Three central mechanisms help explain the turn to violent resistance: emotional mechanisms (fear and anger as motivation for self-defense and revenge, respectively), material mechanisms (“the availability of weapons”), and practice mechanisms (“previous experience, training, and organizational capabilities in violence”).
In this issue, some of the articles focus on intractable conflicts, like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or civil wars of the recent past, like Sierra Leone or Côte d’Ivoire. While conflict is persistent in these settings, there are examples of peacebuilding at the interpersonal and local levels. The choice between violence and nonviolence is highlighted in two other articles, though in quite different contexts. Research conducted in Iran finds that nonviolent resistance garners more support than violent resistance does even after the previous failure of a nonviolent movement. Other research reveals that the inclusion of armed groups in negotiations can move them away from the use of violence, while their exclusion makes a return to violence more likely. Additionally, national governments continue to play a powerful role in shaping outcomes for peace and security, from decisions about whether to participate in negotiations with armed groups to decisions about how much to allocate towards defense spending.
Nationwide, Iranian truckers have united in protest demanding better wages. Their protest, in conjunction with rising levels of resistance to Iran's leader, Ali Khamenei, signify a changing tide in Iranian society.
Organized labor and trade unions create interconnected social networks that bridge diverse groups of people and aid in the mobilization for mass collective action.
In Honduras, police officers abandon posts and defy orders to join nonviolent protests against election fraud. Police defection grew as protests spread to other cities. Nonviolent activists can lessen chances of violent repression by strategically publicizing the contrast between their actions and those of their opponent–and by taking measures to facilitate security force defection.
Civil resistance— in particular, the creation of peace territories— can be used to resist not only authoritarian regimes but also violence itself.
Violent flanks that emerge from within otherwise nonviolent campaigns appear to decrease these campaigns’ likelihood of success.