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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Recent Articles in Strategy!

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.

Black Lives Matter Disavows Democratic Party’s Show Of Support

CREDIT: CENTRE DAILY TIMES VIA GETTY IMAGES

By Amanda Terkel in The Huffington Post – Activists with the Black Lives Matter movement rejected the Democratic Party’s recent statement of support, making clear that they are not affiliated with any political party. “A resolution signaling the Democratic National Committee’s endorsement that Black lives matter, in no way implies an endorsement of the DNC by the Black Lives Matter Network, nor was it done in consultation with us,” the Black Lives Matter Network wrote in a statement Sunday. “We do not now, nor have we ever, endorsed or affiliated with the Democratic Party, or with any party. The Democratic Party, like the Republican and all political parties, have historically attempted to control or contain Black people’s efforts to liberate ourselves,” the statement continues. “True change requires real struggle, and that struggle will be in the streets and led by the people, not by a political party.”

Where Change Really Comes From

Bernie Sanders

By Sam Smith – Another reason we find it hard to recognize or talk about real change is that we haven’t seen its positive form on any scale in some time. Thus, it is not surprising that many don’t seem to realize that while politicians can help to create change, they are rarely its source. Even the best politicians need a community of creative and conscientious pressure to discourage their response to those forces that have never succumbed to believing for themselves the advertising slogans they foist on others. Even the best president steps into the Oval Office surrounded, beleaguered and manipulated by the most skillful organizers in the country – those who organize the bankers, corporations, religious extremists, polluters and other assorted hustlers – while well intentioned but nave ordinary constituents of that president assume their work was finished when they left the voting booth.

6 Strategies To Make Powerful Social Change

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By Mistinguette Smith in Yes Magazine – In the days after her action, Newsome was depicted as a heroine, a black Superwoman, a symbol of how we can act when Black Lives Matter. But it’s important to remember that Newsome is not a superhero. Her actions remind us that the change we want to see in the world will not come from some super power; it will come from people power. And if we can figure out how to grow our own vegetables and make our own bread, we have enough power to make ourselves some homemade freedom. We already have everything that we need. Here are a few elements I can identify in Newsome’s recipe for homemade freedom…

The Last Refuge Of The Incompetent

Jeb Bush, George HW Bush and Barack Obama

By John Michael Greer in The Arch Druid Greer – The science fiction author Isaac Asimov used to say that violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. That’s a half-truth at best, for there are situations in which effective violence is the only tool that will do what needs to be done—we’ll get to that in a moment. It so happens, though, that a particular kind of incompetence does indeed tend to turn to violence when every other option has fallen flat, and goes down in a final outburst of pointless bloodshed. It’s unpleasantly likely at this point that the climate change movement, or some parts of it, may end up taking that route into history’s dumpster; here again, we’ll get to that a little further on in this post. It’s probably necessary to say at the outset that the arguments I propose to make here have nothing to do with the ethics of violence, and everything to do with its pragmatics as a means of bringing about social change. Ethics in general are a complete quagmire in today’s society.

When Next Crisis Comes, Which Movements Will Seize Opportunity?

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 16: A sign sits on the ground in a nearly empty Zuccotti Park a day after it was cleared of Occupy Wall Street protesters in an early morning police raid on November 16, 2011 in New York city. Hundreds of protesters, who rallied against economic inequality in America, have slept in tents and under tarps since Sept. 17 in Zuccotti Park. A New York judge ruled Tuesday that the protesters could return to Zuccotti Park but couldn’t set up tents or sleep in the park. Zuccotti Park became the epicenter of the global Occupy Wall Street movement. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By George Lakey in Waging Non-Violence – I asked a Washington, D.C., friend who works among progressive Democrats what he heard after the Wall Street disaster. Did people in his circle discuss organizing the strong, grassroots anger into a push for major reform? He knew of none. As it turned out, that anger was organized by the right and became the Tea Party. Polls show that even today many people identifying as Tea Party members express hostility to Wall Street. All this missed opportunity should be seen in the context of Barack Obama’s presidency, since it was he who said, during his candidacy, that the Swedish solution to its own banking crisis had been correct: Seize the banks rather than bail them out. (In a recent New Yorker article on Greece, former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said President Obama told him that the U.S. bailout was against his personal politics.)

