Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

Maciej Bartkowski

Dr. Maciej Bartkowski is Senior Director for Education and Research at ICNC. He works on academic programs for students, faculty, and educators to support teaching, research and study on civil resistance. He is a series editor of ICNC Monographs and ICNC Special Reports. He holds an adjunct faculty position at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, and the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences of Johns Hopkins University where he teaches strategic nonviolent resistance. Dr. Bartkowski was book editor of Recovering Nonviolent History: Civil Resistance in Liberation Struggles and Nation-Making published by Lynne Rienner in 2013.

Writings from Maciej Bartkowski

Articles

Ideas & Trends

How Online Courses on Civil Resistance Can Make Real Impact

With the growth of online courses on civil resistance comes the challenge of measuring and assessing their impact. To this end, ICNC developed and conducts different surveys to evaluate its online courses that may serve as a useful template to others. This blog post shares the instruments we use to measure the impact of online education and the real changes we can discern from this work.

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Ideas & Trends

Defending the Truth: An Activist’s Guide to Fighting Foreign Disinformation Warfare

Without a strategic approach to countering disinformation warfare from abroad, activists are in danger of becoming “useful innocents”—unwitting assistants for external interests bent on sowing discord and undermining democratic practices and trust in democracy. As such, activists must be better prepared for the authoritarian onslaught, and An Activist’s Guide to Fighting Foreign Disinformation Warfare aims to serve just this purpose. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Celebrating US Nonviolent History on the Fourth of July

The United States did not begin through the muzzle of a musket against British King George III. Our country was born through persistent nonviolent resistance of tens—if not hundreds—of thousands of residents of the American colonies. […]

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Scholarship & Research

Alternative Institution-Building as Civil Resistance

From American colonists nonviolently resisting British rule (1765-1775), to the Indian Independence Movement (1920s-1940s), to the Solidarity movement in Poland (1980-89), it is well known that movements engaged in extensive alternative institution-building. Forty-five years after pioneering scholar Gene Sharp’s 198 methods of nonviolent action […]

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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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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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Scholarship & Research

Why Do Some Movements Fail to Bring Positive Outcomes, and How Can This Be Changed?

My previous post looked at how nonviolent movements often play a role in political transitions and democratization. However, in some cases, nonviolent movements succeed in ending an incumbent authoritarian’s rule, but are unable to consolidate gains and instead the situation deteriorates. Such impacts can be observed in three types of […]

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Scholarship & Research

Do Civil Resistance Movements Advance Democratization?

Two recent books, Social Movements and Civil War and Civil Resistance in the Arab Spring: Triumphs and Disasters, examine the aftermath of the Arab Spring, and come to the conclusion that civil resistance movements can lead to rising violence, authoritarianism and failed democratization. As Adam Roberts, one of the editors of Civil Resistance in the Arab Spring, observes […]

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Movement Commentary

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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