The next climate strike by students is this Friday and I will be accompanying my wee daughter again. Detractors moan that their actions mean nothing and can achieve nothing.
Thankfully the BBC is here to prove the detractors wrong.
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.
In 1986, millions of Filipinos took to the streets of Manila in peaceful protest and prayer in the People Power movement. The Marcos regime folded on the fourth day.
In 2003, the people of Georgia ousted Eduard Shevardnadze through the bloodless Rose Revolution, in which protestors stormed the parliament building holding the flowers in their hands.
Earlier this year, the presidents of Sudan and Algeria both announced they would step aside after decades in office, thanks to peaceful campaigns of resistance.
In each case, civil resistance by ordinary members of the public trumped the political elite to achieve radical 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.
Looking at hundreds of campaigns over the last century, Chenoweth found that nonviolent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns. And although the exact dynamics will depend on many factors, she has shown it takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.
…all Students, Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion and environmentalists have to do to truly force change for the climate crisis have to do is gain a mere 3.5% who are willing to commit to peaceful civil disobedience and the state is forced to change.
We. Must. Not. Give. Up.
This is the time to push and fight. Once we hit 3.5%, the State is forced to change, don’t let the detractors inject you with apathy and impotence. We are far stronger than we know.