Thursday, March 10, 2011

Nonviolent Resistance

OMNI NEWSLETTER #1 ON NONVIOLENCE, February 17, 2011, Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace

Gene Sharp
Civil Resistance Success (2 essays)
Zunes on Tunisia and Egypt
OMNI UA Endowment
Palestinian Film

His writings have inspired countless numbers of people and are presently being used as a guide to the peoples’ revolts such as in Egypt.
If you want to know what the word “comprehensive” means, check out the 3 vols. of Sharp’s The Politics of Nonviolent Action.  Just about everything you might imagine for nonviolent thought or action you’ll find there.
It’s time we applied Sharp to our situation in America.

Below are two links to Sharp. The first link is a down loadable PDF free book. The  next is his web site.

Maria J. Stephan and Erica Chenoweth
The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent ConÂșict
Maria J. Stephan is Director of Educational Initiatives at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.
Erica Chenoweth is Assistant Professor of Government at Wesleyan University and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at
Harvard University.
International Security, Vol. 33, No. 1 (Summer 2008), pp. 7–44
© 2008 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Op-Ed Contributor

Give Peaceful Resistance a Chance

By ERICA CHENOWETH    Published: March 9, 2011

Related   Matar: Libya Calling (March 10, 2011)

THE rebellion in Libya stands out among the recent unrest in the Middle East for its widespread violence: unlike the protesters in Tunisia or Egypt, those in Libya quickly gave up pursuing nonviolent change and became an armed rebellion.
And while the fighting in Libya is far from over, it’s not too early to ask a critical question: which is more effective as a force for change, violent or nonviolent resistance? Unfortunately for the Libyan rebels, research shows that nonviolent resistance is much more likely to produce results, while violent resistance runs a greater risk of backfiring.
Consider the Philippines. Although insurgencies attempted to overthrow Ferdinand Marcos during the 1970s and 1980s, they failed to attract broad support. When the regime did fall in 1986, it was at the hands of the People Power movement, a nonviolent pro-democracy campaign that boasted more than two million followers, including laborers, youth activists and Catholic clergy.
Indeed, a study I recently conducted with Maria J. Stephan, now a strategic planner at the State Department, compared the outcomes of hundreds of violent insurgencies with those of major nonviolent resistance campaigns from 1900 to 2006; we found that over 50 percent of the nonviolent movements succeeded, compared with about 25 percent of the violent insurgencies.
Why? For one thing, people don’t have to give up their jobs, leave their families or agree to kill anyone to participate in a nonviolent campaign. That means such movements tend to draw a wider range of participants, which gives them more access to members of the regime, including security forces and economic elites, who often sympathize with or are even relatives of protesters.
What’s more, oppressive regimes need the loyalty of their personnel to carry out their orders. Violent resistance tends to reinforce that loyalty, while civil resistance undermines it. When security forces refuse orders to, say, fire on peaceful protesters, regimes must accommodate the opposition or give up power — precisely what happened in Egypt.
This is why the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, took such great pains to use armed thugs to try to provoke the Egyptian demonstrators into using violence, after which he could have rallied the military behind him.
But where Mr. Mubarak failed, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi succeeded: what began as peaceful movement became, after a few days of brutal crackdown by his corps of foreign militiamen, an armed but disorganized rebel fighting force. A widely supported popular revolution has been reduced to a smaller group of armed rebels attempting to overthrow a brutal dictator. These rebels are at a major disadvantage, and are unlikely to succeed without direct foreign intervention.
If the other uprisings across the Middle East remain nonviolent, however, we should be optimistic about the prospects for democracy there. That’s because, with a few exceptions — most notably Irannonviolent revolutions tend to lead to democracy.
Although the change is not immediate, our data show that from 1900 to 2006, 35 percent to 40 percent of authoritarian regimes that faced major nonviolent uprisings had become democracies five years after the campaign ended, even if the campaigns failed to cause immediate regime change. For the nonviolent campaigns that succeeded, the figure increases to well over 50 percent.
The good guys don’t always win, but their chances increase greatly when they play their cards well. Nonviolent resistance is about finding and exploiting points of leverage in one’s own society. Every dictatorship has vulnerabilities, and every society can find them.
Erica Chenoweth, an assistant professor of government at Wesleyan University, is the co-author of the forthcoming “Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict.”
A version of this op-ed appeared in print on March 10, 2011, on page A31 of the New York edition.
Civil Resistance Works

 I am still optimistic that the revolution will succeed.  Here is my most recent article on Egypt,  which examines prospects for victory:

And here is an article posted on the Yes! magazine web site about nonviolent struggle in Egypt and Tunisia and prospects for democracy in the Arab world:

For additional articles on Egypt and other topics, please check out my web site at:


The purpose of the Omni Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology
Faculty Award shall be to promote the study and teaching of peace and
nonviolence in accordance with the insights of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin
Luther King, Jr. and Senator J. William Fulbright.
 (a) recognize exceptional research, teaching or service of faculty who
work to promote a culture of peace and the study of nonviolence;
(b) support faculty expenses and participation in conferences or
programs where peace issues or the promotion of nonviolence are
central to the purpose of the travel; or
(c) support other future program-based faculty efforts, especially
teaching and course work, that are consistent with the purpose of
this endowment.

RECENT BOOKS ON NONVIOLENCE (from Dick’s Biblio/ Resources #35 and later)
--Deats, Richard.  Marked for Life: The Life of Hildegard Goss-Mayr.   This Austrian Catholic pioneered in teaching the practice of nonviolence.
--Dear, John. A Persistent Peace: One Man’s Struggle for a Nonviolent Word. Peaceworks (July/August 2009).
--Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns.  War Resisters’ International.  2008.
-- Kaufman-Lacusta.  Maxine.  Refusing to Be Enemies: Palestinian and Israeli Nonviolent Resistance to the Israeli Occupation.  Ithaca P, 2010.  Rev. Terry Rogers, The Catholic Worker (Oct.-Nov. 2010).  A study of many of the individuals and groups in Palestine and Israel that have been practicing nonviolence since the 1980s. 
--Rynne, Terrence.  Gandhi & Jesus: The Saving Power of Nonviolence.  Orbis, 2008.  Rev. The Catholic Worker (June-July 2009).  Rynne’s “critique of war and its tit-for-tat madness is all-encompassing and sorely needed.”  The heart of the book is his explanation of "the meaning of Jesus' sacrifice" as it applies to the violence epidemic of the present world.

These are two of the numerous nonviolent organizations you will find in the google entries below.
-- Voices for Creative Nonviolence organizing against the U.S. wars, including end of Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories., 773-878-3815.  The National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance  organized a series of protests including an action at the White House.  Sign their petition to Obama for end of occupation of Afghanistan at  Contact Joy First at
--Waging Nonviolence  a new website for reporting on the use of nonviolence by ordinary people around the world. 

John Dear, SJ – “On the Road to Peace” 
National Catholic Reporter   October 26, 2010
How can Jesus be nonviolent? Didn't he say to take up the sword?
I've been crisscrossing the country recently, destined for college auditoriums and churches. There I speak of the dire state of our spirits, tainted as they are by greed and war -- and by our nation's imperial aspirations. I contrast these realities with Jesus' astonishing counter offer: a world brimming with nonviolence, life and peace.Read More

From Joel Gordon:
Little Town of Bethlehem.   See Israeli-Palestinian doc.
Budrus by Julia Bacha (2010) about a Palestinian village that resists Israeli occupation nonviolently, led by an ordinary citizen Ayed Morrar.  Rev. In These Times (Nov. 2010): Bacha “lets the dynamic of resistance vs. militaristic oppression…speak for itself.”

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