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eJournal USA: Nonviolent Paths to Social Change

17 March 2009

About This Issue

Why Nonviolence Works

The Power of Nonviolent Action
Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics, University of San Francisco
Armed insurgencies impose great human costs. Nonviolent “people power” movements succeed by calling attention to official repression and winning support from the undecided.

Nonviolent Thought Through U.S. History
Ira Chernus, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Colorado at Boulder
Rooted in 16th-century Europe, the intellectual traditions of nonviolent thought and action developed in the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries and traveled abroad to Asia and Africa.

Generating Grassroots Change

What Do Community Organizers Do?
Kathy Partridge, Executive Director, Interfaith Funders
Millions of U.S. citizens have used community organizers to teach them how to press governments to do the right thing. Warfare is not part of the natural condition of man. Civilization promotes less violent ways of effecting change.

The E-Campaign: Rallying Volunteers and Voters
David Talbot, Chief Correspondent, Technology Review
The 2008 election victory of Barack Obama showed that Web-based tools for donating money and efficiently harnessing the efforts of large numbers of volunteers can be extraordinarily powerful.

Harnessing the Power of Protest
Clay Shirky, Professor, New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program
Simple new telecommunications tools are removing obstacles to collective action by ordinary people, and thus changing the world.

Science Suggesting Solutions

Will War Ever End?
John Horgan, Director, Center for Science Writings, Stevens Institute of Technology
Warfare is not part of the natural condition of man. Civilization promotes less violent ways of effecting change.

The Prisoner’s Dilemma and Other Opportunities
David P. Barash, Professor of Psychology, University of Washington
Game theory suggests that, although it is not at all simple to accomplish, cooperation can often be shown to be preferable to conflict.

Seven Changing the World
There is no single formula for implementing meaningful social change in a world of such daunting complexity and diversity. Writer Howard Cincotta here describes seven individuals who demonstrate how such change can be accomplished.

Wangari Maathai: Trees of Peace

Shirin Ebadi: Faith in Freedom

Jody Williams: Land Mines and Networks

Geoffrey Canada: A Children’s Conveyor Belt

Francine Prose: Defending Words and Writers

Katherine Chon and Derek Ellerman: Fighting Human Trafficking

Additional Resources

(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/iipdigital-en/index.html)