The section provides information on strategic nonviolence and links to organizations that provide training in nonviolent resistance, effective strategy and creative actions. For more information on a common vision and strategy that unites people into an effective national movement please see our page, about PopularResistance.org.

Featured Video: The video to the right is an hour-long presentation on grand strategy given to the Fellowship Of Reconciliation in Olympia, WA. It is a reflection on how organizers can grow social movements to be impactful enough that they can effect social change, and it highlights principles and a theoretical framework that can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of actions and tactics.

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History Teaches That We Have the Power to Transform the Nation, Here’s How.


The fact is, United States and world histories show that an organized and mobilized populace is what has always caused transformational change. This history is not taught in our education system or emphasized in the heroes we idolize in our culture, but it is so significant that it cannot be hidden from view. The country could not operate if the people refused to participate in its corrupt systems. The ultimate power is with us, if we let go of fear and embrace it. Now that there is a history of more than 100 years of modern resistance movements, there is data to show what works and what doesn’t. As a result, we can develop a vision, a strategic plan and tactics that make success more likely than ever before.

Independent Movements Can Shape Obama’s Final Years

FCC protest Tarak Kauff

In the wake of the mid-term elections earlier this month, it might have seemed that there wasn’t much hope to hold onto for progressives, what with climate deniers and tea party fundamentalists rising to some of the highest offices in the land. What we’ve seen since, though, has been a string of executive decisions that might be cautiously described as hopeful. Responding to his new-found willingness to take on the GOP, pundits have commented that Obama is attempting to carve out a progressive legacy in the latter half of his second term. This may be true, but this week’s announcements are also evidence of the work grassroots organizers have been doing to put pressure on the White House since well before the 2008 election. In other words, like other presidents, any progressive legacy Obama manages to build between now and 2016 will be a product of the movements that challenged him most.

How Germany’s Greens Rose From Radical Fringe To Ruling Power

Michael Gottschalk/dapd/AP

When Germany’s left-leaning Green party was born 30 years ago, former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt dismissed them outright. “They’re just environmental idiots who will have disappeared again soon,” he said. They didn’t. In fact, in a turn of events reverberating across the nation, the Greens on Sunday ended six decades of conservative rule in one of Germany’s wealthiest states, completing their transformation from a radical protest party to a mainstream force shaking the traditional political order. “To see the party go from that to this … is a sign that it has a strong chance in the federal elections,” says Miranda Schreurs, head of the European Environmental and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils, a Berlin-based network of advisers appointed by 16 European countries.

Gandhi vs. The Mafia

Mahatma Gandhi, close-up portrait

Not long ago, a prosecutor in Palermo heard something strange on a wiretap. A mobster was telling a henchman not to punish a store for failing to pay its pizzo, or protection money. Palermo, the largest city in Sicily, is at the heart of mafia country. In the past, trade association surveys have shown that about 80 percent of the town’s shops were paying pizzo. But now more than 900 Sicilian firms, a majority of them in Palermo, are publicly refusing to give money to the mob, thanks to one of the most remarkable social movements to emerge in the last decade. Addiopizzo—Italian for “Goodbye, protection money”—is resisting the racketeers with tactics you’re more likely to associate with Gandhi or the Arab Spring than a campaign against organized crime.

Police Officials Respond To 'Rules Of Engagement' For Ferguson Protest

FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 18, 2014 file photo, people stand near a cloud of tear gas in Ferguson, Mo. during protests for the Aug. 9 shooting of unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer. The U.S. government agreed to a police request to shut down several miles of airspace surrounding Ferguson, even though authorities said their purpose was to keep media helicopters away during protests in August, according to recordings of air traffic control conversations obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

State and local officials on Friday announced that while they have not negotiated with a coalition of protest groups, they did agree on some of the 19 proposed “rules of engagement” in advance of the announcement of a grand jury decision in the Ferguson shooting of Michael Brown. A coalition of roughly 50 groups asked officials earlier this month to agree to 19 rules of engagement for the police response to protests. The first was that “The first priority shall be the preservation of human life.” The groups asked police to agree to a “de-militarized response” that would ban the use of armored vehicles, rubber bullets, rifles and tear gas.

