Compiled by Christine Schweitzer. Additional and updated references by Markus Bayer and Ibrahim Alhadjiui (2018).
You are here
Arnold, a Protestant cleric, explores the ideas of three protagonists of nonviolent resistance (Goss-Mayr, Gandhi and de Ligt) on how nonviolent action ‘works’. The author, who does not use the German translation of ‘nonviolence’ but his own term ‘the power of good’, argues that, regardless of the origin and religion of the practitioners, the effects of nonviolence are basically the same. This volume – the fourth in a series – is a summary of his conclusions from three more detailed case studies, each published as a separate book, and derives from a dissertation undertaken late in the author’s life.
Presents an 'ideal type' of nonviolence (the power of good) which synthesizes the approaches developed by the Catholic Hildegard Goss-Mayr, the Hindu Gandhi and the atheist de Ligt. Attempts to describe the common core of the various traditions of nonviolence: the conception of how nonviolent action typically works. Differentiates between nonviolence as a pattern of interaction, a model of behaviour and a human potential. 'The power of good' chiefly has an impact through action by committed individuals, 'contagion' and the evolution of both in mass noncooperation.
Sruti Bala comes from the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India. In her dissertation on nonviolent protest she discusses some significant elements of nonviolent resistance such as 'action', 'play' and display'. She also tries to define certain consequences of nonviolent protest for political identity. Finally, these conclusions are related to the ideas of Gandhi and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (the 'Frontier Gandhi').
Nonviolent resistance is a mass phenomenon that can challenge corrupt and autocratic regimes. This form of resistance and its symbiotic relationship to cities is not at all new: the plebeians in the Roman Republic used this kind of struggle when they abandoned the city until their demands were met. But how do modern cities as conflict spaces favour nonviolent resistance? The authors systematically analyse the relationship between the urban sphere and nonviolent resistance.
Translation from French of ‘The Power of the Peaceful’, by well known nonviolent activist and theorist who drew inspiration from Gandhi.
This article is a literature review examining the latest English literature on nonviolent resistance. It discusses different types of protest and delineates the characteristics of nonviolent resistance movements, and then focuses on explanations for the success of such movements. Last but not least, the authors discuss possible new avenues for research.
Analysis of nonviolent resistance by leading German scholar of nonviolent uprisings, based on his dissertation. In this book Ebert outlines an often quoted series of steps in the escalation of nonviolent action.
'Power from below through nonviolent action' is the latest contribution from German's best known proponent of civilian defence and nonviolent resistance. Aware that he is 80 years old, Ebert sums up his experiences and elaborates on new ideas for future research
Mit CD: Peace Counts: Die Erfolge der Friedensmacher: ed. Institut fur Friedenspaedagogik.
The ‘peace makers’ is an exhibition of people from all over the world engaged in resistance and conflict transformation. The book, which the TV journalist Petra Gerster wrote with the producer of the exhibition, Michael Gleich, gives an impression of the range of nonviolent activism world-wide.
Theological approach to nonviolence and what the author terms ‘nonviolent liberation’.
Goss-Mayr and Goss played a significant role in promoting nonviolent action and training internationally. This book is Goss-Mayr’s biography and memories of their work in Latin America, Madagascar and the Philippines.
A general description of nonviolent action, its ideas, methods and effects.
A ‘classic’ for grassroots activists. A study of the interdependence of the state, as a form of political organization, and war.
The American activist and academic Nagler and the German theologian Spiegel describe the principles, practices and perspectives of nonviolence.
Many people dream about a world without hate violence and war, but they doubt such a world is possible. So finally, they cease to dream about it. Patfoort ch allenges such resignation with a book of hope, but also describes the system within which people are inhibited. Finally, he offers a model of equality in rank and nonviolence, where self-assertion without attacking others seems possible.
Popovic and his student friends formed Otpor, that developed into the movement that forced the dictatorial President Milosevic in Serbia to accept defeat in the 2000 election. Since then Popovic has advised civil and democratic movements around the world . In this book he provides suggestions and strategies for organizing nonviolent protests, for example how to gain favourable media coverage and find the right allies.
