Nonviolent protests are twice as likely to succeed as armed conflicts, and those engaging a threshold of 3.5% of the population have never failed to bring about change.
There are, of course, many ethical reasons to use nonviolent strategies. But compelling research by Erica Chenoweth, a political scientist at Harvard University, confirms that civil disobedience is not only the moral choice; it is also the most powerful way of shaping world politics – by a long way.
This ferment is beginning to solidify into a movement. The New Economy Organisers Network (Neon), a NEF spin-off based in London, runs workshops for leftwing activists, to learn how “to build support for a new economy” – for example, by telling effective “stories” about it in the mainstream media. Stir to Action, an activist organisation based in Bridport in Dorset, publishes a quarterly “magazine for the new economy”, and organises advice sessions in left-leaning cities such as Bristol and Oxford: Worker Co-ops: How to Get Started, Community Ownership: What If We Ran It Ourselves?
“There’s a totally new impulse to activism about the economy now,” says the magazine’s editor, Jonny Gordon-Farleigh, who was previously involved in anticapitalist and environmental protests. “The movement has gone from oppose to propose.”