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.

Rev. Barber: America Needs A New Poor People’s Campaign

Rev. William Barber addresses supporters at Halifax Mall outside the state legislature in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, June 17, 2013. CREDIT: AP Photo/Gerry Broome

By William J. Barber, II for Think Progress – In a spectacle of religious hypocrisy last week, preachers who say so much about what God says so little — and so little about what God says so much — stood in the Rose Garden as a backdrop for President Donald Trump’s executive order on “religious liberty.” As they celebrated this administration’s willingness to let them use religious freedom as an excuse to force their “values” on someone else, Trump pointed to the legacy of the African-American church as an example of faith in public life. In every con, there’s a grain of truth, whether the person who is speaking knows it or now. I know the prophetic African American church tradition that grew up on the edges of plantations and spoke clearly for the first time into this nation’s public life when Hariet Tubman and Frederick Douglass first escaped from slavery to freedom. On my mother and father’s side of our family tree combined, I count more than eight hundred years of public ministry in that tradition. We do not know how to preach without engaging the powers in the public square. Whenever I open the Scriptures, I read about a God who hears the cry of the suffering and stands on the side of the oppressed for justice.

What The Resistance To Trump Can Learn From Latin America

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By Jeff Abbott for Waging Nonviolence – It is hard to deny the authoritarian tendencies that Donald Trump has shown in his first 100 days as president of the United States. These tendencies have drawn comparisons to the classic image of a Latin American dictator, and more specifically the caudillo — or strongman leader — by commentators from across Latin American. From his taste in decor and his adversarial relationship with the media, to his fundamental assault on human rights, the similarities are hard to contest. Our neighbors to the south have a long history of resisting authoritarian and fascist regimes, which often were supported by the U.S. governments. They were able to survive under difficult situations and — thanks to social movements — move the region in a more progressive direction. After decades of struggle, here are four lessons that movements in Latin America can teach those in the United States organizing against their own authoritarian leader. 1. Defend public services. Today, as Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos move to further dismantle the public education system and impose a neoliberal model of education…

Which Way To The Barricades?

1933 Dressmakers' Union strike demonstrators take a break in a diner. Kheel Center / Flickr

By Steve Fraser and Nelson Lichtenstein for Jacobin Magazine – Shelly’s “Masque of Anarchy” has been a spectral presence for nearly two hundred years, summoned at climactic moments of civil warfare. Composed to memorialize the 1819 Peterloo massacre, the poem commemorates the sixty thousand people who gathered at the very dawn of the industrial revolution to demand a radical expansion of suffrage, especially to those laboring in England’s dark satanic mills. Dozens died, hundreds were wounded. The poem wasn’t published for over a decade, until the Chartist movement took it up in 1832. Another ten years after that, it became the anthem of an almost nationwide general strike. Participants referred to the time leading up to that moment and the strikes that preceded it as “holy days.” Since then “Ye are many—they are few” has inspired rebellion, resistance, and liberation again and again. The New York garment worker strikes of 1911, the sit-down strikes of the 1930s, May 1968 in Paris, and, most recently, the pro-democracy congregations during the Arab Spring and the Occupy uprisings of 2011 are all etched in our collective memory. There are also largely unknown, but hardly less remarkable, general strikes: not just those that shut down Winnipeg and Seattle in 1919…

Where Is The Peace Movement When We Really Need It?

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By Ethan Young for The Indypendent – We now live under a regime that sees catastrophic war moves as a handy distraction from its endless failures. The boundaries between the executive branch, corporations, finance and the military are fast losing substance. We stand by in horror as they play chicken with the world from Syria to Russia to North Korea. A mass peace movement is urgently needed but still a long way away. Why? There are a number of “common sense” reasons that have been floating around the left for decades. There is a long-held belief that ending the draft removed the life-or-death motivation that revived anti-interventionism beyond all expectations during the Vietnam war. Continued sympathy for the Democratic Party is also blamed for the lack of protest over the war moves of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. However, what is extraordinary about the U.S. peace movement is not that it receded, but that it emerged at all during the 1960s, affecting the national culture and posing lasting problems for both dominant parties. This mini-enlightenment marked a shift in national consensus from ardently pro-military to anti-intervention, with elements of pacifism and persistent anti-fascism that were defining features of the emerging counterculture.

