Tag Archives: civil resistance

Codes of conduct used in civil resistance struggles – selected examples

23 Oct

Past pro-democracy movements and campaigns adopted various codes of conduct to sustain their resistance and maintain nonviolent discipline. Here is a sample of some of such codes.

The 2019 Pro-democracy Struggle in Algeria

The “18 Commandments” were passed out to demonstrators in the city of Algiers:

  1. I will march peacefully and calmly,
  2. I will behave as a dignified and civilized man,
  3. I will be equipped with water and vinegar [to clean faces in case tear gas is used],
  4. I will not respond to any provocation,
  5. I will isolate and send to the police any “baltaguias” [agents provocateurs],
  6. I will not throw a single stone,
  7. I will not break a single window,
  8. I will not speak a single word that is out of line,
  9. I will not touch people or things,
  10. I will smile at police and gendarmes,
  11. I will offer women roses, [presumably allegorical for treating women with respect],
  12. I will share water with those who are thirsty,
  13. I will watch over the elderly, women, and children,
  14. I will walk with determination,
  15. I will forge through wind and high water,
  16. The Novemberists will look down fondly upon me [the Algerian independence activists who launched the anti-colonial insurrection in November 1954],
  17. I will clean streets and plazas after each march,
  18. I will teach a lesson to and serve as a model for onlookers.

    [translated by Amber French]

The 2014 Umbrella Movement
Guidelines issued by the Occupy Central with Love and Peace (OCLP), one of the organizations spearheading the movement.

  1. Insist on the use of non-violence means…, never hurt anyone physically or mentally, or damage any properties.
  2. … Do not use any masks to cover faces.
  3. Do not bring any weapons or anything that can be used as weapons.
  4. When facing arrest, form a human chain and lie down to show our non-cooperation…
  5. … Do not try to hit back. Move to a safe place and ask for the help from the picket or medical team
  6. Leaders of the operation could be arrested anytime. Be prepared for changes in leadership and try to maintain good order all along.

The 2011 Tahrir Revolution
A protest booklet distributed on the Tahrir square during the first days of the revolution

The 1968 Czechoslovaks’ resistance against the Warsaw Pact’s troops’ invasion and occupation
“Ten Commandments” of Czechs and Slovaks resistance against the Soviet troops were published in the newspaper Vecerni Prah on August 26, 1968 – 6 days after the Soviet invasion*:

When a Soviet soldier approaches you, YOU:
1. Don’t know
2. Don’t care
3. Don’t tell
4. Don’t have
5. Don’t know how to
6. Don’t give
7. Can’t do
8. Don’t sell
9. Don’t show
10. Do nothing

*Source Czech and Slovak Defiance of Invasion – 1968-1969 in Gene Sharp, Waging Nonviolent Struggle. 20th Century Practice and 21th Century Potential, Porter Sergent Publishers, Boston 2005, p. 200.

National Nonviolent Defense Against Aggressor-States

2 Jan
  • What would you do if foreign troops invaded & occupied your town, city, region, or country?
  • In your view, how effective can nonviolent resistance against a powerful aggressor-state be?
  • In your view, how effective can armed resistance against a powerful aggressor-state be?
  • What resistance action would you join if your town, city, region or country was occupied by a brutal foreign regime?

Listen to my webinar recording where I discuss these and other questions relevant to the civilian-led nonviolent defense against invader-states.

The Kremlin’s “Protest Potential” Strategy

2 Dec

The Lithuanian Ministry of Defense manual that instructs its citizens to call 112 in case they see a strange group of armed men – an implicit reference to Russia’s little green men seen in the Crimea before its annexation by the Kremlin.

It is time for the West to take the Kremlin’s “protest potential” strategy seriously. If for no other reason than because Putin, his intelligence services and the Russian military do. (…)

Putin might have a “visceral aversion to public protests” but he also embraced their utility and turned them into an instrument for military and political strategies. In fact, Kremlin officially elevated people power and mass movements into its national security agenda when, on December 26, 2014, the Russian Security Council adopted new Russia’s military doctrine. (….)

Western countries, for their part, seem to understand little about how Putin’s protest potential strategy is wielded and, even less about how to prepare to countervail it. There is, however, one bright exception: tiny Lithuania.

Read the whole article on my Huffingtonpost blog