Category Archives: Activism

Protest Movements as Political Strategy

by Ben West

Recent protests throughout Sudan are the latest in an ongoing trend of protest movements around the world, from Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Egypt to oil workers in Norway and opposition parties in Thailand. Protests have proved an effective strategy against autocratic regimes, political repression and austerity measures. As with insurgency strategy, protests rely on underlying support from the population rather than on superior weapons. Both insurgency and protests are forms of asymmetric opposition in which the insurgents or protesters cannot succeed by using force to overwhelm the state but must find (or create) and exploit specific weaknesses of the state.

However, protest movements are not as aggressive as insurgencies. Violence is integral to insurgent strategy, but protest movements may be simply a negotiation tactic to extract concessions from a state or a corporation. Strikes are one of the most common forms of protest used to leverage labor resources for higher wages or more benefits. Thousands of protests, such as strikes, occur around the world every week. Most are small and insignificant outside the protesters’ community. In order to address the geopolitical importance of protest movements, this analysis will focus on protests intended to create political change.

Sometimes protests can spur insurgencies. In the case of Syria, civilians congregated in the streets and public places to call for political change. As the state’s responses became increasingly violent, elements of the movement formed a militia that began a parallel insurgency. As violence escalated in Syria, insurgent tactics eventually replaced protest tactics.

Not all protests evolve into insurgencies, though. Some are repressed by the regime, while others are able to achieve their objectives through other means. The ultimate challenge of analyzing protest movements is to distinguish between movements that could successfully change the order of a country and movements that fizzle after grabbing a few headlines. Stratfor distinguishes the two by looking at the tactics a given group of protesters uses and the strategic imperatives of the state against which the protesters are demonstrating.

Protest Tactics

Protest movements usually start with far fewer resources and far less organization than the established entity against which they are protesting. They are fighting an asymmetric battle against a state that has far more resources to use against protesters. For example, the April 6 movement that was behind Egypt’s 2011 protests got its name from April 6, 2008, the day Egyptian authorities clamped down on a fledgling political youth movement with a series of arrests. The Egyptian state was able to end the 2008 protest movement relatively quietly; this is how most protest movements end.

Those groups that do survive must have a fluid yet responsive organizational capability, and they must control the perception of what they — and their opponents — stand for.

Organization

Organizing protests becomes increasingly dangerous as the movement becomes more successful. Most authorities will tolerate a certain amount of activism because it is seen as a way to let off steam. They appease the protesters by letting them think that they are making a difference — as long as the protesters do not pose a threat. But as protest movements grow, authorities will act more aggressively to neutralize the organizers. Sincere protest movements may prove successful if they can survive a round of arrests, a baton charge from the police or a counterprotest from government supporters.

Another element to look for in protest organization is the unity of message. Using the same slogans and carrying mass-produced signs, especially if the protesters are in multiple cities, shows a level of unity that indicates a single organizer, whether that be an individual or a committee. The centralization of a protest movement is key because it means better coordination and swifter decision-making in response to obstacles. And later on, if the protest movement is successful, there is an individual or small group of individuals who can exploit the power generated by the protest movement for political gains.

The level of discipline shown by the members is another important indicator of a movement’s organization. It is absolutely critical that a protest movement maintain the moral high ground; otherwise it is too easy for their opponents to smear the protesters as thieves, thugs or hooligans. Once protest movements number in the tens or hundreds of thousands it is impossible for organizers to enforce discipline themselves. However, organizers can recognize the importance of discipline and instill a zero-violence rule across the movement, while relying on grassroots security efforts to enforce it.

Protest movements become successful when large groups of people gather, yet abstain from the obvious power they have to loot, steal or commit other crimes in the chaos of street protests. That abstention shows discipline, and discipline indicates control over what is effectively a civilian army.

Perceptions

In the beginning, protest organizers must overcome the authorities’ attempts to disperse the movement as well as the movement’s initial lack of legitimacy. Protest movements typically start small and represent a fringe opinion. In order to increase the movement’s numbers, organizers have to convince others that their interests are best pursued through protest. One way to do this is to make the smaller demonstrations appear larger in order to convince people that the protests represent the interest of more of a majority.

