Articles and Essays by Mark Engler

Archive for 2014

Explode

What makes nonviolent movements explode?

Despite the demonstrated power of sacrifice and disruption, it is rare that groups risk either in significant measure — and even rarer that the two are combined in thoughtful and creative ways
Berlin

From the Berlin Wall to today — Lessons for harnessing the moment of the whirlwind

Every so often, we witness a period of mass insurgency that seems to defy the accepted rules of politics
Gandhi

How did Gandhi win?

Lessons from the Salt March for today's social movements.
March

Surviving the Ups and Downs of Social Movements

Can theories of movement cycles equip activists to persevere over the long haul?
Pillars

When the pillars fall — How social movements can win more victories like same-sex marriage

Where insider politics fails, a transformational approach can turn the impossible into the inevitable.
banksy-parking1

Should We Fight the System or Be the Change?

The strengths and limitations of prefigurative politics.
piven-ppm3

Can Frances Fox Piven’s Theory of Disruptive Power Create the Next Occupy?

Reconsidering Poor People's Movements in the wake of mass uprising.
alinsky1

Would Saul Alinsky Break His Own Rules?

In the wake of Occupy, some community organizers are interested in questioning the old divide between "movements" and "organizations"—and in harnessing the power of both.
egypt1

Did Nonviolence Fail in Egypt?

Three years after the resignation of Mubarak, the Egyptian Revolution provides a perfect example of what mass, disruptive protest can accomplish—and what it can't.
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When Martin Luther King Gave Up His Guns

It took years of political evolution for King to understand nonviolence not merely as a moral force, but as an effective strategy for leveraging political change.