This website is one of two parallel websites on nonviolent strategy.

This website is designed to teach you how to plan and implement a nonviolent strategy for your campaign to achieve a peace, environmental or social justice outcome.

If you are interested in planning and implementing a nonviolent strategy to defend against a foreign invading power or a political/military coup, to liberate your country from a dictatorship or a foreign occupation, or to defeat a genocidal assault, you should go to this website: Nonviolent Defense/Liberation Strategy.

The strategic theory and strategic framework explained on this website were developed by me after extensive experience as a nonviolent activist and equally intensive research. It was originally written up in The Strategy of Nonviolent Defense: A Gandhian Approach, a book published in 1996 to guide the development of nonviolent defense strategies and nonviolent liberation struggles. The version presented here is simplified to guide nonviolent action campaigns.

As the subtitle of the book suggests, I learned much from an extensive study of Mohandas K. Gandhi and his nonviolent campaigns: Gandhi was an intuitive strategic thinker of remarkable capacity. Ironically, perhaps, I also learned a great deal from the military strategist Carl von Clausewitz, who understood strategic theory and elaborated a conception of strategy based on that understanding. Synthesizing the learning from these two sources and a study of the strategic successes and failures of many nonviolent movements, combined with my own experience as a nonviolent activist, is what led to the book and the strategy explained on this website.

The strategy presented here is not, on the whole, complicated but it does require someone (and preferably a group) who is willing to think and act strategically: to carefully develop a strategic plan and then, just as carefully, to implement it.

It does not even matter if your opponent is both insane and extraordinarily violent (which is the case often enough as the routine murder of nonviolent activists illustrates). If you carefully plan and conscientiously implement your nonviolent strategy in accordance with the strategic framework explained here, you have an excellent chance of succeeding.

I developed the strategic thinking explained on this website because I like to succeed when I spend my time working to make the world a better place. As nonviolent activists, we sometimes fail. In my experience and from my research, the primary reason why nonviolent activists fail is because they do not understand and apply sound strategic thinking to their campaign. Ironically, too, there are some fine examples of nonviolence succeeding even when the strategy used was virtually non-existent or poor (although poor strategy often accounts for a failure to maintain gains as well). This only illustrates the extraordinary power of nonviolence. Applied strategically, nonviolent action is phenomenally powerful.

I have based the presentation of nonviolent strategy on this website around the Nonviolent Strategy Wheel: a diagrammatic representation of the 12 components of any strategy. Hence, if you understand and apply the principles behind these components, you will have a complete strategy of phenomenal power.

If you would like to read a short article which explains, very simply, the importance of strategic thinking (in this case, when applied tactically), you can do so in my 1996 article ‘The Political Objective and Strategic Goal of Nonviolent Actions’.

Apart from describing how to plan and implement a nonviolent strategy, this website also includes some other valuable resources: photos and videos of nonviolent actions that highlight key points, a few key tools to assist you in developing components of your strategy, several case studies chosen because they highlight important issues about implementing a nonviolent strategy, and some articles that explain in more detail how to prepare for nonviolent actions (for example, in relation to police/military liaison and if violent repression is anticipated).

If you now want to explore what this nonviolent strategy website offers, I suggest you start with the Nonviolent Strategy Wheel.

In nonviolent solidarity; Robert

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