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On when non-violence doesn’t work

Summary

Maria J. Stephan identifies the key ingredient of a successful campaign.

Summary

Maria J. Stephan identifies the key ingredient of a successful campaign.

Transcript

It doesn’t work when non-violent campaigns are unable to attract a significant level of participation. So the key ingredient of successful civil resistance is mass and diverse participation. So for example, we found in the study that the average non-violent campaign in our dataset attracted 11 times the level of participants as the average violent campaign. And the greater the number of people and the greater the diversity of participants, the more likely the campaigns were to succeed. So when campaigns are not able to attract mass participation, when there’s significant disunity – so when there’s no unity around goals, leaders, and tactics – that’s usually going to be a sign that a movement won’t succeed. If the campaign or movement is unable to maintain non-violent discipline when faced with violence, that usually is a sign that it will not succeed. So, a few of these ingredients are often at play when the campaigns are not effective or do not succeed.