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The Methods of Nonviolent Protest and Persuasion

Source: Gene Sharp, The Politics of Nonviolent Action, Vol. 2: The Methods of Nonviolent Action (Boston: Porter Sargent Publishers, 1973).

As protests continue around the world, I'll continue to add non-violent examples to these listings.

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Corrente readers:

To add links to this page from your own posts:

Each method has a unique identifier in HTML, so that it can be linked to, in the form "nv"n. Public speeches, for example, has the identifier "nv1". The URL for this post is "," so here is a link to method #1:

<a href="nv#nv1">#1</>

A real example is this post (#51) (linked here). If you want to enter a link from your post to one of these tactics, do this: 1. Type the number of the tactic (for example, 51). 2. Select it. 3. Click the NV button at the right of the toolbar. The link to this page will be automagically created.


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Formal Statements
1. Public Speeches (Egypt; E; WA-USA)
2. Letters of opposition or support
3. Declarations by organizations and institutions (Egypt)
4. Signed public statements (Egypt; Libya; Bahrain; E)
5. Declarations of indictment and intention
6. Group or mass petitions

Communications with a Wider Audience
7. Slogans, caricatures, and symbols (Egypt; E; E; Libya; WI-USA; B; L; L; WI-USA)
8. Banners, posters, and displayed communications (Egypt; Iraq; UK; WI-USA; WA-USA; ME-USA; Athens-GR; Bologna-IT; Albany, NY-USA)

9. Leaflets, pamphlets, and books (Egypt; E; PA-USA; PA-USA; Madrid-ES; Barcelona-ES)
10. Newspapers and journals (Libya; UK; Libya; WI-USA)
11. Records, radio, and television (Egypt; E)
12. Skywriting and earthwriting

Group Representations
13. Deputations
14. Mock awards
15. Group lobbying (WI-USA)
16. Picketing (US airports)
17. Mock elections

Symbolic Public Acts
18. Displays of flags and symbolic colors (Egypt; E)
19. Wearing of symbols
20. Prayer and worship (Egypt)
21. Delivering symbolic objects (Egypt; Bahrein; Afghanistan; Spain)
22. Protest disrobings
23. Destruction of own property
24. Symbolic lights
25. Displays of portraits (Libya)
26. Paint as protest (Egypt; E)
27. New signs and names
28. Symbolic sounds (UK)
29. Symbolic reclamations (Egypt)
30. Rude gestures (Egypt)

Pressures on Individuals
31. "Haunting" officials GR
32. Taunting officials (GR; Albany, NY-USA)
33. Fraternization (Egypt; E; PA-USA; WI-USA)
34. Vigils

Drama and Music
35. Humorous skits and pranks (Bangles; E; UK; WI-USA; Spain)
36. Performances of plays and music (WI-USA)
37. Singing (Bangles; CA-USA BoA flash mob; DC-USA)

38. Marches (Egypt; WI-USA; Yemen; OH-USA; LA-USA)
39. Parades
40. Religious processions
41. Pilgrimages
42. Motorcades

Honoring the Dead
43. Political mourning (Bahrain)
44. Mock funerals (Suez-E)
45. Demonstrative funerals (Bahrain; B)
46. Homage at burial places

Public Assemblies
47. Assemblies of protest or support (Egypt; Libya; Iraq; Yemen; UK; UK; WI-USA; WI-USA; Libya; UK; L; L; US airports; Greece; PA-USA; MA-USA)
48. Protest meetings (#occupywallstreet US).
49. Camouflaged meetings of protest
50. Teach-ins (Philadelphia, PA).

Withdrawal and Renunciation
51. Walk-outs (Stoughton, WI)
52. Silence
53. Renouncing honors
54. Turning one's back (USA)


Ostracism of Persons
55. Social boycott
56. Selective social boycott (USA)
57. Lysistratic nonaction (USA VA; Spain)
58. Excommunication
59. Interdict

Noncooperation with Social Events, Customs, and Institutions
60. Suspension of social and sports activities
61. Boycott of social affairs
62. Student strike
63. Social disobedience
64. Withdrawal from social institutions

Withdrawal from the Social System
65. Stay-at-home
66. Total personal noncooperation
67. "Flight" of workers
68. Sanctuary
69. Collective disappearance
70. Protest emigration (hijrat)


Actions by Consumers
71. Consumers' boycott
72. Nonconsumption of boycotted goods
73. Policy of austerity (USA)
74. Rent withholding
75. Refusal to rent USA
76. National consumers' boycott
77. International consumers' boycott

Action by Workers and Producers
78. Workmen's boycott
79. Producers' boycott

Action by Middlemen
80. Suppliers' and handlers' boycott

Action by Owners and Management
81. Traders' boycott
82. Refusal to let or sell property
83. Lockout
84. Refusal of industrial assistance
85. Merchants' "general strike"

Action by Holders of Financial Resources
86. Withdrawal of bank deposits (USA; WI-USA)
87. Refusal to pay fees, dues, and assessments (Greece)
88. Refusal to pay debts or interest (USA; USA)
89. Severance of funds and credit
90. Revenue refusal (USA)
91. Refusal of a government's money

Action by Governments
92. Domestic embargo
93. Blacklisting of traders
94. International sellers' embargo
95. International buyers' embargo
96. International trade embargo


