Hardy Merriman, President of ICNC, opens the week of lectures and discussions with an introduction on civil resistance.

Nonviolent civil resistance movements around the world are a growing force in shaping geopolitics. In movements over the last two decades in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America and North America the world has witnessed how ordinary people have used nonviolent tactics — such as strikes, boycotts, mass demonstrations and other actions — to achieve rights, freedom and justice. Yet, this critical phenomenon is often overlooked or misunderstood by external observers. It defies conventional wisdom that unarmed people mobilizing by the thousands or millions can defeat armed, wealthy and organized adversaries who seem to have all the advantages.

Here are two recommended readings if you would like to learn more about why civil resistance works, what its long-term record and outcomes are, and how it will increasingly affect social, economic and political change:

In “Agents of Change” (Conservation Biology, 2008) Hardy Merriman describes how nonviolent action is used as a way for ordinary people to fight for their rights, freedom, and justice. In “The Trifecta of Civil Resistance” in Open Democracy, 2010 Hardy delves further into some of the key dynamics of civil resistance, including: the importance of unity, strategic planning, and nonviolent discipline, and how movements can leverage their agency and build skills to overcome structural conditions in their society. You can find this article along with many more resources on civil resistance on the ICNC website We also have Russian and Spanish versions available.