Oct 27 Notes:


“Things undreamt of are daily being seen, the impossible is ever becoming possible. We are constantly being astonished these days at the amazing discoveries in the field of violence. But I maintain that far more undreamt of and seemingly impossible discoveries will be made in the field of nonviolence.”



Major Applications of Nonviolent Action


•Social change

•Social defense

–Environmental Defense

–Community Defense (against drug dealing, for example)

–Political Defense (against coups and foreign invasion)

•Third party nonviolent intervention



 Examples of Political Defense:


•500,000 Soviet troops entered the country

•Czech leaders that weren't kidnapped by the Soviets issued statements denying that the troops had been invited in

•A pirate radio network (which had been set up in case of a NATO invasion) coordinated the resistance- clandestine congress, short general strikes and urging the people to remain nonviolent

•Soviet troops had to be rotated out of Czechoslovakia in a few days because of morale problems


Russia in 1991

•Much of the KGB, Army, and Communist Party leadership decided to seize the state

–Arrested Gorbachev

–Took over the media and mobilized tanks

•Protestors surrounded the House of Parliament, tanks

•In face of protests, military changed sides


The Ruhr in Germany in 1923
•French invasion in 1923

•German president Ebert counsels "passive resistance"

•German citizens disobey the occupiers and block coal shipments

•Nonviolent resistance unravels when harsh French countermeasures are triggered by German extremists' violence




Small steps toward nonviolent resistance:


  Rutsindintwarane on 9/11… If the world  had paid that much attention to Rwanda, the genocide wouldn’t have happened


• In Hotel Rwanda: Call to the French government, threatened to not supply weapons


• Jamming radio signals considered by U.S., U.N: Considered too expensive


• “Gacaca" community courts used in villages after the genocide


•Unarmed UN Peacekeepers in front of churches kept militia away


Rwanda: The Preventable Genocide.



Characteristics of Otpor’s “Non-Leadership”


•Started as a dozen university students working against government control on university and media restriction

•“We decided to communicate with people with symbols, not with the personalities.”

•“It's a state of mind, and you must live the resistance.”

•Spokespeople rotate weekly

•Prioritize and understand nonmaterial motivation: 23 reasons listed in Otpor manual


•So many layers of leadership, impossible to arrest them all

•Network ready to support those arrested

•“You have democracy in coming to a decision, but there is no democracy in executing the decisions.”

•Focused on small groups doing projects – not voting

•Take public actions that demonstrate a lack of fear.


•Prioritize and understand nonmaterial motivation: 23 reasons listed in Otpor manual

•You must train the nonviolent army for so long that the battle becomes unnecessary.  We had the nation trained not to attack the police, not to use the violence, to be organized, to be brave, to sit down, to blockade.

•Guerrilla campaigning

•Leaders in every neighborhood to distribute materials, information