What Is the Breaking Point for Nonviolent Resistance?

Global Thinkers Erica Chenoweth and David Scheffer debate when — if ever — social and political movements should turn to armed insurgency.


In this week’s Global Thinkers podcast, David Scheffer, former U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes, and political scientist Erica Chenoweth explore the merits and drawbacks of taking up weapons against an oppressive regime.

About the participants:

David Scheffer is a 2011 Global Thinker. He’s a professor and the director of the Center for International Human Rights at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law; he’s also the U.N. secretary-general’s special expert on U.N. assistance to the Khmer Rouge trials. Previously, from 1997 to 2001, Scheffer served as the first ever U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes and led the U.S. delegation in talks to establish the International Criminal Court. He’s the author of All the Missing Souls: A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals.

Erica Chenweoth is a 2013 Global Thinker. She’s a political scientist, professor, and associate dean for research at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School for International Studies. She has extensively researched political violence, and she has co-authored a book, Why Civil Resistance Works, showing that between 1900 and 2006, nonviolent movements were two times more effective than their violent counterparts in effecting regime change, the expulsion of foreign occupation, or political succession. Follow her on Twitter: @ericachenoweth.

Seyward Darby is the deputy editor for print at FP. Follow her on Twitter: @seywarddarby.

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