Swarthmore College Department of

Peace & Conflict Studies Blog

Announcing the Global Nonviolent Action Database

WHAT IF activists around the world who want to be more effective could turn to a database of actual campaigns, to get ideas for creative nonviolent strategies and tactics?

WHAT IF scholars and writers who are researching alternatives to violence could turn to a global database with hundreds of cases where people used nonviolent action to struggle for human rights, eco-justice, democracy?

Check the Internet September 11, 2011: http://NVDatabase.swarthmore.edu

Campaigns are drawn from nearly every country in the world, in which people overthrew dictators, changed environmental policies, halted racist discrimination, fought for economic justice, established their religious freedom, changed sexist and other oppressive laws, established national independence, and defended their neighborhoods – all by using nonviolent resistance.

Cases are included where people power failed, as mistakes can be instructive.

Each case is presented in two ways: a database file to assist researchers and activists, and a 2-3 page narrative to assist strategists and organizers. Through the database, users can do searches on countries, kinds of tactics, kinds of movements, degrees of success. The database features “waves” of civilian resistance in which campaigns inspire each other:

– Arab Awakening of 2011

– The “color revolutions” which began in Serbia in 2000

– Soviet Bloc independence campaigns (1989-)

– African democracy campaigns of early 1990s

– Asian democracy campaigns launched by Filipino People Power in 1986

– Latin American democracy campaigns (early 1980s)

– U.S. civil rights movement against racial discrimination (1950s – 60s)

More cases are being added to the database — ranging historically all the way back to 12th century BCE Egypt — by students at Swarthmore College, who have gained assistance from Tufts and Georgetown Universities. The project is sponsored by the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility at Swarthmore as well as the Peace and Conflict Studies Department and the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. For more information, email: glakey1@swarthmore.edu.