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.
Organizations and Websites
Recent Articles in Strategy!
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, www.truth-out.org
June 13th, 2013
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.
By Awakened Media for The Fifth Column News. Seattle, Washington (TFC) – A Black Bloc is not a group or organization; in fact, it is a tactic that has greatly evolved since its beginnings in Germany, 1980. Many view the participants as hooligans and violent Anarchists. Some are there only to agitate and be destructive. Some are there to express their anger towards the buildings that signify our addictions and act as a reminder to the ruling class. But, most are there to show solidarity and provide security for the peaceful protesters. They are prepared to fight back against law enforcement when they decide to attack peaceful demonstrators. The dress code is black head to toe for many reasons. To show solidarity and to allow anonymity for those who choose to take certain actions. This allows the Bloc to prevent arrests and “unarrest” those who have been detained. Behind the black uniform and mask are people just like you and I.
By Claire Veale for ROAR Magazine – The deadly attacks in Paris on the night of Friday, November 13, were quickly met by a global rush of solidarity with France and the French people. From world leaders expressing their sympathies, to raising the French flag on buildings across the globe, and more visibly, on Facebook profiles, everyone stood unequivocally united with France. The sentiment of solidarity behind this mass concern is heart-warming, however it must come hand in hand with a demand for a serious debate on matters of terrorism, violence and war. Rage and sadness should not hinder our ability to think.
By Nadine Bloch for Waging Nonviolence – A hundred years ago on November 19, 1915, the song writin’, cartoon scribblin’, parody pushin’ Industrial Workers of the World organizer Joe Hill was unceremoniously executed by firing squad in Utah. Ah, but you might say, the only thing I know about him is that “Joe Hill ain’t never died,” quoting the words of a popular folk song. While it is true that not many folks outside of the embattled labor movement and associated circles know much about Joe Hill these days — that’s a crying shame. Joe Hill’s struggles for worker’s rights, free speech, the right to a fair trial, and against the inequality of our economic order are still significant today.
By Bill Moyer for Backbone Campaign – I co-founded and direct the Backbone Campaign and for the last 12 years have had the honor to work with an array of incredible people who practice what I call Artful Activism. They are autonomous, creative change agents, a sort of nonviolent guerrilla force with the improvisational sensibility of a free jazz ensemble. They are bold, innovative, skilled, smart and listening deeply to the world around them. Together, we are Team Backbone. Meetings are rare and somewhat scorned,but potlucks and parties are well attended. We prefer action. Whether using puppets, shining messages onto buildings, deploying a flash mob, a blockade, or a flying banner we strive to transform protests into cultural happenings to more effectively reach peoples minds and hearts.
By Lilly Workneh, Tyler Kingkade, and Ryan Grenoble for The Huffington Post – If there’s one thing University of Missouri senior Alanna Diggs thinks people are getting wrong about campus racism protests, it’s the assumption that they’re something new. The demonstrations at Mizzou this month resulting in the ouster of two top university leaders, partly over how they handled various racist incidents on campus, Diggs said, “were not a result of spontaneous combustion.””It was not an overdramatic reaction by a couple of angry black students, but a moment built up over time,” Diggs continued.
By George Lakey for Waging Nonviolence. “Suffragette,” a British film now in U.S. theaters, tells a gripping story drawn from the direct action wing of Britain’s woman suffrage movement. Because it spotlights one tactic – property destruction – the film raises the question of effectiveness. Leader Emmeline Pankhurst’s argument for escalating with arson and explosions was to hasten their win. Did it? One way to answer the question is to compare the struggle with Alice Paul’s strategy on this side of the ocean. Paul also escalated with nonviolent tactics but chose to rule out property destruction. The fact that Alice Paul cut her teeth in the British movement, and then in this country made a different strategic choice, provokes some thinking about a tactic that some U.S. activists look upon with favor. Why would property destruction slow us down instead of speeding us toward our goal? The answer lies in noticing who controls the narrative. Even though, in my definition of the word, property destruction is not the same as violence, in many cultures it does get framed as violence by prevailing opinion-leaders and their mass media operations. Certainly in the United States and Britain, where the power-holders respect private property more deeply than human life, property destruction is branded “violence” while militarily invading other countries is called “force.”