Breaking The Cycle: Non-Cooperation

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Americans tend to only act upon their convictions when it gets to a point of extreme necessity. We tend to live in a culture that runs on the notion of “as long as it does not affect me or my friends/family, then it does not concern me”. Yet, when tragedy hits us, and our bubble is busted, we cry out in outrage. As long as we are “comfortable” and have a feeling that we are “secure”, we are willing to let others go on with what they are doing/saying even if it is unjust or immoral. This is why after 911 Americans were more than willing to let the Federal Government invade privacy and violate civil liberties. Most Americans felt uncomfortable due to the sense that they lost the false security that this culture thrived on. But there seems to be a shift in the wind….The cycle is beginning to break……

After People's Climate March: Diversify Funding Of Climate Justice

People's Climate March New York

Much attention in the last couple of months has been devoted to the lack of diversity in mainstream environmental organizations. While just under 40 percent of the U.S. population is people of color, they make up less than 16 percent of employees at environmental institutions. It is important to note that in 2042 people of color are expected to be the majority of our population. In 2012, a decade later, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy produced its report, Cultivating the Grassroots: Winning Approach for Environment and Climate Funders, that found environmental funders spent $10 billion between 2000 and 2009. However, only 15 percent of environmental grant dollars benefited marginalized communities, and only 11 percent advanced “social justice” strategies.

Awaiting Ferguson Grand Jury, Activists Drill Protest Tactics

A mural depicting Ferguson teen Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by police earlier this year, was removed from a gate on the corner of North Broad and Hanover Streets on Monday Oct. 20, 2014 after concerns from police. (Jenna Pizzi / Times of Trenton)

In a former union hall in downtown St. Louis, about 100 activists formed a rough circle and, at the instruction of organizer Michael McPhearson, crossed the room wading through a crowd of people going the opposite way. “How hard was that? How much harder will it be after the grand jury comes back?” McPhearson, executive director of activist group Veterans for Peace, asked the group, which ranged from young black college students to bearded white retirees. Police around the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, are preparing for large protests when a grand jury decides whether to indict the white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teen in August, and so are activists. Several groups from across the United States, and even from abroad, are preparing to take to the streets in actions of nonviolent civil disobedience, particularly if the grand jury finds no criminal trial is warranted.

Streaming Video Drones Will Change Protests

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Camera-equipped drones are everywhere these days. You can see them on the weekends in San Francisco’s Dolores Park, buzzing high up above picnickers and Frisbee throwers. (You can even rent them by the day, from a company like Photojojo.) At my college reunion last summer, my classmates watched in awe as a $500 DJI Phantom drone zipped over the crowd, shooting still photos and video with the GoPro attached to its underside. Easy-to-fly photo drones are becoming cheaper every day. Parrot sells a line of sub-$500 mini-drones, and the auto-flight features on 3D Robotics’ $750 IRIS+ drone have made it a favorite of hobbyists. But despite the growing low-end drone market, there still isn’t a good mid-range option for those who want to use a drone for professional-quality TV and film production, but don’t have the budget for a $50,000 custom rig. That’s about to change.

Why the World Needs Anonymous

Jerremy Hammond Anonymous

Anonymous may strike a reader as unique, but its efforts represent just the latest in experimentation with anonymous speech as a conduit for political expression. Anonymous expression has been foundational to our political culture, characterizing monumental declarations like the Federalist Papers, and the Supreme Court has repeatedly granted anonymous speech First Amendment protection. The actions of this group are also important because anonymity remains important to us all. Universally enforcing disclosure of real identities online would limit the possibilities for whistle-blowing and voicing unpopular beliefs—processes essential to any vibrant democracy. And just as anonymity can engender disruptive and antisocial behavior such as trolling, it can provide a means of pushing back against increased surveillance.

