social change | November 21, 2012

Srdja Popović Talks to Vice: Non-Violent Protest Just Works [VIDEO]

Srdja Popović has spent his life championing nonviolence as the most effective method for revolutionary change. Which is why when it comes to Syria's current instability, he's rightfully concerned. In a recent interview with Vice, Popović discussed Syria's plight, and argued that civil resistance not only saves lives—it works. "You'll find only 26 percent of guerrilla movements were successful compared to 53 percent of nonviolent struggles," says Popović. "Even if you add foreign military intervention to your domestic uprising, your chances to win are 35 percent."

Why does nonviolence work so well? Because it involves an entire population, Popović says, rather than a small group of fighters. "Popular nonviolent movements are a way for big numbers of people to participate in change, and once change is achieved, all the people consider themselves shareholders in this change," he says. "They tend to stick with their victory because they personally achieved something." Popović is living proof of civil resistance's ability to transform nations. As the founder of Otpor!, Popović organized a nonviolent youth movement that toppled Slobodan Milosevic—without the need for civil war. Today, he speaks to groups around the world (like in his TEDxKrakow video embedded above) to remind them of the power of nonviolent protest.