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.

Featured Video

YouTube Preview Image

Organizations and Websites
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.

Revolutionary Medicine: The Change We Need

Supporters of single-payer health care march in Sacramento, Calif., in April. (Rich Pedroncelli / AP)

By Michael Pappas for Truth Dig – It’s time to start talking to our patients about climate change and the structural causes of disease. Hurricane Harvey has devastated Texas, leaving many dead, thousands with homes destroyed and billions in damage to infrastructure. Hurricane Irma pummeled the Caribbean and Florida at the same time that Hurricanes Katia and Jose were picking up strength in the Atlantic and threatening Mexico and the Eastern Caribbean. Forest fires are destroying regions of the Pacific Northwest. Meanwhile, in Nigeria, over 100,000 people have been forced to leave their homes because of widespread flooding, and in Southeast Asia over 1,200 have died due to historic flooding, which has left over one-third of Bangladesh under water. These disasters did not come out of the blue, though. They are just a few examples of what results from an economic system that knows no limits. If the medical community wants to start addressing the systemic causes of illness, instead of just addressing the results that manifest themselves in various degrees of illness for suffering patients, we will have to make addressing the structural aspects of disease central to everyday medical practice. In medicine, we are often told not to “politicize” health care issues, not to be “too controversial” because “X” residency may not want to accept you, or “Y” employment opportunity may not want to hire you.

“Hegemony How-To”: Rethinking Activism And Embracing Power

Popular Resistance, Revolution, Rebellion, Capitalism

By Bruce Levine for Bruce E. Levine – Occupy Wall Street insider Jonathan Smucker’s recently published Hegemony How-To: A Roadmap for Radicals (AK Press, 2017) is the post-Occupy guide for how to be smarter about politics. Smucker, a long-time grassroots organizer, does not dismiss what Occupy did right but is honest about its failures. The 99% remain just as powerless as ever, and we still have endless wars, corporate control, and increasing social and economic injustices. In the tradition of Saul Alinsky and Antonio Gramsci, Smucker points out that “knowledge of what is wrong with a social system and knowledge of how to changethe system are two completely different categories of knowledge.” Before touching on how Hegemony How-To speaks directly to my own experience, a feel for Smucker’s punches. Smucker spares nothing and no one—including himself—in his passion to achieve political victory. Smucker asks himself: “How many times, I wondered, had I favored a particular action or tactic because I really thought it was likely to change a decision-maker’s position or win over key allies, as opposed to gravitating toward an action because it expressed my activist identity and self-conception? How concerned were we really, in our practice, with political outcomes?” Smucker concludes, “We often seemed more preoccupied with the purity of our political expression than with how to move from Point A to Point B. It felt as if having the right line about everything was more important than making measurable progress on anything.”

Radical White Workers During The Last Revolution

Screenshot 2017-09-13 at 10.18.14 AM

By Richard Moser for Counter Punch – During the 1960s and 1970s, radical activists set out to organize the white working class. They linked the pursuit of working class interest and economic democracy with anti-racist organizing. They discovered, and helped others realize, that white supremacy and racism are not a friend to white people but one of the main obstacles to fulfilling our own destiny as a free people. The context was the last revolution. The civil rights, black power, feminist, student movements and community organizing set the stage for working class whites to make important contributions to the democracy movements of the time. While these efforts were initiated by various groups, the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), radicalized working class youth, and the Black Panthers, they all eventually depended on the leadership of working class communities. The organizers had been deeply radicalized by the social upheavals of the time. Yet, their own working class backgrounds often placed them on the margins of the New Left. But the activists knew the white working class had enormous untapped potential. The movement to stop the War in Vietnam, fight the bosses, and win the battle against racism needed the hard work and political vision that everyday working people could help provide.