By Anders Vang Nielsen for Common Dreams – For most people involved in climate activism, mentioning the name of my city of birth leaves a somewhat sour taste in the mouth. Since Copenhagen was the stage for the infamous COP15 failure, it has become an emblem not only of disillusionment with international climate politics but also of illegal police repression of popular action against the political deadlock. With all eyes now set on Paris and the promise of COP21 to deliver a non-binding agreement of insufficient emission reduction targets infested with corporate-friendly offset mechanisms…
By Cambria Roth for Crosscut – The people who turn away from radical thought are people who don’t like to be uncomfortable. And radical thought at its best is supposed to make people feel uncomfortable. We talk about the uprisings in communities like in St. Louis and Baltimore, and it is what protests are supposed to do. The fact that some niceties are inconvenienced and people can’t get to work on time because there are protests in the streets, well, hello, that is what we do. That is what we are supposed to do. That is what Dr. King did. I pointed out in a strategy session we had in Baltimore, when the state teargassed, machines of oppression showed up, and then applied a curfew. Everyone kind of bemoaned that fact. I said, “Those of you who are caught up in protest, this is a golden opportunity. If the state says you go to bed by 10 o’clock, then you should make sure that by 11, the streets of our cities are filled with human protest and bodies!” The fact that some might have a restless night with the noise downstairs or find it inconvenient because people blocked traffic, well that’s the point — to snap you out of your indifference! So those who are turned off by radical thinking, or radical behavior, well, as a matter of fact, in many ways, you are our target.
By Ben White for MEM – During the first nine months of 2015, Israel killed 26 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and injured, on average, 45 Palestinians every week. Over the last fortnight, the total Palestinian fatalities for the year have more than doubled, and the number of injuries has jumped off the charts. At the time of writing, 33 Palestinians have been killed since October 1, the vast majority shot by Israeli occupation forces suppressing protests, in addition to those killed conducting attacks or alleged attacks against Israelis.
By Staff for Pace e Penne – This year’s 370 actions during Campaign Nonviolence Week grew by more than 100 events over last year. We are grateful for all you did to make nonviolence happen coast to coast and beyond in September! Now we are gearing up for this next year — including Campaign Nonviolence Action Week, September 18-25. Save the date — and start planning now! Campaign Nonviolence is a long-term movement for a culture of peace and nonviolence free from war, poverty, racism, environmental destruction and the epidemic of violence. Here’s what we’re doing this next year!
By Chris Hedges for Truth Dig – SANTA ANA, Calif.—All resistance will be local. We will have to dismantle the corporate state, piece by piece, from the ground up. No leader or politician is going to do it for us. Every community that bans fracking, every university and institution that embraces the boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) movement, every individual who becomes vegan to thwart the animal agriculture industry’s devastation of the planet and holocaust of animals, every effort to build self-sustaining food supplies, every protest to halt the use of lethal force by police against our citizens, especially poor people of color, every act of civil disobedience against corporate power and imperialism will slowly transform our society. Those who rebel, once they rise up, will build alliances with other rebels.
By Ana Conner and Tara Tabassi in Truth Out – Urban Shield, the world’s largest SWAT training and war-weapons expo, was held in September in California’s Bay Area, beginning on the 14th anniversary of 9/11. Hosted each year since 2007 in the Bay Area’s Alameda County (last year in Oakland, this year in Pleasanton) with exercises all across the Bay, it is attended by hundreds of local, federal and international law enforcement agencies and weapons manufacturers. Since his tenure began in 2007, Alameda County’s sheriff, Gregory J. Ahern, has been waging war on Black and Brown communities across the Bay Area. Urban Shield solidifies Ahern’s war, and makes it a profitable one. As the Bay Area Urban Shield’s core organizer, he has received over $100,000 in contributions for his electoral campaign from Urban Shield vendors, such as 511 Tactical, Adamson Police Products and Corizon Health.
By Brian C. Black in The Conversation – After billions of dollars invested over several years, Royal Dutch Shell said September 28 it would end oil exploration offshore Alaska after “disappointing” results. But industry efforts to drill for oil and natural gas in the Arctic are unlikely to end with Shell’s decision to abandon the Chukchi Sea. Indeed, momentum to exploit fossil fuel reserves in the Arctic has been building for decades. This week, in fact, political and industry leaders will converge on Fairbanks, Alaska for the 2015 Arctic Energy Summit, where they will consider options and opportunities for energy development, despite some of the lowest gasoline prices in years and a glut of natural gas in the US. The trends pushing for oil and gas in the Arctic run counter to the efforts of a growing number of advocates who argue some fossil fuel resources need to remain untapped to slow the rate of carbon emissions.