Social Movements

2020 Jun 17

The Struggle for Black Lives: Reimagining Systems and Institutions

Registration Closed 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Location: 

Virtual Event (Registration Required)

According to Alan Jenkins, Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School, "it is time for a Third Reconstruction: a fundamental reconsideration of our Constitution, systems, institutions, and practices to uphold human rights and ensure equal opportunity for all." Join us in a conversation with Professor Jenkins to discuss how we can reimagine systems and institutions, and the leadership that is needed to move the needle on racial justice. 

Panelists:

  • Alan Jenkins | Professor of Practice, Harvard Law School
  • ...
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2020 Jun 11

Police Brutality in the United States: A Conversation with Agnes Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions

Registration Closed 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Location: 

Virtual Event (Registration Required)

The killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, as well as countless black people has sparked protests around the country. Join the Carr Center for a conversation with Agnes Callamard, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. Callamard and other UN experts have called on the U.S. government "to take decisive action to address systemic racism and racial bias in the criminal justice system by launching independent investigations and ensuring accountability in all cases of excessive use of force by police." 

Read the ...

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The Floyd Protests Are the Broadest in U.S. History — and Are Spreading to White, Small-Town America
Lara Putnam, Erica Chenoweth, and Jeremy Pressman. 6/6/2020. “The Floyd Protests Are the Broadest in U.S. History — and Are Spreading to White, Small-Town America.” Washington Post. See full version.Abstract
Erica Chenoweth discusses the Floyd protests and its impact on law, social policies, and the 2020 elections.

Across the country, people are protesting the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and demanding action against police violence and systemic racism. National media focuses on the big demonstrations and protest policing in major cities, but they have not picked up on a different phenomenon that may have major long-term consequences for politics. Protests over racism and #BlackLivesMatter are spreading across the country — including in small towns with deeply conservative politics.

2020 Jun 17

India’s COVID Democracy Crisis: Lockdown of Labour and Liberties

Registration Closed 12:00pm to 1:15pm

Location: 

Virtual Webinar (Registration Required)

In response to the public health crisis of COVID, India has imposed one of the most stringent and ill prepared lockdowns in the world, leading to a humanitarian disaster. Over 700 people have died unrelated to the virus but due to distress directly caused by the lockdown, such as hunger. Even as the state has flexed its executive muscle, activating police forces to enforce the lockdown with...

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2020 Jun 12

People Power in the Face of Authoritarianism in Nicaragua

Registration Closed 12:00pm to 1:15pm

Location: 

Virtual Event (Registration Required)

A conversation with Nicaraguan human rights defenders about the trials, triumphs and future challenges of people power in Nicaragua in a context of democratic decay, decreasing civic space and authoritarianism since the return of Daniel Ortega to power in 2007.

Panelists

  • Amaya Coppens Zamora | Activist, Medical Student, Political Prisoner
  • Mateo Jarquín Chamorro | Assistant Professor, Chapman University 
  • Mónica López Baltodano | Activist,...
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2020 Jun 05

Migrants in Hungary and the Role of Grassroots Groups

Registration Closed 12:00pm to 1:15pm

Location: 

Virtual Event (Registration Required)

Introducing activism through the lens of a solidarity group in Hungary.

Panelists:

  • Aiski Ryokas | Activist
  • Aliz Pocsuvalszki | Activist
  • Mussa Kilam | Activist 
  • Amy Rodgers | Activist 
  • Camille Tournebize | Activist 
  • Aniko Bakonyi (co-moderator) | Topol Fellow, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy...
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2020 Jun 03

The Struggle for Black Lives: Historical Legacies to Future Possibilities

Registration Closed 11:00am to 12:00pm

Location: 

Virtual Event (Registration Required)

The tragic killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville have sparked protests across the country. Join the Carr Center for a conversation with two leading scholars on the history of racist policing in the United States, the killing of black people by police and vigilantes, the role of social and civil rights movements in advocating for change, and ways in which we can envision a just future.  

