3,5 is stronger than 100

Is non-violence more powerful than violence?

A 2012 study by professor Erica Chenoweth, a professor of political science at Harvard Kennedy School, revealed that non-violent protest movements exceeding 3.5% of the population have a high chance of success.

The study was conducted by collecting data on 323 protest movements, which took place in various parts of the world between 1900 and 2006. It showed that fifty-three percent of non-violent movements were successful, while the success rate for violent ones dropped to twenty-six percent.

The two key features that make a revolutionary movement successful are non-violence and the ability of an organized minority to overthrow the majority.

It is no coincidence that Gandhi’s movement for the independence of India was a David VS Goliath type of scenario. Despite the evident disparity of means and resources, the non-violent movement managed to prevail over the strongest army in the world.

According to this theory, one of the main reasons behind the success of this approach is that the majority of people would rather be part of a movement that does not use violence. As popular wisdom indicates, violence leads to more violence.
This also explains the attempt of any pre-established power to de-legitimize any political movement by branding it as violent, with the addition of provocative connotations. As a result, public opinion is polarized.

The other interesting aspect of this study is the greater weight that a highly motivated, organized minority can have compared to that of a majority supporting the leading position.

This can be explained first by means of psychological factors: when a minority suffer forms of discrimination or punishment, its members’ sense of belonging and resilience is reinforced, as they are part of the same group.

From a philosophical perspective, one can hypothesize that a group possessing the wind of change has the possibility to intercept a greater energy and direct it towards breaking the status quo.
In physics, dynamics have a greater strength than statics by definition.

Perhaps, in today’s world, a widespread and transversal movement of change is emerging, stemming from circumstances that appeared to be long-forgotten by Western culture and that have eventually presented themselves as acts of anti-historical restoration.

A movement that could meet all the conditions foreseen by Professor Chenoweth’s study, capable of radically changing our future, despite appearing devoid of any chance of victory.