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Thread: Malaysians4Change: How to bring down a dictator

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Malaysians4Change: How to bring down a dictator

    How to bring down a dictator: the manual

    Tuesday 15 Feb 2011 MYT 18:18:46
    tags: democracy, non-violence, political dissent, resistance, revolution
    by uppercaise

    From Dictatorship to Democracy

    Read it here: the manual for toppling a tyrant

    The thoughts and ideas which inspired the people power movement that brought down Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia and helped those who toppled Hosni Mubarak in Egypt

    By Prof Gene Sharp, the man they call the Clausewitz of non-violent defiance

    From Dictatorship to Democracy was originally published in Bangkok in 1993 by the Committee for the Restoration of Democracy in Burma in association with Khit Pyaing (The New Era Journal). It has since been translated into at least thirty-one other languages and has been published in Serbia, Indonesia, and Thailand, among other countries. This is the fourth United States Edition.

    It is a serious introduction to the use of non-violent action to topple dictatorships.

    Read it here or view English.

    Prof Sharp has placed this book in the public domain.

    At the Albert Einstein Institute where he works, the book is already available in these languages: Amharic, Arabic, Azeri, Belarusian, Burmese, Chin (Burma), Jing-paw (Burma), Karen (Burma), Mon (Burma), Chinese (Simplified Mandarin), Chinese (Traditional Mandarin), English, Farsi, French, Indonesian, Khmer (Cambodia), Kyrgyz, Pashto, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Ukrainian, Tibetan, Tigrigna, Vietnamese.
    » Menuju Demokrasi Tanpa Kekerasan

    With an introduction by Gus Dur (Abdurrahman Wahid), later president of Indonesia

    Indonesian: Menuju demokrasi tanpa kekerasan.

    Traditional Chinese Script.

    Simplified Chinese Script.

    uppercaise: How to bring down a dictator.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Weapons of Mass Economic Destruction

    In Politics, there are no Permanent Friends or Permanent Enemies. Only Permanent Interests. A few points to remember about Ruling Classes. They stick by each other as long as it is profitable to do so. Once it's no longer profitable, their friends will dump them. That was what happened to Mubarak. His Western friends and his cronies dumped him the moment he is seen to be losing control.

    Tomgram: Michael Schwartz, Weapons of Mass Disruption

    Posted by Michael Schwartz at 10:00am, February 15, 2011.

    [Note for TomDispatch Readers: Here’s a book recommendation for this Egyptian moment. Get your hands on Jonathan Schell’s The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People. You won’t find a word about the events of the last few weeks. Little wonder, since it was published in 2003, at the height of American hubris over the use of force in Iraq, and just happened to be about eight years ahead of its time. Nonetheless, its look at the history of violence in the context of the great nonviolent uprisings of the twentieth century remains eye-opening and, better yet, Schell got it right. The Obama administration should have ditched all its intelligence and read his book!

    And by the way, keep in mind that if you use a TomDispatch link or book-cover image to go to Amazon and buy this book or anything else whatsoever, TD gets a modest cut of your purchase. It’s a fine way to contribute regularly to this site at no extra cost to you. Tom]

    Here’s the truth of it: You don’t need an .$80-billion-plus budget and a morass of .
    17 intelligence agencies to look at the world and draw a few intelligent conclusions. Nor do you need $80 billion-plus and that same set of agencies to be caught off-guard by developments on our sometimes amazing planet.

    Last Thursday, Leon Panetta, director of the CIA, assured a House Intelligence panel that he had “received reports” that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was likely leavin’ town on the next train for Yuma. When that didn’t happen, the Agency clarified the situation. Those “reports” hadn’t, in fact, been secret intelligence updates, but “news accounts.” In other words, billions of bucks later, Panetta was undoubtedly watching Al Jazeera (or the equivalent) just like the rest of us peasants.

    After 30 years as Washington’s eyes and ears in Cairo, it turns out that the CIA didn’t have an insider’s clue about Mubarak’s psychology. No wonder our fabulous “community” of intelligence analysts and operatives was napping when history came calling. And maybe it’s fortunate for us that the future can’t be bought, that no matter how much money a declining superpower puts on the barrelhead, it’s as likely to be surprised as any of us; in fact, deeply entrenched in the stalest of Washington thinking, our intelligence agencies may have been http://<font color="orange"><u>even ...sed</u></font> than most of us by what the future had in store. In our startlingly brain-dead American world, that realization in itself should have felt like a breath of fresh air as one startling Egyptian event after another unfolded.

