Threshold exists to help build the largest and most sustained uprising in our country’s history, of sufficient magnitude to cross the social, environmental and political boundaries that lead to a democracy and society that works for everyone, true justice everywhere, and a beautiful, thriving planet.
In 2010, a war studies professor got invited to a peace studies conference and said nonviolence is all well and good but sometimes you just need guns and ammo. A fellow scientist approached skeptically and said if you’re so sure I’d love to see the data. They agreed to look for it together and went on to review 100 years of resistance movements in all corners of the world, in democracies and dictatorships. Here’s what they found:
The strategic advantage of boycotting, protesting, ﬂagpole climbing and other forms of peaceful resistance was twice as effective as armed aggression in achieving movement goals and ten times as likely to lead to democratic outcomes.
And, astoundingly, in every single case where the movement mobilized at least 3.5 percent of the populace, the movement succeeded.
No society that feeds its children on tales of successful violence can expect them not to believe that violence in the end is rewarded.
How many Americans is 3.5 percent? It’s about 12 million. Let’s put that in a little perspective with some data about how many people might be willing to mobilize.
23 million black people and 64 millionwhite people are dissatisﬁed with how black people are treated in society.
33 million American workers earn less than $10.90hr. 50-60 million earn less than $15/hr. What percentage of them do you think would want a raise?
166 million of us strongly agree “there is way too much corporate money in politics,” (and 124 million more also agree, but less strongly).
94 million people are "alarmed" about climate change.
82 million eligible voters say they’re willing to “join a campaign to convince elected officials to do the right thing about global warming.”
228 million Americans (or, more precisely, 70% of voters) support Medicare for All.
46 million women aren’t paid as much as their male counterparts for doing the same work.
162 million of us lack access to broadband.
117 million Americans say they have felt the urge to organize or participate in a public demonstration.
We figure out how many people it takes to make a difference, then we work to mobilize them, motivating participation through a collective game of “I will if you all will.”
Concerned citizens swim in a sea of requests to sign petitions and make calls but we rarely have the sense that if we act we’ll be part of a critical mass that’s so big and powerful it will likely succeed.
Further, we lack feedback on our efforts, tools for making the process feel managed or in our control, information that would make doing so more inspiring and regular, visibility into the best bang-for-your-buck interventions right now, or satisfying ways for coordinating all of it with close friends. The gross result is largely superficial activist engagements for most citizens, declining individual engagement with time, and the inherent low viral count of unsatisfying user experience. The net result is that the promise of people power remains just that.
We believe that by
Findingpeople like you who are already fed-up and motivated,
Sharingthe news about how few people it takes to win when we work together, and
Providingtools for knowing what to do when to achieve threshold-crossing mass,
together WE are an unstoppable power.
Copyright © 2020 Threshold