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Javier Garate has stated basic facts incorrectly about the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC). First, the Center was established in 2002, not 2001. Second, our "main aim" is not "to bring democracy through nonviolent means all over the world." We are a private educational foundation whose only purpose is to transfer the knowledge of how to engage in civil resistance to educators and civic action-takers everywhere. What they do with this knowledge is entirely up to them. We do not only help educate activists interested in displacing authoritarian rule. If that is all we did, why would we have helped train Guatemalan peace activists, African youth organizations campaigning against social violence, and immigrant rights and antiwar activists in the United States? Third, we are not oblivious to the kind of society that comes after a political change. In the book I co-authored, "A Force More Powerful," we explain why the gestation and work of nonviolent movements help prepare civil society for holding newly democratic governments accountable for their actions, so that democracy can be sustained. Today I have a power-point presentation I make at universities, outlining the "emergent properties" or social traits of nonviolent resistance that help create durable, rights-based civil societies. Among the traits that nonviolent movements help foster among their participants are learning how to ascertain and represent the people's grievances, learning how to base political debate on reason rather than arbitrary force, and resilience among participants in democratic action so that they don't demobilize after a new government takes power but remain involved in the political process, in order that corruption or backsliding doesn't occur. We admire the work of WRI, and we invite Mr. Garate to get in touch with us and learn about the full range of what we are doing.
Jack DuVall, President, International Center on Nonviolent Conflict