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About the 3.5% Project

The purpose of “The 3.5% Project” is to provide an ongoing context for Harvard professor Gene Sharp’s 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action – a blueprint for nonviolent resistance. Each of the 198 methods can be used at any time, in any order, by anyone. (Scroll below to read the most recent post.) If you’re part of the 3.5%, feel free to subscribe at the top right to receive your weekly method, and please share liberally.

“Researchers used to say that no government can survive if just 5% of its population rose up against it, but what the research showed is that no single campaigns failed during the time period after they’d achieved the active sustained participation of just 3.5 percent of the population.” – Erica Chenoweth

198 METHODS OF NONVIOLENT ACTION

from the Albert Einstein Institute:

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 Continue reading

What’s on my Nightstand: May 2019

Nonfiction / Memoir

The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border, by Francisco Cantú

Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls, by T Kira Madden

California Calling, by Natalie Singer

From Dictatorship to Democracy, Gene Sharp 

Fiction

Girls Burn Brighter, by Shobha Rao

Short Fiction

Large Animals, by Jess Arndt

Brawler, by Lauren Groff (The New Yorker)

When the Tide of Misfortune Hits, Even Jelly Will Break Your Teeth, by Porochista Khakpour (Gulf Coast)

Breeding Season, by Amanda Niehaus

Poetry / Chapbook

Elizabeth Bishop: The Complete Poems: 1927 – 1979

The Economy of Nostalgia, by Cooper Lee Bombardier

Naked, by Nastashia Minto

Essay (Selected)

Don’t Use My Family for Your True Crime Stories, by Lilly Dancyger (Crime Reads)

Percolations, by Daniel Elder (Entropy)

Is Masculinity a Terrorist Ideology? by Lacy M. Johnson (LitHub)

The Thread: The Stories We’ve Been Told by Marissa Korbel (The Rumpus)

Voices on Addiction: Fault Lines, by Lauren Marker (The Rumpus)

Interview / OpEd (Selected)

How Trump has already changed immigration policy, by Joshua Barajas (PBS News Hour)

Psychogeography of Abandonment: An Interview with Sophia Shalmiyev, by Cooper Lee Bombardier (BOMB Magazine)

What Can the U.S. Learn From How Other Countries Handle Immigration? by  and 

Interview: Nastashia Minto, editor Katie Collins Guinn (NAILED)

This Gen X Mess, by Lisa Frank (The New York Times)

Why Aren’t the Democratic Presidential Candidates Talking About Immigration More? by Onita Nwanevu (The New Yorker)

Letters to Mothers: Crones, Hags, Witches, and Killjoys, by Sophia Shalmiyev and Leni Zumas (Guernica)

How ‘I got a plan’ became a thing: Warren nerds out and the crowds go crazy, by Alex Thompson (Politico)

Magazine / Newspaper

Lesbian Connection: free to lesbians worldwide, but the suggested donation is $7/issue (more if you can, less if you can’t), January/February 2019 issue

The New Yorker

The Week

TIME

SIERRA Magazine

Random

Rosebud Lip Salve

seed packets, pea shoots and mixed sprouts

ceramic bowl, Paula Winokur

foxglove blossoms

robin’s egg

HURRAW! moonbalm

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“SOMEDAY I’LL BE DEAD, AND THEN HOW WILL YOU FEEL ABOUT IT?”: A MOTHER/DAUGHTER CUSTOM-ENGRAVED BRACELET

It’s not every day that you get to be published on McSweeney’s with a bestie.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Method 35: Humorous Skits and Pranks

“How do you entertain a bored pharaoh?

“You sail a boatload of young women dressed only in fishing nets down the Nile and urge the pharaoh to go catch a fish.”

It’s the world’s first recorded joke, found on a papyrus scroll from 2600 BCE. Carol Andrews, formerly of the Egyptian antiquities department of the British Museum, notes that the ancient Egyptians were amused by “nudity, drunkenness, slapstick and political satire.”

Satire has a long history of keeping up public morale. When pranks, skits and jokes tap into political unrest, verbal dissent becomes a powerful act of protest.

