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 Bruce Dixon for Black Agenda Report. If we aim to build a movement that cannot be co-opted by Democrats again and again, our hashtags, memes and messages have to educate our people, not just eviscerate Trump. Sure denouncing and hitting the streets to make fun of Big Cheeto is just that. It’s fun, and maybe theraputic too. But as good as they make us feel, storms of ridicule failed to drive Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush from office, and our scorn of Reagan didn’t prevent two presidents Bush or Clinton either. Our mocking of “W” didn’t hold Obama accountable either. Big protests, especially the permitted kind that take place on weekends, marching through canyons of empty office buildings, sometime with hilarious puppets, some of us being chased by police are routine, almost traditional pageantry by now. Mass protests don’t have magical powers.
By John Stauber for CounterPunch. The massive, continuing protests against President Trump, #NotMyPresident, are not a movement and will only benefit Trump. They are an emotional tactic devoid of strategy, and one that has made Trump stronger and stronger since it was first unleashed during the Republican primaries at the beginning of 2016. ‘Trump is a racist narcissist pig, unfit to exist, much less govern,’ or so the meme goes. But despite losing the popular vote he mat slammed Hillary and the Democrat Party. The GOP scaredy cats who were fleeing him en masse he actually rescued and rose them to control both houses of Congress. As of this writing the Trump protests have not abated, and now this smells of serious failure, the type of total and complete butt kicking that Republicans gave to the so-called Wisconsin Uprising.
By Bruce Gagnon for the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. I watched Donald Trump’s inaugural speech yesterday with three other housemates and none of us were impressed. He’s living in another age – I see Trump trying to hang on to the long passed time of American military supremacy and economic domination. One last gasp before the US empire crashes under the weight of its own hypocrisy and contradictions. He said a few things that were decent but one must question them as pure political rhetoric as just a quick review of his cabinet appointments (full of corporate operatives) strongly undercuts his claims that he will return the power to the people that the ‘elites in Washington’ have unfairly taken from them. Trump blames other nations (especially China) for ‘stealing our jobs’ but we all know that it was the absolute greed of the corporations that drove them to close production plants across America and move jobs to places overseas where labor was cheaper and environmental regulations were virtually non-existent.
By Staff of Waging Nonviolence – Donald Trump didn’t so much win the election as Hillary Clinton lost it. Clinton’s failure to turn out the Democrats’ traditional base on election day should be understood as a catastrophic failure of the Democratic Party establishment to fire up their base by responding to the growing public opposition to neoliberalism. This, in effect, was the key difference between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries: Sanders named the enemy — increasing concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few under deregulated capitalism — and vowed to confront that power. Hillary Clinton preached a “realism” that simply accepted the ground rules of neoliberalism unchallenged. Compared to Trump’s repeated focus on how the country’s leaders had failed the working class
By Beverly Bell for Truth Out – In the toxic political environment of the US, love is an act of protest. At least, that is what Dr. Martin Luther King, whose 88th birthday we celebrate Monday, said in many ways. As just one example, he wrote in his book Strength to Love, “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” But today, with such dangerous and violent power at play, is love a priority? Should it, or even can it be a fundament of our organizing and mobilization, especially amongst the sectors suffering the rampant attacks and threats?
By Staff of Be Freedom – Independence is more than freedom from empire or oppression. Independence is the power to achieve self-governance. In its Constitution, the United States asserts that power as belonging to “We the People.” For the Irish it’s “Sinn Féin” (“We Ourselves.”) In Xhosa, South Africans chanted “Amanda Awethu!” (“Power is Ours!”) The Black Panthers “All Power to the People” became “Power to the People,” perhaps the most widely loved ideal in the movements of the Sixties and Seventies. Listen to John Lennon or Rootz Underground sing it. All these revolutions — and many more — aspired to universal values and moved millions. We need millions because the challenge is steep. Surely, we have lost our democracy.
