Nonviolent protest has proven to be a strong driver for democratization, and recent years have shown a rise in protest movements globally—from Hong Kong to Algeria to Sudan. Yet, popular uprisings don't always lead to democratic transitions, as seen in the Arab Spring revolutions in Egypt or Yemen. Why do some transitions driven by movements end in democracy while others do not? 

In his new book, “From Dissent to Democracy,” Jonathan Pinckney systematically examines transitions initiated by nonviolent resistance campaigns and argues that two key factors explain whether or not democracy will follow such efforts. First, a movement must sustain high levels of social mobilization. Second, it must direct that mobilization away from revolutionary "maximalist" goals and tactics and towards support for new institutions. 
 
On July 31, USIP hosted activists and scholars of nonviolent resistance for a discussion of the book’s broader lessons on how to support democratization efforts around the world. The conversation explored new insights into the intersection of democratization and nonviolent resistance, as well as actionable recommendations for activists and policymakers working toward democratic transitions.

Continue in the conversation on Twitter using #PeoplePower4Peace

Speakers

Erica Chenoweth
Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Zachariah Mampilly
Marxe Chair of International Affairs, City University of New York

Hardy Merriman
President and CEO, International Center on Nonviolent Conflict

Jonathan Pinckney
Program Officer, Nonviolent Action, U.S. Institute of Peace

Huda Shafig
Program Director, Karama

Maria Stephan, moderator
Director, Nonviolent Action, U.S. Institute of Peace

Latest Publications

Sameer Lalwani on the Future of U.S.-India Relations

Sameer Lalwani on the Future of U.S.-India Relations

Monday, January 30, 2023

By: Sameer P. Lalwani, Ph.D.

The United States and India have a common cause in their tensions with China, as well as a “natural partnership” on technology investments, says USIP’s Sameer Lalwani. But India remains noncommittal when it comes to Russia’s war on Ukraine: “They’ve concluded that they need Russia to stick around.”

Type: Podcast

Ukraine: A Real Peace Will Require Change from Russia

Ukraine: A Real Peace Will Require Change from Russia

Thursday, January 26, 2023

By: Mary Glantz, Ph.D.

The United States and its allies are seeking ways to promote a sustainable peace in Europe — one that ends Russia’s brutal assault on Ukraine and strengthens a global prohibition on such wars of aggrandizement. Tragically but realistically, Russia, like most historic imperial powers, will need to be defeated militarily before it abandons war as a means to dominate its neighbors. Any negotiated peace before such a defeat will simply let Russia rebuild its forces and renew its assault. Yet even as the West should maintain full support for Ukraine’s defense, such as the tanks much discussed this month, it should encourage negotiation toward specific goals.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

Thomas Hill on the U.N. Mission in Libya

Thomas Hill on the U.N. Mission in Libya

Thursday, January 26, 2023

By: Thomas M. Hill

Twelve years since the fall of Qaddafi, the United Nations' Libya mission carries the same mandate as it did in 2011. With the country still experiencing various degrees of conflict and upheaval, it’s time to “re-envision what we want the U.N. to do” in Libya and create a “mandate [that] will reflect that,” says USIP’s Thomas Hill.

Type: Podcast

Beyond the Courts: History-Related Lawsuits and South Korea-Japan Relations

Beyond the Courts: History-Related Lawsuits and South Korea-Japan Relations

Thursday, January 26, 2023

By: Celeste L. Arrington

While the relationship between South Korea and Japan is fraught with a number of historical and territorial disputes, the current cycle of tensions focuses our attention on lawsuits related to the colonial era. Most notably, bilateral ties soured after 2018, when two landmark rulings from the South Korean Supreme Court ordered Japanese firms to compensate Korean plaintiffs for their wartime forced labor.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Reconciliation

Wrestling with a Humanitarian Dilemma in Afghanistan

Wrestling with a Humanitarian Dilemma in Afghanistan

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

By: William Byrd, Ph.D.

Recent decrees by the Taliban barring Afghan women from attending university or working in NGOs are severely damaging the country both socially and economically, especially coming atop a ban on girls’ secondary education last year. The marginalization of half the population also highlights the “humanitarian dilemma” that aid donors and international agencies face: Afghanistan is highly dependent on humanitarian assistance, not only for saving lives and easing deprivation but also to stabilize its economy. The quandary for international donors is what to do when alleviating suffering benefits the Afghan economy and thereby the Taliban regime, even when that regime is harming its own people?

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Economics

View All Publications