Since 11 September 2001, particularly in the last 15 years, a large part of the world population has been involved in a spiral of violence and reduction of personal freedom. The sociological causes of this are complex, but in summary it can be said that the need to overcome fear – whether real or induced – leads to the support of forms of power that boast greater security but which instead trigger further violent phenomena. In addition to this, frankly dictatorial regimes of military, commercial and energy superpowers – such as Russia, China, Saudi Arabia – have interfered in the institutions of other countries by influencing illiberal and extremist tendencies that use violence as a basis for action.
These data are highlighted in the document “watchdog of global democracy” published by Freedom House (FREEDOM IN THE WORLD 2022 The Global Expansion of Authoritarian Rule): in the last year 60 countries have worsened their democratic guarantees, about 38% of the world population lives in non-free countries (the highest percentage since 1997) while only 20% live in effectively free countries.
However, it is interesting to observe how non-violent protest movements are growing parallel to the escalation of violence. Some examples are found in Tunisia, Cuba, Sudan, Belarus, HongKong and Myanmar. But it is the Baltic area that has institutionalized this aspect by inserting the concept of non-violent struggle and resistance as an element of territorial defense. It all started with the popular protest event in 1989 when Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania organized a protest against Soviet oppression with two million people who, holding hands, formed a human chain 675 km long. Within seven months of the protest, Lithuania was the first to proclaim independence.
The acronym DPN (Defensive, popular, nonviolent) means a defense model, alternative to the military, popular but organized one, which can guarantee an effective defense of the territory, of the people who live there and its institutions. Some studies show that in the current reality the DPN seems to be a system to be taken into serious consideration. In particular, in the publication “Why Civil Resistance Works, The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict” 323 cases of violent and non-violent resistance campaigns from 1900 onwards were compared. Authors Maria J. Stephan and Erica Chenoweth found that actions without the use of weapons were almost double that of armed ones and were more effective especially when forces were unequal on the field. The research also highlights how the use of violence in general is triggered by the need to obtain a tangible result while the opposite strategy, even if more profitable, does not allow the results to be easily perceived and therefore tends to be discarded.
All this obviously is topical in the context of the Russian / Ukrainian conflict and in particular it could explain the anti-NATO sentiments of part of the Western population. It would therefore be relevant to go deeper into the analysis of DPN strategies, also because modern warfare, whether nuclear, low intensity or asymmetric, does not seem to obtain advantageous results.