Mark Engler

Mark Engler is a writer based in Philadelphia and an editorial board member at Dissent. He is the co-author, along with Paul Engler, of the new book on the craft of mass mobilization, This Is an Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century (Nation Books). He can be reached via the website www.thisisanuprising.org.

Articles by this author

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017
When Women Revolted
Fifty years ago, feminist organizing in the United States entered a vibrant new phase of activity. While pinning down an exact starting date is a controversial endeavor, several major events in the late 1960s heralded the birth of what is often called second-wave feminism. The year 1966 saw the...
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Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Why Targeting Corporate Democrats Is Part of the Fight Against Trump
On November 14, six days after the election of Donald Trump, some 40 young people walked into the office of New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, calling on the senior lawmaker to step aside in his bid to be Senate minority leader. Carrying a banner that read “Wall St. Democrats Failed Us,” they argued that...
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Monday, March 07, 2016
The Transformative Power of Democratic Uprisings
Bernie Sanders's insurgent presidential campaign has opened up a debate about how social change happens in our society. The official version of how progress is won -- currently voiced by mainstream pundits and members of a spooked Democratic Party establishment -- goes something like this: politics...
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Thursday, December 11, 2014
What Makes Nonviolent Movements Explode?
Why are some protests ignored and forgotten while others explode, dominating the news cycle for weeks and becoming touchstones in political life? For all of those seeking to promote change, this is a critical question. And it was a particularly pressing concern after the financial meltdown of 2008...
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Sunday, November 09, 2014
From the Berlin Wall to Today — Lessons for Harnessing the Moment of the Whirlwind
On November 9, 1989 — 25 years ago — huge crowds of East Germans descended on the Berlin Wall. The restless citizens were responding to an announcement by authorities suggesting that the government would loosen travel restrictions. In truth, those in charge intended to make only limited alterations...
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Thursday, October 09, 2014
How Did Gandhi Win? Lessons from the Salt March for Today's Social Movements
History remembers Mohandas Gandhi’s Salt March as one of the great episodes of resistance in the past century and as a campaign which struck a decisive blow against British imperialism. In the early morning of March 12, 1930, Gandhi and a trained cadre of 78 followers from his ashram began a march...
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Thursday, September 04, 2014
Surviving the Ups and Downs of Social Movements
Those who get involved in social movements share a common experience: Sometimes, when an issue captures the public eye or an unexpected event triggers a wave of mass protest, there can be periods of intense activity, when new members rush to join the cause and movement energy swells. But these...
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Banksy says that every day is PARK(ing) Day. (Credit: Beautiful Trouble) Views
Wednesday, June 04, 2014
Should We Fight the System or Be the Change?
It is an old question in social movements: Should we fight the system or “be the change we wish to see”? Should we push for transformation within existing institutions, or should we model in our own lives a different set of political relationships that might someday form the basis of a new society...
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Frances Fox Piven at at a national teach-in at Judson Memorial Church in New York in 2011. (© Pat Arnow) Views
Wednesday, May 07, 2014
Can Frances Fox Piven’s Theory of Disruptive Power Create the Next Occupy?
Social movements can be fast, and they can be slow. Mostly, the work of social change is a slow process. It involves patiently building movement institutions, cultivating leadership, organizing campaigns and leveraging power to secure small gains. If you want to see your efforts produce results, it...
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Saul Alinsky (Wikipedia) Views
Friday, April 04, 2014
Would Saul Alinsky Break His Own Rules?
Although Saul Alinsky, the founding father of modern community organizing in the United States, passed away in 1972, he is still invoked by the right as a dangerous harbinger of looming insurrection. And although his landmark book, Rules for Radicals , is now nearly 45 years old, the principles...
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