This Is an Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century
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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. Yet, in this book, Mark and Paul Engler look at the hidden art behind such outbursts of protest, examining core principles that have been used to spark and guide moments of transformative unrest.
With incisive insights from contemporary activists, as well as fresh revelations about the work of groundbreaking figures such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Gene Sharp, and Frances Fox Piven, the Englers show how people with few resources and little conventional influence are engineering the upheavals that are reshaping contemporary politics.
Nonviolence is usually seen simply as a philosophy or moral code. This Is an Uprising shows how it can instead be deployed as a method of political conflict, disruption, and escalation. It argues that if we are always taken by surprise by dramatic outbreaks of revolt, we pass up the chance to truly understand how social transformation happens.
159 public sector unions, 177 Lakey, George, 91 La Raza organization, 218 Lawson, James, 11 lawsuits, 99, 113, 232, 235 against the FBI, 233 Lazendic, Stanko, 94 leadership, 68–69, 95, 126, 232, 255, 261, 281 women leaders, viii, 231, 234 Legionnaires’ Disease, 198 legislation, 48, 64, 95, 99, 104, 131, 132, 166, 216, 222, 265, 268. See also Sensenbrenner bill Leonard, Andrew, 164 Lerner, Stephen, 28, 158–159 Lewis, John, 12, 151, 213 Lewis, John L., 34, 264–265 LGBT rights, 89,
questions about King’s leadership, the very idea that a mass public “crisis” could be engineered—that a major uprising could emerge not as an unstructured product of an era’s zeitgeist but as a planned effort—was a suspect notion. Social movements in general were not held in high regard, and scholars of the time doubted nonviolent resistance in particular. They considered Gandhi’s example in India to have little application in a country like the United States, and they did not expect the success
domestic partnerships, was a mistake. “What I [advocate],” Wolfson said, “is that we go into the room asking for what we deserve, telling our powerful stories, and engaging the reachable allies. We may leave the room not getting everything we want, but don’t go in bargaining against yourself.”26 In 2005, when Wolfson and a group of other prominent LGBT organizers met in Jersey City to map out a path to securing same-sex marriage across the country, they believed that the Supreme Court would have
small tangible gains could represent extraordinary symbolic victories, even if those people closest to the struggle could not appreciate it at the time.”32 Adam Fairclough adds, “Birmingham, and the protests that immediately followed it, transformed the political climate so that civil rights legislation became feasible; before, it had been impossible.”33 The use of symbolically loaded demands and the acceptance of settlements that adhere to the Gandhian rule of the “minimum consistent with
not get its due in the annals of history. Because its vision was so broad and its ambitions so great, the movement lent itself to disappointment. After all, participants aspired to nothing less than a revolutionary shift in America’s economic structures and a grassroots reinvention of political democracy. Observers who compare the actual political reverberations of Occupy with its most grandiose pronouncements can easily conclude that it achieved nothing close to its stated goals. Even judging