A Guide to Effective Nonviolent Struggle
Srdja Popovic, Slobodan Djinovic, Andrej Milivojevic, Hardy Merriman, Ivan Marovic
(Belgrade, Serbia: Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies [CANVAS], 2007)
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Languages: English, Farsi
The content of the curriculum is divided into three parts:
I. Theory and its applications: The goal of these lessons is to provide a concrete framework for people to understand how nonviolent action works. First, all movements start with the desire for change, so we offer a methodology to help groups develop their vision for what they want to achieve (Lesson 1). We then address how nonviolent movements can gain the power to achieve that vision. By emphasizing that political power comes from people’s ongoing consent and obedience to their society’s political, economic, and social systems, it becomes clear that nonviolent movements can gain power and create change by shifting people’s consent and obedience patterns (Lesson 2). In order to do this, nonviolent resisters must understand the roles that key organizations and institutions (which we call “pillars of support”) play in their society (Lesson 3), what people’s motivations are for consent and obedience (Lesson 4), how nonviolent movements produce change in society (Lesson 5), and the tactics and methods that nonviolent movements have at their disposal (Lesson 6).
II. Planning considerations: There is rarely victory for nonviolent movements without a strategic plan. Therefore, an understanding of basic strategic principles (Lesson 7) as well as tools and techniques to analyze their past and current situation (Lesson 8 and Lesson A1) is important as movements develop their strategic plans. An essential part of those plans will be communications. How do movements effectively communicate what they stand for? Developing effective messages and analyzing audience segments (Lesson 9) and understanding the tools and types of targeted communications (Lesson 10) are essential. Targeted communication is one of the most important parts of any movement’s strategic plan.III. Organizational and operational considerations: Nonviolent movements are faced every day with stresses in the areas of leadership (Lesson 11), fear-management (Lesson 13), and avoiding contamination (Lesson 14), so they need to be prepared. They also need to be tactically innovative and choose issues and actions that put their opponents in dilemmas (Lesson 12). Finally, management of key resources (material resources, human resources, time, and knowledge) are critical to operating a nonviolent movement or campaign. The advanced campaign management package (Lessons A2, A3, A4, and A5) addresses these issues.
Before you is a wealth of knowledge about the planning, conduct, and evaluation of strategic nonviolent conflict. This curriculum guide will be a valuable companion to new and experienced activists, as well as to others who wish to learn about this subject.
The authors combine classic insights about nonviolent conflict with new ideas based on recent experience. The result is a synthesis that pushes the limits of what we thought nonviolent strategies were capable of achieving.
The material covered includes time-tested analyses of power, different methods of nonviolent action, and ways to create a strategic plan for developing and mobilizing a movement. In addition, the authors include new material about how to:
• chart a movement’s history and progress (Chapter 8)
• use marketing, branding, and effective communication techniques in a movement (Chapters 9 and 10)
• address the effects of fear on a movement’s members (Chapter 13)
• develop security measures within a movement (Chapter 14)
• manage a movement’s material resources, human resources, and time (Advanced Chapters 2-4)
Throughout these topics, the authors emphasize pragmatic learning and draw on their own experience applying these ideas in their own struggles. The result is a versatile resource and an excellent training tool.
Activists using this resource will likely want to study and adapt it in ways that best serve the specific goals, needs, and opportunities of their circumstances. This is entirely appropriate. This impressive text should not be seen as a formula for how to wage nonviolent struggle, but rather a set of ideas that can help people think about and analyze nonviolent conflict. Combining it with other resources on this subject, or adapting parts of it for one’s own circumstances, will help to increase people’s capacity for engaging in nonviolent resistance even further.
We applaud this curriculum and recommend to all activists that they explore and apply it, as best suits their causes, organizations and campaigns.
--Signed by a list of 22 activists, civic leaders, and scholars (download this list)
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
I THEORY AND ITS APPLICATIONS
1. The First Step: The Vision of Tomorrow
2. Power in Society: Models and Sources of Power
3. Pillars of Support
5. Activating Nonviolent Power: Mechanisms of Change in Nonviolent Action
6. Activating Nonviolent Power: Methods of Nonviolent Action
II PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS
7. Strategy and Principles of Nonviolent Struggle
8. Planning Methodologies: The Power Graph
9. Impacting Audiences and Communicating Messages
10. Communication Tools and the Types and Categories of Targeted Communication
III ORGANIZATIONAL AND OPERATIONAL CONSIDERATIONS
11. Managing a Movement: Leadership
12. Managing a Movement: Dilemma Actions
13. Fear and Overcoming the Effects of Fear
14. Contaminants to Nonviolent Struggle and Security Culture
15. Plan Format
I PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS
A1. Planning Methodologies: The Strategic Estimate
II ORGANIZATIONAL AND OPERATIONAL CONSIDERATIONS
A2. Managing a Movement: Material Resources
A3. Managing a Movement: Human Resources
A4. Managing a Movement: Time Management
A5. Managing a Movement: Transferring Nonviolent Skills and Knowledge
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