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“Civil Resistance” is much more than protests, marches and civil disobedience. Those tactics are among hundreds that can form the repertoire of independent political strategies for the people of any nation to plan, so they can act together to win their rights, obtain justice, stop corruption and other abuses of power, and establish or reform democracy. The failure of many governments to enforce basic rights and make good on the promises of power-holders has, right across the world, impelled people to seek another means by which they may not only demand but also instigate the changes they desire.”
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Jack DuVall

Guest Editors

Jack DuVall is Senior Counselor and Founding Director of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC). Read his introduction to the civilResistance partnership with openDemocracy.

Amber French has been Co-Editor of civilResistance since January 2015. She is Coordinator of Editorial Activities at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC).

Civil resistance in Syria

Civil resistance - a deterrent to fracking

Civil resistance as deterrent to fracking: Part One, They shale not pass
Philippe Duhamel

Civil resistance as deterrent to fracking: Part Two, Shale 911
Philippe Duhamel

A sea of dissent - China

Internationalizing rights-based resistance in China: the UN Human Rights Council and the citizen
Michael Caster

A sea of dissent: nonviolent waves in China
Michael Caster

Egypt: Beyond false choices


The Egyptian revolution: beyond false choices
Sherif Joseph Rizk

Maldives: Serial coup

The Maldives: a serial coup in progress?
Stephen Zunes

Apparent fraud in Maldivian elections threatens prospects for democracy
Stephen Zunes

A woman challenging state-sanctioned violence in Northeast India

When repression is a reality, individuals often rise up to uphold democratic principles. In India, Irom Sharmila’s nonviolent struggle has riled the government, rallied the masses and inspired victimised populations.

Saving Mexico’s Eden: Chontal resistance against national oil giant

Mexico’s state oil company has caused significant disruption and damage to livelihood in Tabasco. Struggling nonviolently and with increasing difficulty to hold it accountable for its actions – the indigenous Chontal. Español

Nonviolent activism around the Olympic Games: History and lessons learned

Whereas countless public figures have insisted that the Olympics be kept “apolitical” for decades, nonviolent action and civil society together have succeeded in revealing the hollowness of such a notion.

Villagers stand up for peace in Colombia’s civil war

A small farming community in Colombia has long championed civil resistance tactics. Its history is one of war and suffering, but also of solidarity and courage. Español.

Against Letpadaung: copper mining in Myanmar and the struggle for human rights

Contention around a mine in Myanmar – especially police treatment of activists campaigning to close it – has grown into a challenge for the development of rule of law in that country.

Nonviolent resistance in Palestine: steadfastness, creativity and hope

"I don’t want my children to live my life. I’m looking for a future for my children and all children that is without occupation and violence. We have to have hope to resist.”

In Myanmar, students test the sincerity of democratic transition

Students in Myanmar have achieved what few other citizens have since independence: the creation of a lasting national, cohesive social movement united around a core set of grievances and demands.

When nonviolent action is the last resort

Against a repressive government, nonviolent action can often be more effective than violence. A new book surveys how the switch from armed to nonviolent resistance can occur. Book review.

Countering hybrid war: civil resistance as a national defence strategy

The western response to Russian hybrid war in Crimea and eastern Ukraine has been predicated on a show of military force. Nonviolent civilian defence promises us another path.

Powerful nonviolent resistance to armed conflict in Yemen

As with the initial uprising against the Saleh regime four years ago, an unarmed civil society movement rises up to challenge the Huthi militia.

Matching resistance to repression in China

For domestic rights defenders in China’s high-capacity authoritarian regime, strategic actions rather than tactics of sudden unrest can achieve more in a situation of slow-onset repression.

Arrest of a nonviolent leader in the Maldives challenges the international community

‘Terrorism’ charges might give the government leverage against a bid made by Nasheed to participate in any official political action at any point in the future. What happens now?

Remembering Howard Clark

Michael Randle charts the course of Howard Clark’s life and career in peace activism and research, including his time working with Clark on the Alternative Defence Commission during the 1980s. In his politics and personality, Clark committed himself to building networks and coalitions.

Howard Clark’s scholarship: commitment and contribution

April Carter explores Howard Clark’s academic contribution to the study of nonviolent action. Clark had special expertise on the civil resistance in Kosovo against Serbian oppression from 1988 to 1998. But his writing and knowledge of many struggles was internationalist in breadth.

Russians resisting war and repression

There are segments of the Russian population that, even in a politically inclement environment, bravely voice their open opposition to Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine.

Physical space and ‘Occupy’ tactics: a new trend in civil resistance?

Does the term ‘occupation’ delegitimize movements by casting participants as short-term guests, instead of representatives communicating grievances held by a wider society within a public forum that is theirs?

Popular action against corruption

Some of the biggest corrupt operations are run by governments themselves, and watchdog bodies often lack sufficient power to challenge entrenched problems. There’s another powerful approach: popular action, as documented in Shaazka Beyerle’s new book Curtailing Corruption. Review.

Hong Kong’s umbrella movement

The movement could benefit from encouraging splits within the seemingly unified voice of the elite, bound to have its internal conflicts. Then there are new challenges and new nonviolent opportunities, planned and unplanned.

Democratic decline in the Maldives: will the world wake up?

When Gayoom the elder was president, the government sought to facilitate the entrance of Islamist groups into the Maldives. The resumption of this now may be another opportunity for proponents of genuine democracy to sharpen the concern of international observers. 

Resistance, repression, and the cycle of violence in the Uyghur Struggle

Is the state actively engaged in decreasing participation in nonviolent resistance and delegitimizing Uyghur grievances by highlighting escalating violence?

Civil resistance in North America: themes from the James Lawson Institute

Martin Luther King once said, “sometimes it’s necessary to dramatize an issue”. Struggles within democracies may actually be harder to organize than struggles against highly unpopular and corrupt authoritarian regimes. It helps to get together.

The Ukrainian soccer ultras: allies of the resistance

“Three years ago diverse groups of Ukrainian ultras did not have good relations, to put it mildly. Now we have reached a nationwide truce. This was the first time in the Ukrainian fan movement. In many other countries, this has never happened!"

The contentious politics of China’s New Citizens Movement

Despite their many efforts to stave off greater mobilization inspired by the ideals of the New Citizens Movement, the Party must know that eventually the force of popular mobilization will be too great to disregard by mere omission.

Challenging annexation: in Crimea, the referendum that wasn’t

The time has come – unfortunately in the midst of another political and human crisis – for the international community to develop a rapid assistance framework for nonviolent activists and dissidents who risk their lives to preserve their right to self-rule. Yesterday it was Ukraine. Today it is Crimea.

Ukraine: a nonviolent victory

Dramatic words or violent acts were not how the Ukrainian people ousted an authoritarian leader and his cronies. Civil resistance shredded the legitimacy of a repressive and corrupt government. The nonviolent movement dissolved the consent of the people and the loyalty of regime defenders on which Victor Yanukovych depended.