    Here’s the truth of it (part 2): You don’t need to spend a dollar these days to get clued in on the winds of change sweeping the Middle East. Anyone can stream Al Jazeera English on a home computer and be a jump ahead of the CIA any day of the week.

    In other words, next time around, President Obama, remember that the U.S. Intelligence Community stands between you and common sense, so just start looking. You can do it all by yourself. It’s free and it’s better than any of those confabs you were eternally huddled in with your national security crew after which you issued confused, cautious, ill-timed, ill-coordinated statements which, until the last hypocritical seconds, left the U.S. on the side of an Egyptian klepto-autocrat.

    Of course, your vice president, Joe Biden, pitched in by assuring the PBS News Hour audience that Mubarak was no dictator and so didn’t have to go down. Meanwhile, your ace secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, with her own set of crack advisors and a top-notch intelligence crew, having watched Tunisian ruler Zene Ben Ali go down the tubes, launched Washington’s reactions to Egyptian events by assuring one and all that the Mubarak regime was “stable.” She then reassured the world that Mubarak and his wife were “friends of my family.” Yikes! With friends like that...

    As a start, Mr. President, you can save the American taxpayer tons of money by slashing to the bone the ridiculous labyrinth of organizations which pass for “intelligence” in Washington. As a former community organizer, all you have to do is keep an eye out for communities organizing themselves. After all, in these last weeks Egypt may have been transformed into one of the largest organized communities in history. Under the circumstances, it shouldn’t have been quite so hard to figure out what side U.S. “interests” were really on.

    Wouldn’t it be great, the next time around, if Washington came down on the right side of history even 30 seconds before history banged it on the head? Whatever now happens in Egypt (and it’s no easy trick putting a mobilized people back to sleep), we’re on a new planet and you’ll adjust better with less “intelligence.”

    As for stability? Honestly, is that what you want in one of the repressively creepy zones on the planet? If you’d like a quick explanation that goes to the heart of the matter when it comes to just how people power outwitted and out-organized “stability,” listen to TomDispatch regular and author of War Without End, Michael Schwartz. While you’re at it, keep in mind that old Bill Clinton mantra: it’s the economy, stupid! (To catch Timothy MacBain's latest TomCast audio interview in which Michael Schwartz discusses the Egyptian revolution and the power of nonviolent disruption, click here, or download it to your iPod here.
    ) Tom

    Why Mubarak Fell
    The (Sometimes) Incredible Power of Nonviolent Protest

    By Michael Schwartz

    Memo to President Obama: Given the absence of intelligent intelligence and the inadequacy of your advisers’ advice, it’s not surprising that your handling of the Egyptian uprising has set new standards for foreign policy incoherence and incompetence. Perhaps a primer on how to judge the power that can be wielded by mass protest will prepare you better for the next round of political upheavals.

    Remember the uprising in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989? That was also a huge, peaceful protest for democracy, but it was crushed with savage violence. Maybe the memory of that event convinced you and your team that, as Secretary of State Clinton announced when the protests began, the Mubarak regime was “stable” and in “no danger of falling.” Or maybe your confidence rested on the fact that it featured a disciplined modern army trained and supplied by the USA.

    But it fell, and you should have known that it was in grave danger. You should have known that the prognosis for this uprising was far better than the one that ended in a massacre in Tiananmen Square; that it was more likely to follow the pattern of people power in Tunisia, where only weeks before another autocrat had been driven from power, or Iran in 1979 and Poland in 1989.

    Since your intelligence people, including the CIA, obviously didn’t tell you, let me offer you an explanation for why the Egyptian protesters proved so much more successful in fighting off the threat and reality of violence than their Chinese compatriots, and why they were so much better equipped to deter an attack by a standing army. Most importantly, let me fill you in on why, by simply staying in the streets and adhering to their commitment to nonviolence, they were able to topple a tyrant with 30 years seniority and the backing of the United States from the pinnacle of power, sweeping him into the dustbin of history.

    When Does an Army Choose to Be Nonviolent?

    One possible answer -- a subtext of mainstream media coverage -- is that the Egyptian military, unlike its Chinese counterpart, decided not to crush the rebellion, and that this forbearance enabled the protest to succeed. However, this apparently reasonable argument actually explains nothing unless we can answer two intertwined questions that flow from it.

