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 Rabbi Arthur Waskow for The Shalom Center – We are facing a government that is beginning the process of shattering democracy and devastating the Earth, elevating what Martin Luther King defined as the deadly triplets of Racism, Militarism, and Materialism into the domineering reality of our lives. That government is trying to make it become the new normal that our lives will be fearful, consumed by fake news and “alternative facts,” struggling to deal with worsening economic pressures and worsening ecological disasters, even life-spans shorter in years. Three different sorts of energy have been stirred into a devil’s brew to fuel this anti-democratic political machine. They have three specific people as their embodiments: First, a Leader – a Bully — with a strong personal streak of narcissism, cruelty, and vindictiveness: Mr. Trump. What he brings to the amalgam is a “populism” that is not about policy but about an emotional connection with people who are angry enough to break the rules of decorum –- and welcome a leader who does break them.
By The Old and New Project. July 2016— When we asked Marta Harnecker whether it would be OK to post her “Ideas for the Struggle” (12 short articles about the left and the challenges it faces) on the Old and New website, with an invitation to revolutionary activists in the USA to discuss it, she said she would be delighted. But she also urged that we write an introduction explaining why a piece that was originally composed in 2004 is being reprinted today, with only a few modifications. That question, however, seems relatively easy: not much has changed on the revolutionary left since 2004 concerning the issues Harnecker is addressing in these notes. They have not been adequately discussed or resolved, far from it. Another question also seems significant: Why do we think a text inspired by and considering the practices of the Latin American left will be helpful to revolutionaries in the USA? This should also be obvious to readers who take even a quick look at the topics Harnecker considers.
By Jennifer Kaplan for Bloomberg – The president himself urged consumers to boycott brands while on the campaign trail, including Macy’s Inc. and Oreo cookies. More recently, he upbraided Nordstrom Inc. for dropping the product line of daughter Ivanka, opening another front in the boycott wars. Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc., Starbucks Corp., Nike Inc., Uber Technologies Inc., Under Armour Inc. and Kellogg Co. are just some of the companies that have faced the wrath of infuriated consumers on both sides in the past year. Their reactions have included direct challenges to the president’s policies, attempts to stay above the fray by appearing nonpolitical — and silence. “It’s more important than ever for companies to understand who they are and the value that they contribute to society, to their employees, to their communities and to their consumers,” Spring said. “Because those values need to be the platform upon which they decide whether or not to respond to current events.”
By Ali Abunimah for Electronic Antifada – US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a joint press conference at the White House on Wednesday morning, before going into their much-anticipated bilateral meeting. Asked about whether the US was still wedded to a two-state solution, Trump broke with longstanding orthodoxy. “I am looking at two states or one state, and I like the one that both parties like,” the president said. On settlements, Trump reaffirmed to Netanyahu, “I’d like to see you hold back on settlements for a little bit.” Advocates of a two-state solution, including the previous US administration and European governments, see it as the only way to rescue Israel as a racist state that ensures its Jewish demographic majority through a battery of racist laws – a situation they refer to as “peace.”
By Kazu Haga for Waging Noviolence – I admit, I laughed a little too. When I first saw videos of white nationalist Richard Spencer getting punched by a protester, I thought it was funny. And even now, I’m not exactly shedding a tear for him. I certainly pray that the attempts to find and target the person who threw the punch prove unsuccessful. As many of us expected, the election and subsequent inauguration of Donald Trump has given rise to a new movement of white supremacy and hatred. It has empowered an ideology that never really went away, but has been lying largely dormant for decades. But resistance to those ideologies has also been on the rise. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.”
By Ed Childs for Workers World – Well in advance of the Harvard University Dining Service strike, we knew we would need to build a solidarity coalition to take on the Harvard Corporation. We spent months laying the groundwork. (For Part 1, about strike preparations, go to tinyurl.com/z3goecw.) Once the strike began the coalition was critical. Harvard Medical School students staged two walkouts in support of the striking HUDS workers. The Student Labor Action Movement played a big role; they organized a dinner for us on campus where faculty, administrators, deans, parents and our workers spoke. Campus environmentalists saw worker health as necessary for a healthy campus environment. The Jewish group Hillel hosted meetings and fed us, and rabbis spoke at our rallies.
