Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

News, Insights, Thoughts

Articles

We Know We Need Civil Resistance Training. Now Where Do We Start?

“In the face of rising authoritarianism, people worldwide are increasingly turning to civil resistance to fight for their rights. This is an empowering choice, but it can also feel overwhelming for those involved. When people who seek to build or maintain a movement, the first big question is often: Where and how should we start? […]”

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Ideas and Trends

Daños a la propiedad privada, violencia, acción noviolenta y estrategia

Estamos en una nueva fase de activismo con grandes fuerzas ejerciendo presión sobre todos nosotros. Aquellos que buscamos justicia y el fin de la violencia policial que mata personas negras desarmadas, aquellos gravemente golpeados por la pandemia de COVID-19, aquellos cuyos pequeños negocios han sido destruidos y saqueados y aquellos simplemente demasiado asustados para hacer cualquier movimiento en este momento. […]

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Scholarship & Research

Nonviolent Movements and the Recognition of Governments: What Implications for International Law?

On June 6, 2019, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union suspended the Sudanese government from the activities of the African Union. The suspension was a reaction to the unconstitutional change of government in Sudan. However, the coup d’état against long-time dictator Omar Al-Bashir had already occurred two months earlier on April 11, 2019, when members of the Sudanese Armed Forces removed Al-Bashir from office against the backdrop of a country-wide nonviolent movement. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Interpreting a Garden of Wildflowers: The Glossary of Civil Resistance

English language terminology in the field of civil resistance is like a garden of wildflowers, shaped by sometimes competing forces. On the one hand, the garden reflects locally rooted ideas and cultures: vibrant, natural, and defying simple efforts to constrain it. It’s an outgrowth of various micro-climates. Over time, some flowers (key terms) get more sunlight than others. New flowers also emerge, brought in on the wind from elsewhere. The garden evolves, as does the soil from which it grows. […]

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Top 10 Civil Resistance Stories of 2020 - Looking Forward

#1: Organizing in the New Global Context: Lessons from 2020 Movements

The COVID-19 crisis fundamentally altered the conditions in which activists organized in 2020, yet we still observed widespread political mobilization in 2020 as a result of nonviolent movements. Perhaps then there is some silver lining in this crisis—we are reminded that repression and other unfavorable conditions (read: physical constraints) do not doom movements to failure. Activists and movements develop skills that enable them to overcome challenging social and economic conditions. […]

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Ideas & Trends

#2: “Bending the Arc of the Universe:” The Salience of Democratic Forces against Autocratization in 2020-21

In the past two decades, autocracies have been on the rise and aspiring autocrats in democracies have been gaining in numbers and strength. The 2020 democracy report by the V-Dem (Varieties of Democracy) Institute noted that by 2020, autocracies have formed a clear majority for the first time since the beginning of 2000, constituting 92 countries with 54% of the global population or 4.2 billion people. Furthermore, 35% of the world’s population, an additional 2.7 billion people, live today in countries that are experiencing a significant decline in their democracy index and that are often headed by elected anti-democratic demagogues. This is colloquially known as the third wave of authoritarianism, or “autocratization” […]

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Top 10 Civil Resistance Stories of 2020 - Looking Forward

#3: The U.S. Struggle for Black Lives: A “Dream Deferred”?

With the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, 2020 has seen a swell in support, prioritization, and even vitriol regarding the movement to cement in the public consciousness that Black Lives Matter. Although it has undergone numerous iterations since the first enslaved Africans were brought to the United States in the early 1600s, the modern movement for Black lives as it exists in 2020 has its roots in the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin in Florida.[…]

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Top 10 Civil Resistance Stories of 2020 - Looking Forward

#4: Resisting Police Brutality in Africa: Highlights from 2020

While Black Lives Matter took center stage in the global media, similar struggles against police brutality were fomenting in the Sub-Sahara as well. 2020 was truly a year of protecting black bodies. In many African countries, authoritarian leaders enjoyed the Covid-19 pandemic and the excuses it offered for violent repression. In Uganda, for example, not a single Covid-19 death was registered until July 23. By that date, a half dozen Ugandans had been killed by police using pandemic conditions as an excuse for brutality, and countless citizens had been unjustly arrested, victimized by extortion, tortured, and otherwise abused. […]

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Top 10 Civil Resistance Stories of 2020 - Looking Forward

#5: Marginalized Communities Are the Frontline Leaders of 2020’s Environmental Movements

In 2020, youth climate activists collaborated on nonviolent actions in more than 40 countries, staged climate strikes on every continent, and developed mutual aid networks to cope with the Covid-19 crisis. However, perhaps their most outstanding accomplishment has been mainstreaming the links between the global pandemic, structural oppression, and the post-colonial social order that is making the planet uninhabitable. […]

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Top 10 Civil Resistance Stories of 2020 - Looking Forward

#6: Beautiful Trouble Meets Ugly Dictator: Belarus’ History-Making Struggle for Democracy

By remaining nonviolent in defiance of a progressively brutal, 26-year-running dictatorship, Belarusians are embracing life over death but also doing so with a shrewd strategy in mind. The official results of the presidential election in Belarus last August indicated that more than 80 percent of votes were for the incumbent president Alexander Lukashenko, landing him his sixth consecutive term. But the majority of the population didn’t trust these numbers, believing that only very few people voted for Lukashenko. […]

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