Movement Formation by Dr. Maciej Bartkowski (FSI2013)


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When repression persists, it is often mistakenly believed that a regime is durable and mass-based resistance is not feasible. As soon as the people rise up and the regime falls, the prevailing view quickly shifts: the popular upheaval is seen as inevitable and the collapse of the system unavoidable. So movement emergence is neither impossible nor can it be easily predicted. Yet, nonviolent movements come to life and in places and times few predicted. This session will aim to explain why people rise up even if the risks are high and success uncertain. This will be linked with other questions: How are people able to break the barrier of fear and apathy? How do action-takers build their case for change? How do they gain greater recognition and how do they use an adversary’s counter measures to strengthen or maintain their own momentum?

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  • When people remain passive thierapathy seems to be insurmountable.Licking the elbow protest in Sudan– achieving the impossible– demonstrations against President Omar al Bashir in the summer of 2012Examples: Unexpected Major Political Change Poland: In 1979 it was unthinkable to imagine that a year later workers and other groups in Poland would organize massive nonviolent resistance that would force the government to agree to establish free trade unions– first in the communist block. Iran: At the beginning of 2009 it was highly improbable that any movement and collective opposition could emerge in Iran. But it happened 6 months laterArab Spring: In 2010 it was unbelievable to think that people would rise up in the Middle East and that the rulers of Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen would be removed from power not within years but months, weeks and days.
  • When popular upheavals happen they are viewed as having been unavoidable and their success predictable
  • Rejection is the first phase in the emergence of resistance. Rejection might not necessary mean actions that challenge the exisiting system or oppressive structures. The rejection is that of the status quo and acceptance that one can do something about it. Rejection often begins with education and greater awarness. The activities pursued during the rejection phase might not be overtly political. They can look apolitical --- social work, education, setting up reading rooms, health clinics, sanitation services, demanding that fresh produce are sold to the local population, demanding garden plots for locals. This type of actions were pursued by welfare associations in the colonial Zambia and they were gradually politicizing black Africans and raising their awarness against the descriminatory practices of the European whites. Rejection can then move to defiance. Defiance in the form of individual or group small acts of resistance – refusal to participate in national holidays introduced by or important for the oppressive regime, wearining easily identifiable national or locally made cloths under colonial or occupational authorities, playing banned music, reciting forbiden texts or poetry. Defiance, like rejection, is driven by indirect type of nonviolent actions – symbolic, and subtle. Presistance, endurance are the hallmarks of the rejectionists and defiant ones. The lenght or duration of these actions and their level of contestation differ. The practice of rejection and defiance could be very long, sometimes centuries long as it has been the case with the Palestian nonviolent actions first against the British and later against Israel. Defiance then are augmented bymore open and direct forms of nonviolent confrontations -- together with defiance, this new type of actions is named resistance. Resistance in the form of strikes, demonstations and protests would be shorter in duration than previously discussed actions – months, weeks, days rather than decades. How does opposition move from rejection/defiance towards a full-blown resistance despite inhibiting conditions? Revolt, rebellion, challenge
  • Growth of a movement starts from a more limited – in scale and level of participation – dissident actions. Usually, a small group of dissidents would set ground rules for carrying on the resistance. They would for example decide that the resistance should be nonviolent, that the final outcome of the struggle is a free, and open society with electable political elites accountable to the population. Dissidents would set up the ideational framework of dissidence– trying to define who free person is, what people should struggle for, with what means. It would be done usually on a very general level. The movement would not have much organization or many members at that stage. Dissident movement can be viewed as the nucleous of movements, as an opposition vaguard. In the reality, the progress is not as linear as the graph suggests. Like in the previous slide, dissident movement can in fact overlap with both protest and political movements and can constitute their important part. Protest movement would ofen be driven by the wave or outburst of emotions that need quick and visible outlets– in the form of demonstrations and protests. Often protest movements lack a deeper understanding of strategic calculation and focus on short-term concessions How does opposition move from dissent/protest movement towards a full-blown political movement despite inhibiting conditions?
