Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

News, Insights, Thoughts

Articles

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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Scholarship & Research

Repression, Resilience, and Mass Movements: A Page from Chilean History

In a matter of days Chile went from vibrant democracy to closed society after the military coup of 1973. At the time, my maternal grandfather, Carlos Matus, was Minister of the Economy and President of the Central Bank of Chile, serving under Salvador Allende. The armed forces arrested my […]

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Scholarship & Research

To Understand Political Power, Look No Further than Civil Resistance

Those who support the use of violence often claim the weak “need” it to offset the power of the strong, that they have no choice given their circumstances, or that it is a “natural’ response to their experiences living in situations of violence and oppression. One of the fundamental premises of civil resistance, however, is […]

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Scholarship & Research

Resisting War: Insights from a New Frontier in Civil Resistance Studies

Civil resistance isn’t always about masses of people in the streets calling for the downfall of authoritarian regimes. At this moment, in many countries around the world, unarmed civilians living in warzones are resisting armed groups in surprising and subtle ways. As we have gotten deeper into this new research frontier, we’ve made […]

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Movement Commentary

Russia: Inside the Nonviolent Struggle to Save Khimki Forest

When I helped found a grassroots movement called “Save Khimki Forest” in 2006, it was a bleak time for activists in Russia. People were unsure of how to build a movement on an issue like protection of the environment. All we knew was that we had to do something when the Russian government announced plans to […]

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Scholarship & Research

Did the Arab Spring Revolutions Bring More Violence to the Middle East?

Immediately after the Arab Spring, political scientists and experts embarked on soul searching to find the answers to two simple questions: why they failed to predict these uprisings; and why some revolutions succeeded through nonviolent means despite the presence of brutal regimes. Scholars recognized that their past focus on the durability of  […]

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Interviews & People

How Do Nonviolent Movements Shape History? An Interview with Jacques Semelin

I recently had the good fortune of interviewing Jacques Semelin, an historian and political scientist who has notably studied civil resistance during Nazi and communist Europe. Speaking with him brings past and present together. It is as close as I can get to experiencing—over an hour-long conversation in Paris last August—how past nonviolent movements […]

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Ideas & Trends

“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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