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 Sarah Jaffee in Rolling Stone – Roz Brown, one of the activists who spoke at the protests, tells Rolling Stone that racism is “embedded in the infrastructures” of St. Louis, from business to education to the judicial system. She points to the way police lined up to protect business headquarters when the protesters arrived last week — the same police who, in Ferguson, stared down protesters behind armored vehicles and riot shields. Unequal systems reinforce each other, Brown says. Frankie Edwards says he’s troubled that these executives make a lot of money, but don’t put enough of it back into the community in ways that help people like him: young black men who are constantly harassed by police. To him, they have a responsibility to build a city that works for everyone.
By Unicorn Riot – In late July Unicorn Riot interviewed three members of Zintkala Luta: a Minneapolis-based educational nonprofit dedicated to offering youth and activists access to nutritional foods and programs which teach native traditions, L/Dakota and Ojibwe language and local organic food cultivation. They are among a growing movement of others working to create autonomous food systems within their neighborhoods. This movement utilizes urban farming to break away from modern industrial agri-business by creating food sovereignty within local communities. Zintkala Luta, which means “Red Bird”, looks forward to the Fall harvest where they will host the local community for dinner and teach simple recipies made with regionally native vegetable species. They will also be teaching medicinal plant gathering traditions.
By Ralph Nader in Common Dreams – My proposal of a Citizens Summons can begin the process of showing your elected legislators who is truly in charge, as befits the Preamble to the Constitution – “We the People.” I am including below a draft Citizens Summons to your Senators or Representative. It covers the main derelictions of the Congress, under which you can add more examples of necessary reforms. Your task is to start collecting signatures of citizens, members of citizen groups, labor unions, and any other associations that want a more deliberative democracy. The ultimate objective is to reduce inequalities of power. Shifting power from the few to the many prevents the gross distortions of our Constitution and laws, our public budgets, and our commonwealth, that currently favor the burgeoning corporate state. May you give your lawmakers a memorable August recess; they deserve to be shown the workings of what our founding fathers called “the sovereignty of the people.”
By Derek Markham on TreeHugger. Los Angeles, CA – It’s admirable that people want to conserve water at home, especially in light of the severe droughts that are affecting many areas, but the amount of water used in homes pales in comparison to that used by industry. While residential water use is but a small slice of the pie (~14%), the meat and dairy industry is said to account for some 47% of all water used in the state of California. And of course, we all want to do our part to help the beef and milk producers continue to guzzle water, so a couple of smart fellows have come up with a great solution, which allows people to have their beef (and milk) while sacrificing a bit of personal hygiene for the good of industry.
By Patti Beers in The AntiMedia. Los Angeles, CA – On October 1, 2011 I showed up for the revolution. That summer, I had been watching the Young Turks on Youtube and had come to the conclusion that Obama was not the great savior that was sold to us. It was clear to me— with Congress completely sold out to corporate interests and the Supreme Court’s-then recent, shady ruling regarding corporate personhood—that if Obama was not for the people, then revolution—peaceful if possible—was the only way to make things right. Looking back, I see myself as having a naive, reformist perspective. In college, I got an “A+” in Political Science without any effort. I had no idea how much education on politics, specifically on the subject of anarchy, that I was about to get from the Occupy experience and the events that happened after.
By Tim Dechristopher – As a strong supporter of Bernie Sanders, my first reaction to hearing about yesterday’s Black Lives Matter protest at Netroots Nation was disappointment. This looks bad, I thought. Bad for Bernie, who is the only presidential candidate with any chance of challenging structural injustice. Then I watched the video of Sanders responding to the protest, or should I say, failing to respond and instead just speaking over and past them. He tried to just continue with his stump speech and seemed annoyed with the disruption. Several times he looked at moderator Jose Antonio Vargas as if he expected Vargas to control these women, once asking, “Are you in charge here?” The closest he came to discussing policing issues directly was mentioning his success with community policing in Burlington, VT, a city that was pretty much all white and pretty much irrelevant to the discussion of racist policing.
