Keyword : Nonviolent Action


Tunisia’s Democratic Revolution
19 January 2011

Whether the overthrow of the corrupt and autocratic Ben Ali regime in Tunisia in a mass civil insurrection will lead to a stable, just and democratic order remains to be seen, but the dramatic events in that North African country underscore a critical point: Democracy in the Arab world will not come from foreign military intervention or sanctimonious lecturing from Western capitals, but from Arab peoples themselves.


U.S. Backs Tunisian Dictatorship in Face of Pro-Democracy Uprising
14 January 2011

The regime, U.S.-backed Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has been the target of a nationwide popular uprising in recent weeks, which neither shooting into crowds of unarmed demonstrators nor promised reforms has thus far quelled. Whether this unarmed revolt results in the regime’s downfall remains to be seen. In recent decades, largely nonviolent insurrections such as this have toppled corrupt authoritarian rulers in the Philippines, Serbia, Bolivia, Ukraine, the Maldives, Georgia, Mali, Nepal and scores of other countries and have seriously challenged repressive regimes in Iran, Burma and elsewhere.


Upsurge in repression challenges nonviolent resistance in Western Sahara
17 November 2010

On November 8, Moroccan occupation forces attacked a tent city of as many as 12,000 Western Saharans just outside of Al Aioun, in the culminating act of a months-long protest of discrimination against the indigenous Sahrawi population and worsening economic conditions. Not only was the scale of the crackdown unprecedented, so was the popular reaction: In a dramatic departure from the almost exclusively nonviolent protests of recent years, the local population turned on their occupiers, engaging in widespread rioting and arson. As of this writing, the details of these events are unclear, but they underscore the urgent need for global civil society to support those who have been struggling nonviolently for their right of self-determination and to challenge western governments which back the regime responsible for the repression.


The Other Occupation: Western Sahara and the Case of Aminatou Haidar
5 December 2009

Aminatou Haidar, a nonviolent activist from Western Sahara and a key leader in her nation’s struggle against the 34-year-old U.S.-backed Moroccan occupation of her country, has been forced into exile by Moroccan authorities. She was returning from the United States, where she had won the Civil Courage Award from the Train Foundation. Forcing residents of territories under belligerent occupation into exile is a direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which both the United States and Morocco are signatories….


The Power of Nonviolent Action in Honduras
8 November 2009

The massive nonviolent movement that put pressure on the coup government may be only the first chapter of an important and prolonged struggle for justice in one of Latin America’s poorest and most inequitable countries


The Indigenous Roots of Nonviolent Struggle: A Reply to Steve Weissman
13 October 2009

Steve Weissman’s article “How Washington Learned to Love Nonviolence” which recently appeared on this web site is filled with misrepresentations, omissions, and just plain falsehoods. Though Washington’s notorious willingness to intervene in the internal affairs of foreign nations is manifold and transcends the party in power, the examples put forward in this article are misleading and inaccurate.


Weapons of Mass Democracy
16 September 2009

On the outskirts of a desert town in the Moroccan-occupied territory of Western Sahara, about a dozen young activists are gathered. They are involved in their country’s long struggle for freedom. A group of foreigners—veterans of protracted resistance movements—is conducting a training session in the optimal use of a “weapons system” that is increasingly deployed in struggles for freedom around the world. The workshop leaders pass out Arabic translations of writings on the theory and dynamics of revolutionary struggle and lead the participants in a series of exercises designed to enhance their strategic and tactical thinking. These trainers are not veterans of guerrilla warfare, however, but of unarmed insurrections against repressive regimes. The materials they hand out are not the words of Che Guevara, but of Gene Sharp, the former Harvard scholar who has pioneered the study of strategic nonviolent action….


Showdown in ‘Tegucigolpe’
10 July 2009

One of the hemisphere’s most critical struggles for democracy in 20 years is now unfolding in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa (nicknamed “Tegucigolpe” for its long history of military coup d’états, which are called golpes de estado, in Spanish). Despite censorship and repression, popular anger over the June 28 military overthrow of democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya is growing. International condemnation has been near-unanimous, and the Organization of American States has suspended Honduras, the first time the hemisphere-wide body has taken so drastic an action since 1962.


A Response to Steve Weissman’s “Nonviolence 101”
28 June 2009

Steve Weissman’s article “Iran: Nonviolence 101” was profoundly inaccurate and misleading, particularly in regard to the role of Peter Ackerman and the organization he co-founded, the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC), for which I chair the committee of academic advisers. All of Weissman’s arguments against US government involvement in training and related support for nonviolent resistance movements in Iran, which he put forward in his article, would be quite valid – if they were true. They are not, however.


The Iranian Uprising is Home Grown, and Must Stay That Way
19 June 2009

The growing nonviolent insurrection in Iran against the efforts by the ruling clerics to return the ultra-conservative and increasingly autocratic incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinjead to power is growing. Whatever the outcome, it represents an exciting and massive outpouring of Iranian civil society for a more open and pluralistic society.