Nonviolent action is a form of political action based on the decision, either principled or pragmatic, not to physically harm or destroy human life. In many social movements it has proved an effective tool for political change, which can be explained by Gene sharp's theory that all power rests ultimately with those who can withdraw their consent. Nonviolent action applies in several fields: local and regional struggles; in popular (people power) uprisings; in the theory of civilian-based defence; in approaches of nonviolent intervention in conflicts; and in what has been called unarmed civilian peacekeeping.
This paper summarizes the most recent English-language literature on civil resistance for a non-English speaking readership.
Historical survey of the contribution of seven peace movements to halting or preventing the involvement of their own governments’ in wars – from Sweden/Norway 1905 to Iraq 2003.
Noting that nonviolent actions, like the resistance to 'Stuttgart 21', seem to become the focus of public attention, the authors (who have participated in many such protests in recent years) analyze the theory, practice, history, and current situation of nonviolent resistance in its international context.
This book contains a number of articles on examples of nonviolent action, as well as more theoretical reflections on nonviolent action, both nationally and internationally.
One in a series of four books analysing how nonviolent resistance works, focusing on Gandhi. [See comments under Arnold in section above.]
On the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s 140th birthday the authors offer a guide to understanding Gandhi’s personality and life through different chapters in his life, for example the role of his family, his youth and the long period in South Africa.
This book gives an insight into Gandhi’s life (including a chronology), as well as a chronology of events in India and South Africa, plus speeches and articles by Gandhi on truth, nonviolence, civil disobedience, etc.
This article presents a comprehensive account of Mahatma Gandhi’s life, work and thought and explores his continuing significance.
The Ploughshares activist Wolfgang Sternstein compares Gandhi’s ideas of religion and ethics with the teaching of Jesus. He contrasts both to fundamentalism and dogmatism of any kind.
The subject of this article is the right to resistance, and in particular whether this right can exist within a liberal and democratic order, which emphasizes protection of civil rights, freedom of speech and the right to public criticism and the right to form an opposition.
There have been frequent examples of civil disobedience in Germany in recent years. Protests in cities and regions such as Heiligendamm, Dresden, Stuttgart, Wendland and Frankfurt represent a kind of renaissance of civil resistance. This book examines the sources of legitimation and points of dispute, and also notes different definitions of civil disobedience and how these are discussed in the literature. Therefore this book draws on the ideas and experience of various authors.
Social movements come into being due to contradictions within a society. They create a growing number of people that fear a social catastrophe or believe they can change the current situation. These motives also provide legitimation for people to protest, resist or, in some circumstances, even promote a radical change in their society.
The terms civil disobedience, resistance and the right or duty to resist are well known elements of political rhetoric. The use of these terms often combines various dimensions of interpretation, such as religious, moral and ethical ideas, or philosophical and political approaches too. This book therefore seeks to analyze the term 'civil disobedience' from the perspective of the philosophy of law.
Hannah Arendt presented her ideas about civil disobedience at a symposium of the New York Bar Association in 1970, and posed as the central question whether the law was dead. This article explains Arendt's 'republican' philosophy and distinguishes it from the liberal approaches of Rawls and Habermas, and from democrats like Etienne Balibar, before discussing in some detail Arendt's work On Revolution.
The author stresses that a democratic state based on the rule of law provides a rigorous normative order, which guarantees basic civil and human rights for each citizen, whilst also allowing for democratic government. Therefore, resistance and civil disobedience are always caught in a conflict between social (and political) rules and individual rights.
Since the protests against the use of nuclear energy in the 1980s, civil disobedience is part of German society. The author claims that this kind of resistance shouldn't be confused with the right to resist. Civil disobedience has certain stringent criteria that have to be fulfilled, and should moreover be an exception in a democracy founded on the rule of law and the principle of representation.
The author distinguishes between 'civil disobedience' and 'whistle blowing', discusses possible classification of the terms and clarifies their meaning with reference to historical context.
One of the best conceptualizations of civilian-based defence, enriched with examples of civil resistance.
- Vol. 1: Historische Erfahrungen und Grundzuege der Strategie, 1981, 193pp;
- Vol. 2. Formen und Bedingungen des Zivilen Widerstands, 1981, 194 pp.
Ebert has researched important examples of earlier nonviolent resistance, e.g. the 1953 East German uprising, and has been a leading theorist of nonviolent action and civilian defence since the 1960s. Both books are compilations of articles Ebert wrote on the subject in the 1970s.