Purity Over Principle: The Left’s State Of Purgatory

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By Danny Haiphong for Black Agenda Report – The first 100 days of Donald Trump’s Presidency has revealed much about the state of political thought and action in the United States. Mainly, Trump’s ascendancy thus far has been a hard lesson on the still ambiguous and disorganized condition of the left. But what, or who, is the Left? This broad but critical question still warrants an answer. However, the question cannot be answered unless the left’s state of purgatory in the US is fully understood. Purgatory is often referenced in Christianity as the space between the divine light of heaven and the profound darkness of hell. Purgatory has another definition rooted in mental anguish. For the left, purgatory can be better described as ideological anguish. Little clarity exists among left organizations and groups on the most pertinent questions of the historical moment, leaving the left in an ineffectual “no man’s land.” One consequence of the left’s purgatory has been the complete entrapment of politics inside of a US-Eurocentric quest for purity at the expense of political principles. The Trump Administration verified the left’s entrapment with its recent war maneuvers against Syria and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The Silence Of The Pseudo-Left On The Danger Of War

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By Eric London for WSWS – A wide range of nominally left-wing political groups and publications have acquiesced to a series of dangerous military actions by the Trump administration that have brought the world to the brink of war. On April 13, the US dropped the largest nonnuclear bomb ever deployed in history in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan. The Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb weighs over 10 tons and is so destructive it reportedly obliterated the homes of peasants living several miles from the drop zone. Four days later, Vice President Michael Pence traveled to the demilitarized zone on the Korean peninsula, where the US has threatened to use preemptive military force against the nuclear-armed North. Pence acknowledged that the MOAB bombing was aimed at proving that the US was prepared to go to war. “Just in the past two weeks,” he declared, “the world witnessed the strength of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan. North Korea would do well not to test his resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region.” The growing danger of a nuclear conflagration is widely felt.

An American Uprising: Assessing Opportunities For Progressive Political Change

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By Anthony Dimaggio for Counter Punch – We live in a time of tremendous instability and change. Concerns about growing authoritarianism in American politics – as reflected in the rise of corporate power in politics, the intensification of militarism, and the diversion of the masses from political participation – are legitimate. There’s always been negativity on “the left” regarding American politics and society, and for good reason. We live in a time of ecological unsustainability that threatens human survival. Record inequality means a growing number of Americans are economically insecure and struggling to pay for basic goods such as health care and education. The threat of militarism is real, with the Trump administration’s saber rattling against Russia and North Korea. Militarism was a problem under Obama as well, although many Americans held out hope based on Trump’s rhetoric that he’d cool relations with Russia. Progressives are right to spotlight the dangers to democracy and human survival we face, and to condemn a political-economic system that’s engaged in an all-out assault on the public. But these dangers are far from the whole story when we talk about American politics today.

Preparing For The Next ‘Movement Moment’

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By George Lakey for Waging Nonviolence – As alumni of the 2011 Occupy Wall Street phenomenon might tell you, more preparation might have expanded Occupy’s impact. Such a “movement moment” is inevitably marked by improvisation, but bringing lessons learned from previous uprisings is bound to help. More such moments are on their way — particularly in countries like the United States, which are experiencing increasing polarization and longer-term decline of the legitimacy of both political and economic establishments. We can’t predict where and when the next movement moment will start. Fortunately, help has shown up to steer us away from predictable mistakes when the moment comes. Jonathan Matthew Smucker’s new book is right in time, revealing deep learning from the important role he played in the Occupy movement. He also draws on years of other organizing work and his research on social movements. The book starts with a deliberately provocative title: “Hegemony How-To: A Road Map for Radicals.” Hegemony, Smucker says, is acceptance by the mainstream of a particular worldview as common sense.

“Storm The Heavens”: Notes From The Weather Underground On Resistance

Weather Underground Organization founding members Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn speak in San Francisco, California, February 20, 2009. (Photo: Steve Rhodes)

By Dahr Jamail for Truthout – Those of us living within the borders of the United States currently find ourselves living inside the churning engine of a hyper-militarized corporate-fascist farce of a democracy that is spiraling into darkness. The blades of this death-machine are grinding what is left of our precious planet into dust. Now, think back nearly five decades ago to the late 1960s. The Vietnam War was escalating dramatically and imperialism was lurching forward rapidly enough to cause ongoing demonstrations and political activism to spread like wildfire across the seething country. Some were fueled by a hunger for justice great enough they engaged in armed struggle against the US government. It was they who comprised The Weather Underground Organization (WUO), a faction of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) that took up arms in solidarity with the Black Panthers and other militant groups with the aim to “Bring the War Home.” Going underground to escape the relentless pursuit of the FBI and other law enforcement, the group managed to carry out several high-profile bombings…

What Does It Take For Activists To Get Your Attention?

