Dr. Erica Chenoweth / Assistant Professor at the Josef Korbel School, University of Denver
Dr. Stephen Zunes / Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco
Date: Tuesday, June 18th, 2012
Time: 11:00am – 12:30pm
Description: In this session, Dr. Erica Chenoweth discusses how repression affects nonviolent campaigns. She provides empirical evidence that nonviolent movements are still effective even against brutally oppressive opponents. She discusses how movements “manage” repression through the promotion of backfire, as well as the strategic options movements have in dealing with repression. She also provides evidence suggesting that nonviolent movements that adopt violence or develop armed wings are not usually advantaged relative to nonviolent movements. This is because using violence against the regime, even when provoked, can undermine the necessary public participation that nonviolent campaigns enjoy, and can also undermine the backfiring of regime repression.
Dr. Stephen Zunes emphasizes the international impact of repression, specifically how nonviolent responses in the face of brutal repression makes it easier to isolate the oppressive regime, whereas violent resistance, even where seemingly justifiable, could be seen as rationalizing further repression in the name of “national security” or “counter-terrorism.” He also addresses the importance of nonviolent discipline in encouraging defections by security forces and divisions within the regime.