    The first is: Why was the military so restrained this time around, when for 50 years, “it has stood at the core of a repressive police state”? The second is: Why couldn’t the government, even without a military ready to turn its guns on the demonstrators, endure a few more days, weeks, or months of protest, while waiting for the uprising to exhaust itself, and -- as the BBC put it -- “have the whole thing fizzle out”?

    The answer to both questions lies in the remarkable impact that the protest had on the Egyptian economy. Mubarak and his cohort (as well as the military, which is the country’s economic powerhouse) were alarmed that the business “paralysis induced by the protests” was “having a huge impact on the creaking economy” of Egypt. As Finance Minister Samir Radwin said two weeks into the uprising, the economic situation was “very serious” and that “the longer the stalemate continues, the more damaging it is.”

    From their inception, the huge protests threatened the billions of dollars that the leaders and chief beneficiaries of the Mubarak regime had acquired during their 30 year reign of terror, corruption, and accumulation. To the generals in particular, it was surely apparent that the massive acts of brutality necessary to suppress the uprising would have caused perhaps irreparable harm, threatening its vast economic interests. In other words, either trying to outwait the revolutionaries or imposing the Tiananmen solution risked the downfall of the economic empires of Egypt’s ruling groups.

    But why would either of those responses destroy the economy?

    Squeezing the Life Out of the Mubarak Regime

    Put simply, from the beginning, the Egyptian uprising had the effect of a general strike. Starting on January 25th, the first day of the protest, tourism -- the largest industry in the country, which had just begun its high season -- went into free fall. After two weeks, the industry had simply “ground to a halt,” leaving a significant portion of the two million workers it supported with reduced wages or none at all, and the few remaining tourists rattling around empty hotels, catching the pyramids, if at all, on television.

    Since pyramids and other Egyptian sites attract more than a million visitors a month and account for at least 5% of the Egyptian economy, tourism alone (given the standard multiplier effect) may account for over 15% of the country’s cash flow. Not surprisingly, then, news reports soon began mentioning revenue losses of up to $310 million per day. In an economy with an annual gross domestic product (GDP) of well over $200 billion, each day that Mubarak clung to office produced a tangible and growing decline in it. After two weeks of this ticking time bomb, Crédit Agricole, the largest banking group in France, lowered its growth estimate for the country’s economy by 32%.

    The initial devastating losses in the tourist, hotel, and travel sectors of the Egyptian economy hit industries dominated by huge multinational corporations and major Egyptian business groups dependent on a constant flow of revenues. When cash flow dies, loan payments must still be made, hotels heated, airline schedules kept, and many employees, especially executives, paid. In such a situation, losses start mounting fast, and even the largest companies can face a crisis quickly. The situation was especially ominous because it was known that skittish travelers would be unlikely to return until they were confident that no further disruptions would occur.

    The largest of businesses, local and multinational, are not normally prone to inactivity. They are the ones likely to move most quickly to stem a tide of red ink by agitating the government to suppress such a protest, hopefully yesterday. But the staggering size of even the early demonstrations, the face of a mobilizing civil society visibly shedding 30 years of passivity, proved stunning. The fiercely brave response to police attacks, in which repression was met by masses of new demonstrators pouring into the streets, made it clear that brutal suppression would not quickly silence these protests. Such acts were more likely to prolong the disruptions and possibly amplify the uprising.

    Even if Washington was slow on the uptake, it didn’t take long for the relentlessly repressive Egyptian ruling clique to grasp the fact that large-scale, violent suppression was an impossible-to-implement strategy. Once the demonstrations involved hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Egyptians, a huge and bloody suppression guaranteed long-term economic paralysis and ensured that the tourist trade wasn’t going to rebound for months or longer.

    The paralysis of the tourism industry was, in itself, an economic time bomb that threatened the viability of the core of the Egyptian capitalist class, as long as the demonstrations continued. Recovery could only begin after a “return to normal life,” a phrase that became synonymous with the end of the protests in the rhetoric of the government, the military, and the mainstream media. With so many fortunes at stake, the business classes, foreign and domestic, soon enough began entertaining the most obvious and least disruptive solution: Mubarak’s departure.

    Strangling the Mubarak Regime

    The attack on tourism, however, was just the first blow in what rapidly became the protestors’ true weapon of mass disruption, its increasing stranglehold on the economy. The crucial communications and transportation industries were quickly engulfed in chaos and disrupted by the demonstrations. The government at first shut down the Internet and mobile phone service in an effort to deny the protestors their means of communication and organization, including Facebook and Twitter. When they were reopened, these services operated imperfectly, in part because of the increasingly rebellious behavior of their own employees.

