time, we were simultaneously applying different forms of nonviolent resistance that Gene Sharp had taught us in his works. […]

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Scholarship & Research

Transitional Justice: What Role for the Grassroots?

People often look to elites to understand whether and how transitional justice will be realized in a society. But a top-down perspective focused on the roles of prominent individuals, institutions, and international power-brokers overlooks a critical driver of transitional justice: the activism of the affected population. A notable example of this is Brazil’s esculachos […]

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Interviews & People

The Rev. Dr. James Lawson on “Human Endeavors for Hope and Change”

Over the years, the Rev. Dr. James Lawson has amassed a treasury of nonviolent civil resistance methodologies, which, ever the teacher, he is eager to share, provided the listener appreciates the value of know-how. After all, he says, it takes more than a riled up spirit to build and sustain a movement; it takes study and planning too. […]

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Interviews & People

Building Self-reliance and Alternative Institutions: An Interview with Ramesh Sharma of Ekta Parishad

From humble beginnings three decades ago, Ekta Parishad (“unity forum” in Hindi), a pluralistic movement for defending rights of marginalized communities in India, has grown to become today one of the world’s most massive—and exemplary—nonviolent movements. Last fall, I met Ramesh Sharma, National Coordinator of Ekta Parishad, and came to realize the richness, depth, and intelligence of this movement. […]

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Movement Commentary

Part Two: A Civil Resistance Trainer’s Story, and Takeaways for Educators

In my previous blog post, I shared with you my personal journey to becoming a civil resistance trainer and outlined a few takeaways about effective training approaches. In this post, I expand on those takeaways, which I hope civil resistance trainers in other parts of the world can use to improve their work. […]

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Interviews & People

A Civil Resistance Trainer’s Story, and Takeaways for Educators (Part 1)

Over the past few years, I have been working as a civil resistance trainer and educator in various parts of Pakistan including Azad and Jammu Kashmir. At times, my work to spread knowledge about civil resistance for human rights, peace, and democracy has brought me to cross red lines drawn by patriarchal principles in Pakistani society (and so many other places in the world). […]

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Interviews & People

Overcoming Mental Health Challenges as Movement Leaders and Activists

If we believe that peace, human rights and environmental justice have both cultural and economic value, then it behooves movement workers to address the mental health needs of activists committed to creating those ‘products.’ But that’s a long-term solution, and we are hurting now. How do we address pain now? […]

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Scholarship & Research

How Nonviolent Resistance Helps to Consolidate Gains for Civil Society after Democratization

In recent contributions to this blog, Maciej Bartkowski and Hardy Merriman discussed how nonviolent resistance advances democratization and how it can assist to protect against democratic backsliding. This blog post, which offers a sneak preview of findings from a research project, focuses on if and how nonviolent campaigns can consolidate gains for civil society […]

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