26 February 2017
Chenoweth says the most effective variable in toppling a dictator is the number of people participating in a movement. Chenoweth argues that many more people—and more diverse groups of people—participate in nonviolent campaigns than in activities perceived to be violent. She concludes that this means nonviolence is not merely a moral choice for an individual, but a strategic necessity for a movement... How do mobilizations like the Women’s March and the airport rallies impact the Trump administration? They signal that resistance to the administration’s plans is alive and well, and they signal this to lots of important audiences. The first audience is other would-be protesters, who may be more willing to participate as they see the movement growing and winning key gains. The second audience is the silent majority, who may see the protests and demonstrations as reason to interpret the Trump administration’s actions with more skepticism. The third audience is the people who actually implement policy—Congress, law-enforcement officials, civil servants, and others who may be involved—who see that implementing the policies might be too costly, thereby motivating them to resist internally. And the fourth audience is people observing abroad, who see the resistance as a sign that the preferences of the American electorate are actually quite different from those of the American president. Public resistance can help to temper the consequences of any reckless missteps from the administration... There is strong evidence to suggest that the Americans view protest and policing through similarly racialized lenses. For instance, in recent survey research, many African Americans see all police violence against protesters as illegitimate. Conversely, many white Americans are more likely to interpret police violence as legitimate when it is directed against brown and black bodies, as compared with white bodies. However, when police are of mixed race and protesters are of mixed race, white Americans become confused and ambivalent about which side to support. There is an opening here to make them more sympathetic to the protesters.... Once democracies begin the slide into authoritarianism, institutions cannot save them. The only protection against total failure is the capacity of civil society to effectively mobilize collective action. So, basically, we’re it! The ability to protect (and improve) the republic depends on whether a diverse coalition of progressive groups can restore, sustain, and mobilize an effective civil society.
Posted by afterdark at 17:51