  • People do not know the extent of dissatisfaction among the population– if others feel the same way I doEven if they feel a high level of dissatisfaction they do not know if others will join them on the streetsPeople do not know if their presence on the street would change anything — we came, we screamed and we went back home Why people decide to form or join a movement? System is no longer legitimate System is not inevitablePowerless are in fact powerful Risk can be shared among many Movement becomes the ‘best party in town’No going back. Generation-long struggle if neededElectoral fraud exposes an entire population to a deeply felt regime abuse, instantly creating an “imagined community of robbed voters.” Mark R. Thompson and Phillip Kunzt, “Stolen elections and the “October Revolution” in Serbia” in Mark R. Thompson, Democratic Revolutions: Asia and Eastern Europe, (London: Routledge, 2004), as cited in Tucker, “Enough!” p. 541).Tucker adds that short time horizons raise the opportunity cost of doing nothing. Protestors realize that it is “now or never.” Rationally, it makes sense to join. “a moral shock” James M. Jasper, The Art of Moral Protest: Culture, Biography, and Creativity in Social Movements (Chicago: university of Chicago, 1997) as cited in Goodwin and Jasper, Social Movements, p. 58
  • Red- seeds of rebellion. The emotions of fear, shame and humiliation are in fact needed to activize peopleIf every day a man takes orders in silence from an incompetent superior, if every day he solemnly performs ritual acts which he privately finds ridiculous, if he (…) is prepared to deny his own self in public (…) it still does not mean that he has entirely lost the use of one of the basic human senses, namely, the sense of humiliation.Vaclav HavelIf a person feels a humiliation s/he has a longing for dignity, at the same time. Longing for dignityprovidesfoundations for action/rebellion. Despairis a feeling of looking for the way out. Nonviolent action could be seen as a last resort, „desperation” that can lead to excitiment and commitment. Fear is the seed for anger, anger to action. Fear can be blocked by other ac Yellow –inactionemotionscan be turnedintoactivizingemtionsthrough learning and education. White –inactionemotionsthatare in fact the most difficult to turnintoactivizingemotions. Negative emotions become positive when there is already a degree of actions (mutual help organizations, protests, violence against nonviolent protesters) out there– defiance/dissident or protest movement– these limited actions can offer educational environment for others that turns thier negative emotions into the sense of responsibility, motivation and solidarity.
  • Poland: We do this for our children or children of their children
  • New philosophies of how people should organize and what they should while under the yoke of oppression. Organic work - Nation under the foreign or domestic oppression remains a social organism. As any organism, it needs constant nourishment to survive, not to give up and to engage in open fight one day. The needed nourishment comes from self-organization of the society in social, economic, cultural and quasi political spheres. “If the nation as a state fell, it was from its own guilt [and] if it raises itwill be form its own work, its own reason, its own spirit”JózefSzujski; 19th century Polish writer-philosopher Satyagraha – satya (insistance on truth) ; agraha (holding firmly) – truthforce or soulforce. It really refers to the genuine force of nonviolent actions and nonviolent living in the political struggle for freedom. It was an active way of resisting oppression. Satyagraha was a rejection of the view that nonviolent force is somehow „passive resistance.” Far from it. In Satyagraha there was readiness to fight and eagerness for peace. Satyagrahis: need to be prepared to lose material possessions (property); remain nonviolent; disciplined and mentally committed to the struggle. Positive Action -- was devised by the Ghanian leader Kwame Nkrumah during the Ghanian struggle for independence against the British. It was inspired by Gandhi. It consits of three propositions for fighting the British – 1) political agitation in the form of speeches, rallies, declarations, discussions; 2) alternative institution building – setting up schools, welfare organizations and 3) direct nonviolent actions in the forms of strikes, boycotts, general civil disobedience
  • They even corrupted haven. Because we let them!” from the Iranian graphic novel about Zahra that looks for her daughter who disappeared during the anti-government protests in 2009. the change of people's mentalityTrenin calls the political system "authoritarian with the consent of the governed." "Political freedom doesn't depend on the Kremlin," he said. "It depends on the attitude of the people."
