Strategic nonviolent action has reasserted itself as a potent force in shaping public debate and forcing political change. Whether it is an explosive surge of protest calling for racial justice in the United States, a demand for democratic reform in Hong Kong or Mexico, a wave of uprisings against dictatorship in the Middle East, or a tent city on Wall Street that spreads throughout the country, when mass movements erupt onto our television screens, the media portrays them as being as spontaneous and unpredictable. In This is an Uprising, political analysts Mark and Paul Engler uncover the organization and well-planned strategies behind such outbursts of protest, examining core principles that have been used to spark and guide moments of transformative unrest.
This is an Uprising traces the evolution of civil resistance, providing new insights into the contributions of early experimenters such as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., groundbreaking theorists such as Gene Sharp and Frances Fox Piven, and contemporary practitioners who have toppled repressive regimes in countries such as South Africa, Serbia, and Egypt. Drawing from discussions with activists now working to defend human rights, challenge corporate corruption, and combat climate change, the Englers show how people with few resources and little influence in conventional politics can nevertheless engineer momentous upheavals.
Although it continues to prove its importance in political life, the strategic use of nonviolent action is poorly understood. Nonviolence is usually studied as a philosophy or moral code, rather than as a method of political conflict, disruption, and escalation. This is an Uprising corrects this oversight. It argues that if we are always taken by surprise by dramatic outbreaks of revolt, and if we decline to incorporate them into our view of how societies progress, then we pass up the chance to fully grasp a critical phenomenonand to harness its power to create lasting change.
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About the Author
Mark Engler, a writer based in Philadelphia, is an editorial board member at Dissent, a contributing editor at Yes! Magazine, and a senior analyst with the think tank Foreign Policy In Focus. He is the author of How to Rule the World: The Coming Battle Over the Global Economy.
Paul Engler is founding director of the Center for the Working Poor, in Los Angeles. He worked for more a decade as an organizer in the immigrant rights, global justice, and labor movements. He now serves as a lead trainer at Movement Mastery.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Strategic Turn 1
Chapter 2 Structure and Movement 31
Chapter 3 The Hybrid 59
Chapter 4 The Pillars 87
Chapter 5 Declare Victory and Run 117
Chapter 6 The Act of Disruption 143
Chapter 7 The Whirlwind 171
Chapter 8 The Dividers 197
Chapter 9 The Discipline 225
Chapter 10 The Ecology of Change 251
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The book This Is An Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt is Reshaping the Twenty-First Century by Paul and Mark Engler is thought-provoking and well organized. Before reading this book, I didn’t know much about nonviolent protest and did not know how much organizing actually goes into the process. Since this book covered every aspect of civil resistance, I have acquired a deep understanding of strategic nonviolence, and feel like a partial-expert. Paul and Mark Engler do an incredible job of presenting their point of view, and I really enjoyed the real-life examples. If the book had no examples, I don't think I would understand the topic as well as I do now.