Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

Maciej Bartkowski

Dr. Maciej Bartkowski is a Senior Advisor to 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 Krieger School of Arts and Sciences of Johns Hopkins University where he teaches strategic nonviolent resistance. Dr. Bartkowski is 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

Przekształcanie sprzeciwu nielicznych w opór wielu

Podczas wielu moich spotkań z ludźmi z całego świata, wielokrotnie zadawano mi pytanie, jak można doprowadzić do masowej mobilizacji obywateli w społeczeństwie, które jest zdemobilizowane? Innymi słowy, w jaki sposób przekształcić sprzeciw niewielkiej grupy w opór wielu? Pytanie to często wynika z frustracji aktywistów wywołanej istniejącą ich zdaniem apatią ogółu, […]

Read More
Movement Commentary

Pour les membres des forces de sécurité : un guide de soutien aux mouvements pro-démocratie

Quand des citoyens s’engagent dans la résistance civile pour défendre la démocratie et lutter contre un régime autoritaire, comment les forces de l’ordre, les membres de la sécurité intérieure, les services de renseignement et l’armée du pays peuvent les aider ? En Biélorussie, certains membres des forces de sécurité viennent de jeter publiquement leurs cartes d’identité militaires et leurs uniformes à la poubelle pour protester contre le dictateur au pouvoir depuis plusieurs décennies. […]

Read More
Movement Commentary

For Members of Security Forces: A Guide to Supporting Pro-Democracy Movements

Let’s say that you serve in the police, interior security, intelligence services, or the military. A ruler at the helm orders you to repress a pro-democracy movement and its unarmed people who are going out to protest against him. You do not agree with what the ruler and his political sycophants expect from you. Deep down, you know you would be no longer serving the country and its people if you were to follow those orders. You are looking for ideas on how to delay, derail, or go against the ruler’s orders to suppress the nonviolent movement. You are not alone. […]

Read More
Movement Commentary

The People vs. Lukashenko: Women-Led Resistance on the Eve of Belarus Election

Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko is facing the biggest challenge to his 26-year authoritarian rule over 9.5 million Belarusian citizens. He is learning firsthand about the “power of the powerless” (a phrase used by famous Czechoslovak dissident and former Czech president Václav Havel to describe nonviolent resistance against Soviet rule) as he and others witness a major awakening of a heretofore withdrawn and passive population. […]

Read More
Scholarship & Research

¿Por qué algunos movimientos fracasan en conseguir resultados positivos y cómo se puede cambiar?

Mi post anterior arrojó una mirada sobre cómo los movimientos noviolentos frecuentemente juegan un rol en las transiciones políticas y la democratización. Sin embargo, en algunos casos, los movimientos noviolentos logran terminar con un gobierno autoritario en funciones, pero son incapaces de consolidar sus conquistas y por el contrario, la situación se deteriora. Ese tipo de impacto puede ser observado en tres tipos de movimientos […]

Read More
Ideas & Trends

¿Los movimientos de resistencia civil impulsan la democratización?

Dos libros recientes, Movimientos sociales y Guerra civil, y Resistencia civil en la Primavera Árabe: Triunfos y desastres, estudian las secuelas de la Primavera Árabe, y arriban a la conclusión de que los movimientos de resistencia civil pueden conducir a un incremento de la violencia, el autoritarismo y democracias fallidas. […]

Read More
Scholarship & Research

The “Strategy Web”: The Little-Known Tool for Visualizing Civil Resistance-Led Conflict

The strategy web of vulnerabilities and resiliencies is a tool that, to my knowledge, has not been used in the civil resistance field despite its direct relevance to practitioners’ work, as well as the insight it can provide to movement and campaign analysts. […]

Read More
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.

Read More
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. […]

Read More
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. […]

Read More
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 […]

Read More
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 […]

Read More
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  […]

Read More
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 […]

Read More
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 […]

Read More
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 […]

Read More

Sign up for our twice-monthly blog newsletter