Resources to Stop a Coup

October 27th, 2020

Trump has repeatedly said he will not peacefully transfer power and there is legitimate fear that the election may be stolen. If Trump makes good on this promise, then make no mistake: we are headed towards a coup. 

The President has also called on white supremacists to “protect the vote,” threatened to call out troops to protect (his) ballots and is actively seeding doubts about the integrity of the election process in order to contest it. 

We cannot sit back and watch Republican-led efforts suppress the right to vote. Remember: Black organizers and activists fought for decades using nonviolent tactics to win the right to vote. In a settler-colony like the United States, it's imperative we mobilize to defend hard-won rights so that we may move even closer towards an equitable country.

From rural to suburban to urban areas, people in the United States are organizing in powerful ways to confront white supremacy and police in the streets, to defend our election against a coup, and to de-escalate conflict on the ground. 

We've compiled a list of resources, readings, and free online trainings to help with these efforts. It’s going to take all of us to stop a coup: please read + forward this resource guide to activate more people in defense of our democracy.

Through nonviolent direct action confronting oppression and de-escalation of conflict, we move closer to building a more equitable and free world. Thank you for being part of the fight for justice.


This episode from RadioLab, What If?, is an excellent audio primer on the possible paths to a coup, which is based on the written report Preventing a Disrupted Presidential Election and Transition. There’s even a Coup-O-Meter to tell you where we are between democracy and a coup.


There are four key elements when it comes to successfully stopping a coup: wide-spread participation in anti-coup efforts, ally building between orgs and affinity groups, nonviolent discipline, and refusal to accept illegitimate authority, according to Stephen Zunes, who wrote Civil Resistance Against Coups.

10 Things You Need To Know to Stop A Coup by Daniel Hunter in Waging Nonviolence

How to Face Right-Wing Violence While Defending the Election - A Conversation with George Lakey by Bryan Farrell in Waging Nonviolence

Stopping the Coup: Disruption Guide for 2020

Stopping the Coup Guide: Resources

Stopping the Coup Guide: Dealing with Threats


Protect the Results has a map of demonstrations across the country and will post ongoing calls to action. Poor People’s Campaign is poll monitoring in 10 key states.

Below are a list of trainings to help you be part of the effort to defend the election:

October 27th

BlackOUT Collective - Stay Ready Training Series
Join The BlackOUT Collective for a free virtual training on Action Safety, De-escalation, and Physical and Digital Security

October 27th, 28th, October 30th + November 1st and November 5th

Choose Democracy has two upcoming trainingsHow to Beat an Election-Related Power Grab on October 27th, 28th and October 30th, and At the Brink: Getting Ready to Stop a Coup on November 1st and November 5th. 

October 28th - November 14th

DC Peace Team has a variety of trainings coming up, from Nonviolent Community Safety for Election Scenarios to Unarmed Civilian Protection and Accompaniment

October 28th

Shutdown DC has a series of really important trainings this fall, but in particular we want to draw attention to Democracy Defence! Options for Federal Workers! happening on October 28th. As we approach the 2020 election, it’s important to be aware of what election norms exist and what behaviors constitute a deviation from democratic norms. This workshop is aimed towards Federal workers, however all are welcome to attend.

October 29th

Elections Defenders! Training Series from
Election Defenders will be working to provide safe supports for voting (such as PPE and water), and election and voter defense, de-escalating white supremacist intimidation tactics and signaling to a network of groups and lawyers if and where trouble breaks out. Can't make this proposed times? Sign up anyway so they can send you a recording of the trainings.


WRL has a long history of revolutionary nonviolence and resistance to illegitimate and immoral authority. These resources are being used around the country to prepare to stop a coup.

What is an Affinity Group and How to Organize One

How to do consensus-based decision making

Guide to learn physical tools that can help you protect yourself and others in your group, and de-escalate a situation.


Former War Resisters International staff person Roberta Bacic, who was part of a movement against the Pinochet regime in Chile, shares her insights into Coping with the stress and strain of taking a stand.

Janet Cherry’s Activism in Oppressive regimes: Some lessons from South Africa points out strategies and tactics that people who have studied overcoming coups and oppressive regimes have been used successfully.