Twenty-first-century political analysts are increasingly realizing that militarism is a dead end: it has become obvious that the ongoing global expansion of the military-industrial complex has not brought us peace, and new research on the effectiveness of civil resistance as a way to expel intruders and topple dictatorships has sparked wider interest in the idea of nonviolent statecraft. But it would be a mistake to see nonviolent statecraft as a new idea. Indeed, the last half of the twentieth century was peppered by creative and often effective attempts at nonviolent policy making in the Global South. Political theorists in the United States have much to learn from a more careful study of the victories and failures of movements in Zambia, Ghana, India, Grenada and elsewhere.

In Zambia, after almost a century of largely nonviolent struggle, independence leaders successfully wrested their nation from colonial control,...

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