Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

Hardy Merriman

Hardy Merriman is a Senior Advisor to the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC). He led ICNC as President & CEO from January 2015 until June 2021.

Mr. Merriman has worked in the field of civil resistance for over 18 years, presenting at workshops for activists and organizers around the world; developing resources for practitioners and scholars; and speaking widely about civil resistance movements with academics, journalists, and members of international organizations. His writings have been translated into numerous languages. From 2016-2018 he was also an adjunct lecturer at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University).

He recently co-authored the book Glossary of Civil Resistance: A Resource for Study and Translation of Key Terms (2021). In 2019 he co-authored the groundbreaking ICNC Special Report Preventing Mass Atrocities: From a Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) to a Right to Assist (RtoA) Campaigns of Civil Resistance.

He has also contributed to the books Is Authoritarianism Staging a Comeback? (2015), Civilian Jihad: Nonviolent Struggle, Democratization, and Governance in the Middle East (2010), and Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential (2005) and co-authored two literature reviews on civil resistance. He has also written about the role of nonviolent action in countering terrorism and co-authored A Guide to Effective Nonviolent Struggle, a training curriculum for activists.

For a full bio, see here.

For media inquiries, contact:
icnc@nonviolent-conflict.org

Writings from Hardy Merriman

Articles

Ideas & Trends

Start Where You Are: Addressing Four Common Questions about Civil Resistance Training

Training activists is now widely considered a foundational movement activity. But what about implementation? If you don’t yet have a movement, or your movement lacks the capacity to hold workshops, where and how do you start to apply this insight?

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Ideas & Trends

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 & 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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Ideas & Trends

Lecciones de los levantamientos alrededor del mundo: El momento presente y el futuro posible

Durante 2019, una ola de levantamientos mayormente noviolentos ha generado una abundancia de artículos de prensa sobre este tema, los cuales abordan cuestiones como: ¿Por qué tanta gente está protestando ahora? ¿Es parte de una tendencia mayor? ¿Existen temas comunes que impulsan estos levantamientos? ¿Adónde conducirán estos levantamientos? […]

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Ideas & Trends

Lessons of Uprisings Around the World: The Present Moment, and Possible Future

A wave of largely nonviolent uprisings throughout 2019 has led to a wave of media articles on this topic: Why are so many people protesting now? Is this part of a larger trend? Are there common issues driving these uprisings? Where will these uprisings lead? The international landscape is complicated, and the differences between the many uprisings of 2019 are just as interesting as potential commonalities. […]

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Ideas & Trends

In a Time of Democratic Backsliding, How Should Civil Society Be Supported?

Imagine you’re in a country in which democracy is under attack. A few years ago a demagogue won an election, packed his administration with loyal supporters, and they’ve broken norms and expectations of governance ever since. They are using the power of government to enrich themselves, entrench their rule, and battle their opposition. What’s more, they seem to be getting away with it. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Small Grants, Big Commitment: Reflections on Support for Grassroots Activists and Organizers

An increasing number of human rights foundations focus on supporting “movements” and the “grassroots.”  Definitions of these terms may vary, as do approaches. Amidst this backdrop, I want to offer some reflections and lessons learned on this topic from ICNC’s work.  Consider this one of many reference points in the growing conversation. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Supporting Civil Resistance Movements: Considerations for Human Rights Funders and Organizations

What makes civil resistance movements effective?  If funders and human rights organizations can identify key factors that answer this question, then their efforts can be oriented towards trying to support the development and growth of those factors. […]

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Ideas & Trends

A Movement-centered Support Model: Considerations for Human Rights Funders and Organizations, Part II

In my previous blog post, I shared a definition of the term “movement” and discussed some distinguishing aspects of movements—such as how they are different from organizations, and the functions that they perform in a society.

This leads to the next question: how do movements make change? […]

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Ideas & Trends

A Movement-centered Support Model: Considerations for Human Rights Funders and Organizations, Part I

There’s a growing effort among human rights funders and organizations to focus on supporting grassroots movements around the world. This trend is rooted in recognition that movements often play an essential role in making social, political, and economic change; that traditional models of funding and support are coming under greater pressure by governments; and that alternative models of change and support are needed.

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Ideas & Trends

Democracy Insurance

Here’s a basic rule of public policy: If a society wants a capability, it has to pay for that capability. If we want a fire department, we have to direct our time, energy, people, and funds to build and support it.  If we want a Center for Disease Control, or a Federal Emergency Management Agency, we likewise have to […]

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Ideas & Trends

A Field Whose Time Has Come

When I got involved in the field of civil resistance in 2002, it was the beginning of an exponential growth curve. This fact was not immediately obvious. I worked as the assistant to Gene Sharp at the Albert Einstein Institution, a very small non-profit organization with an office in the basement of a building in Boston. We didn’t have […]

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