Nonviolent Conflict: the forgotten art of civil deterrence

Whenever the topic of nonviolent action comes up, we only think of public demonstrations and activism or Gandhi and Dr.King.

nonviolent protester

The recent violent protests across america has made me realize the growing need for educating our young the concepts of civil deterrence and nonviolent protest, who constantly feel alienated from the system and take up violence to make their voices heard.

Nonviolent conflict is no different from military conflict and has be proven to be successful in

  1. Dismantling dictatorships
  2. Blocking coups d’état
  3. Defending against foreign invasions
  4. Expelling foreign occupation
  5. Providing an alternative to violence in extreme ethnic conflicts
  6. Challening unjust social and economic systems
  7. Developing, preserving and extending democratic practices, human rights, civil liberties and freedom of religion
  8. Resisting genocide

As in military conflicts, training and strategic planning can be used in nonviolent action to increase its effectiveness.

In 1983, Sharp designed the Non Violent Sanctions Program in the Center for International Affairs of Harvard University where he did some social sciences studies on the possible use of civil disobedience by Western Europe population in case of a military invasion carried out by the troops of the Warsaw Pact.

He also has put forth 198 methods that can be used by the general population to bring upon social, economic, and political change.


Why is something that has been used even by the CIA in soft coups to topple dictators cant be used in a democratic system to make our voices heard? We can and we always have been.

It has been used very often in our modern human history. The current necessity is to make it part of high school and college curriculum bringing awareness among common public.

We need to make people realize that non-violent action is not just a myth or that people using nonviolent action do not have to be pacifists or saints.


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