Protest Alone Won’t Stop Fascism

by Fibonacci Blue | CC BY 2.0

By Shamus Cooke for Counter Punch – When news struck that anti-Muslim protests with ties to white supremacists cancelled rallies across the country — in response to the huge anti-fascist rally in Boston — a clear victory was celebrated by the Left. A further anti-fascist victory was won in San Francisco, where a giant mobilization outnumbered a tiny smattering of far-right protesters who scurried away scared. But these victorious battles won’t end the war. The cockroaches that crawled back under the floorboards will resume their work underground, where they join a mass of fascist termites eating away at the base of the U.S. political system. The more conscious leaders of the budding fascist movement study history’s lessons. After Boston they made a strategic retreat, recognizing the balance of forces shifted against them. They’ll return to fight another day on more favorable terrain. Meanwhile they’re organizing. The larger “alt right” white supremacist movement will continue to use ultra-wealthy donors and growing networks to refine their organizing in order to position themselves as the political “solution” to the deepening economic-political crisis experienced by millions of people.

The Arab American Radicals Who Paved Way For BDS

Popular Resistance, Revolution, Rebellion, Capitalism

By Rod Such for The Electronic Antifada – One of the earliest boycott, divestment and sanctions, or BDS, victories in the United States came in 1973 when United Auto Workers Local 600 in Dearborn, Michigan, voted to divest its Israeli bonds after a campaign waged by the Arab Workers Caucus and the American Arab Coordinating Committee. The campaign drew comparisons with apartheid South Africa and won the support of many Black autoworkers in Michigan. Was it just an oddity that decades before Palestinian civil society called for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel in 2005, industrial workers in the US heartland were already waging a BDS struggle? Or, far from being a rogue wave, was it an integral part of the oceanic upheavals among workers, students, immigrants and people of color during the heady maelstroms of the 1960s and ’70s? The Rise of the Arab American Left makes it clear this was no oddity, although it did have certain characteristics unique to the Arab American experience. Given the relative paucity of scholarship on the history of the Arab American left, this book is a must-read for those who wish to learn more about that community’s activism during this period of radical upheaval.

How Should We Protest Neo-Nazis? Lessons From German History

file-20170820-22783-12tnnxh

By Laurie Marhoefer for The Conversation – Charlottesville was right out of the Nazi playbook. In the 1920s, the Nazi Party was just one political party among many in a democratic system, running for seats in Germany’s Parliament. For most of that time, it was a small, marginal group. In 1933, riding a wave of popular support, it seized power and set up a dictatorship. The rest is well-known. It was in 1927, while still on the political fringes, that the Nazi Party scheduled a rally in a decidedly hostile location – the Berlin district of Wedding. Wedding was so left-of-center that the neighborhood had the nickname “Red Wedding,” red being the color of the Communist Party. The Nazis often held rallies right where their enemies lived, to provoke them. The people of Wedding were determined to fight back against fascism in their neighborhood. On the day of the rally, hundreds of Nazis descended on Wedding. Hundreds of their opponents showed up too, organized by the local Communist Party. The antifascists tried to disrupt the rally, heckling the speakers. Nazi thugs retaliated. There was a massive brawl. Almost 100 people were injured. I imagine the people of Wedding felt they had won that day. They had courageously sent a message: Fascism was not welcome. But historians believe events like the rally in Wedding helped the Nazis build a dictatorship. Yes, the brawl got them media attention.

Need For Diplomacy More Clear Than Ever After North Korea Claims H-Bomb Test

Protesters call on President Donald Trump to stop his drive to war against North Korea on August 14, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By Andrea Germanos for Common Dreams – Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, meanwhile, said that he was drafting new sanctions to place on North Korea in response to the test. “It’s clear this behavior is completely unacceptable,” Mnuchin said on “Fox News Sunday.” Yukiya Amano, head of the U.N. nuclear agency, said the test was “an extremely regrettable act,” and called on North Korea “to fully implement all relevant resolutions of the U.N. Security Council and the IAEA,” which include stopping further nuclear tests. Among those appealing for calm was Russia, declaring diplomacy “the only possible way” to resolve the conflict. The foreign ministry in Moscow said the test merited “the strongest condemnation,” and warned that “the continuation of such a line is fraught with serious consequences” for Pyongyang. “In the unfolding conditions,” the ministry statement added, it is imperative to remain calm and to refrain from any actions that lead to a further escalation of tension.” “We call on all interested parties to immediately return to dialogue and negotiations as the only possible way for an overall settlement of the problems of the Korean peninsula,” it said.

