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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.”
Read on...

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

How to discredit your democratic opponents in Egypt

The Egyptian military regime is pushing conspiracy theories to discredit their democratic, non-violent opponents. Aiming at several birds with one stone, with respect to their US backers, they are trying to have it both ways at once. Democracy and non-violence will fight back.

Mandela’s utilitarianism and the struggle for liberation

“Mandela was a great leader because he recognized that the movement had become a civil insurrection, a largely nonviolent struggle. A great leader is one who recognizes where the movement is and leads them accordingly, not one who says, ‘Do it my way!’”

In defense of Otpor

When they claim that Otpor was an American operation to unseat Milosevic, they do not bother to explain why all these other organizations were fighting Milosevic, some for years before Otpor joined the fight. Were they all American puppets?

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

Chinese activists are gradually strengthening the framing of domestic grievances with the vocabulary of international human rights, marking a departure from locality-specific episodes of contention.

Ruthless regimes not impervious to civil resistance: A reply to Maged Mandour

There is little systematic evidence to suggest that “ruthlessness” is, in and of itself, a critical variable.

The Maldives: a serial coup in progress?

Should Britain, the United States and others who claim to be concerned, stand by and allow reactionary forces to stage-manage a phony election, this sends yet another inconsistent and disheartening message to those struggling for peaceful democratic change in the Islamic world and beyond. 

Voices of Syrian women in civil resistance

Although we now hear guns more than peaceful chants in Syria, and while the news of armed rebellion overshadows discussion of nonviolent resistance, a subtle everyday survival activism performed by civic groups, especially women, keeps the movement alive.

Teachers challenge a President: protests suppressed in Mexico

In Mexico, government officials have often been accused of planting violent protesters in nonviolent movements in order to justify the use of police force. But teachers know that they are stakeholders in the country’s future. Like citizens in Brazil, Egypt, Turkey, Mexican teachers want to play their part.

A struggle for sacred land: the case of Wirikuta

For the moment, the Wixáritari believe that they are winning the fight for the hearts and minds of Mexicans and that public opinion is turning against international mining companies. They should not be underestimated. 

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

The on-the-ground citizen victory against those who represented one of the most powerful industries in the world is the result of a multi-pronged, multiyear combination of tactics that has combined into an innovative, compelling strategy. See Part One here.

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

Can we mobilize and prepare the towns threatened by hydraulic fracturing with action plans so well-devised, so widely and transparently publicized, that unconventional energy developers wouldn't dare enter? See Part Two here.

The Egyptian revolution: beyond false choices

Egyptians are looking to their own political participation and to further their interests as free individuals. In turn, this means they must build institutions, namely political parties and unions. The legitimacy of army rule is contingent on how smoothly this is accomplished. 

New movements in South Africa?

Despite a rising consciousness throughout the continent of the problems of increased militarization, coinciding with an increased appreciation of the power of creative nonviolent conflict, these conditions have not yet led to a rising movement of South African peace protesters.

The Syrian resistance: a tale of two struggles, Part 2

Probabilities are always shredded by violent conflict, except the probability that freedom and justice will be postponed. See Part One here.

A sea of dissent: nonviolent waves in China

What are the lasting sources of discontent that are driving an increase in protest? What tactics are Chinese activists employing and how have nonviolent actors adapted in the face of severe government persecution?

Civil resistance: a space oddity

Civil resisters open up and occupy political space - opportunities for persuasion and organization - on a scale their armed cousins cannot.

The Syrian resistance: a tale of two struggles

In Syria, mixing violent and nonviolent resistance jeopardized people power, particularly when violence became the main driver of resistance from early 2012 onward. See Part Two.

Opposition to intervention in Syria utilitarian, not ideological

Whether or not a movement is primarily violent or nonviolent, what is important is whether it employs strategies and tactics that can maximize its chances of success. A reply to Nader Hashemi.

A new world of power: the source and scope of Civil Resistance

Find a person who believes that civil resistance is less legitimate than an edict or directive of the state, and you will probably have found someone who speaks for those who exercise power, not for those on whose consent the legitimacy of that power must rest. An introduction to a new partnership.

Apparent fraud in Maldivian elections threatens prospects for democracy

There are a number of troubling indicators that major fraud may have occurred in the election held on September 7, which raises questions regarding the integrity of the September 28 runoff.

Changing sides doesn't always make for transformation — just look at Egypt

What is the best kind of defection? During Egypt's recent turmoil there was too much collusion between nonviolent people power and security forces. Instead, civil resistance campaigns should focus on producing shifts within several different elite groupings. This is the second article in our "Transformative Nonviolence" series with Waging Nonviolence

The fifth pillar of Indian democracy: channeling people power against corruption

The name 5th Pillar represents the organization’s central idea; that people have the power to change the fundamental conditions that corruption depends on for its existence

The courage of Cheran: organizing against violence

Mistrust in government systems of rule has led the town of Cherán in Mexico to create its own institutions. The community faces many challenges, not the least of which is the non-violent defence of their people in an area where armed gangs are a constant threat.

A human right to resist

We need the international community to favour the worldwide groundswell of civil resistance over armed violence. This could be facilitated by a more dynamic and comprehensive interpretation of existing international law in the light of a broader understanding of those rights of which civil resistance is comprised.