ICNC Press and Publications
ICNC started its own press to support extensive circulation of free or low-cost resources about civil resistance—both original/in-house and externally-sourced texts—for a diverse international readership. Since 2015, we have published a number of works including:
- The ICNC Monograph Series, which consists of commissioned research that is written to reach practitioner communities
- The ICNC Special Report Series, which draws on cutting-edge research to cover topics pertinent to ongoing policy discussions and practitioner debates
- Cutting edge resources for practitioners around the world
- Important books and translations that might otherwise fall out of print
All ICNC Press publications can be downloaded for free and their print copies are made available for purchase at the lowest possible price via Amazon.
If you are interested in publishing opportunities with ICNC, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ICNC Monograph Series aims to bridge the gap between research and practice. Drawing on scholarly literature and high quality analytical and empirical analyses equal to that of a serious academic publication, monographs aim to enrich public discourse by expanding scientific knowledge in the field of civil resistance and providing general and specific recommendations for practitioners such as activists, organizers, journalists, and members of INGOs and the policy community. For more information about this series, and/or if you would like to write a monograph, click here. The Editor of the ICNC Monograph Series is ICNC’s Senior Director for Education and Research, Dr. Maciej Bartkowski.
Why do some nonviolent revolutions lead to successful democratization while others fail to consolidate democratic change? And what can activists do to push toward a victory over dictatorship that results in long-term political freedom?
Several studies show that nonviolent revolutions are generally a more positive force for democratization than violent revolutions and top-down political transitions. However, some nonviolent revolutions, such as the Arab Spring revolution in Egypt, do not seem to fit this pattern. This study takes on this puzzle and reveals that the answer lies in large part in the actions of civil society prior to and during transition. Democracy is most likely when activists can keep their social bases mobilized for positive political change while directing that mobilization toward building new political institutions.
Nations are not helpless if the military decides to stage a coup. On dozens of occasions in recent decades, even in the face of intimidated political leaders and international indifference, civil society has risen up to challenge putschists through large-scale nonviolent direct action and noncooperation. How can an unarmed citizenry mobilize so quickly and defeat a powerful military committed to seizing control of the government? What accounts for the success or failure of nonviolent resistance movements to reverse coups and consolidate democratic gains?
This monograph presents in-depth case studies and analysis intended to improve our understanding of the strategic utility of civil resistance against military takeovers; the nature of civil resistance mobilization against coups; and the role of civil resistance against coups in countries’ subsequent democratization efforts (or failure thereof). It offers key lessons for pro-democracy activists and societies vulnerable to military usurpation of power; national civilian and military bureaucracies; external state and non-state agencies supportive of democracy; and future scholarship on this subject.
International human rights law did not come into existence top-down, out of the benevolent intentions of states, even though states eventually began to recognize that large-scale human rights abuses could pose a threat to the international order. Rather, it came into existence from the bottom-up efforts of ordinary people in civil society to ally with each other in solidarity and demand their rights, often through organized nonviolent campaigns and movements that pressured elites and powerholders to recognize or grant individual rights (freedom for slaves, women’s rights, labor rights, and children’s rights, to name a few). Unlike international law generally, the real source of international human rights law has been the coordinated, organized and nonviolently forceful efforts of individuals—in other words, what one can refer to as people power.
How can we understand when nonviolent movements will stay nonviolent? When are they likely to break down into violence? In this monograph, Jonathan Pinckney analyzes both what promotes and undermines nonviolent discipline in civil resistance movements. Combining quantitative research on thousands of nonviolent and violent actions with a detailed comparison of three relevant case studies of civil resistance during the “Color Revolutions”, Pinckney’s analysis provides important lessons for activists and organizers on the front lines, as well as for practitioners whose work may impact the outcomes of nonviolent struggles. We learn how repression consistently induces violence, as do government concessions. On the flip side, we see that structuring a campaign in an inclusive and non-hierarchical way is conducive to greater nonviolent discipline.
Confronted with civil war, local civilians typically either collaborate with the strongest actor in town or flee the area. Yet civilians are not stuck only with these choices. Collectively defying armed groups by engaging in organized nonviolent forms of noncooperation, self-organization and disruption is another option. This monograph explores this option through sustained and organized civil resistance led by ordinary peasants against state and non-state repressive actors in Colombia’s longstanding civil war: the case of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó.