    Similar effects were seen in transportation, which became unreliable and sporadic, either because of government shutdowns aimed at crippling the protests or because the protests interfered with normal operations. And such disruptions quickly rippled outward to the many sectors of the economy, from banking to foreign trade, for which communication and/or transportation was crucial.

    As the demonstrations grew, employees, customers, and suppliers of various businesses were ever more consumed with preparations for, participation in, or recovery from the latest protest, or protecting homes from looters and criminals after the government called the police force off the streets. On Fridays especially, many people left work to join the protest during noon prayers, abandoning their offices as the country immersed itself in the next big demonstration -- and then the one after.

    As long as the protests were sustained, as long as each new crescendo matched or exceeded the last, the economy continued to die while business and political elites became ever more desperate for a solution to the crisis.

    The Rats Leave the Sinking Ship of State

    After each upsurge in protest, Mubarak and his cronies offered new concessions aimed at quieting the crowds. These, in turn, were taken as signs of weakness by the protestors, only convincing them of their strength, amplifying the movement, and driving it into the heart of the Egyptian working class and the various professional guilds. By the start of the third week of demonstrations, protests began to hit critical institutions directly.

    On February 9th, reports of a widening wave of strikes in major industries around the country began pouring in, as lawyers, medical workers, and other professionals also took to the streets with their grievances. In a single day, tens of thousands of employees in textile factories, newspapers and other media companies, government agencies (including the post office), sanitation workers and bus drivers, and -- most significant of all -- workers at the Suez Canal began demanding economic concessions as well as the departure of Mubarak.

    Since the Suez Canal is second only to tourism as a source of income for the country, a sit-in there, involving up to 6,000 workers, was particularly ominous. Though the protestors made no effort to close the canal, the threat to its operation was self-evident.

    A shutdown of the canal would have been not just an Egyptian but a world calamity: a significant proportion of the globe’s oil flows through that canal, especially critical for energy-starved Europe. A substantial shipping slowdown, no less a shutdown, threatened a possible renewal of the worldwide recession of 2008-2009, even as it would choke off the Egyptian government’s major source of steady income.

    As if this weren’t enough, the demonstrators turned their attention to various government institutions, attempting to render them “nonfunctional.” The day after the president’s third refusal to step down, protestors claimed that many regional capitals, including Suez, Mahalla, Mansoura, Ismailia, Port Said, and even Alexandria (the country’s major Mediterranean port), were “free of the regime” -- purged of Mubarak officials, state-controlled communications, and the hated police and security forces. In Cairo, the national capital, demonstrators began to surround the parliament, the state TV building, and other centers critical to the national government. Alaa Abd El Fattah, an activist and well known political blogger in Cairo, told Democracy Now that the crowd “could continue to escalate, either by claiming more places or by actually moving inside these buildings, if the need comes.” With the economy choking to death, the demonstrators were now moving to put a hammerlock on the government apparatus itself.

    At that point, a rats-leaving-a-sinking-ship-of-state phenomenon burst into public visibility as “several large companies took out adverts in local newspapers putting distance between themselves and the regime.” Guardian reporter Jack Shenker affirmed this public display by quoting informed sources describing widespread “nervousness among the business community” about the viability of the regime, and that “a lot of people you might think are in bed with Mubarak have privately lost patience.”

    It was this tightening noose around the neck of the Mubarak regime that made the remarkable protests of these last weeks so different from those in Tiananmen Square. In China, the demonstrators had negligible economic and political leverage. In Egypt, the option of a brutal military attack, even if “successful” in driving them off the streets, seemed to all but guarantee the deepening of an already dire economic crisis, subjecting ever widening realms of the economy -- and so the wealth of the military -- to the risk of irreparable calamity.

    Perhaps Mubarak would have been willing to sacrifice all this to stay in power. As it happened, a growing crew of movers and shakers, including the military leadership, major businessmen, foreign investors, and interested foreign governments saw a far more appealing alternative solution.