By Chris Hedges for Truth Dig – Politics is a game of fear. Those who do not have the ability to make power elites afraid do not succeed. All of the movements that opened up the democratic space in America—the abolitionists, the suffragists, the labor movement, the communists, the socialists, the anarchists and the civil rights movement—developed a critical mass and militancy that forced the centers of power to respond. The platitudes about justice, equality and democracy are just that. Only when power becomes worried about its survival does it react. Appealing to its better nature is useless. It doesn’t have one. We once had within our capitalist democracy liberal institutions…
By Arun Gupta for Raw Story – After initially saying Democrats would try to align with Trump after his victory, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer is finally leaning toward the only sensible response to the threat of right-wing extremism: Obstructionism. Schumer threw down the gauntlet in a CNN interview on Jan. 3. “The only way we’re going to work with [Trump] is if he moves completely in our direction and abandons his Republican colleagues.” But Schumer hedged as well by saying Democrats were not going to be the “party of no” the way Republicans were since 2008. He said, “We’re Democrats. We’re not going to just oppose things to oppose them.”
By Richard Moser for Be Freedom – The scale of our problems are far too great. There is far too much at stake. The problems we face are dangerous, deeply embedded, institutionalized. There is no clever, cunning or purely tactical way of addressing them. Inside baseball and palace politics have failed. We are approaching a shift in the equation of risk. The dangers we face in making the big political changes are becoming less threatening than the dangers we face in continuing on the current course. Perhaps we are already there. Let’s consider the core issues of power and social control in the US today: The Corporate Power is vast wealth wedded to political control. And, it rules America.
By Laura Roth and Kate Shea Baird for ROAR Magazine – Two of the liveliest debates among activists on the European left these days relate to the strategy of left-wing populism on the one hand and the need to feminize politics on the other. Yet little has been said about the relationship between the two. What would a feminist reading of left-wing populism look like? How does left-wing populism fit in with the goal of feminizing politics? It is our view that populism is not only incompatible with the feminization of politics; it actually reinforces patriarchy. Faced with a choice between these essentially incompatible strategies, any hope of transformation will require us to abandon populism and make a genuine commitment to changing the way politics is done.
By Jeremy Brecher for Labor Network for Sustainability – Donald Trump and a powerful collection of anti-social forces have taken control of the U.S. government. They seek permanent domination in service of their individual and class wealth and power. Trump’s presidency threatens immigrants, African Americans, Muslims, workers, women, children, the elderly, the disabled, LGBTQ people, and many others. Indeed, it threatens all that holds us together as a society. We the people – society — need to defend ourselves against this threat and bring it to an end. We need what resisters to repressive regimes elsewhere have called “Social Self-Defense.”
By Glen Ford for Black Agenda Report – As is ordained by law, at the end of the week much of President Obama’s legacy will become Donald Trump’s powers, including the power to detain Americans indefinitely (forever) without trial or charge, an authority the First Black President secured from Congress in 2011. Obama’s wars become Trump’s wars, which, if Trump follows Obama’s example — and if he succumbs to the furious pressures of leading Democrats, old line Republicans and an openly aggressive and “politicized” national security establishment — will be expanded and multiplied. The most imminent threats to human survival under a Trump presidency flow…
By Staff of Left East – A: People are speculating all over the world on what the exchange rate will be in the future. They are buying future contracts, and you as a producer are buying in that sense an insurance policy. The production couldn’t go on without this. You know, when the US Congress wanted to put greater restrictions on the banks after the 2008-09 crisis, especially in the trading of derivatives, it was Caterpillar, the biggest American industrial multinational corporation that objected to this, because it would increase its costs in the derivative market. So there is an illusion that finance is not connected to the kind of production we have all over the world. It’s speculative, but every capitalist speculates when he invests.
By Sam Gindin for The Bullet – The profound defeat of the U.S. labour movement over the past three to four decades is usually measured by the loss of things that workers once took for granted like decent wages and benefits. A less quantifiable but ultimately more decisive indicator is the retreat from possibilities. By extension, the labour movement’s renewal (or reinvention) is inseparable from reversing, through effective struggle, this lowering of expectations. Jane McAlevey captured this sentiment in the title of her first book, Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell), a memoir based on her experiences as a labour organizer.