By Chauncey de Vega in Alternet – At the Socialism 2015 conference, Martinez Sutton, the brother of Rekia Boyd, a 22-year-old black woman killed by an offduty white Chicago cop who recklessly fired five shots into a crowd of people because he was supposedly upset that they were playing loud music, shared his story of anger and pain at a legal system that twisted justice in order to protect one of its enforcers of death and destruction on the black and brown body, as well as the poor of all colors. Sutton told the audience that he and his family will not forgive the cop who killed his sister. He called out how this expectation that black and brown folks should always forgive those who malign and hurt us is an absurdity.
By Steve Cornwell in Rabble – I was at the Battle in Seattle. You had the community activists, environmentalists, and you had a lot people from around the world and different organizations coming into Seattle. The labour movement had its own separate demonstration in a football stadium five miles out of town in a football field. There were all these wonderful speeches taking place in this football field. But downtown Seattle was erupting with running battles between police, environmentalists, students and activists from around the world. We were completely disconnected. I thought “wow, now I can see why sometimes these other organizations say to the labour movement that we don’t see you guys involved in the fight.” Even though we think we’re supportive of all of their issues, we seem to be doing it apart from them.
By George Lakey in Waging Nonviolence – After dining on cod on July 7, European leaders representing the economic elites went back to work figuring out how to run over the Greek majority in Europe’s first democracy. The serving of cod, presumably from Iceland, is ironic considering that it was the Icelanders who six years ago defied European investors — and by doing so saved their economy and bolstered their well-being. Movements for justice around the world have much to learn from keeping in mind both of these national dramas. When Iceland’s 1 percent brought the economy to its historic crisis in 2008, Icelanders could not get any money from their ATMs. It was the worst economic collapse in Europe since World War II.
By Tactical Diversity – It’s gotten to be a pattern on the Left. When Black protest erupts into insurrection, as it did in Ferguson and Baltimore, most liberals and white radicals express empathy for the cathartic release of anger, but urge the oppressed that this is not the way. This is “not strategic,” says the leftist concern-troll. This is “what the police want.” Most of the time they manage to stop short of asking “why are they burning down their own neighborhood?” –if only to be mindful of clichés—but some can’t even help themselves there. In the aftermath, Amy Goodman(seemingly channeling Alex Jones) will spread conspiracy theories on how the government “orchestrated” the rioting.¹ The respectability politics of nonviolence will return. It’s hard to believe that anyone who has paid attention to Black Lives Matter takes these positions in good faith because, of course, the riots in Ferguson were objectively the best thing that happened to a movement that was already more than a year old.
By Stephanie Lerner and Jono Shaffer in Talk Poverty – On June 15, 1990, the Los Angeles Police Department viciously attacked immigrant janitors who were striking for the right to organize in Century City, Los Angeles. In a story that is now all too familiar, the police claimed they were defending themselves. Only later, when TV news footage exposed the police clubbing non-violent strikers, was the self-defense claim discredited. Two women miscarried, dozens were hospitalized, and 60 strikers and supporters were jailed. After the violence, the workers regrouped in a nearby park where one of the strikers said, “What they did to us today in front of the TV cameras, is the way the police treat us every day.” Another woman striker told a reporter, “I wasn’t robbing a bank or selling drugs, I’m simply asking for an increase in pay but the police beat us as if we were garbage.”
By Jay Elias in Daily Kos – What took a lot longer to reach the public eye, and did so after the cameras were largely off the Occupy movement, was the lengths, many of which were illegal, that the Federal and local governments went to spy on the Occupy movement, to use anti-terrorism powers against them, and to share information about their activities with those whom Occupy was protesting. In 2012, Rolling Stone reported on the Department of Homeland Security’s surveillance of the Occupy movement, which began no less than a month after the protests began in 2011. The DHS report stated that the NYPD was sharing information on the protesters and their plans with landlords and business owners, including according to the DHS memo “large banks”. Rolling Stone also reported that information about the locations and times of protests and gatherings nationwide was “borrowed, improbably enough, from the lefty blog Daily Kos.”