By Paul Arden for Congressional Management Foundation – WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) released a new report today outlining the degree of influence that citizens have on congressional decision-making. The research in “Citizen-Centric Advocacy: The Untapped Power of Constituent Engagement” is the most comprehensive ever produced on citizen engagement with Congress, and outlines where and how citizens’ voices influence lawmakers’ decision-making. Recently, Congress has seen unprecedented citizen engagement, with phone lines tied up for hours and voicemails full with constituents’ comments. This report, derived from surveys of Congress over a 12-year period, resulting in more than 1,200 responses from congressional staffers, outlines the ongoing feedback loop between Congress and constituent, and details the most effective means of making one’s voice heard in Washington.
By Jacqueline Patterson for The Huffington Post – Three days ago I had yet another conversation where well-intended, but poorly implemented diversification efforts have fallen short and resulted in harm. I’ve either directly experienced, or have been the listening ear for, way too many stories of lamentation from the sole person of color employee, board member, steering committee/advisory group member, coalition member, or even panelist/speaker in various environmental organizations/coalitions/settings. The divisions in our society, exposed and rubbed raw by recent events, urgently call for a deeper level of intent and action on building processes, organizations, movements, and systems that are rooted in anti-racism and anti-oppression.
By Rafael Khachaturian and Jeffrey C. Isaac for Dissent Magazine – If it wasn’t clear before, it has become all too clear after two weeks that the Trump administration poses a serious threat to liberal democracy. What we have witnessed since January 20 has little precedent in U.S. politics. A raft of commentary since the election—from Masha Gessen’s “Autocracy: Rules for Survival” to historian Timothy Snyder’s “20 Lessons from the 20th Century on How to Survive in Trump’s America” to a recent op-ed by Miklos Haraszsti, the Hungarian former anti-communist dissident, likening Trump to Hungary’s current authoritarian-leaning leader, Viktor Orban—has fittingly sought to explain and confront Trumpism by turning to authoritarian regimes abroad.
By Eleanor Finley for ROAR Magazine – In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election, devastating images and memories of the First and Second World Wars flood our minds. Anti-rationalism, racialized violence, scapegoating, misogyny and homophobia have been unleashed from the margins of society and brought into the political mainstream. Meanwhile, humanity itself runs in a life-or-death race against time. The once-unthinkable turmoil of climate change is now becoming reality, and no serious attempts are being undertaken by powerful actors and institutions to holistically and effectively mitigate the catastrophe. As the tenuous and paradoxical era of American republicanism comes to an end, nature’s experiment in such a creative, self-conscious creature as humanity reaches a perilous brink.
By Margaret Kimberley for Black Agenda Report – Resistance is the new watch word for millions of people who oppose Donald Trump and his administration. This is a positive development against a president who made such open appeals to white American supremacy and the 21st century iterations of manifest destiny. His announcement of a travel ban directed at citizens of seven mostly Muslim nations rekindled outrage and denunciation from millions of people around the country. Those protests were righteous and needed to take place. What they did not need was the presence of Democratic politicians who are still committed to imperialism and neoliberalism and to their failed policies which brought Trump to the presidency.
By David Solnit and George Lakey for Common Dreams – George Lakey: Point 2 of the ten-point plan suggests that activists strengthen connections of civic institutions with targeted populations so those institutions can leap to the defense. Some parts of our body politic are geared to defense—they are the white blood cells whose job is to resist infection—and if they are slow to act it’s a good idea for activists to stimulate them. On the other hand, we may not be needed for that! In my town, Philly, a city councilwoman, Helen Gym, led 4- to 6,000 people to the airport yesterday to protest Trump’s order only two days previous to prevent migrants from seven Muslim countries from entering even if they had visas or green cards.
By Derek Wright for Socialist Worker – Milo wasn’t able to spew his hate speech and incite far-right students and community members to commit atrocities and hate crimes, but not because the state decided to silence him. No one asked the police or the National Guard to shut him down. That would have been a violation of his constitutional rights. Instead, it was students, faculty, staff and the wider community who raised our voices in a public space to say “we resist your agenda.” We all start with a right to say what we wish. But we have to take responsibility for what we say. If someone is trying to incite people to commit hate crimes, they don’t deserve an open and uncontested platform.
By Firoze Manji for ROAR Magazine – Amilcar Cabral and Frantz Fanon are among the most important thinkers from Africa on the politics of liberation and emancipation. While the relevance of Fanon’s thinking has re-emerged, with popular movements such as Abahlali baseMjondolo in South Africa proclaiming his ideas as the inspiration for their mobilizations, as well as works by Sekyi-Otu, Alice Cherki, Nigel Gibson, Lewis Gordon and others, Cabral’s ideas have not received as much attention. Cabral was the founder and leader of the Guinea-Bissau and Cabo Verde liberation movement, Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde (PAIGC).