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By Brian Martin for Waging Nonviolence – For major protests today, it is standard to have a media strategy. For example, there can be individuals assigned to media liaison. The location and timing of an action can be chosen with an eye toward media schedules. Some actions are designed specifically to attract media attention. However, there are many factors that complicate activist efforts to reach the mass media. Major outlets choose what to report based on news values such as conflict, prominence and proximity. A politician will be quoted rather than an activist, and a scuffle at a rally will be reported rather than what the protest is actually about. Activists can try to sidestep the mass media by using social media. Another option is simply to not worry so much about media coverage and focus on making actions meaningful for participants. After all, protesters are part of the audience. There is lots of practical advice on how to send the protest message, and it is definitely worth understanding media dynamics and taking them into account. However, protesters will nearly always be at a disadvantage when trying to compete with dominant groups…

America’s Farmers Face Uncertain Future

No more field days … life is set to become more difficult for US farmers. Image: Rich via Flickr

By Tim Radford for Climate News Network. LONDON, 5 April, 2017 – Spare a thought for the farmers of America: climate change is going to make their lives more difficult. Growing seasons will be extended, as spring arrives ever earlier and winter’s onset is delayed. But that also throws one of farming’s great specifics into new uncertainty. What matters most immediately to farmers is not just the overall pattern of rain and sunlight; it is the number of days on which they can successfully and fruitfully work the soil. And this, say agricultural researchers, is crucial. Working days “Everything else flows from field working days,” says Adam Davis, an ecologist for the US Department of Agriculture and a crop scientist at the University of Illinois. “If you’re not able to work, everything else gets backed up.

Making May Day A Day For Solidarity

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By Nicole Colson for Socialist Worker – The Women’s Marches held the day after he took office were the largest single day of demonstrations in U.S. history. Thousands of people participated in a new form of protest–the airport occupation–in response to his Muslim ban. There are two major environmental justice mobilizations coming up in in April. And now, with the Trump regime ramping up deportations and raids across the country, immigrant rights activists and organizations are joining with labor and other forces to turn this year’s May Day into a show of solidarity and struggle against Trump’s agenda. The urgency of making a stand is clear after the White House shifted the deportation machine into high gear.

Not Your Grandma’s Civil Rights Strategy

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By Jon Else for Tom Dispatch – On a glorious afternoon in August 1963, after the massive March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom wrapped up on the national mall, President John F. Kennedy, prodded by Attorney General Robert Kennedy, welcomed John Lewis, Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, and other march organizers to the White House for a discussion of proposed civil rights legislation. Fifty-four years later, on an afternoon in January 2017, when the even more massive Women’s March on Washington wrapped up, President Donald Trump responded with a sarcastic tweet. Just the day before, Trump’s team had removed the “civil rights” page from the issues section…

Should Scientists Engage In Activism?

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By Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus for The Conversation. Have you heard that scientists are planning a march on Washington? The move is not being billed as a protest, but rather as a “celebration of our passion for science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community,” although it comes as a direct response to recent policy changes and statements by the Trump administration. Not everyone thinks the nonprotest protest is a good thing. It’s “a terrible idea,” wrote Robert Young, a geologist at Western Carolina University, in The New York Times. The march, Young said, will just reinforce a belief among some conservatives that “scientists are an interest group,” and polarize the issue, making researchers’ jobs more difficult. Others find that argument less than convincing, pointing out that science and politics have always been intertwined.

Reason And Justice Address Realities

People marching in Austin, Texas on Saturday were among the millions nationwide who mobilized to express their dismay at the reality of President Donald Trump. "There are millions of people in this country who currently feel lost and alone and would like to contribute to movements that envision a more just society," writes Lobel. But in addition to organizing this new wave of energy, he adds, there must also be "a coherent strategy and vision" if transformative change is to be achieved. (Photo: Steve Rainwater/flickr/cc)

By Ralph Nader for The Nader Page – Consider the immense public attention to health insurance and health care and the recent struggles over Obamacare and now Ryancare. Conspicuously absent from the dialogues that pundits, politicians and reporters carry on is that the third leading cause of death in the U.S. is “medical error.” According to a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine report last May, over 250,000 people lose their lives yearly in U.S. hospitals from “diagnostic errors, medical mistakes and the absence of safety nets” to stop hospital-induced infections, incompetent personnel, dangerous mixes of prescribed drugs and more. Yet in the debate surrounding the health care industry…