Browse Cases by Tags

(Mainly or Initiated by) Indigenous Participants

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES. The GNAD uses the definition provided by the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: "Practicing unique traditions, they retain social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live. . . . they are the descendants - according to a common definition - of those who inhabited a country or a geographical region at the time when people of different cultures or ethnic origins arrived. The new arrivals later became dominant through conquest, occupation, settlement or other means." Markers of "indigenous:"

  • Self- identification as indigenous peoples at the individual level and accepted by the community as their member
  • Historical continuity with pre-colonial and/or pre-settler societies
  • Strong link to territories and surrounding natural resources
  • Distinct social, economic or political systems
  • Distinct language, culture and beliefs
  • Form non-dominant groups of society
  • Resolve to maintain and reproduce their ancestral environments and systems as distinctive peoples and communities

(Mainly or Initiated by) Student Participants

STUDENT PARTICIPANTS (mainly or initiated by). Includes elementary school students as well as older ages of students. There are struggles, for example for regime change, that are initiated by students but grow far beyond that category. This tag enables readers still to find such cases, in which students played a key role.

(Mainly or Initiated by) People of Color

PEOPLE OF COLOR DISTINGUISHED FROM WHITE PEOPLE. The GNAD seeks a common-sense way of understanding global social constructions of race that will work for tagging so as to meet the likely needs of database readers who are searching for characteristics of the cases. We want, for example, to assist a reader who is curious about the contention that nonviolent struggle is a white invention to find out how well-founded that belief is. For the GNAD, the following are people of color: Roma and Sami which are groups found in Europe among white people. All Asia, as far west as (and including) Pakistan. For Tajikistan, see definition of "white," below. All Sub-Saharan Africa including South African "coloreds," but excluding white settler groups like the Afrikaaners in South Africa. In Latin America as a whole: The GNAD considers "Hispanic" as of color everywhere except within Spain and Portugal. Note that database cases often use national designations, in campaigns for regime change, for example. When the nation is the unit of action, as when Guatamalans overthrow their dictator, even though there are some white people in Guatemala who may have participated, the case is tagged "of color" because as a whole the nations of Latin America are of color. White, for our purposes, includes Europe and European descent, including Italy, Eastern Europe/Slavic, while allowing the exceptions noted above. White also includes Turkey, Syria, the Middle East. GNAD cases from white countries in which there is a historical range of shades of color (in contrast to recent immigration) are assumed to be white unless the campaign specifically addresses a subgroup which might be marked as "colored" in that cultural context, for example, Maoris campaigning in New Zealand. Another example of application of this definition of "white" is the Central Asian Republics: Each of the major ethnic groups of the Central Asian Republics exhibit a broad range of skin color and facial features, for which reason they will be considered white unless the GNAD case identifies a subgroup in that campaign that is regarded, by that country's mainstream, as of color, in which case the GNAD would also regard that subgroup as of color. For the purposes of the GNAD, Pakistan will be the farthest west Asian country to be tagged as people of color and its northern neighbor Tajikistan will not be. All of the historic European groups except for Roma, Sami, and other indigenous peoples will be regarded as white, including Basques and Jews. Hispanic will be of color everywhere except within Spain and Portugal.

(Mainly or Initiated by) Women

WOMEN (mainly or initiated by). Includes any cases initiated by transwomen, that is, women who were born as anatomically men but changed their expression of their gender. There are struggles, for example for democracy, that are initiated by women but grow far beyond that category. This tag enables readers still to find such cases, in which women played a key role.

An Example of Paradox of Repression

PARADOX OF REPRESSION. This tag is for situations in which the regime or other opponent uses punishment of some kind against the nonviolent campaigners, presumably to deter them from further action, but the punishment produces a growth in the movement. This punishment may be as mild as discharging from her or his job the leader of the campaigners (for example a cabinet post occupied by a labor leader whose union begins a strike against the government), or the expulsion of a student from the college. Or it could be more clearly violent like arrests (arrests are done with the back-up of guns and therefore "the threat of injurious force"). Or the really obvious actions like beatings, tear gas, shooting, and so on. What makes such repression a paradox is when the campaign, instead of shrinking or giving up, grows and/or gains allies afterward. Evidence for such growth needs to be given by the researcher, however, and that may be done in the database fields, for example Joining/Exiting order of Groups, or in the narrative, or both. Simple statement of, for example, shooting into an unarmed crowd, is not "paradox of repression" – it is the growth that follows the shooting that earns the case this tag.

An Example of Regime Change

REGIME CHANGE. The GNAD doesn't tag as "regime change" a situation where the president/ruler steps aside but continues to rule from behind the scenes, sometimes through the new head of state. It does, however, tag as regime change a situation where the ruler loses both the office and commanding power, even though the oligarchy that supported the ruler remains intact. People power brought down the dictators of El Salvador and Guatemala in 1944; in Guatemala a sufficient power shift occurred to open the way for democratic elections, while in El Salvador oligarchical influence entered the temporary power vacuum and set up a new dictator. Both, in the GNAD, are tagged as "regime change," the better to call attention to such comparisons for study and strategy.