It’s 5:00 on a Friday, so I’ll keep things light. From the SNL archives, the US Presidents from Gerald Ford to Donald Trump – and a special bonus tweet from 2013 at the end.

ENJOY.

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Method 34: Vigils / “We are all Sudanese”

On April 9, Sudanese photographer Lana Haroun captured 22-year-old engineering student Alaa Salah as she stood on top of a car above a sea of protestors and raised her arm in the air, finger pointed toward the sky. She cried, “I was raised to love our home.”

She has been called “The Sudanese Statue of Liberty,” the revolutionary in the white toub.

Two days after this photo was taken, Omar al-Bashir’s thirty-year military dictatorship came to an end.

If you pay attention to anything in this post, pay attention to this timeline:

  • On February 14, Trump threatened to declare the second State of Emergency of his presidency after he failed to secure congressional approval for border wall funding.
  • Hours later, Trump signed a $1.375 billion dollar “compromise spending bill” that was far short of his request, but that will continue to reinforce border security.
  • On February 22, President Omar al-Bashir declared a one-year State of Emergency across Sudan 9 years after the international criminal court charged him with three counts of genocide in Darfur. Pay special attention to the crimes.
  • Hours later, the editor-in-chief of El Tayyar daily newspaper was arrested after he gave an interview with Sky News Arabia TV, stating that President Al Bashir’s decision to impose a national State of Emergency did not resolve the current political crisis.
  • Over the next seven weeks, Journalist Osman Mirghani’s arrest received widespread condemnation from Sudan and around the world. An ongoing vigil was held in front of the National Press and Publications Council in Khartoum.
  • On April 11, after 6 weeks of sustained nonviolent action by the people of Sudan, the Sudanese military removed Omar al-Bashir from power.

Happening RIGHT NOW:

At this very moment, the streets are filled with a new group of protesters from Darfur. One of the mantras heard on the streets: “We are all Sudanese.” Listen to the sound of citizens mooing like cows as al-Bashir and his entire government are transported to prison.

If you need something more to feel hopeful about, THIS is happening in the world, too:

We are not hopeless.

We are kind.

We are strong.

We are all Sudanese.

And we are legion.

Method 33. Fraternization: Stay connected or steer clear?

One of the hard questions many of us have been asking ourselves: “Should I stay friends with Trump supporters?” My gut says save yourself the heartache, but nonviolent action theory says YES – and so does Stephen King.

King has also called Trump a “nut job” and wrote that the president’s access to the nuclear codes “worse than any horror story I ever wrote.” So there’s that.

I asked friends on Facebook to tell me about a conversation they had with a 45-loving family member or friend that went WELL, and here’s what I got:

  • It would be an imaginary tale.
  • I think all of my in-laws voted for him. It’s put a strain on our relationship
  • Oh I’ve unfriended both friends and family members over this floridfacedfatfuck
  • My brother 🙄. We don’t talk about it. My mom is just anti-democrat but falls short of Trump-loving. I will way that she is appalled, surprised, and receptive when I show her news not available on Fox
  • I WOULD have a conversation, but have to spit whenever that name is mentioned. It always seems to go back to what Obama did or didn’t do.
  • every time i’ve tried it’s just turned into a never ending tire fire.
  • When can I stop laughing? They’re all gone.

I’m fessing up. I’m writing about the importance of building bridges, but I fully admit that I screen all of my contacts on social media for any whiff of Trump. I know that my uncle has called Trump “the best president of my lifetime,” and I admit that I don’t mind so much that I haven’t seen him since the election. It’s not like these conversations are out of my comfort zone – I’m a liberal lesbian Democrat and I managed to work with the Bush administration – but this is something different.

So here’s a gut check: the research shows that keeping the communication lines open is vital component of successful nonviolent resistance. Gene Sharp’s research showed that an effective alternative to boycotting soldiers and police is to:

  1. befriend them and convince them that hostility is not part of the resistance;
  2. convince them that the objects of the regime are immoral and unjust;
  3. to convince the opposition to resist or refuse to carry out orders;
  4. to convince the opposition to provide information to the resistance about the oppressor’s plans.