Contrary to a perception—fueled by Chinese propaganda during the 2008 Tibetan uprising that the Tibetan struggle is heading toward extremism—this study shows that the movement for Tibetan freedom has since the 1950s moved toward a tighter embrace of nonviolent resistance. The study traces this evolution, analyzing the central themes, purposes, challenges, strategies, tactics and impacts of three major Tibetan uprisings over the past six decades. Tibetans are now waging a quiet, slow-building nonviolent movement, centered on strengthening the Tibetan national and cultural fabric via what the author refers to as “transformative resistance.” This is happening in an immensely repressive political environment, which shows that there is a way to mobilize people power against even one of the most ruthless regimes in the world.
Revisiting the Methods of Nonviolent Action (tentative title)
By: Michael Beer
Revisiting the Methods of Nonviolent Action adds new methods of nonviolent action to the list of 198 methods categorized by Gene Sharp in 1973 in his book, The Methods of Nonviolent Action. This monograph inspires readers that nonviolent action encompasses a big category of human activity and that new and old tactics are employed daily. It also analyzes strengths and weaknesses of Dr. Sharp’s typologies and updates his work by documenting additional methods of nonviolent action and new scholarship from the fields of civil resistance, human rights defense, and social change. The monograph surveys the work of scholars and activists who have contributed alternative nonviolent typologies. Methods documented by other scholars are gathered, organized and added to Dr. Sharp’s list of methods. The monograph also documents undiscovered methods and proposes helpful new categories of nonviolent action. The monograph concludes with a summary of lessons learned and how they are relevant for practitioners, educators, and scholars of civil resistance. Recommendations are made for further application and research.
Prison Hunger Strikes as Civil Resistance: A Global Perspective on Political Resistance in Prisons (Tentative Title)
By: Malaka Mohammed Shwaikh & Rebecca Ruth Gould
This monograph examines six different global contexts wherein prison hunger strikes have been used as a tool of civil resistance, with a specific focus on hunger strikes among Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails from 1948 to the present. Drawing on first-hand interviews, archival research, and primary and secondary research in many languages, the authors examine how hunger strikes have generated solidarity among prison populations from Palestine, South Africa, and Northern Ireland to Iran, Turkey, and the United States. They offer an innovative typology for the effectiveness of hunger strikes and other forms of civil resistance across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and North America that foregrounds the differences and similarities between prison strikes in regimes of occupation and apartheid and within liberal democracies. Addressed to both academics and practitioners, this is the first monograph to offer a comparative account of prison hunger strikes on a global scale, and to incorporate findings from international law, legal anthropology, political theory, and sociology into a broad theory of the capacity of nonviolent civil resistance to bring about measurable political change.
Agents Provocateurs, Violent Flanks, and Nonviolent Movements: A Historical and Strategic Perspective
By: Tom Hastings & Adam Vogal
When governments and opponents infiltrate civil society resistance campaigns, organizations, or movements, what do they do and what are the effects of such covert operations? These questions are not well understood and not studied systematically in relation to known and rumored cases of state infiltration in civil society resistance movements with the goals ranging from gathering intelligence to discrediting a movement to inducing shifts in their nonviolent tactics in favor of violence. This study attempts to provide a framework for understanding the strategic implications for activists of the use of agents provocateurs and other forms of covert action.
Protector Institutions in Civil Resistance Struggles in Latin America (tentative title)
By: Consuelo Amat
How can civil resistance campaigns emerge in highly repressive environments? This monograph shows that nonviolent action is possible against actors that are capable and willing to use force conditional on the presence of protector institutions. Protector institutions play an indirect role in mobilization by decreasing the cost of high-risk activism and increasing the cost of repression. The monograph examines different types of protector institutions that, with varying degrees of success, have assisted civil resistance campaigns in six countries in Latin America, including Chile, Peru, Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia and Venezuela.
Material Resources Mobilization and Palestinian Nonviolent Popular Resistance Campaigns in Area C (tentative title)
By: Mahmoud Soliman
This research focuses on 10 specific nonviolent Palestinian campaigns in Area C where Palestinians are living under full Israeli control that restricts the use of material and represses Palestinian communities. These communities suffer from the lack of skills, democracy, and unity among national liberation movements. Despite these challenges, grassroots activists have been able to generate, manage, and use material resources. This research explores the ways material resources are funded from a wide range of actors, the ways in which grassroots activists have been able to manage and use material resources in these campaigns, and analyzes the impacts of internal and external material resources on advancing nonviolent campaigns.
Social Movements and Material Resources in Northwest Mexico (tentative title)
By: Chris Allan and Scott DuPree
Mexico has a long history of social movements grappling with fundamental issues of social justice. This study looks at the issue of what material resources are the most useful to social movement organizations, in particular understanding the difference between external and internal support strategies. We believe material resources cannot been seen as separate from the social narratives associated with these resources. Our research hypothesis is, thus, that movements are able to build and mobilize material resources most effectively when they come from within their movements. Research results, we expect, will offer a practical way to map material resources that can guide understanding of how movements can expand their resource base.
