The politics of dissent is back in the United States. Since 2011, the country has witnessed the resurgence of popular action — from Occupy Wall Street to Flood Wall Street to Black Lives Matter to Standing Rock. Since Nov. 8, 2016, many Americans have participated in protests and marches in nearly every major city in opposition to Donald Trump’s election — or to counterprotest in defense of it.
Recent data from around the world suggest that popular action is here to stay. In particular, civil resistance — where unarmed civilians confront opponents using protests, strikes, boycotts, stay-aways and other forms of nonviolent contention — is the most common form of struggle today.
And yet, civil resistance is commonly misunderstood or misrepresented. Here Erica Chenoweth offer up 10 established social science insights about unarmed dissent that everyone should know.