  • The photo of demonstrations in 2004. Egyptian police and plain clothed police assault, beat and try to arrest protesters near the Interior Ministry in Cairo on June 13, 2010 during their demonstration against police brutality and the murder of Khaled Mohamed Saeed.
  • Everytime the struggle for freedom and against oppression is against something so enormous, something so illusive but pervesive and omnipresent that it becomes too overwhleming. In order to make the fight looking more feasible and objectives more achievable, the leaders would attempt to pick up small but a very concrete example of injustice that manifests much broader oppression. Jim Lawson identified segragated lunch counters as a target for nonviolent action. In a concrete way, they represented racism. Fighting for democracy in communist Poland became more concrete and more meanigul with the struggle for free trade unions. It was not the struggle to abolish communism that time- a Sisyphean work – but merely to win the right to set up independent union. Finally, Tunisian activists – to show what corruption reallymeant in Ben Ali’s regime- asked the VIP planespotters to send pics of Ben Ali’s plane that was spotted in different cities in Europe between 2001-2007. 13 times but only 3 officialtrips. Malaga, Malta, Geneva, and Madrid
  • Syrian children carry pictures of 13-year-old Hamza al-Khatib during a protest in front of the United Nations building in Beirut on Wednesday. The boy, who activists say was tortured and killed by security forces, has become a symbol in protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. (Jamal Saidi/Reuters)Hamza, the 13-year-old boy who was arrested during a protest, tortured and killed, has become a new emblem of the uprising. Thousands of people now carry his smiling photo during protests or post it as their Facebook profile. A Facebook page set in his memory has more than 66,000 fans.Russia 12 prominent poets and writers.Russian best-selling writers walkwalked along the boulevards along with 15,000 people (police estimated much fewer: 2,000, as usual) in a "Control Stroll.”Twenty five artists are going to roll their art on handcarts toIt featured two heads extending out of the chair back, suggesting something to do with the official Russian seal of the two-headed eagle. Projecting upwards from the seat were a series of long, sharp spikes. The artist, always speaking in a friendly, engaging manner, repeatedly asked passersby, "Would you like to take a seat on the throne?" "Try out my throne of power if you like!”
  • Liberty but no freedom Voluntary support but forced obedienceSecurity but repressionSelf-expression but censorshipFree thinking but no self willPublic good but privileges and nepotism One vote and equal voice but few control many How people’sdissonance - living the liethought the system tellsthemitistruth - mobilzes millions
  • what explains the choice of nonviolent discpline during resistance/movement formation?
  • After the warSometimesusingnonviolentmeansisseen as a last resort afterallothermeanshavebeenexhousted (legal, electoral, negotiationsorviolence). Whatisleftisnonviolentresistance. Maoisist in Nepal in 2005. Beforeviolentresistance – posible and availablewhy not to usethembeforetryingmoredestructivemethodsKwme Nkrumah „We had no guns but evne if we had, the circumstances were such that nonviolent aternatives were open to us, and it was necessary to try them before resorting to other means.”It isour choice becauseitismoreefffective in reachingourimmidategoals (endingoppression) and longer term objectives (building open societies) We sawhowothersthatusedviolenceendedWe sawhowothersusingnonviolentresistanceachieved
  • "We need our own Havel”!If you want change in the future, become the change today” "Be the change you wish to see”
  • Movement Formation by Dr. Maciej Bartkowski (FSI2013)

    1. 1. 0MOVEMENT FORMATIONDr. Maciej BartkowskiSenior Director, Education and ResearchInternational Center on Nonviolent Conflict
    2. 2. Occurrence of major popularupheavals and “post factum”fallacy As soon as the people rise up and regime falls the commonview is that the popular upheaval was inevitable and thecollapse of the brutal system unavoidable. “Post factum” fallacy – all seem ‘logical’ but we look atyesterday’s events with today’s eyes and today’sknowledge1
    3. 3. “Egypt is not Tunisia”- Social and religious polarization- Nature of regime- Educated middle class- Organized labor- Access to internet-Pharaoh complex- Catalytic eventFavorable/Inhibiting Conditions fallacy
    4. 4. Growth of a Resistance Rejection of the status quo - developmental, educational, seeminglyapolitical activities Defiance – personal/group (small acts, cultural defiance) Resistance – mass-based (direct collective actions + defiance)Years, Months, weeks, daysLevel of contentionDuration/timeMobilization (mental, skilled-based)RejectionDefianceResistanceDirectIndirectCenturies, decades
    5. 5. Growth of a Movement Dissident movement– few, setting ground rules for resistance, ideationalframework Protest movement - emotions high, NV discipline could be fragile, littleconcept of strategic advantage, goal is to win specific concessions quickly Political movement – planning advanced, goal is to gain strategic advantageand shift power dynamics, long-term approach4Level ofparticipationScale and quality of organizational infrastructurePolitical movementProtest movementDissident movementMobilization(physical, material)
    6. 6. 1. Not knowing how others feel2. Not knowing if others will join and stay3. Not knowing if actions succeedThree Action Dilemma forMovement MakersHow does resistance grow andmovement form if risks, costs,uncertainties and griviences remainconstant (or high)?
