How to resist: lessons on "movement learning" from the Albert Einstein Institution


Originally published at:


I will resist lessons on movement learning and any other theory of relativity! Down with science! Oh wait, (nevermind,)



Erica Chenoweth’s and Maria Stephan’s book Why Civil Resistance Works will give you the statistical and historical data to argue why nonviolence works better than violence in making lasting political change:


Violence shouldn’t be among the first tools that are used, but sometimes it works when non-violent tactics have failed.

The riot in central London did much to contribute to the downfall of Margaret Thatcher, who resigned as Prime Minister on 28 November the same year. The national opposition to the poll tax (especially vehement in the North of England and Scotland) was the major factor; an opinion poll had found 78% opposed to it.[13] John Major, who succeeded Thatcher, announced that the tax would be abolished.


Interesting questions arise such as:

  • How “successful” is a struggle (non-violent or otherwise) that only convinces the ruling apparatus to make superficial changes (e.g. substituting one corrupt/oppressive figure-head with another) without altering the conditions that foster corruption and oppression?
  • Who get’s to define what is “violent”? (The victims? Those with the monopoly on “legitimate” use of force?)
  • What does “violence” actually entail? (Physical harm? Self-defense? Property damage?)

The debate about violent/nonviolent tactics between the Crimethinc Collective and Chris Hedges [edit:also] tackles some of these interesting questions. The Crimethinc rep made this observation:

Violence is indistinguishable from “code for ‘illegitimate’ use of force” …That’s why dumping carcinogens into a river is not “violence” but sabotaging the factory that does this is “violence”.


“Interesting questions arise”

Your three bullet point questions are addressed in the video.


Read the book, is all I can say to that. Seriously. The issue of first and last resorts is addressed rather meaningfully.

ETA: Not trying to sound flippant. I just really think that people should read it.


Really? You’re calling someone out for on-topic commenting?


I both enjoy, hate, respect, and fear your work. I will never be able to unsee that gif.


I like you too.


I added it to my amazon wish list.


closed #14

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.