Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

News, Insights, Thoughts

Articles

Turning the Dissent of a Few into the Resistance of Many

In my interactions with people from around the world, I’ve been asked a recurring question: how do we build mass mobilization in a society that is demobilized? In other words, how do we transform the dissent of the few into resistance of the many? The question is often born out of activists’ frustration with a perceived […]

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Ideas & Trends

Marketing Violence: A Closer Look at the “Diversity of Tactics” Slogan

After my July 18 article on agents provocateurs was posted, I heard from a young activist who wrote, “Loved your article. It has surprised me how many people in my social media bubble support black bloc/antifa stuff.” She is not alone. The blackbloc/antifa folks have found a positive and strategic sounding way to market their negative […]

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Interviews & People

Civil Resistance in Iran: History, Challenges, Prospects for Change (Video Interview)

When I sat down with Mohsen Sazegara, exiled dissident, journalist and writer from Iran, to talk about civil resistance in his origin country, I got an unexpected lesson in physics. A former student of mechanical engineering, Sazegara found a way to apply the conservation of energy principle to the longstanding democracy […]

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Movement Commentary

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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