    7. 7. Triggers of Resistance Action andMovements1. Activising Emotions2. Enabling Discourse3. Philosophical reformulations4. Strategic considerations5. Regime behavior6Matrix – 12 more years of Putin in powerTruth – here and now
    8. 8. 1. Emotions:Burning house dilemma7The house is on fire. A lot of people gathered next to the houseand watch the blazes engulfing the building. Suddenly a numberof teenagers appear in the windows on a higher floor in thebuilding on fire. They scream for help. One of the middle-agedbystanders moves and runs toward the building. Other peopleremain where they stood, watching….What motivates the person who decides to come to therescue of the trapped teenagers?What motivates other bystanders to stay and remaininactive?
    9. 9.  They could have been my daughter or son (compassion) There is my loved one. These are people I know, friends (love,affinity) I would not be able to look into the eyes of my loved ones and tellthem that I did nothing when people were dying (guilt) If someone else do it I will be embarrassed (shame) The right thing to do (responsibility, selflessness) I have nothing to lose (active resignation) Others will talk about my heroism. I will tell about it to mygrandchildren (flattery, seeking glory) The best risk in town (excitement) Belief that s/he can do it because of skills/preparation (confidence)8Rescuer’s Motives
    10. 10.  Fear of getting injured, losing life (fear) I have kids and I do not want to risk that they become orphans(fear) Lack of faith in their own ability (hopelessness) Overwhelmed by the challenge—how can I rescue so many people?(passive resignation) Only one person decided to come to rescue (distrust) Lack of skills and knowledge about how to do it (skcepticism) Even if we run to the building we do not know if we reach theapartments and if we rescue people (doubt) Waiting for firefighters to arrive. They will rescue them (avoidtaking responsibility)9Bystander’s motives
    11. 11. Emotions – how people movefrom one emotion to another?Inaction emotions – activising emotions Fear – Anger & Barvery Shame – Pride Humiliation (indignation) – Dignity Despair –Excitement/Commitment Denial – Acknowledgement Self-Interested – Shared Responsibility/Selflessnes Mistrust – Solidarity Apathy – Interest/Joy/Motivation10
    12. 12. India: British are ruling this country for their own benefit.Why should we help them? We will coerce them to leave but onfriendly terms.Poland: Communist Poland is a workers’ country. But workershave neither the right to organize themselves freely nor thebasic means to live decently. Let’s organize on the basis ofstrength! Let’s not burn communist party’s buildings but set upour own workers’ committees.Egypt: An Egyptian has only two options in the dire economicsituation he experiences: either to become a beggar or a thief.Why should we be beggars or become thieves?South Africa/US civil rights movement: Racism does notknow the borders. It is not about being Black. Racism is aboutExperience. The fight against racism/apartheid is thus acommon fight of the whole humanity regardless of race.2. Enabling Discourse is DevisedTriggers for Resistance Action andMovements
    13. 13. Egypt "We want to keep this countrysafe, they want to destroy it“ “I love my country. It is thegovernment I am afraid of” ”My country, I am sorry it tookme so long” ”Mubarak, you have destroyed our country. Get outand leave it.” ”This is the state not the kingdom.”Saudi Arabia “Our protest is peaceful; Sunni and Shiites arebothers; we will never betray this country”Syria “They’re armed and we’re unarmed. ... this is ourcountry and we’re not giving it up”Change! I am free citizenof a free countryEnabling Discourse: reclaiming citizenship &patriotism