Included Participation by More Than One Social Class

INCLUDES PARTICIPATION BY MORE THAN ONE SOCIAL CLASS. "Class" has many definitions, for example income, education, cultural rank. The GNAD defines class by occupation. Owning class consists of people who receive a satisfactory income from what they own and see no need to work for a living. Their income may come from ownership of stocks, bonds, property. This class also consists of CEOs of larger corporations and others with large incomes from what they own but who choose to work in a job anyway. Middle class includes teachers, nurses, computer programmers, accountants, engineers, social workers, lawyers, managers. They have in common the economic function of managing and supervising workers, training them and grading them, keeping them functioning, and providing medium-level services and entertainment. Within that broad category there are occupations that put people in the upper middle class: top managers, top government officials, doctors, small business owners, law partners. These manage on a higher level (often managing other managers), they interface with other entitities/systems, they offer specialized services, guide and advise. Working class includes retail workers, factory workers, secretaries/clerical, miners, police, soldiers. They have in common that they produce goods and services, do day-to-day keeping track of machinery and work processes, enforce the system’s rules (like security guards). Within the working class is the poor, with typical jobs as day labor, farm labor, dishwashers, janitorial/housekeeping, and semi-skilled criminal activity. Their economic function is to do what few want to do and provide a surplus labor force, keeping down wages of low-wage workers. Farmers may be owning class, having such a lot of land that they do not actually need to work personally, or middle class, needing to manage their farms in order to generate a suitable income, or working class, formally owning their small farms but highly indebted. We use this tag for cross-class participation that is significant or meaningful in terms of the campaign. A random owning class member joining the audience of a labor rally would not justify the tag, but an owning class member of the executive committee of the Chamber of Commerce speaking at that same labor rally would be. In the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory workers strike in New York City a group of owning class women joined the campaign as a visible support group, for example.

Included Innovative Organizational Forms/Communication Forms

INNOVATIVE ORGANIZATION/COMMUNICATION. In general it will apply if something really jumps out at you about how the campaigners organized themselves, communicated with one another, or communicated with a wider audience. Common organizational forms might be regular meetings, hierarchical structure or a main organization with satellites. Innovative forms may include dispersed leadership (or no leadership roles at all), consensus decision making, anything that seems unique in terms of how the group works... The general assemblies of the Occupy movement might fit here, for example. One clear example of innovative communication with a wider audience is in the case U.S. street artists protest against art censorship of artist Blu, 2010-2011, in which street artists used new graphics and public art to pass on their message. In terms of organizational communication, activists in Serbia used the Internet in 1999 to communicate about future protests and the police weren't able to catch on because the use of this technology was innovative at the time. Today Serbian use of the Internet would not be called innovative by the GNAD. In the 2010 Arab Awakening a similar situation may be the use of twitter and blogs to communicate about the campaign. In Egypt, people from outside of the country were also able to lend their Internet service to Egyptians when their Internet was cut off. This sort of innovation often comes up when the usual forms of communication or organization are impossible to use or would be tactically insufficient. Another clear example is the White Rose resistance in Germany during Hitler's regime. The students in this resistance group couldn't organize openly, but to get around this they printed a few leaflets in private, asking readers to make as many copies as possible, and used women to transport them to different areas of the country because they were less likely to be stopped and searched. - The above descriptive material is by Max Rennebohm 2/13 Context matters. Whether a case deserves a tag has to do with whether the practice is innovative in terms of time and place. The wide use of twitter and other electronic forms of communication in the Arab Awakening deserves a tag because it wasn't commonplace then. Now it would be routine for protests, and wouldn't deserve the tag. At Occupy sites in 2011 the "mic-check" was an innovation. A year later it was no longer innovative. The same is true with organizational forms. The affinity group as the basic unit for mass protests, analogous to the platoon in military combat, was innovative in the U.S. in the 1960s and '70s. Now it is not. The GNAD looks for means of communication and structures of organization that are different from how nonviolent action was ordinarily accompanied in that place and time.

Local Community or Neighborhood-level Campaign

LOCAL COMMUNITY OR NEIGHBORHOOD-LEVEL CAMPAIGN. This tag is not primarily about scale of the activity — whether participation was geographically widespread or localized. There might be a national campaign with very limited organizational strength and in which participation was primarily in one locality — but in some countries if that "locality" is the capital, the national campaign still might win. This tag is primarily about the nature of the goal and the targeted opponent. A campaign that seeks to drive the drug trade out of a particular neighborhood, or prevent a super-highway from coming through the center of a town, or prevent the dumping of toxic waste in a community, gets this tag. The purpose of the tag enables readers especially interested in community organizing, also called "grassroots organizing," to locate campaigns whose goals and/or opponents are local, even if the local goals and targets also have wider implications.