Liberalism, Ultraleftism Or Mass Action

Popular Resistance, Revolution, Rebellion, Capitalism

By Peter Camejo for The Militant – The purpose of this meeting is to have a discussion about the present political conjuncture in this country following the May events, how we have to relate to what is happening, and what we have to do to build the antiwar movement and the revolutionary movement. The main questions I want to deal with are some of the arguments being raised within the radical movement against the orientation projected by the Socialist Workers Party and the Young Socialist Alliance. I want to try to deal with these arguments in a theoretical way. That is, deal with what is basically behind the differences that now exist in the radical movement and what they represent in terms of the problems before the left in the United States. I want to start by talking about Cambodia. If you read the newspapers of the last few days you will notice that there’s a very interesting thing happening in Cambodia. The papers say that the guerrillas are winning ground. Now, you have to be very careful whenever the American papers say that the communists are winning, because sometimes that is done simply to justify sending more troops or more arms. But when the papers start saying it every day, over and over again, and then they start telling you what areas the communists have conquered, after a while you begin to suspect that it’s true.

North Carolina: The New Model For Conservative Rule – And Progressive Renewal

ncpolicywatch.com

By Tyler Norris for NC Policy Watch – My home state was once a model for progress. For half a century, North Carolina was a beacon of moderation in the South, an outlier dubbed the “Dixie Dynamo” as early as the 1960’s for its farsighted reforms and public investments. The state had its share of problems, especially around the pernicious legacy of Jim Crow, but many of its trend lines were positive and generated an infectious optimism. I remember that optimism. Even in Appalachia, my father could start a successful small business, and the public schools offered a quality education. In high school, I was given the opportunity to attend the North Carolina School of Science and Math, founded as the first public school of its kind in the early 1980’s and used as a model for 18 other schools nationally. Opportunities were expanding, barriers to mobility were dropping, and the state’s future looked bright. Today, North Carolina is different. The numbers speak for themselves: the share of workers living in poverty is up from one-in-four in 2000 to every one-in-three today, according to the NC Justice Center – the second highest share of any state. Middle-wage jobs have hollowed outand median income has plunged since 2007.

This Land Is Whose Land?

Illustration by
David Istvan.

By Matt Hern for ROAR Magazine – Understanding the forces deforming our cities today requires more than a class analysis of capitalist land speculation. We have to talk about race. There is really no way to think about cities today without talking about displacements, and over the past few generations, gentrification has emerged as a broadly familiar frame for understanding the explosive changes that are disfiguring cities across the planet.Gentrification has become so ubiquitous and commonplace that many of us are resigned to capital’s inevitable capture of the best parts of every city. We all see the gentrifications around us. We know what it smells like. We instinctually know which neighbourhoods are vulnerable. The neoliberal city is a vampiric city and we have all become inured to its feeding habits. But I am convinced that the dominant languages being invoked to theorize gentrification today fall short: they are necessary but not sufficient. Understanding urban displacements today requires a more nuanced engagement with racialized rationalities than is currently circulating in most gentrification literatures.

Black-Clad Anarchists Storm Berkeley Rally, Assaulting 5

majka czapski/ flickr

By Paul Elias and Jocelyn Gecker for Associated Press – Black-clad anarchists on Sunday stormed into what had been a largely peaceful Berkeley protest against hate and attacked at least five people, including the leader of a politically conservative group who canceled an event a day earlier in San Francisco amid fears of violence. The group of more than 100 hooded protesters, with shields emblazoned with the words “no hate” and waving a flag identifying themselves as anarchists, busted through police lines, avoiding security checks by officers to take away possible weapons. Then the anarchists blended with a crowd of 2,000 largely peaceful protesters who turned up to demonstrate in a “Rally Against Hate” opposed to a much smaller gathering of right-wing protesters. Berkeley police chief Andrew Greenwood defended how police handled the protest, saying they made a strategic decision to let the anarchists enter to avoid more violence. Greenwood said “the potential use of force became very problematic” given the thousands of peaceful protesters in the park. Once anarchists arrived, it was clear there would not be dueling protests between left and right so he ordered his officers out of the park and allowed the anarchists to march in.

