Must Read

why civil

Why Civil Resistance Works. The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict. By Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan.

Maria J. Stephan is Director of Educational Initiatives at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. Erica Chenoweth is Assistant Professor of Government at Wesleyan University and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Read it here.


Four Dimensions of Nonviolent Action: A Sociological Perspective by Stellan Vinthagen, Endowed Chair in the Study of Nonviolent Direct Action and Civil Resistance at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst. Find out more here.

Small Acts of Resistance: How Courage, Tenacity, and a Bit of Ingenuity Can Change the World. by Steve Crawshaw , John Jackson. In a world of Goliaths, we need stories of Davids to sustain us. With its gutsy, creative and rousing tales of ordinary people creating extraordinary change, Small Acts of Resistance proves that it is possible – armed with a little ingenuity and a lot of passion – to bring down dictators, change unfair laws, fight injustice and raise ones voice in freedom by defying those who would deny it. Buy it here.


The Dictator’s Learning Curve. In this riveting anatomy of authoritarianism, acclaimed journalist William Dobson takes us inside the battle between dictators and those who would challenge their rule. Buy it here. And read a review of the book here. 


Humour in Political Activism: Creative Nonviolent Resistance, by Majken Jul Sørensen. The ambiguity and unpredictability of humour, Sørensen argues, makes it difficult to respond to this form of political activism when it is performed in public.  Humorous political stunts can therefore challenge state power, help influence changes in law and make significant contributions to the conversations about how societies should be organised. Buy it here.


Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution, by Andrew Boyd and Dave Oswald Mitchell.
From Cairo to cyberspace, from Main Street to Wall Street, today’s social movements have a creative new edge that’s blurring the boundaries between artist and activist, hacker and dreamer. But the principles that make for successful creative action rarely get hashed out or written down. Buy it here.


Humor & Nonviolent Struggle in Serbia by Janjira Sombatpoonsiri. Sombatpoonsiri explores the nexus between humor and nonviolent protest, aiming to enhance our understanding of the growing popularity of humor in protest movements around the world. Buy it here.


the time of action

The Time of Rebels, by Matthew Collin. This is the inspiring story of the youth movements and revolutions of the former Communist Eastern Europe. Participants tell how they created popular resistance movements, defying threats, violence, and mass arrests in an attempt to change their countries and the world. Buy it here.


This is an Uprising, by Mark Engler and Paul Engler. From protests around climate change and immigrant rights, to Occupy, the Arab Spring, and #BlackLivesMatter, a new generation is unleashing strategic nonviolent action to shape public debate and force political change. When mass movements erupt onto our television screens, the media consistently portrays them as being spontaneous and unpredictable. Buy it here.

a force more powerful

A Force more Powerful. Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall depict how nonviolent sanctions–such as protests, strikes and boycotts–separate brutal regimes from their means of control. They tell inside stories–how Danes outmaneuvered the Nazis, Solidarity defeated Polish communism, and mass action removed a Chilean dictator–and also how nonviolent power is changing the world today, from Burma to Serbia. Buy it here.


The Revolution Where You Live. America faces huge challenges—climate change, social injustice, racist violence, economic insecurity. Journalist Sarah van Gelder suspected that there were solutions, and she went looking for them, not in the centers of power, where people are richly rewarded for their allegiance to the status quo, but off the beaten track, in rural communities, small towns, and neglected urban neighborhoods. Buy it here.


Originals, by Adam Grant. Using surprising studies and stories spanning business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt; how parents and teachers can nurture originality in children; and how leaders can build cultures that welcome dissent. Buy it here.

Gene Sharp’s List of 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action


Formal Statements
1. Public Speeches
2. Letters of opposition or support
3. Declarations by organizations and institutions
4. Signed public statements
5. Declarations of indictment and intention
6. Group or mass petitions
Communications with a Wider Audience
7. Slogans, caricatures, and symbols
8. Banners, posters, and displayed communications
9. Leaflets, pamphlets, and books
10. Newspapers and journals
11. Records, radio, and television
12. Skywriting and earthwriting
Group Representations
13. Deputations
14. Mock awards
15. Group lobbying
16. Picketing
17. Mock elections

Symbolic Public Acts
18. Displays of flags and symbolic colors
19. Wearing of symbols
20. Prayer and worship
21. Delivering symbolic objects
22. Protest disrobings
23. Destruction of own property
24. Symbolic lights
25. Displays of portraits
26. Paint as protest
27. New signs and names
28. Symbolic sounds
29. Symbolic reclamations
30. Rude gestures
Pressures on Individuals
31. “Haunting” officials
32. Taunting officials
33. Fraternization
34. Vigils

Drama and Music
35. Humorous skits and pranks
36. Performances of plays and music
37. Singing
38. Marches
39. Parades
40. Religious processions
41. Pilgrimages
42. Motorcades
Honoring the Dead
43. Political mourning
44. Mock funerals
45. Demonstrative funerals
46. Homage at burial places
Public Assemblies
47. Assemblies of protest or support
48. Protest meetings
49. Camouflaged meetings of protest
50. Teach-ins
Withdrawal and Renunciation
51. Walk-outs
52. Silence
53. Renouncing honors
54. Turning one’s back

