3. Strategies and Tactics of Nonviolence

Tactics are concrete activities designed to serve strategic purposes. Each tactic should be chosen based on requirements of strategy, with clear ideas of which pillar (institution) is being targeted and what the intended goal is. This session will explain how the purpose of each tactic employed by nonviolent movements should fulfill one of the following three purposes:

  1. Disrupting your opponent/their pillars of support
  2. Mobilizing your own movement, or
  3. Influencing the neutral audience in your spectrum of allies. 

This module goes into detail about both mobilization and disruption tactics. It  discusses what these tactics are, highlights elements like “dilemma actions” “laughtivism” and the “cool” factor, and explains how they relate to mobilization of support and disruption of an opponent’s “business as usual”. As part of the session, participants will look at successful examples of tactics and use them to conduct cost/benefit analyses of the tactics they brainstorm later on. 


  1. Introduce and understand the relationship of tactics to strategy
  2. Understand key concepts used in the formation of strategy and how they are useful to planning and conducting a campaign
  3. Understand the concept of targeting
  4. Develop skills needed to understand the costs and benefits (as they relate to the key resources of a movement: material resources, human resources, and time) of tactics selected for a campaign

3.1 Exercise

At the end of the session, participants will be instructed on how to prepare/present a cost-benefit analysis for selected tactics. Sample PowerPoint slides will be provided in order to prepare more uniformed presentations. The goal of this exercise is to create either a disruptive tactic for your opponent, a mobilization tactic for members and supporters of your movement, or a tactic by which your movement will weaken a pillar of support important for your opponent.