In 1915, Gandhi demonstrated that “befriending one’s enemy” worked to change opinions about the untouchables in India. In the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, revolutionaries made deliberate efforts to befriend Russian soldiers, and “something like a bond of sympathy” arose, leading soldiers to align with Hungarians.

In March 2011, Syrian activist Islam al-Dabbas, known locally as “The Flower Guy,” led his fellow protesters in bringing water and flowers to the army and security forces that were trying to end demonstrations. He’s now serving 15 years in prison. “We wanted to send a message: these protests are peaceful,” said his brother Mohamed. “My father and brother did nothing more than peacefully ask for justice and freedom.”

Can a democracy survive the kind of polarization we’re experiencing? I’ll be writing about that in future posts. In the meantime, if you’ve managed to keep a friendly relationship with Trump-supporting family and friends, hit me up in the comments.

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Method 32: Taunting Officials

Today I’m bogging (sic) from the annual Association of Writers and Publishers conference in Portland, Oregon, and because I’m sleep-deprived and over caffeinated, this will be a short post.

I’ve got plenty to say about the Mueller report – and maybe even a new ukulele song. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve got to say about Method 32. It works, but it’s an angry, divisive energy that has been utilized by the GOP in Chief since he began campaigning. He used it at a rally last night when he called Representative Adam Schiff “little pencil-neck.” And it’s working.

Stop by Twitter today to see what’s trending, and it might make you feel better. #YouMightThinkItsOK … but it’s not.

Back next week. Feel free to check out #AWP19. It’s a scene!

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What’s on my Nightstand: March 2019

Nonfiction

Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country, by Pam Houston

The Way of Chuang Tzu, by Thomas Merton

Era of Ignition, by Amber Tamblyn

From Dictatorship to Democracy, Gene Sharp 

The Methods of Nonviolent Action, by Gene Sharp

Occasional Magic – The Moth (True Stories About Defying the Impossible)

Fiction

The Queen of the Night, by Alexander Chee

Before She Was Harriet, by Lesa Cline-Ransome

Short Fiction

‘The Office of Missing Persons’ by Akil Kumaraswamy (Lit Hub)

‘The Frog King,’ by Garth Greenwell (The New Yorker)

‘Motherland,’ by Min Jin Lee (The Missouri Review)

Poetry

Elizabeth Bishop, The Complete Poems: 1927 – 1979

Enough Music, by Dorianne Laux

Goodbye to Tolerance, by Denise Levertov

Essay / Interview / OpEd (Selected)

The Phenom: ‘Change Is Closer Than We Think.’ Inside Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Unlikely Rise,’ by Charlotte Alter

8 Short Kids’ Films Every Mini-Feminist Should See, by Emma Davey

Thesomorphia, by Melissa Febos

The Thread: Down Girl (The Rumpus) by Marissa Korbel

Against Catharsis: Writing is Not Therapy, by T Kira Madden

Voices of Addiction: All the Ways to Save Your Life,(The Rumpus) by David M. Olsen

Patti Smith discusses activism in the age of Trump: ‘I’m not going down with the ship, that’s for certain’ by Randall Roberts

AACK! Cathy Guisewite made a wildly successful comic strip by and for women. But to her critics, she’s just another example of compromised feminism by Rachel Syme

Magazine / Newspaper

Lesbian Connection: free to lesbians worldwide, but the suggested donation is $7/issue (more if you can, less if you can’t), January/February 2019 issue

The New Yorker

The Week

TIME

SIERRA Magazine

Random

booda butter – naked lip balm

El Sueño Americano (The American Dream) – exhibition card, Tom Kiefer

abalone shell, palo santo wood, dried rose buds

Chill Pill – Aura Cacia Essential Oil Blend

necklace (shells, leather suede), Little Green Apple Jewelry

beach stones

Mexican tile (coaster)

About

3.5 % Project

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Teaching