Protest movements often frame their demonstrations to make them appear larger. If a protest only has a few hundred people, it will look small and insignificant huddled in the middle of a massive central square. It will look much more formidable walking down a narrow, winding street that conceals the length of their procession and amplifies their noise. This doesn’t mean that protest movements demonstrating on narrow, winding streets are necessarily small, but if they are, it is likely someone skillfully picked an appropriate venue for their demonstration. Knowing when and where to demonstrate indicates the sophistication of a protest movement.

Many times, the availability of imagery of a protest indicates how media savvy a protest movement is. A sophisticated movement will alert the media ahead of a demonstration to ensure it is broadcast — more sophisticated movements will make sure to provide symbolic images for the media to disperse. A good example of this is when Iranian students breached the perimeter of the British Embassy in Tehran in November 2011. Dozens of journalists and cameramen (many with pre-positioned tripods) were on hand to record the symbolic moment. In that case, the actual breach did not cause much damage, but the degree to which Iranian authorities flaunted their disregard for embassy security eventually led to the British abandoning the mission. Imagery of protest scenes is crucial to analysis of a protest; if the scenes are set up well, it’s likely someone organized it that way to ensure the message got out.

Perception becomes reality when fear of the regime evaporates. Despotic regimes rule through fear, and when demonstrators lose their fear of the regime and begin to realize that they have power to make changes, the protests often can make some quick progress — as seen with the rapid fall of former Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989. However, this loss of fear does not always guarantee success; the government sometimes can drastically increase violence to counter protesters’ lack of fear — as seen in Tiananmen Square in 1989. In the Syrian uprising in 1982, fear of the regime never evaporated, and the movement was quickly and firmly put down in a few weeks. In the Syrian opposition’s current iteration, the fear of the regime has been broken, and the movement has persisted for more than a year.

Pillars of the State

Once the tactics of a protest movement have been assessed as organized and sophisticated, it’s time to assess strategic weaknesses of the state that the movement can attack. Governments rule by controlling key pillars of society, through which they exercise authority over the population. These pillars include security forces (police and military), the judicial system, civil services and unions. If the protest movement is trying to overthrow the government and not just extract concessions, the movement will work to undermine the pillars of the state. Removing the support of one or more of these pillars will erode a government’s power until it can no longer effectively govern, at which point protest movements can begin assuming institutional control.

It’s important then to assess the key pillars of the government that a protest movement is targeting.Stratfor has done this in Syria by identifying the al-Assad clan, Alawite unity, supremacy of the Baath party and control over the military-intelligence apparatus as the key pillars of the Syrian state. The Syrian opposition may employ the most sophisticated tactics possible, but unless those tactics erode one or more of those pillars, the government can continue to exercise power over the state.

Context

Finally, when considering the overall impact of a protest movement, context is crucial. Some states have a higher tolerance for protests than others. Typically, open democratic states tolerate protests more than closed repressive states because security is not as crucial a pillar in open states as it is in closed states. For example, Thailand regularly sees protests with participants numbering in the tens of thousands. Protests have effectively shut down Bangkok and even disrupted the Association of Southeast Asian Nations conference in 2009, but the basic pillars of the state have remained intact.

Meanwhile, the protests that began June 16 in Sudan have numbered only in the hundreds but are grabbing media attention. Due to Sudan’s reputation as being repressive, even such small protests could trigger dramatic responses from the state. Thailand has a number of state institutions — particularly the monarchy — with which it wields authority, whereas the Sudanese regime relies much more on security and energy revenues to assert its authority. Sudan has less tolerance for even mild threats to either pillar. Stratfor is watching Sudan carefully to see if the protest movement there can survive the ongoing security crackdown.

By understanding how a protest movement works and how well it targets and exploits the weaknesses of the state it is demonstrating against, we can assess how successful movements are likely to be.

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198 Methods of Nonviolent Action

Practitioners of nonviolent struggle have an entire arsenal of “nonviolent weapons” at their disposal. Listed below are 198 of them, classified into three broad categories: nonviolent protest and persuasion, noncooperation (social, economic, and political), and nonviolent intervention. A description and historical examples of each can be found in volume two of The Politics of Nonviolent Action by Gene Sharp.

