What Is Civil Resistance?
Civil resistance – the strategic use of nonviolent tactics such as strikes, boycotts, sit-ins, mass demonstrations, and civil disobedience to affect political, social, or economic change – is being increasingly acknowledged as a pragmatic and effective way to wage a struggle against oppressions, injustice, and autocracy.
This method of struggle is not new, however. For hundreds of years, ordinary people have exercised civilian-based power to protect and defend human rights, overthrow brutal dictators, gain independence, and establish democratic self-rule. Watch this introductory video to get glimpse into the rich history of civil resistance and then dig a little deeper by exploring some of the case studies and interviews.
- DuVall, Jack. Core Dynamics of Civil Resistance (video). Fletcher Summer Institute, 2010.
- Shock, Kurt. Nonviolent Action and It’s Misconceptions: Insights for Social Scientists (pdf).
- United States Institute of Peace. Strategic Nonviolent Conflict: Lessons from the Past, Ideas for the Future (pdf).
Check out the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict’s library of nonviolent conflict summaries. Pick one conflict to read (ideally one in which you are not familiar). Then post a comment on this page describing a specific nonviolent tactic the movement used and how it applied pressure and affected some type of political, social, or economic change.