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Nonviolence Struggle

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Diana Mai

on 30 September 2013

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Transcript of Nonviolence Struggle

Nonviolent Struggle
Misconceptions about Nonviolent Struggle
Violence works quickly, but nonviolence always takes a long time
Nonviolent struggle is believed to be weak, but in fact it can be very powerful
It does not need charismatic leaders
It is a cross cultural phenomenon
It does not require any religious beliefs, although it can have religious motives
NV struggle is not the same as religious or ethical principled nonviolence. It's a different phenomenon. This distinction must be very clear and not down played
It can be successful against brutal regimes and dictatorships of Nazi and communist ones
It melts the hearts of the oppressors. However, it has been coercive and even destroyed extreme dictatorships
Methods of Nonviolence
Can be classified into 3 categories:
Formulating wise strategies
An accurate sense of the whole context in which the struggle is to be waged
Identification of the nature of the differences where one is and where one wants to be
Assessment of implements and factors that would lead to achievement of the goal
Assessment of the strength and weakness of opponent, one's group and of the third party
Selection of a viable plan
Identification of a plan of action; tactical plan and specific methods and implementation of overall strategic plan
The Importance of Strategy
Very often in social and political movements, the individuals and the groups involved, recognize the need to plan, but it's limited to short term or tactical basis. They do not formulate a broader, longer term or strategic plan of action
Sometimes people don't strategize, because deep down they don't believe it's possible. They see themselves as weak and helpless victims of overpowering. They believe the best they can do is to assert witness, or even die in that faith that they are right
Consequently, they do not attempt to plan strategically to accomplish their objective
The Mechanism of change

: Opponent will have a change of view (rarely happens)

: Both sides compromise and give up a part of their original objective

Nonviolent Coercion
: The number of resisters are so large that parts of the social and political order that they control has fallen into the hands of non-cooperators. In this case the opponents source of power has been seriously weakened. The opponent can not go on.

: When a government is dissolved, the opponent has fallen apart
Nonviolent Protest
Symbolic actions to show support or disapproval of an action, policy, a group or government
The protest can be mild under democracy, but difficult under dictatorship. It takes a lot of courage
All these methods disrupt the normal operation of the policies and interfere psychologically, physically, socially, economically, or politically
Fast, sit-ins, nonviolent obstruction, overloading of facilities
Source of Power
Obedience & Cooperation of the population
In political terms
Nonviolent action
is based on a very simple insight:
People do not always do what they've been told to do. Sometimes they do things they're forbidden to do:
Reject laws
Disobey laws
Workers may halt work
Soldiers and police may become lazy and not follow through
Therefore the power of the ruler weakens and can dissolve
Repression and Political Jiu-Jitsu
A process that may operate during a nonviolent struggle to change power relationships
The contrast in types of action throws the opponents off balance politically, causing their repression to rebound against their position and to weaken their power
By remaining nonviolent while continuing the struggle, the resisters will improve their own power position. This process is called political Jiu-Jitsu similar to the Japanese martial art
This can only happen when constantly the oppressor's violence is met with nonviolent resistance, resulting in shift of opinion among:
: Not all of these sources of power are
available at the same time to a ruler
These 6 sources of political power are necessary to establish or retain power
Sources of Political Power

: to be perceived or accepted as superior, the right to rule.

Human resources
: The power of the ruler comes from number of people who obey them, cooperate with them

Skills and knowledge
: of the cooperating persons, groups, institutions, .....

Intangible factors
: attitudes toward obedience and submission or the presence of a common faith, ideology or sense of mission towards the rulers' power

Material resources
: The degree to which the rulers control property, natural resources, financial resources, the economic systems, communication, transportation,....

: an enforcement of obedience (punishment)
Why people obey?
Fear of punishment
Moral obligation
Self interest
Psychological identification with the ruler
Absence of self confidence to disobey
Obedience is the heart of political power
Members of the opponent parties even the opponents' usual supporters
Members of the population affected by the issue
Third parties not directly involved in the conflict

Symbolic Protest
- such as march, vigils, distributing leaflets, wearing specific colors to communicate support

- social, economic and political boycotts, such as refusal to participate in certain celebration, or refuse to supply or transport goods and services, or boycotts of rigged elections, rejection of the legitimacy of a government or civil disobedience of immoral laws

- Active Intervention and disruption of the normal operation of the system, i.e. occupation of offices, sit-downs on the streets, hunger strikes, seeking imprisonment, overloading facilities....
The resisters conduct the conflict by doing or refusing to do certain acts by means other than violence
There are over 198 special methods of N.V Struggle
Social, economic & Political forms
This is more disruptive than protest

Social boycott
: student strike, stay at home

Economic boycott
: Consumer boycott, rent withholding, refusal to let or sell property

Political boycott
: boycott elections, boycott government, employment, deliberate inefficiency, non-cooperation with the government
Choosing a Method
Should choose the method with extreme care
The method should strike at the opponents' vulnerability, utilizing the resisters' strengths and a combination of other methods
Methods of Nonviolent Struggle
What do we need for success?
The grand strategy needs to be developed before the specific methods are selected
Should understand the nature of the system within which they're applied
The ability of the N.V resisters to withstand
from the opponents and persist in non-cooperation
Participants must first understand what are the factors that contribute to greater success or will lead to failure - then act accordingly
Learn how to develop and spread the capacity to think strategically and plan strategies for NV struggle
A good strategy planning is the key to the outcome. It requires:
understanding of conflict situation
why that strategy would be useful
the dynamics and mechanism at work
Four ways to success

- Opponents voluntarily change attitude (rarely happens)

- Because of the political and economic pressure, the opponent has been forced to compromise

Nonviolent coercion
- the NV struggle has been done so strongly and masterfully that the opponent has been left with no option, but to give up

- Opponent has fallen apart
Key elements of nonviolent strategy
There's no single strategy for all types of nonviolent struggle
It can be used with other means of action
The use of violence along with nonviolent struggle destroys the process and contributes to its ineffectiveness
Rely on yourself - rely on your own group
Have a thorough understanding of the dynamics of NV struggle
Attention to psychological elements, morale, geographical and physical elements, timing, numbers and strength, choice of specific method of action
The role of strategic planning is very important. It is the key to making social and political movements more effective. It doesn't guarantee the success, but it will make the possibility of it more likely.
Levels of planning and action
1) Grand strategy (Framework):
a) the overall coordination and directing all appropriate and available resources (economic, human moral, political, organization)
b) consideration of the rightness of the cause
c) selection of the technique of action to be used
d) of more limited strategies
2) Strategy (How to):
a) how best to achieve objectives in a conflict
b) is about when, or how to fight and how to get the maximum effectiveness
c) is the plan for practical & application of the available means to attain desired objectives
d) is about taking into account: one's own objectives, resources and strength and the role of the third party
e) understanding the opponents possible course of means and action
3) Tactic (Plan of Action)
a) is a limited plan of action, based on utilizing the available means of action
b) is a limited course that fits within the broad strategy
c) is part of the overall strategy
d) deals with how a particular group should act in a specific situation
e) is for a shorter period of time than the strategy
4) Method:
a) refers to the specific means of action within the technique of nonviolent struggle, such as strike, boycott, non-cooperation....
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