8 Reflections On The Rise And Rise Of Podemos

Photo by Fotograccion.org. Puerta del Sol in Madrid during the 2011 Spanish protests

The story of Podemos’s success is inseparable from the story of Pablo Iglesias’s increasing prominence in the Spanish media. Iglesias is the party’s figurehead, if not formally the leader. Formerly a professor of Political Science at the Complutense University of Madrid, Iglesias started out blogging for a smaller national newspaper before being offered his own TV shows (La Tuerka and Fort Apache). Although not prime-time successes, they picked up a cult following and crucially created an independent space for Iglesias to develop his own media profile and narrative. From his position as host of these programmes, Iglesias became an increasingly common prime-time commentator.

Camera Training Is Revolutionizing Protests Against Police Brutality In Ferguson

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With the Ferguson Police Department, Missouri State Police, Federal law enforcement and military planning a heavy-handed response to upcoming protests, we decided there was no better time to get in touch with the activists on the ground who are revolutionizing the way police are held accountable. We contacted Jacob from the Canfield Watchmen to ask about the camera training that his group is engaged in, which is changing the game in Ferguson and surrounding areas. With newly leaked information tipping off protesters to police plans to use third party hackers to block cell phone video live streaming, this camera training might prove more important than ever with the reading of the verdict in the Officer Darren Wilson case.

Grassroots Activists Say Climate Change Demands System Change

Cindy Wiesner and Gopal Dayaneni of Climate Justice Alliance. (Screen grab via GRITtv)

Cindy Wiesner: We see this as a growing movement around systems change – not climate change – and trying to build the political perspective of our alliances, our networks and our agenda. “Grassroots organizing has kept more industrial carbon out of the atmosphere than any state or federal policy to date in the United States.” We’re very clear about what we’re saying “no” to, but we’re also beginning to lift up what we’re saying “yes” to. What’s very exciting is these paradigm shifts are the actual examples of local living economies from our work here in the US around Just Transition, to what’s happening in the Andean region around Buen Vivir to what’s happening in Europe around the Great Transition and the Commons movement and deglobalization.

Movements Need Whistle-Blowers, Whistle-Blowers Need Movements

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In a feature for Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi tells the story of Alayne Fleischmann, a former securities lawyer for JPMorgan Chase who the bank spent $9 billion trying to keep quiet. Taibbi describes Fleischmann’s position as that of a “quality-control officer,” evaluating securities to ensure that the bank wasn’t taking in spoiled product to sell out again. The trouble was that the loans were rotten from the start: Chase, along with most other major banks, issued sub-prime mortgages to borrowers they knew would have difficulty paying them back. Fleischmann recounts one loan issued to a manicurist approved after claiming an annual income of $117,000 — by Fleischmann’s calculation, a sum it would have taken the same manicurist 488 days to accrue. The real trouble came when these risky loans were grouped together en masse and repacked into mortgage-backed securities — which are nothing new in financial markets, but banks like Chase had discovered that by simply lowering their standards (and flat-out deceiving borrowers) they could begin selling more of them and raking in more profit.

Lessons From The Fall Of The Berlin Wall

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. (Wikimedia Commons)

Remarkably, although the fall of the Berlin Wall was an iconic moment, it was just one of the highlights in a flurry of activity that was sweeping through the Soviet Bloc — a series of uprisings that would become known as the revolutions of 1989. Every so often, we witness a period of mass insurgency that seems to defy the accepted rules of politics: Protests seem to begin popping up everywhere. Organizers see their rallies packed with newcomers who come from far outside their regular network of supporters. Mainstream analysts, taken by surprise, struggle for words. And those in power scramble as the political landscape around them dramatically shifts — sometimes leaving once-entrenched leaders in perilous positions. If ever there was a time in modern history that exemplified such a moment of peak public activity, it was the second half of 1989.

4 Ways To Hit High Notes Of Resistance

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Every now and then there is an action that hits all the right notes — the message is clear, the messengers are appropriate, the setting and tone are impeccable, and the ripples carry on far into the future. One such action took place earlier this month in the midst of protests in Ferguson, Mo., against the killing of teenager Michael Brown and police use of excessive force. Seemingly far from the streets of Ferguson at the Powell Symphony Hall in St. Louis, concert goers returned to their seats after intermission. One by one, a diverse group of protesters interspersed in the audience rose to solemnly sing out a tailored protest song: “Which side are you on friend? Which side are you on? Justice for Mike Brown is justice for us all.”