10 Things To Know About Nonviolent Struggle

1. Nonviolent action is used around the world by people of all classes, races, genders, sexualities, faiths, and political beliefs to accomplish a wide range of goals including changing governmental regimes, ending occupations, expelling foreign invasions, overthrowing dictators, stopping destructive industries, protecting the environment, gaining civil rights, creating economic justice and much more.

2. Nonviolent action is twice as successful as violent means, works in a third of the amount of time, and incurs a tiny fraction of the casualties as violent conflict.

3. While researchers don’t know how few people are necessary to successfully use nonviolent action to accomplish their goals, researchers do know that every movement they studied that successfully mobilized four percent of the populace always won.

4. There are more than 200 methods of nonviolent action, including marches, demonstrations, rallies, boycotts, strikes, sit-ins, blockades, noncooperation, civil disobedience, work stoppages and slowdowns, refusal to provide services and much more.

5. There are two hands of nonviolence: the hand that says no to injustice, and the hand that says yes to justice. Gandhian nonviolence might refer to these as obstructive and constructive programs. Others refer to the two-fold strategy as “oppose and propose,” or noncooperation with the destructive and cooperation with the beneficial. For example, a movement might work to ban factory farming while simultaneously encouraging the support of local, small farms.

6. Use acts of protest and persuasion such as speeches, fliers, and marches to spread knowledge of your issue or cause. Use constructive actions such as alternative institutions and parallel governments to build new systems rooted in justice. And, use acts of noncooperation and intervention such as boycotts, strikes, shut-downs, etc. to disrupt the injustice and remove cooperation and consent.

7. Movements use a series of nonviolent actions to build a campaign around a specific objective. A series of campaigns builds into a set of stepping-stones to accomplish the large goals of the movement.

8. Nonviolent movements for change seek to remove support from the injustice, and instead place support in systems of justice. These types of support may include material resources, money, human resources, skills and knowledge, authority, communications, public opinion, and intangible factors such as obedience, fear, hope, loyalty, etc.

9. Unlike violent conflicts which dehumanize people in order to hurt or kill them, nonviolent movements benefit from humanizing everyone involved, including the movement, the opposition, and the bystanders.

10. Nonviolent struggle is used by ordinary, extraordinary people just like you and me. Find a movement, get involved, start a campaign, participate in an action, build an alternative system, and find ways to make change right where you are.

More articles by:

Rivera Sun is the author of The Dandelion Insurrection and other books, and the cofounder of the Love-In-Action Network.

March 22, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Italy, Germany and the EU’s Future
David Rosen
The Further Adventures of the President and the Porn Star
Gary Leupp
Trump, the Crown Prince and the Whole Ugly Big Picture
The Hudson Report
Modern-Day Debtors’ Prisons and Debt in Antiquity
Steve Martinot
The Properties of Property
Binoy Kampmark
Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and Surveillance Capitalism
Jeff Berg
Russian to Judgment
Gregory Barrett
POSSESSED! Europe’s American Demon Must Be Exorcised
Robby Sherwin
What Do We Do About Facebook?
Sam Husseini
Trump Spokesperson Commemorates Invading Iraq by Claiming U.S. Doesn’t Dictate to Other Countries; State Dept. Defends Invasion
Rob Okun
Students: Time is Ripe to Add Gender to Gun Debate
Michael Barker
Tory Profiteering in Russia and Putin’s Debt of Gratitude
March 21, 2018
Paul Street
Time is Running Out: Who Will Protect Our Wrecked Democracy from the American Oligarchy?
Mel Goodman
The Great Myth of the So-Called “Adults in the Room”
Chris Floyd
Stumbling Blocks: Tim Kaine and the Bipartisan Abettors of Atrocity
Eric Draitser
The Political Repression of the Radical Left in Crimea
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan Threatens Wider War Against the Kurds
John Steppling
It is Us
Thomas Knapp
Death Penalty for Drug Dealers? Be Careful What You Wish for, President Trump
Manuel García, Jr.
Why I Am a Leftist (Vietnam War)
Isaac Christiansen
A Left Critique of Russiagate
Howard Gregory
The Unemployment Rate is an Inadequate Reporter of U.S. Economic Health
Ramzy Baroud
Who Wants to Kill Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah?
Roy Morrison
Trouble Ahead: The Trump Administration at Home and Abroad
Roger Hayden
Too Many Dead Grizzlies
George Wuerthner
The Lessons of the Battle to Save the Ancient Forests of French Pete
Binoy Kampmark
Fictional Free Trade and Permanent Protectionism: Donald Trump’s Economic Orthodoxy
Rivera Sun
Think Outside the Protest Box
March 20, 2018
Jonathan Cook
US Smooths Israel’s Path to Annexing West Bank
Jeffrey St. Clair
How They Sold the Iraq War
Chris Busby
Cancer, George Monbiot and Nuclear Weapons Test Fallout
Nick Alexandrov
Washington’s Invasion of Iraq at Fifteen
David Mattson
Wyoming Plans to Slaughter Grizzly Bears
Paul Edwards
My Lai and the Bad Apples Scam
Julian Vigo
The Privatization of Water and the Impoverishment of the Global South
Mir Alikhan
Trump and Pompeo on Three Issues: Paris, Iran and North Korea
Seiji Yamada
Preparing For Nuclear War is Useless
Gary Leupp
Brennan, Venality and Turpitude
Martha Rosenberg
Why There’s a Boycott of Ben & Jerry’s on World Water Day, March 22
John Pilger
Skripal Case: a Carefully-Constructed Drama?
March 19, 2018
Henry Heller
The Moment of Trump
John Davis
Pristine Buildings, Tarnished Architect
Uri Avnery
The Fake Enemy
Patrick Cockburn
The Fall of Afrin and the Next Phase of the Syrian War
Nick Pemberton
The Democrats Can’t Save Us