Panelists:

  • Keisha N. Blain | W.E.B. Du Bois Fellow, Harvard University; President, African American...
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topol_01

Carr Center for Human Rights Policy Receives Gift from Topol Family Foundation to Support Launch of Nonviolent Action Lab

May 26, 2020

Cambridge, MA – The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School is pleased to announce a generous gift from the Topol Family Foundation to support the Center’s program on nonviolent social movements.... Read more about Carr Center for Human Rights Policy Receives Gift from Topol Family Foundation to Support Launch of Nonviolent Action Lab

Media Coverage Has Blown Anti-Lockdown Protests out of Proportion
Erica Chenoweth, Lara Putnam, Tommy Leung, Jeremy Pressman, and Nathan Perkins. 5/10/2020. “Media Coverage Has Blown Anti-Lockdown Protests out of Proportion.” Vox. See full text.Abstract
Erica Chenoweth explains that anti-lockdown protests are smaller than portrayed, but the media is amplifying their message.

In the last few weeks, protests against state lockdowns and social distancing measures have seized national headlines. The wall-to-wall coverage might give the impression that what we’re seeing is a powerful grassroots movement in the making. But research we just conducted on protest attendance and media coverage shows something different: This massive media coverage has in fact been out of proportion.

A comprehensive look at the social distancing protests reveals that they have been small in terms of both the number of participants and locations. As one official in the administration of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) tweeted about a protest in Annapolis on April 20, “There were more media inquiries about this than there were participants.”

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The Global Pandemic Has Spawned New Forms of Activism – and They’re Flourishing
Erica Chenoweth, Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick, Jeremy Pressman, Felipe G Santos, and Jay Ulfelder. 4/20/2020. “The Global Pandemic Has Spawned New Forms of Activism – and They’re Flourishing.” The Guardian. See full text.Abstract
We’ve identified nearly 100 distinct methods of nonviolent action that include physical, virtual and hybrid actions
Erica Chenoweth and team have been collecting data on the various methods that people have used to express solidarity or adapted to press for change in the midst of this crisis. In just several weeks’ time, they've identified nearly 100 distinct methods of nonviolent action that include physical, virtual and hybrid actions – and they’re still counting. Far from condemning social movements to obsolescence, the pandemic – and governments’ responses to it – are spawning new tools, new strategies, and new motivation to push for change.

Read the full article from The Gaurdian.

 
Questions, Answers, and Some Cautionary Updates Regarding the 3.5% Rule
Erica Chenoweth. 4/20/2020. “Questions, Answers, and Some Cautionary Updates Regarding the 3.5% Rule.” Carr Center Discussion Paper Series, 2020-005. See full text.Abstract
The “3.5% rule” refers to the claim that no government has withstood a challenge of 3.5% of their population mobilized against it during a peak event. In this brief paper, author Erica Chenoweth addresses some of the common questions about the 3.5% rule, as well as several updates from more recent work on this topic.

Four key takeaways are as follows:

  • The 3.5% figure is a descriptive statistic based on a sample of historical movements. It is not necessarily a prescriptive one, and no one can see the future. Trying to achieve the threshold without building a broader public constituency does not guarantee success in the future.
  • The 3.5% participation metric may be useful as a rule of thumb in most cases; however, other factors—momentum, organization, strategic leadership, and sustainability—are likely as important as large-scale participation in achieving movement success and are often precursors to achieving 3.5% participation.
  • New research suggests that one nonviolent movement, Bahrain in 2011-2014, appears to have decisively failed despite achieving over 6% popular participation at its peak. This suggests that there has been at least one exception to the 3.5% rule, and that the rule is a tendency, rather than a law.
  • Large peak participation size is associated with movement success. However, most mass nonviolent movements that have succeeded have done so even without achieving 3.5% popular participation. 

Read the full paper. 

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