This is Ethiopian Review Policy Research Center’s series on From Dictatorship to Democracy extracted/quoted from books and articles published by Albert Einstein Institution and similar sources.
Nonviolent Resistance isn’t just holding a demonstration, listening to speakers, and then heading home for supper. It isn’t pacifism based on moral or religious principle, either.
The Timeless Attributes of Nonviolent Resistance (NVR) Project:
1. Without UNITY, There is no Mass Disobedience.
2. Without Freedom FUND, There is no Project or Strategy.
3. Without STRATEGY There is no Effective Action.
4. Without Organization (Activists), There is no Capacity to Translate Strategy into Reality.
5. Action without Nonviolent DISCIPLINE Leads to Chaos and Vandalism.
1. Without UNITY There is no Mass Disobedience.
A civil resistance movement must unify the widest possible spectrum of society around a limited set of achievable goals, and designate for the moment a leadership that has legitimacy to mobilize all these groups in service of those goals.
Successful movements therefore continually reach out to new groups in their societies, e.g. men and women; youth, adults, and elders; urban and rural populations; all ethnic groups; members of religious institutions; farmers, laborers, business people, and professionals; wealthy, middle class, police, soldiers, and members of the judiciary, as well as other groups.
Unity is important because nonviolent movements draw their strength from the participation of people in diverse sectors of society. Put simply: numbers matter. The more people a movement has supporting it, the greater its legitimacy, power, and tactical repertoire.
Successful movements also continually reach out to the tyrant’s supporters, understanding that one of the strengths of sustained civil resistance in the service of a unifying vision is the ability to induce loyalty shifts and defections among its opponent’s ranks.
For example, the South African anti-apartheid movement’s ongoing civic disruption combined with its call for national reconciliation was able to garner widespread support and create unity for the cause of change, even among some white supporters who had previously supported the apartheid state.