‘Grassroots Revolution’ is a nonviolent-libertarian-anarchist magazine. This special issue focuses on an anarchistic approach to ‘social defence’ as opposed to proposals for governments to adopt civilian-based defence.
Study of important and rare example of open protest against Gestapo, by German wives demanding release of their German Jewish husbands who had been arrested.
The resistance by Norwegian teachers and other civil society groups to Quisling’s attempt to impose fascist ideology during th e German occupation is one of the most important and successful examples of resistance during World War Two.
The officially organized German resistance to the French occupation of the Ruhr in 1923 is an especially relevant case study for proponents of civilian-based defence.
This working paper is the product of a joint workshop on ‘The Timeliness of Civilian-based Defence’ held by the Union for Civilian Defence. It discusses the role of nonviolent resistance in successful conflict management today in the context of the current direction of world politics.
Translation from French of authorative scholarly study of forms of civil resistance in German-occupied Europe in World War Two.
On different peace brigade projects, including the Gandhian-inspired Shanti Sena.
Compilation of articles on the rationale, history and practice of the Civilian Peace Service (CPS) in Germany. The CPS, which started in 2000, is a governmentally financed programme with implementers both from state and non-state organizations.
This book, which deals with international approaches to conflict transformation, has been compiled by two researchers/practitioners with a background in the Civil Peace Service.
A description and evaluation of the work of the international Balkan Peace Team that worked in Croatia and Serbia/Kosovo in the 1990s.
Al-Taher begins by observing that, unlike in the beginning of the Syrian Spring 2011-12, the international and western press no longer reported on peaceful protests in Syria. The paper discusses two possible explanations: a problem of information (either a lack of information or an excess of news), or the absence of nonviolent protests in the region. The author refutes the second thesis, arguing that despite the ongoing bloody civil war in Syria, large parts of the society nevertheless participate in peaceful protests.
The article deals with the Gezi Park protests against the demolition of a public park in Istanbul in May 2013, which turned into nationwide protests against the government. One source of these protests can be located in the conservative-religious neo-liberalism of the ruling AKP. The fundamental thesis of the authors defines the protests as an expression of a search for new spheres and forms of participatory politics, as an alternative to institutional structures.
This study of the Maidan Revolution analyzes what Bartkowsky calls nonviolent resistance in violence-loaded situations. He argues that the major use of force and violence by the regime was not a sign of strength, but of the fundamental weakening of the regime and seemed to be a desperate attempt to avert its threatened defeat. Therefore Janukowytsch's fall was preceded by three months of mobilization and civil resistance that undermined the already weak defences of the regime.
Numerous protests took place round the world contemporaneously with the global economic crisis, but the left in Europe as a whole failed to organize. This gap should be filled by Blockupy, a European network of activists composed of trade unionists, political parties and different social movements. The article traces the history of this organization and assesses how far Blockupy has the power to create a new left movement in Germany.
Blockupy in Germany is one of the broadest ranging attempts to politicize the austerity measures, which have been introduced throughout Europe since 2010. Blockupy was enabled to emerge through the combination of embedding protest in the 'Global City' of Frankfurt with the practice of civil disobedience. Drawing on the theories of Lefebvre, Laclau/Mouffe and also Ranciere, the author highlights the links between dissident production of space, the historical formation of the crisis and the focus on Frankfurt as the stage for the protests.
During the forty years of armed conflict in Colombia, civil society was continuously assaulted by violent infringement of rights by both left wing guerrilla movements and paramilitary groups. Nevertheless, since the end of the 1990s many communities declared themselves 'municipalities of peace'. Their members commit themselves to behave neutrally and to reject any collaboration with armed actors. Naucke investigates the origin, function and structure of San Jose de Apartado, which is one of the peaceful communities that decided to confront repression.
The disintegration of the Soviet bloc led to different kinds of peaceful transformation in Central Eastern Europe at the end of the 1980s. In spite of many differences, common tendencies became apparent. Leading experts elaborate on similarities and differences in the GDR, Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
Pussy Riot demonstrated provocatively in the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow (which is a symbol of Russian Orthodoxy) in February 2012, and then uploaded a video of this event with the caption 'Mother of God, drive out Putin'. This protest resulted in the arrest of the activists and made Pussy Riot world-famous, though they had staged four other politically and artistically motivated performances. This article assesses whether Pussy Riot's acts can be seen as civil disobedience.