Symbolic Strikes
97. Protest strike
98. Quickie walkout (lightning strike)

Agricultural Strikes
99. Peasant strike
100. Farm Workers' strike

Strikes by Special Groups
101. Refusal of impressed labor
102. Prisoners' strike
103. Craft strike
104. Professional strike (WI-USA; WI-USA)

Ordinary Industrial Strikes
105. Establishment strike
106. Industry strike (Egypt)
107. Sympathetic strike

Restricted Strikes
108. Detailed strike
109. Bumper strike
110. Slowdown strike
111. Working-to-rule strike
112. Reporting "sick" (sick-in)
113. Strike by resignation
114. Limited strike
115. Selective strike

Multi-Industry Strikes
116. Generalized strike
117. General strike (Egypt)

Combination of Strikes and Economic Closures
118. Hartal
119. Economic shutdown


Rejection of Authority
120. Withholding or withdrawal of allegiance
121. Refusal of public support
122. Literature and speeches advocating resistance

Citizens' Noncooperation with Government
123. Boycott of legislative bodies
124. Boycott of elections
125. Boycott of government employment and positions
126. Boycott of government depts., agencies, and other bodies
127. Withdrawal from government educational institutions
128. Boycott of government-supported organizations
129. Refusal of assistance to enforcement agents
130. Removal of own signs and placemarks
131. Refusal to accept appointed officials
132. Refusal to dissolve existing institutions

Citizens' Alternatives to Obedience
133. Reluctant and slow compliance
134. Nonobedience in absence of direct supervision
135. Popular nonobedience
136. Disguised disobedience
137. Refusal of an assemblage or meeting to disperse (WI-USA)
138. Sitdown (Egypt)
139. Noncooperation with conscription and deportation
140. Hiding, escape, and false identities
141. Civil disobedience of "illegitimate" laws (Egypt; E)

Action by Government Personnel
142. Selective refusal of assistance by government aides
143. Blocking of lines of command and information
144. Stalling and obstruction
145. General administrative noncooperation
146. Judicial noncooperation
147. Deliberate inefficiency and selective noncooperation by enforcement agents
148. Mutiny (Egypt; E)

Domestic Governmental Action
149. Quasi-legal evasions and delays
150. Noncooperation by constituent governmental units (IN-USA)

International Governmental Action
151. Changes in diplomatic and other representations
152. Delay and cancellation of diplomatic events
153. Withholding of diplomatic recognition
154. Severance of diplomatic relations
155. Withdrawal from international organizations
156. Refusal of membership in international bodies
157. Expulsion from international organizations


Psychological Intervention
158. Self-exposure to the elements (#occupywallstreet US)
159. The fast
a) Fast of moral pressure
b) Hunger strike
c) Satyagrahic fast
160. Reverse trial
161. Nonviolent harassment

Physical Intervention
162. Sit-in (Yemen; UK; DC-USA (Keystone XL))
163. Stand-in
164. Ride-in
165. Wade-in
166. Mill-in
167. Pray-in
168. Nonviolent raids
169. Nonviolent air raids
170. Nonviolent invasion (UK)
171. Nonviolent interjection
172. Nonviolent obstruction (Athens-GR; Barcelona-ES; Athens-GR; Albany, NY-USA).
173. Nonviolent occupation (Bahrain; B; UK; WI-USA; B; B; WI-USA; WI-USA; WA-USA; CA-USA BoA flash mob; PA-USA "play in"; DC-USA; PA-USA (Philly Uncut); Spain; (Athens-GR; Bologna-IT; Athens-GR; Cairo-E).

Social Intervention
174. Establishing new social patterns (Egypt; E; E; Bahrain; WI-USA; WI-USA; PA-USA; Spain; Madrid-ES; Madrid-ES; Athens-GR; Athens-GR; (#occupywallstreet US))
175. Overloading of facilities (#occupywallstreet US)
176. Stall-in
177. Speak-in
178. Guerrilla theater
179. Alternative social institutions (Egypt)
180. Alternative communication system (Egypt; E; Libya; WI-USA; L; L; OH-USA; Arab world; Madrid-ES; (#occupywallstreet US))

Economic Intervention
181. Reverse strike
182. Stay-in strike
183. Nonviolent land seizure
184. Defiance of blockades
185. Politically motivated counterfeiting
186. Preclusive purchasing
187. Seizure of assets
188. Dumping
189. Selective patronage
190. Alternative markets
191. Alternative transportation systems (Uganda)
192. Alternative economic institutions

Political Intervention
193. Overloading of administrative systems
194. Disclosing identities of secret agents
195. Seeking imprisonment
196. Civil disobedience of "neutral" laws (Egypt; E; WI-USA; DC-USA)
197. Work-on without collaboration
198. Dual sovereignty and parallel government (Egypt; E; E; E)

No votes yet


Submitted by MontanaMaven on

and joined the protest [#47] at the capitol in Madison. They were cheered by the crowd, estimated by John Nichols to be 10,000. Biggest rally anyone has seen in Madison, Wisconsin.

Walk like an Egyptian. The young have woken up.

jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

The US has numbers of unemployed young people to rival the Arab world. It might just happen here- maybe? If it comes, we'll certainly have seen it coming, but whether it will come, who can say until it does?