Ostracism of Persons
55. Social boycott
56. Selective social boycott
57. Lysistratic nonaction
58. Excommunication
59. Interdict

Noncooperation with Social Events, Customs, and Institutions
60. Suspension of social and sports activities
61. Boycott of social affairs
62. Student strike
63. Social disobedience
64. Withdrawal from social institutions

Withdrawal from the Social System
65. Stay-at-home
66. Total personal noncooperation
67. “Flight” of workers
68. Sanctuary
69. Collective disappearance
70. Protest emigration (hijrat)


Actions by Consumers
71. Consumers’ boycott
72. Nonconsumption of boycotted goods
73. Policy of austerity
74. Rent withholding
75. Refusal to rent
76. National consumers’ boycott
77. International consumers’ boycott
Action by Workers and Producers
78. Workmen’s boycott
79. Producers’ boycott
Action by Middlemen
80. Suppliers’ and handlers’ boycott
Action by Owners and Management
81. Traders’ boycott
82. Refusal to let or sell property
83. Lockout
84. Refusal of industrial assistance
85. Merchants’ “general strike”

Action by Holders of Financial Resources
86. Withdrawal of bank deposits
87. Refusal to pay fees, dues, and assessments
88. Refusal to pay debts or interest
89. Severance of funds and credit
90. Revenue refusal
91. Refusal of a government’s money

Action by Governments
92. Domestic embargo
93. Blacklisting of traders
94. International sellers’ embargo
95. International buyers’ embargo
96. International trade embargo

Symbolic Strikes
97. Protest strike
98. Quickie walkout (lightning strike)

Agricultural Strikes
99. Peasant strike
100. Farm Workers’ strike

Strikes by Special Groups
101. Refusal of impressed labor
102. Prisoners’ strike
103. Craft strike
104. Professional strike
Ordinary Industrial Strikes
105. Establishment strike
106. Industry strike
107. Sympathetic strike

Restricted Strikes
108. Detailed strike
109. Bumper strike
110. Slowdown strike
111. Working-to-rule strike
112. Reporting “sick” (sick-in)
113. Strike by resignation
114. Limited strike
115. Selective strike

Multi-Industry Strikes
116. Generalized strike
117. General strike
Combination of Strikes and Economic Closures
118. Hartal
119. Economic shutdown

Rejection of Authority
120. Withholding or withdrawal of allegiance
121. Refusal of public support
122. Literature and speeches advocating resistance

Citizens’ Noncooperation with Government
123. Boycott of legislative bodies
124. Boycott of elections
125. Boycott of government employment and positions
126. Boycott of government depts., agencies, and other bodies
127. Withdrawal from government educational institutions
128. Boycott of government-supported organizations
129. Refusal of assistance to enforcement agents
130. Removal of own signs and placemarks
131. Refusal to accept appointed officials
132. Refusal to dissolve existing institutions

Citizens’ Alternatives to Obedience
133. Reluctant and slow compliance
134. Nonobedience in absence of direct supervision
135. Popular nonobedience
136. Disguised disobedience
137. Refusal of an assemblage or meeting to disperse
138. Sitdown
139. Noncooperation with conscription and deportation
140. Hiding, escape, and false identities
141. Civil disobedience of “illegitimate” laws

Action by Government Personnel
142. Selective refusal of assistance by government aides
143. Blocking of lines of command and information
144. Stalling and obstruction
145. General administrative noncooperation
146. Judicial noncooperation
147. Deliberate inefficiency and selective noncooperation by enforcement agents
148. Mutiny

Domestic Governmental Action
149. Quasi-legal evasions and delays
150. Noncooperation by constituent governmental units
International Governmental Action
151. Changes in diplomatic and other representations
152. Delay and cancellation of diplomatic events
153. Withholding of diplomatic recognition
154. Severance of diplomatic relations
155. Withdrawal from international organizations
156. Refusal of membership in international bodies
157. Expulsion from international organizations


Psychological Intervention
158. Self-exposure to the elements
159. The fast
a) Fast of moral pressure
b) Hunger strike
c) Satyagrahic fast
160. Reverse trial
161. Nonviolent harassment

Physical Intervention
162. Sit-in
163. Stand-in
164. Ride-in
165. Wade-in
166. Mill-in
167. Pray-in
168. Nonviolent raids
169. Nonviolent air raids
170. Nonviolent invasion
171. Nonviolent interjection
172. Nonviolent obstruction
173. Nonviolent occupation

Social Intervention
174. Establishing new social patterns
175. Overloading of facilities
176. Stall-in
177. Speak-in
178. Guerrilla theater
179. Alternative social institutions
180. Alternative communication system

Economic Intervention
181. Reverse strike
182. Stay-in strike
183. Nonviolent land seizure
184. Defiance of blockades
185. Politically motivated counterfeiting
186. Preclusive purchasing
187. Seizure of assets
188. Dumping
189. Selective patronage
190. Alternative markets
191. Alternative transportation systems
192. Alternative economic institutions

Political Intervention
193. Overloading of administrative systems
194. Disclosing identities of secret agents
195. Seeking imprisonment
196. Civil disobedience of “neutral” laws
197. Work-on without collaboration
198. Dual sovereignty and parallel government