Strategy Resources & Nonviolence
In this section:
WHAT IS PEOPLE POWER?
From winning concrete improvements in people’s lives to toppling dictators, people power is a method that works. Every successful social change movement in US history has had a key element of people power and mass direct action; abolition, women’s suffrage, workers, civil rights, anti-Viet Nam war, anti-nuclear, Central America solidarity, global justice, and other recent movements. It was in the heat of struggle by communities of color and poor and working white communities that people-power methods were developed in the US. But people power is more than just a set of civil-disobedience and direct-action tactics. It is a different understanding of power and a wide range of organizing and tactics based on that understanding.
The conventional view of power sees some people holding power-the Bush Administration, Corporate CEOs, generals-whom the rest of us need to appeal to, influence, pressure or replace if we want to change things. Those in power in the US want us to believe the conventional view of power; that we are powerless because they control the money, police, military and the corporate media.
People-power, in contrast, sees power as a fragile relationship. Those in positions of power are dependent for that power on the compliance of the people they hold power over. When people organize themselves to withdraw their cooperation, the power holders’ grasp on power begins to weaken and crumble. If people sustain their resistance we can assert our power, force changes or even topple those in power. People power is true democratic power, providing the basis for all citizens to participate in governing ourselves.
People Power Strategy and Tools
- From Dictatorship to Democracy, PDF Version: http://www.aeinstein.org/organizations/org/FDTD.pdf
- Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action & Strategies, Manual from the folks who help create Otpur, the people power movement that overthrew Slobadan Milosevic, the brutal Serbian dictator.
- History is a Weapon by Bill Moyer
- Eight Stages of Movement Development – PDF Version Movement Stages
- 5 Stages of Social Movements, by George Lakey, Training for Change
- Strategy Questions for Each Stage of a Movement, by George Lakey, Training for Change
- Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns, War Resistors League International, excellent online manual
- Historical and Theoretical Overview of Nonviolent Social Change
- Six Important Points About Nonviolent Resistance, based on writings by Martin Luther King Jr.
- The Triple Evils of Poverty, Racism, and War, from the King Center
- On Strategic Nonviolent Conflict: Thinking About the Fundamentals by Robert L. Helvey
- Making Nonviolence Work, by Starhawk
- The Art of War, by Sun Tzu (6th Century BCE)