The Methods of Nonviolent Protest and Persuasion

Formal Statements
1. Public Speeches
2. Letters of opposition or support
3. Declarations by organizations and institutions
4. Signed public statements
5. Declarations of indictment and intention
6. Group or mass petitions

Communications with a Wider Audience
7. Slogans, caricatures, and symbols
8. Banners, posters, and displayed communications
9. Leaflets, pamphlets, and books
10. Newspapers and journals
11. Records, radio, and television
12. Skywriting and earthwriting

Group Representations
13. Deputations
14. Mock awards
15. Group lobbying
16. Picketing
17. Mock elections

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

Pressures on Individuals
31. “Haunting” officials
32. Taunting officials
33. Fraternization
34. Vigils

Drama and Music
35. Humorous skits and pranks
36. Performances of plays and music
37. Singing

Processions
38. Marches
39. Parades
40. Religious processions
41. Pilgrimages
42. Motorcades

Honoring the Dead
43. Political mourning
44. Mock funerals
45. Demonstrative funerals
46. Homage at burial places

Public Assemblies
47. Assemblies of protest or support
48. Protest meetings
49. Camouflaged meetings of protest
50. Teach-ins

Withdrawal and Renunciation
51. Walk-outs
52. Silence
53. Renouncing honors
54. Turning one’s back

The Methods of Social Noncooperation

Ostracism of Persons
55. Social boycott
56. Selective social boycott
57. Lysistratic nonaction
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)

The Methods of Economic Noncooperation: Economic Boycotts

Actions by Consumers
71. Consumers’ boycott
72. Nonconsumption of boycotted goods
73. Policy of austerity
74. Rent withholding
75. Refusal to rent
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
87. Refusal to pay fees, dues, and assessments
88. Refusal to pay debts or interest
89. Severance of funds and credit
90. Revenue refusal
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

The Methods of Economic Noncooperation: The Strike
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

Ordinary Industrial Strikes
105. Establishment strike
106. Industry strike
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

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

The Methods of Political Noncooperation

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 departments, 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
138. Sitdown
139. Noncooperation with conscription and deportation
140. Hiding, escape, and false identities
141. Civil disobedience of “illegitimate” laws

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

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

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

The Methods of Nonviolent Intervention

Psychological Intervention
158. Self-exposure to the elements
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
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
171. Nonviolent interjection
172. Nonviolent obstruction
173. Nonviolent occupation

Social Intervention
174. Establishing new social patterns
175. Overloading of facilities
176. Stall-in
177. Speak-in
178. Guerrilla theater
179. Alternative social institutions
180. Alternative communication system

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
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
197. Work-on without collaboration
198. Dual sovereignty and parallel government

Source: Sharp, Gene. The Politics of Nonviolent Action (3 Vols.), Boston: Porter Sargent, 1973. Provided courtesy of the Albert Einstein Institution.

The Tor Project: Protecting Online Anonimity

Jacob Appelbaum introduces the Tor Project and the Tor Network – an anonymity network used to protect individual’s identities online. Tor is free software for enabling anonymous online communication. The name TOR is an acronym derived from the original software project name The Onion Router. Tor is intended to protect the personal privacy of users, as well as their freedom and ability to conduct confidential communication, by keeping their Internet activities from being monitored. The core principle of of the Tor Project, called “onion routing”, was developed in the mid-1990s by United States Naval Research Laboratory employees, mathematician Paul Syverson and computer scientists Michael G. Reed and David Goldschlag, with the purpose of protecting U.S. intelligence communications online. Tor directs Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer network consisting of more than six thousand relays to conceal a user’s location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. Using Tor makes it more difficult for Internet activity to be traced back to the user: this includes visits to Web sites, online posts, instant messages, and other communication forms. It is legally used by millions worldwide to circumvent censorship and to stay safe from online snooping.

 

Documents Confirm: FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force Targets Peaceful Activists for Harassment, Political Surveillance

The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado released documents today that it says confirm that the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in Denver is targeting peaceful political activists for harassment and building files on constitutionally-protected political activities and associations that have nothing to do with terrorism or other criminal activity.

The documents are the first FBI responses to a formal request that the Colorado ACLU filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on behalf of 26 organizations and 10 individuals last December. At the time, the Colorado ACLU presented evidence that the JTTF was collecting information on peaceful advocacy groups whose issues ranged from animal rights, protection of the environment, labor rights, military policy, social and economic justice in Latin America, and the treatment of Native Americans. Six additional ACLU affiliates around the country filed similar requests in December, and ten additional ACLUs filed FOIA requests today.

