This book is a primer on applying strategic nonviolent action in real campaigns. The techniques outlined in the following 15 chapters have been used successfully in many parts of the world. The British historian Eric Hobsawm described the twentieth century as the “age of extremes” because of the devastating wars waged in the last hundred years and the influence of extreme ideologies which were used to justify the destruction of entire peoples, classes and faiths. At the same time, the spread of democracy and economic prosperity has transformed much of humanity. Today, the potential for ruinous conflict persists – but so also does the opportunity for nonviolent alternatives.
Contained in the book are lessons learned from many long and difficult nonviolent struggles against nondemocratic regimes and other opponents of basic human freedoms. The book is written for those activists who are already working or are considering working on establishing freer and more open and equitable societies.
Fifty crucial points about strategic nonviolent action are presented in three thematic sections. The first, “Before You Start,” provides you with a basic conceptual and analytical framework. The second, “Starting Out,” teaches you the basic skills that successful practitioners of strategic nonviolent action have mastered, such as crafting a message and planning public actions. The third section, “Running the Nonviolent Campaign,” teaches you more advanced skills, such as managing a nonviolent campaign. The fourth section, “Working Under Repression,” offers guidelines for how to do your work as safely as possible. The last section suggests concrete ways to upgrade your skills and knowledge.