Julian Bond's Final Speech: 'We Must Practice Dissent'

NAACP Holds Press Conference On IRS Investigation

By Julian Bond, As King counseled, every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we all must protest. And protest we did. And in so doing, we helped to end the war, and we changed history. Now we have both a Vietnam Memorial and a Martin Luther King Memorial. But we don’t tell the truth about either. Honoring returning soldiers doesn’t make the war honorable, be it Vietnam or Afghanistan or Iraq. And the best way to honor our soldiers is to bring them safely home. We practiced dissent then. We must practice dissent now. We must, as Dr. King taught us, “move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history.” As King said then, and as even more true now. . .

Picturing The End Of Fossil Fuels

Activists who oppose Royal Dutch Shell's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean prepare their kayaks for the "Paddle in Seattle" protest on Saturday, May 16, 2015, in Seattle. The protesters gathered at a West Seattle park and then joined hundreds of others in Elliott Bay, next to the Port of Seattle Terminal 5, where Shell's Polar Pioneer drilling rig is docked. (Photo: Daniella Beccaria/seattlepi.com via AP)

By Bill McKibben in Common Dreams – When they say a picture is worth a thousand words, writers rebel (or they write 1,500 words). I mean, pictures are great, but they can’t get across complicated concepts. Except when they can. Which would be the summer of 2015, on two separate occasions. Early in the summer, on the West Coast of the United States, “kayaktivists” in Seattle Harbor surrounded Shell Oil’s giant Polar Pioneer drilling rig, trying to keep it from getting out of the harbor. They didn’t succeed in that, of course—the Coast Guard cleared them out of the way—but they did succeed in reminding everyone of the scale of the destruction Shell has planned. The sight of those small, many kayaks against that one brute drilling platform brought home the existential nature of the struggle: it’s all of us, the little guys, against the immense, concentrated wealth and power of the biggest companies on earth.

#BLM Unveil Demands For US Policing Laws As Political Reach Grows

A woman holds up a sign reading Black Lives Matter in the street in Ferguson, Missouri, on the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death. Photograph: Jim Vondruska/Xinhua Press/Corbis

By Jon Swaine, Lauren Gambino and Oliver Laughland in The Guardian – The unveiling of the detailed policy platform followed a series of disruptions by protesters affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement of presidential campaign rallies held by presidential candidates across the country, including former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. The actions have succeeded in pushing police and criminal justice reform to the forefront of the race for the Democratic nomination. “America is finally waking up to this very necessary and critical conversation about race, equity and preserving the life and dignity of all citizens,” Brittany Packnett, one of the activists behind Campaign Zero, said in an interview. “These policies, like our resistance, will save lives and introduce a new way of viewing political strategy,” said Aurielle Lucier, the co-founder of the Atlanta-based activist group It’s Bigger Than You.

Is #BlackLivesMatter Entering New Stage Of Development?

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By Glen Ford in The Black Agenda Report – It is painfully evident from the video of last week’s meeting between a #BlackLivesMatter delegation and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that the organization is philosophically incapable of making demands on the political representatives of the rulers of the United States. #BLM’s leadership is either confused as to the nature of political demands, or has decided to reject the most fundamental lessons of mass movement politics – indeed, of human social dynamics. Political movements are defined by their core demands. The video of #BLM’s closed-door encounter with Clinton in New Hampshire, August 11 – after the five activists had been prevented from attending and, presumably, disrupting her campaign event – should become a staple for future political education classes on what happens when would-be movement operatives enter the lion’s den unarmed with political demands: they are humiliated and eaten alive.

The Long Distance Revolutionary - Larry Hamm

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Interview with Lawrence Hamm by Chris Hedges in The Real News – Police brutality is deeply rooted in contemporary urban communities, especially African-American communities, but not exclusively African-American communities. And for African Americans, of course, they are part of an overall system–this is my opinion–of racial control that has existed essentially since Africans came to the United States. Laws and instruments of state power were established to essentially hold slaves in check and put down slave rebellions. We can go all the way back to the colonial period, almost from the time that Africans first appear in large numbers in the colonies, and see the establishment of slave patrols and night watches and all kinds of precursors to what we would call contemporary modern day policing. And their job was to use force, and they used it in the most brutal, most terrifying ways, the force that was used.