“These documents confirm that the FBI’s anti-terrorism unit is targeting nonviolent activists and unjustifiably treating constitutionally-protected dissent as though it were potential terrorism,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. “They illustrate that the FBI is pursuing misplaced priorities that waste taxpayers’ money and pose a threat to freedom of expression and association. People will be reluctant to sign a petition or join a peaceful demonstration when they know that their names might wind up in an FBI file on ‘domestic terrorism.’”

The documents reveal that the FBI is particularly interested in Food Not Bombs, which opposes the government’s prioritization of war and military programs over social programs. Twice a week in Denver for the last six years, Food Not Bombs has been providing free vegetarian meals in a picnic setting in public parks to anyone who is hungry. Autonomous chapters of Food Not Bombs carry out in similar activities in Boulder, Fort Collins and Durango, as well as numerous cities throughout the country.

One FBI report, written in December 2004, focused specifically on Sarah Bardwell, a young Denver activist who worked for the American Friends Service Committee for several years in the organization’s Youth and Militarism Program and who is also active with Food Not Bombs. The FBI report notes that Bardwell was listed as a “point of contact” for the organizers of an antiwar protest in downtown Denver in March, 2004. It further notes that her address is “associated with” Food Not Bombs and Derailer Bicycle Collective. (Volunteers at Derailer fix up old bikes, donate bicycles to the homeless, and teach people to work on their own bikes.) The author of the FBI report also states that Derailer hosted a meeting place during the Columbus Day protests in Denver two years earlier.

“This report on Sarah Bardwell collects information about her peaceful political activities and her constitutionally-protected associations,” Silverstein said. “It contains nothing that suggests that she is connected with terrorism or any other criminal activity.”

The FBI documents provide new information about a controversial JTTF operation that targeted political activists for aggressive and intimidating questioning in Colorado and other states in the summer of 2004. A three-page report discusses the events of July 22, 2004, when two teams of JTTF agents, accompanied by Denver police officers in SWAT gear, appeared at two Denver residences on Lipan Street that are home to a number of young political activists, including Bardwell. Bardwell explained at the time that the JTTF agents demanded to know if she and her housemates were planning to commit crimes at the upcoming Republican and Democratic conventions and whether they knew anyone who was planning such crimes. They also threatened that failing to provide information to the FBI was a criminal offense. Critics charged that the FBI was actively attempting to intimidate dissenters rather than conducting a legitimate investigation of reasonably suspected criminal activity.

The FBI report explains that the Denver JTTF received several “leads” and was asked to conduct “pretext interviews” about plans for the political conventions. The first two “leads” the JTTF pursued were the two houses on Lipan Street. The FBI report states that no information about criminal activity was obtained. The report then states that the JTTF agents decided not to follow up on another lead, regarding a radical bookstore, because, as the report stated, “the purpose of the interviews was served by the contacts made at the two residences.”

“These accounts of the JTTF’s visits to the Lipan Street homes confirm that the FBI was more interested in intimidation than in trying to gather information,” Silverstein said. “The JTTF show of force, complete with SWAT teams, was an abuse of power apparently intended to deter persons who might be considering demonstrating at the political conventions.”

A similar three-page report reveals that the JTTF also intended to question Scott Silber, a labor consultant who had recently assisted janitors in a campaign that secured health insurance in 40 employer agreements. Silber reports receiving several phone calls from an FBI agent who demonstrated extensive knowledge of Silber’s recent addresses but who would not explain his interest in questioning Silber.

The FBI documents released today supplement documents released earlier by the Colorado ACLU, many obtained in connection with litigation over the Denver Police Department’s “Spy Files,” which also document the JTTF’s collection of political surveillance information. Those documents are available here.

The Great Sit Down

The 1976 BBC documentary, The Great Sit Down, focuses on the United Auto Workers’ struggle for recognition and the sit-down strikes against General Motors which took place in February 1937.