Is Violence The Way To Fight Racism?

1baltantifa

By Peter Singer for Project Syndicate. PRINCETON, NJ – Should rallies by neo-Nazis and white supremacists be met with violence? That question was raised by the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12. White supremacists held a rally to protest the planned removal from a public park of a statue of Robert E. Lee, the leader of the Confederate army during the Civil War. A counter-protest was organized, and street fighting broke out. A woman, Heather Heyer, was killed and 19 people injured when James Fields, a white nationalist, drove his car at high speed into a crowd of counter-protesters.

How (Not) To Challenge Racist Violence

doj_trump_trump_protest_1

By Aviva Chomsky for Common Dreams – Everyone from mainstream Republicans to a spectrum of Democrats to corporate executives to “antifa” leftists seems eager and proud to loudly denounce or even physically confront neo-Nazis and white nationalists. But the extremists on the streets of Charlottesville, or making Nazi salutes at the Reichstag, are engaging in only symbolic and individual politics. Even the murder of a counter-protester was an individual act—one of over 40 murders a day in the United States, the great majority by firearms. (Double that number are killed every day by automobiles in what we call “accidents”—but which obviously have a cause also.) Protesters are eager to expend extraordinary energy denouncing these small-scale racist actors, or celebrating vigilante-style responses. But what about the large-scale racist actors? There has been no comparable mobilization, in fact little mobilization at all, against what Martin Luther King called “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today”—the United States government, which dropped 72 bombs per day in 2016, primarily in Iraq and Syria, but also in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan, making every single day 9/11 in those countries.

What A Revived Poor People’s Campaign Needs To Do In The Trump Era

Demonstrators participating in the Poor People's March at Lafayette Park and on Connecticut Avenue, Washington, D.C., on June 18, 1968. Photo from Library of Congress.

By Amanda Abrams for Yes! Magazine – In 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. and his allies started the Poor People’s Campaign, a movement meant to improve the lives of low-income Americans. But King was assassinated a few months before its political actions officially kicked off, and the campaign never reached its full potential. Fifty years later, Rev. William Barber, head of the North Carolina NAACP, is joining other religious and activist leaders to launch a new Poor People’s Campaign, picking up where King left off. Although King is universally associated with civil rights and the struggles of African Americans, the original Poor People’s Campaign was an inclusive effort to alleviate the poverty of Americans of all races. And today’s organizers say that goal is fundamental to the new campaign as well. In this deeply polarized socio-political climate, the message is an attractive one, emphasizing not left or right, but a collective moral obligation to allow everyone a fair shot at a decent life. Barber’s inclusive language certainly succeeded in North Carolina, where the popular Moral Mondays protests he spearheaded in 2013–14 helped elect a Democratic governor last year. But for the new movement to gain national traction, it will need to appeal not only to African Americans and progressive Whites, who currently make up Barber’s base, but also draw in poor and working-class Whites, too.

Radical Municipalism: The Future We Deserve

Flickr/ Abhisek Sarda

By Debbie Bookchin for ROAR Magazine – I am the daughter of two longtime municipalists. My mother, Beatrice Bookchin, ran for city council of Burlington, Vermont thirty years ago, in 1987, on an explicitly municipalist platform of building an ecological city, a moral economy and, above all, citizen assemblies that would contest the power of the nation state. My father is the social theorist and libertarian municipalist, Murray Bookchin. For many years the left has struggled with the question of how to bring our ideas, of equality, economic justice and human rights, to fruition. And my father’s political trajectory is instructive for the argument that I want to make: that municipalism isn’t just one of many ways to bring about social change — it is really the only way that we will successfully transform society. As someone who had grown up as a young communist and been deeply educated in Marxist theory, my father became troubled by the economistic, reductionist modes of thinking that had historically permeated the Marxist left. He was searching for a more expansive notion of freedom — not just freedom from economic exploitation, but freedom that encompassed all manner of oppression: race, class, gender, ethnicity.