OTPIC Officially Retired

As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.

The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.

Power Resources Inventory by US Civil Rights Leaders

Paul Wehr


While the US civil rights movement, to our knowledge, never engaged in a formal inventory of their power resources, some of the leaders of the movement did. In its primary conflict group, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Jim Lawson and Bob Moses reflected on, then committed themselves to power elements they believed would be most effective for mobilizing large numbers of Americans, black and white, for racial justice.  Lawson found moral power to be the movement's paramount resource. That power resided in the ideology, strategy and tactics of disciplined nonviolent action. His ability to produce thousands of trained and committed nonviolent actionists who filled the jails to resist segregation in the 1960s was responsible for much movement success. His nonviolence strategizing in the Nashville Christian Leadership Conference produced the most persistent and disciplined sit-in movement in the nation (Branch 1988, 274). Nonviolence both confounded segregation and engaged potential supporters. It was a wellspring of power.   Moses saw legal power as the movement's primary resource. The civil right to vote and registering southern Blacks to claim that right were the focus of his movement work (Branch 1988, 331). This was perhaps the most sacred right to Americans. Action of blacks to exercise it would engage both federal enforcement and citizen approval everywhere. It would also make Blacks a political force in local, state and national politics. The strategic decision to target voting rights and doggedly pursue them would have important consequences for the civil rights movement (McAdam 1982).

Supporting Literature: Taylor Branch, Parting the Waters , New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988; Doug McAdam, Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency , Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982.


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