The Impact of Nonviolent Resistance on Civil War Resolution (tentative title)
By: Luke Abbs
In recent years, a burgeoning literature has explored the strategic advantages of using nonviolent resistance to achieve positive political outcomes, such as regime change and democratization. Yet, despite one-fifth of large-scale nonviolent campaigns occurring during the course of a civil war, we know little about the affect nonviolent resistance might have on the transformation of armed conflict. Bringing together the previously isolated literatures on nonviolent resistance and peacebuilding, this manuscript explores how nonviolent resistance can aid peacebuilding efforts that transform ongoing armed conflict, using data on all civil wars episodes since 1945. The finding show nonviolent resistance does have a positive impact on the resolution of armed conflict, with evidence deriving from a Large-N statistical analysis, out-of-sample prediction and structured-focused case studies.
Preventing Mass Atrocities: From a Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) to a Right to Assist (RtoA) Campaigns of Civil Resistance
Events of the last decade demand new approaches to atrocity prevention that are adaptable, innovative and independent of a state-centered doctrine. With the aim of reducing risk factors such as civil war, we argue for a new normative framework called The Right to Assist (RtoA), which could strengthen international coordination and support for nonviolent civil resistance campaigns demanding rights, freedom and justice against non-democratic rule.
RtoA would: 1) engage a wide range of stakeholders such as NGOs, states, multilateral institutions and others; 2) bolster various factors of resilience against state fragility; and 3) incentivize opposition groups to sustain commitment to nonviolent strategies of change. The adoption of this doctrine can reduce the probability of violent conflict that significantly heightens atrocity risk, while increasing the prospects for constructive human development.
What drives governments to crack down on and kill their own civilians? And how—and to what extent—has nonviolent resistance historically mitigated the likelihood of mass killings? This special report explores the factors associated with mass killings: when governments intentionally kill 1,000 or more civilian noncombatants. We find that these events are surprisingly common, occurring in just under half of all maximalist popular uprisings against states, yet they are strongly associated with certain types of resistance. Nonviolent uprisings that do not receive foreign material aid and that manage to gain military defections tend to be the safest. These findings shed light on how both dissidents and their foreign allies can work together to reduce the likelihood of violent confrontations.
This report explores the complementary ideas and practices that civil resistance and peacebuilding approaches present, each from different points along the conflict transformation spectrum. Both strategies oppose violence in all its forms, and seek to pursue just peace by peaceful means. However, they take different approaches to conflict transformation, in particular how they analyze primary causes of violence and how they respond to conflict. Drawing on a number of case studies, this report aims to help practitioners and scholars understand how integrating these strategies can help establish a path for “powering to peace.”
Forthcoming Special Reports & Case Studies
By: Jonathan Pinckney
How do nonviolent resistance movements oust dictators? What effects do these different ways of ousting dictators have on countries’ long-term political trajectories? In this special report, I trace the pathways through which civil resistance movements of the last seventy years have removed dictatorships and the impact of these different pathways on levels of democratic progress. I find that pathways that involve campaign initiative, institutional mechanisms, and building cooperative norms – particularly negotiated transitions – tend to lead to the highest levels of democratic progress.
By: Qamar Jafri
The Pashtun Protection Movement Pakistan (PTMP) is a youth-led nonviolent resistance campaign for human rights for the Pashtun people in northwestern Pakistan. This movement’s is reminiscent of Pashtun historical icon Bacha Khan’s organizing nonviolent action for justice in Pakistan’s past. How are these young Pashtuns differentiating themselves from violent religious extremists (e.g. Taliban Movement) and resisting government repression and mistreatment through nonviolent resistance activities? How do they develop and use nonviolent strategies and tactics in their protests and actions? How do they engage supporters and opponents of the movement? How do they manage funding and media coverage of their activities? The study seeks to answer these and other questions questions via relevant field research and data collection and is funded by the ICNC as part of its 2018 rapid field data collection grant.
By: Ben Naimark-Rowse
Why and how have some institutional donors in the United States supported nonviolent social movement building in non-democracies?
A number of movement-centric research projects seek to explore the effects of donor support for nonviolent social movements on their success or failure. By contrast, this research is donor-centric. It seeks to understand why and how donors decide to support nonviolent social movement building in the first place. This research will explore a range of factors that might influence donor support for social movement building including donors’ internal structures, donors’ perception of political risk, and the nature of donors’ understanding of and relationships to social movements.
