How Can Social Movements Help Defend Democracy?

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Abstract

This piece of “movement writing” is written by the coheads of the Center for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies and the cofounders of the Otpor! movement that ousted Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milošević in 2000. The article discusses the most promising tactics in contemporary prodemocracy activism, drawing on the authors’ considerable experience working with activists across the globe. Popović and Djinovic argue that the efficacy of traditional nonviolent strategies has waned with respect to contemporary prodemocracy struggles—which often seek to defend institutions rather than dismantle them—and advocate for more creative, humorous approach to contention.

Contributor Notes

Srdja Popović is a cohead of the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies and a cofounder of the nonviolent resistance group Otpor! that ousted Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milošević in 2000. In November 2011, Foreign Policy Magazine listed him as one of the “Top 100 Global Thinkers” of 2011 for inspiring the Arab Spring protesters. In 2012, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2014, the World Economic Forum in Davos listed him as a “Young Global Leader.” He is the author of Blueprint for Revolution (Spiegel & Grau, 2015), a humorous look at nonviolent activism worldwide. Email: srkip@canvasopedia.org

Slobodan Djinovic is a cohead of the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies and a cofounder of the nonviolent resistance group Otpor! that ousted Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milošević in 2000. He went on to found one of the first internet companies in Serbia and currently serves as CEO of Orion Telecom. He is a cofounder and chair of the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies, an educational organization that trains activists from around the world in strategies and tactics on nonviolent struggle. He has coauthored two CANVAS publications, Nonviolent Struggle: 50 Crucial Points and The CANVAS Core Curriculum. Email: basic.mladen@gmail.com

Contention

The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest

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