At 8 p.m. on December 30, 1936, in one of the first sit-down strikes in the United States, autoworkers occupy the General Motors Fisher Body Plant Number One in Flint, Michigan. The autoworkers were striking to win recognition of the United Auto Workers (UAW) as the only bargaining agent for GM’s workers; they also wanted to make the company stop sending work to non-union plants and to establish a fair minimum wage scale, a grievance system and a set of procedures that would help protect assembly-line workers from injury. In all, the strike lasted 44 days.

The Flint sit-down strike was not spontaneous; UAW leaders, inspired by similar strikes across Europe, had been planning it for months. The strike actually began at smaller plants: Fisher Body in Atlanta on November 16, GM in Kansas City on December 16 and a Fisher stamping plant in Cleveland on December 28. The Flint plant was the biggest coup, however: it contained one of just two sets of body dies that GM used to stamp out almost every one of its 1937 cars. By seizing control of the Flint plant, autoworkers could shut down the company almost entirely.

So, on the evening of December 30, the Flint Plant’s night shift simply stopped working. They locked themselves in and sat down. “She’s ours!” one worker shouted.

GM argued that the strikers were trespassing and got a court order demanding their evacuation; still, the union men stayed put. GM turned off the heat in the buildings, but the strikers wrapped themselves in coats and blankets and hunkered down. On January 11, police tried to cut off the strikers’ food supply; in the resulting riot, known as the “Battle of the Running Bulls,” 16 workers and 11 policemen were injured and the UAW took over the adjacent Fisher Two plant. On February 1, the UAW won control of the enormous Chevrolet No. 4 engine factory. GM’s output went from a robust 50,000 cars in December to just 125 in February.

Despite GM’s enormous political clout, Michigan Governor Frank Murphy refused to use force to break the strike. Though the sit-ins were illegal, he believed, he also believed that authorizing the National Guard to break the strike would be an enormous mistake. “If I send those soldiers right in on the men,” he said, “there’d be no telling how many would be killed.” As a result, he declared, “The state authorities will not take sides. They are here only to protect the public peace.”

Meanwhile, President Roosevelt urged GM to recognize the union so that the plants could reopen. In mid-February, the automaker signed an agreement with the UAW. Among other things, the workers were given a 5 percent raise and permission to speak in the lunchroom.

Copyright Disclaimer:

Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for  criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.  Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

Revealed: The Activists Who Uncovered the FBI’s Covert CoIntelPro Counter-Surveillance Program

On March 8, 1971, a group of eight anti-war activists calling themselves the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania and removed every document they found. The group later leaked the removed documents to the press, revealing the FBI’s covert counter-intelligence program, CoIntelPro, designed to infiltrate, monitor and disrupt social and political movements. Documents also revealed a mass surveillance campaign being conducted against politicians, celebrities and prominent social leaders. These discoveries led the U.S. Senate’s Church Committee investigation which put an end to the program and led to reforms in the FBI’s domestic security investigations.

Despite FBI director  J. Edgar Hoover assigning 200 agents to investigate the burglary, the FBI was never able to determine the identities of the activists responsible for the break-in. In January 2014, the former activists identities were finally revealed by Betty Medsger, the former Washington Post reporter responsible for breaking the story in 1971, in her book, “The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI.”

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! interviews three of the original activists; John Raines, Bonnie Raines and Keith Forsyth, along with their their attorney, David Kairys. The former activists discuss how they planned and executed the break-in, and how they managed to keep their identities hidden all these years. Also discussed is the FBI smear campaign against the outspoken Hollywood actress Jane Seberg; the suicide letter sent to Martin Luther King Jr. by the FBI; and the assassination of Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton. Their story is relevant now more than ever amidst revelations about the current domestic surveillance abuses and the FBI’s entrapment tactics and informant culture which many critics believe has led to a manufactured war on terror.

Lawrence Lessig: Our Democracy No Longer Represents the People. Here’s How We Fix It (2015)

Synopsis: Harvard Law Professor, Lawrence Lessig, makes the case that our democracy has become corrupt with money, leading to the concerns of ordinary Americans being ignored. Leesig argues that only 0.02% of the United States population actually determines who’s in power and introduces a study conducted by Princeton researchers which suggests that public opinion no longer has any quantifiable influence on public policy. Lessig contends that this fundamental breakdown of the democratic system must be fixed before we will ever be able to address major challenges like racial inequality, economic disparity and climate change.