Friday, February 25, 2011

Gene Sharp's Eight-Step Method to Non-Violent Revolution

Every revolution gives us its heroes, some of whom are in the front and some are behind the scenes, serving as guiding lights. In the context of the current revolution that is sweeping across much of the Arab world, many say Gene Sharp is showing protesters the way to struggle with dictatorships. He wrote the influential guide 'From Dictatorship to Democracy' (download here) during the 1993 Burmese democratic movement.

The main point of Gene's work:

...the power of dictatorships comes from the willing obedience of the people they govern - and that if the people can develop techniques of withholding their consent, a regime will crumble.

Gene's book can be summarized as these eight steps to Non-Violent Revolution:

1. Develop a strategy for winning freedom and a vision of the society you want
2. Overcome fear by small acts of resistance
3. Use colors and symbols to demonstrate unity of resistance
4. Learn from historical examples of the successes of non-violent movements
5. Use non-violent "weapons"
6. Identify the dictatorship's pillars of support and develop a strategy for undermining each
7. Use oppressive or brutal acts by the regime as a recruiting tool for your movement
8. Isolate or remove from the movement people who use or advocate violence

Note: Gene's book is in sharp contrast to the guerrilla methods advocated by Che Guevara, through his life long struggles, as well as his books Guerrilla Warfare and Reminisces of the Cuban Revolutionary War. Google these.



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