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The Nonviolent History of American In...

CNV-July-4-Meme

Independence Day is commemorated with fireworks and flag-waving, gun salutes and military parades . . . however, one of our nation’s founding fathers, John Adams, wrote, “A history of military operations . . . is not a history of the American Revolution.” Often minimized in our history books, the tactics of nonviolent action played a […]

Got Strategy? It takes more than a si...

Got Strategy? It takes more than a single action to make a movement.

It takes more than a single action to make a movement. And, who’s to say YOU won’t launch, organize, and carry out a series of effective nonviolent actions that build into a set of powerful campaigns that form the arc of a world-changing movement? Find a couple friends, dust off your strategic thinking caps, and […]

Got Strategy? Acts of Intervention

Got Strategy? Acts of Intervention

There are over two hundred methods of nonviolent action. Gene Sharp categorized them into three major groups: acts of protest and persuasion, acts of noncooperation, and acts of intervention. Acts of intervention literally interrupt business-as-usual and disrupt the functioning of systems. Usually (though not always) these types of nonviolent actions involve people physically putting their […]

Got Strategy? How About a Grand Strat...

Got Strategy? How About a Grand Strategy?

Grand Strategy is a plan of action to achieve the major or overall goals of your movement. It’s different than campaign-level strategy, or strategy for specific nonviolent actions (which should include dates, times, location, weather, people, contingency plans, signage, etc. and so forth.) Grand Strategy is a broad view of the arc of the movement. […]

Got Strategy? Initiating vs. Reacting...

Got Strategy? Initiating vs. Reacting and Taking Back the Escalation Curve

Too often, our movements find themselves reacting instead of initiating the dynamic events of the struggle. Take back the escalation curve by engaging in strategic thinking, foresight, and planning. Don’t wait for your opposition to attack you . . . organize and mobilize in advance of the crisis. Easier said than done, right? We often […]

Got Strategy? Check Out Constructive ...

Got Strategy? Check Out Constructive Program

Many of us know about protests and marches, there is also a whole other side to nonviolence: constructive program. The phrase was coined by Gandhi whose famous salt and spinning campaigns combined both direct action and constructive program into powerful forces for change. A constructive program is more than a positive project; it should have […]

Got Strategy? Acts of Concentration a...

Got Strategy? Acts of Concentration and Dispersion

Acts of concentration are those that assemble human bodies in geographic areas together. Acts of dispersion are nonviolent actions that do not bring bodies into the same space. Why is this important? Because when violent repression is likely to occur, using acts of dispersion can keep people safe while still carrying out effective action. Think […]

Civil Disobedience Is More Than Just ...

Civil Disobedience Is More Than Just “Getting Arrested”

Civil disobedience is an art … and there’s more to it than simply “getting arrested.” The term comes from an essay by Henry David Thoreau, whose classic, “On Civil Disobedience” was written in relation to slavery and the Mexican-American war. Thoreau felt it was the duty of citizens to resist through noncooperation and disobedience the […]

Helen Keller: Socialist, Pacifist, Wo...

Helen Keller: Socialist, Pacifist, Women’s & Workers’ Rights Advocate

The name Helen Keller conjures up, for many people, a deaf-blind-mute girl learning to communicate via sign language. It is a scene straight out of “The Miracle Worker,” the biographical play recounting Anne Sullivan’s role in reaching young Helen Keller. However, the amazing part of Keller’s story is not that the way she learned to […]

Got Strategy? Actions – Campaig...

Got Strategy? Actions – Campaigns – Movements!

If I could make one wish come true on a silver-headed dandelion, it would be to instill a deeper understanding of strategy for nonviolent movements into every single person working for change. As my friend, Philippe Duhamel told me once, “Strategy without action is futile . . . but action without strategy is fatal.” So, […]