In collaboration with the Human Rights Funders Network, this project will utilize the Advancing Human Rights database to outline trends in donor support from 2011-2015. Interviews with and a comparative case study of donors will allow this project to offer a detailed understanding of how donors work. In doing so, this research seeks to offer insights to donors, academics, and movements, amongst others about the availability of financial and other resources for social movement building in closed and closing political spaces.
By: Brandon Sims
The research goal is to intervene in a developing conversation in the civil resistance field on why groups may begin and maintain nonviolent tactics (or why groups using violence for a time switch to nonviolent action). Recent political science research tends to focus on structural variables influencing the onset of nonviolent compared to violent campaigns, without investigating tactical change over time. In addition, conventional explanations for variation over time emphasize that severe government repression should lead to increasingly violent tactics. In contrast to existing cross-national structural explanations, which are not amenable to policy interventions, I pursue a contextual, agent-centered explanation that also considers the strategic environment. Specifically, I explore how group learning—from past conflict history, watching other groups, and training in violent or nonviolent methods—interacts with brokerage across social sites to produce violent and nonviolent variation in the context of weak or strong violent government repression.
ICNC’s Civil Resistance and Peacebuilding Case Studies Report features in-depth research and analysis on the interplays of civil resistance (CR) and peacebuilding (PB). These case studies are based on the analytical framework developed by Veronique Dudouet in the ICNC Special Report, Powering to Peace: Integrated Civil Resistance and Peacebuilding Strategies, and provide specific examples from single, country-specific conflicts to illustrate the intersection of the CR and PB strategies in helping reduce violence and building more peaceful societies.
Resources for Practitioners
By: Ivan Marovic
Date of Publication: 2018
Free Download | Purchase a Print Copy (coming soon)
The Path of Most Resistance: A Step-by-Step Guide to Planning Nonviolent Campaigns is a practical guide for activists and organizers of all levels, who wish to grow their resistance activities into a more strategic, fixed-term campaign. It guides readers through the campaign planning process, breaking it down into several steps and providing tools and exercises for each step. Upon finishing the book, readers will have what they need to guide their peers through the process of planning a campaign. This process, as laid out in the guide, is estimated to take about 12 hours from start to finish.
The guide is divided into two parts. The first lays out and contextualizes campaign planning tools and their objectives. It also explains the logic behind these tools, and how they can be modified to better suit a particular group’s context. The second part provides easily reproducible and shareable lesson plans for using each of those tools, as well as explores how to embed the tools in the wider planning process.
Key Terms in the Study and Translation of Civil Resistance (tentative title)
The amount of English-language literature in the field of civil resistance has rapidly expanded in recent decades, while the demand for materials in languages other than English has dramatically risen. This glossary of over 150 terms is created to help make this knowledge available to people around the world. Its primary goal is to help with the translation of information on civil resistance from English into other languages. We also expect other readers will also find value in it—a great deal can be learned through deep understanding of the terms in this field.
by Ivan Marovic and Hardy Merriman
For eleven straight years, freedom and democracy has declined around the globe. The world is in a slow-moving crisis, with authoritarians playing offense and adapting their strategies to prevent and counter civil resistance. Meanwhile, populists are also trying to drive popular discontent and use it for their own personal gain. Civil resistance movements must adapt their strategies in the face of these realities, and new thinking is required.
Liberating Politics aims to take the best insights from scholars and grassroots practitioners over the last decade and make them available to anybody who is preparing for or following the next wave of nonviolent resistance movements. Research in the field of civil resistance has progressed significantly in recent years, but far too little of it has been accessible to activists. Using data and examples with diagrams, photos and other visuals, this book will provide up-to-date understanding of diverse aspects of civil resistance and practical insights about waging nonviolent struggle, drawn from cases around the world. It will be available online for free download and in hard copy for a low price.
By: Jacques Semelin
English publication of La liberté au bout des ondes, 2nd edition
Translated by Elizabeth Libbrecht
Foreword by Adam Roberts
Afterword by Howard Barrell
Original (French) publication: Nouveau Monde Editions 2009
English publication: ICNC Press, February 2017
Free Download | Purchase a Print Copy
This book on the relationship between communications and nonviolent resistance captures a new understanding of the events that led ultimately to the fall of the authoritarian system in communist Central and Eastern Europe in 1989. In particular, it analyzes history-making acts of resistance and the movements that propelled them in Budapest in 1956, Prague in 1968, Gdansk in 1980 and East Berlin in 1989, in their own historical continuum.