Lessons From Watts For Ferguson, Baltimore, L.A. And Everywhere

Photo by Gonzalo Rios

By Gloria Walton in Scopela – In the last 20 years, SCOPE has emerged as a local laboratory for L.A. From day one, we were pushing the envelope. Experimenting. How do we build community power and influence? How do we elevate equity in all policies? We believe if you start by building a program for people with the most burdens, facing the greatest barriers, who come from the poorest communities, if you start there and build a program for those communities to succeed, then you have a program that will benefit everyone. SCOPE’s 20-year-old jobs model does that. Our model couples entry-level jobs with job-training and apprenticeships to create real career pathways into good-paying union jobs in entertainment, health care and the green economy. These programs go the extra mile by providing paid on-the-job training, mentoring by experienced senior workers and tutoring to help pass certification exams and tests.

Privilege And The Working Class

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By Candace Cohn in Socialist Worker – THE PRIVILEGE model of oppression, often encountered in today’s liberal and radical circles, has evolved since the 1960s. Many of today’s well-intentioned advocates are unaware of the theory’s class roots–roots that continue to profoundly impact privilege politics today. At the height of the American civil rights movement, when theories of oppression might be expected to have some resonance, privilege politics were virtually unknown. The privilege model was unable to find a foothold among the hundreds of thousands of anti-racists involved in the country’s massive and often integrated struggles for freedom. Only later, during the tragic crisis and disintegration of the New Left at the end of the ’60s, were privilege politics able to gain a hearing–among white, middle-class students, most of whom had had no involvement in the civil rights novement. White-skin privilege theory would come to play a major role in the destruction of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) by extreme sectarians.

When Oppression Is The Status Quo, Disruption Is A Moral Duty

Black Lives Matter Is My Son Next protest in Ferguson

By Bree Newsome for the Root – I’m struck by the way society can commemorate the movement of the past while condemning the movement of the present. Or how it can continually celebrate social progress in the most abstract of ways while ignoring the realities of what is required for social progress to occur. Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing of the Voting Rights Act happened only because there were black Americans refusing to comply with oppression, creating disruption and posing direct challenges to the United States’ racial caste system. In 1963, Birmingham, Ala., was one of the most segregated cities in the United States of America. Black citizens faced brutal racial and economic oppression. If they protested, they faced violence from police and local authorities. To ask, “Was the Birmingham campaign of 1963 really necessary?” seems like a ridiculous question to most people today. Yet some of those very same people whose 20-20 hindsight never fails them seem blind to the present.

How To Win Sanders' Supporters To Independent Politics

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By Bryan Koulouris in Socialist Alternative. The Bernie Sanders campaign for President is gaining more traction than anybody expected. This reflects the massive, widespread hatred of Wall Street, the frustration at big business domination of the political system and the openness to socialist ideas in US society. Sanders’ rallies have constantly necessitated bigger venues than organizers planned. Thousands are being turned away at the doors from New Hampshire and Iowa to Colorado and Minnesota. Polls show Sanders’ support skyrocketing, putting him within ten percentage points of Hillary Clinton in state after state. Socialist Alternative stands for building a new, mass working people’s party. We disagree with Sanders’s approach of running in the Democratic primary.

The Power Of Hashtags In Black Activism

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By Kate Macarthur in the Chicago Tribune. Chicago, IL – #BlackLivesMatter, #Ferguson, #BillCosby, #SayHerName and #ConfederateFlag are more than social media hashtags. They’re each the digital equivalent of a rallying cry, amplifying black voices and empowering the next generation of activists. Cathy J. Cohen is an author and professor of political science at the University of Chicago and the founder of the Black Youth Project. She’s also a member of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics. She explains the growing role of hashtags in political discussion and what digital media can and can’t do for activists.