    14. 14. Egyptian man screams:"Im doing this for my children. What life is this?“Other Egyptians are quoted:"I was unemployed for five years. I had to move to theUnited Arab Emirates. This is what I was dragged into. Myson will not suffer what I have suffered. This ends here.”“I am the father of a 1-year-old daughter, and since I was growingup I’ve seen Mubarak. I don’t want my daughter to live under thesame dictatorship.”Posters in Russia say:“I want to give birth to free children in free country ““Defend Future of your children”“One day , she will ask you: Daddy what have you done when crooksand thieves robbed our country?”Enabling Discourse:Responsibility for our children, futuregenerations
    15. 15. Triggers of Resistance Action andMovement3. Philosophical reformulationsPoland - Organic work (social organism needsnurishment )India – Satyagraha (active force of nonviolent actions)Ghana – Positive Action (alterantive institutions & directactions)14
    16. 16. Philosophical shiftVictims are (dormant) power holdersVictims’ behavior or inaction is part of the problem How did we participate in creating this monstrous system that has so much hateand fear of its own people? Yahya Shurbaji, Syrian activist, early Sep. 2011 justbefore his arrest Subjugated are often “the cause of what have been inflicted upon them and thatthey should blame neither foreigners nor fate but [their] ignorance, lack ofendavor and apathy” Abd al Rahman al-Kawakibi, 19th century Syrian thinker "Political freedom doesnt depend on [regime]. It depends on the attitude of thepeople." Dmitri V. Trenin, Carnegie Moscow CenterVicitims can become thier own liberators ”No one else will free us but ourselves” Aleksey Navalny, Russian anti-corruptionactivist, September 15, 2012 ”No poltiical miracle will help [oppressed people] if they do not help themselves”Adam Michnik, Polish anti-communist dissident
    17. 17. 16Visualization of ”us”
    18. 18. 4. Strategy: Granularizing, and visualizinginjustice and response to it Nashville lunch counter sit-ins in the UnitedStates (struggle against racism, segregation) Salt March in India (struggle against Britishcolonialism) Free trade unions in Poland (struggle withcommunism dictatorship) Tunisia– spotting Ben Ali’s presidential plane
    19. 19. Strategy- one method drives thesame or/and other method(s)18We support the Belarusian strugglefor free speech
    20. 20. Strategy:Sympathetic agents of change mobilize otherparticipants19
    21. 21. 5. Regime behavior: unjustsystems carry the seeds oftheir own negationBecause the regime is captive to its own lies,it must falsify everything.... It pretends not topossess an omnipotent and unprincipledpolice apparatus. It pretends to respecthuman rights. It pretends to persecute noone. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretendsto pretend nothing. Vaclav Havel
    22. 22. Rulers’ behavior: disrespectfor people“I have to say honestly, when I saw ontelevision several people wearing thesethings on their chests, I know it’s indecent,but anyway, I thought it was some kind ofpropaganda in the fight against AIDS, as ifthey put a condom there, and tied it forsome reason.” V. Putin
    23. 23. So we discussed the triggers of resistanceaction/movement formation …1. Activising Emotions2. Enabling Discourse3. Philosophical reformulations4. Strategic considerations5. Regime behavior22But what accounts for the emergence of a nonviolentmovement/resistance?
    24. 24.  What is left - ”last resort” What is available/possible – conscious/intuitive choice What is effective - planning and training What others did or did not do – learning & adopting23
    25. 25. Learning about nonviolentresistance from others
    26. 26. Questions?25