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External Factors in Civil Resistance - Dr. Maria Stephan and Rob Wilkinson (FSI2013)
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External Factors in Civil Resistance - Dr. Maria Stephan and Rob Wilkinson (FSI2013)

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"The tasks of democratic governments is to pay attention to change, and in a spirit of solidarity of free peoples, support legitimate aspirations of people everywhere to widen their democratic space." …

"The tasks of democratic governments is to pay attention to change, and in a spirit of solidarity of free peoples, support legitimate aspirations of people everywhere to widen their democratic space." -A Diplomat's Handbook for Democracy Development Support

Local nonviolent activists and movements, along with the tactics and strategies they use, will always be the primary drivers of bottom-up change. However, external actors, both governmental and non-governmental, can play an important role in supporting those activists and movements and shaping the environment for civic activism. Effective 21st century diplomacy, notably, must emphasize development and civilian power as much as military might.

Still, there are challenges to state support for indigenous movements. These include constraints imposed by normal bilateral relations and conflicting geo-strategic interests. This module will address the following questions:

- What are the pros and cons of external support (notably governmental support) to nonviolent activists?
- What tools do diplomats and other external actors have at their disposal to enhance the effectiveness of nonviolent activists and movements?
- Where have those tools been used effectively or not effectively?
- What are key lessons for future engagement between diplomats/policy-makers and nonviolent activists?

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  • 1. Civil Resistance Movementsand External ActorsMaria J. Stephan, Ph.D.2013 Fletcher Summer Institute for theAdvanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict19 June 2013
  • 2. Outside Help: Framing questionsHow important is external assistance?What types of support do NV activists need?Authoritarian backlash vs. right to receive help:should there be a responsibility to assist?
  • 3. Pros and Cons of GOVT supportCons:• Inconsistent, often untimely, bureaucratic• Used by regimes to undermine the legitimacyof indigenous movementsPros:• NV activists need funds, knowledge, skills,connections to global solidarity networks• Can help inhibit regime repression• Solidarity boosts morale/confidence
  • 4. Diplomats’ Handbook• Resources + assets available to diplomats to helpdemocrats; Activists should be aware of them too!• A few tools:www.diplomatshandbook.orgMeetingactivists/ReportingTrial monitoring/prisonvisitsConnecting activists tointernationalactors/networksDiplomatic immunity Funding/training Physicaldeployment/solidarityactionsDemarches to foreigngovtsConvening opposition,members of other pillarsProvide refugeeasylum/sanctuary
  • 5. SOLIDARITY IN ACTIONhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNIk_bRweH4&feature=youtu.be
  • 6. Other GOVT ToolsLeveraging aidSanctions: diplo, econ, travel bans, assetfreezesPressuring companiesGolden parachutesSupporting free media infrastructureUN Resolutions/ Fact finding missions
  • 7. Discussion