Recent data from around the world suggest that popular action is here to stay. In particular, civil resistance — where unarmed civilians confront opponents using protests, strikes, boycotts, stay-aways and other forms of nonviolent contention — is the most common form of struggle today...
And yet, this resurgence is commonly misunderstood or misrepresented. Here I offer up 10 established social science insights about unarmed dissent that everyone should know.
- Historically speaking, nonviolent struggle is a more effective technique than violent struggle.
- The number and diversity of mass movements matters.
- Nonviolent discipline is crucial — especially when the dissidents represent a minority.
- Mixing violence with nonviolent action rarely leads to change.
- Flexible and innovative techniques are key.
- The aim is to change incentives, not to melt hearts.
- Success takes time.
- Planning and staying on the offensive is more effective than improvising on the defensive.
- The jury is still out regarding the most effective form of movement organization.
- People used nonviolent resistance against Hitler — and it saved countless lives.
Click through to the original article for a paragraph description of each point.