    Weil Ziada, head of research for a major Egyptian financial firm, spoke for the business and political class when he told Guardian reporter Jack Shenker on February 11th:

    "Anti-government sentiment is not calming down, it is gaining momentum…This latest wave is putting a lot more pressure on not just the government but the entire regime; protesters have made their demands clear and there's no rowing back now. Everything is going down one route. There are two or three scenarios, but all involve the same thing: Mubarak stepping down -- and the business community is adjusting its expectations accordingly."

    The next day, President Hosni Mubarak resigned and left Cairo.

    President Obama, remember this lesson: If you want to avoid future foreign policy Obaminations, be aware that nonviolent protest has the potential to strangle even the most brutal regime, if it can definitively threaten the viability of its core industries. In these circumstances, a mass movement equipped with fearsome weapons of mass disruption can topple a tyrant equipped with fearsome weapons of mass destruction.

    A professor of sociology at Stony Brook State University, Michael Schwartz is the author of War Without End: The Iraq War in Context (Haymarket Press). Schwartz's work on protest movements, contentious politics, and the arc of U.S. imperialism has appeared in numerous academic and popular outlets over the past 40 years. He is a TomDispatch regular. His email address is To listen to Timothy MacBain's latest TomCast audio interview in which Schwartz discusses the Egyptian revolution and the power of nonviolent disruption, click here, or download it to your iPod here.

    Copyright 2011 Michael Schwartz omdispatch.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Gene Sharp: Author of the nonviolent revolution rulebook
    By Ruaridh Arrow
    Director of Gene Sharp - How to Start a Revolution

    In an old townhouse in East Boston an elderly stooped man is tending rare orchids in his shabby office. His Labrador Sally lies on the floor between stacks of academic papers watching him as he shuffles past.

    This is Dr Gene Sharp the man now credited with the strategy behind the toppling of the Egyptian government.

    Gene Sharp is the world's foremost expert on non-violent revolution. His work has been translated into more than 30 languages, his books slipped across borders and hidden from secret policemen all over the world.

    Key Steps on the Path to Revolution

    Develop a strategy for winning freedom and a vision of the society you want
    Overcome fear by small acts of resistance
    Use colours and symbols to demonstrate unity of resistance
    Learn from historical examples of the successes of non-violent movements
    Use non-violent "weapons"
    Identify the dictatorship's pillars of support and develop a strategy for undermining each
    Use oppressive or brutal acts by the regime as a recruiting tool for your movement
    Isolate or remove from the movement people who use or advocate violence
    As Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia and Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine fell to the colour revolutions which swept across Eastern Europe, each of the democratic movements paid tribute to Sharp's contribution, yet he remained largely unknown to the public.

    Despite these successes and a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 2009 he has faced almost constant financial hardship and wild accusations of being a CIA front organisation. The Albert Einstein Institution based on the ground floor of his home is kept running by sheer force of personality and his fiercely loyal Executive Director, Jamila Raqib.

    In 2009 I began filming a documentary following the impact of Sharp's work from his tranquil rooftop orchid house, across four continents and eventually to Tahrir square where I slept alongside protesters who read his work by torchlight in the shadow of tanks.

    Gene Sharp is no Che Guevara but he may have had more influence than any other political theorist of his generation.

    His central message is that 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.

    For decades now, people living under authoritarian regimes have made a pilgrimage to Gene Sharp for advice. His writing has helped millions of people around the world achieve their freedom without violence. "As soon as you choose to fight with violence you're choosing to fight against your opponents best weapons and you have to be smarter than that," he insists.

    "People might be a little surprised when they come here, I don't tell them what to do. They've got to learn how this non-violent struggle works so they can do it for themselves."

    Catching fire

    To do this Sharp provides in his books a list of 198 "non-violent weapons", ranging from the use of colours and symbols to mock funerals and boycotts.

    Designed to be the direct equivalent of military weapons, they are techniques collated from a forensic study of defiance to tyranny throughout history.

    "These non-violent weapons are very important because they give people an alternative," he says. "If people don't have these, if they can't see that they are very powerful, they will go back to violence and war every time."

    After the Green uprising in Iran in 2009 many of the protesters were accused at their trials of using more than 100 of Sharp's 198 methods.

    His most translated and distributed work, From Dictatorship to Democracy was written for the Burmese democratic movement in 1993, after the imprisonment of Aung San Suu Kyi.

    “It was important because some of the Gabonese were talking about a violent option - I was able to say: 'Hang on guys there's another option here'”
    Supermodel Gloria Mika

    Because he had no specialist knowledge of the country he wrote a guide to toppling a dictatorship which was entirely generic. But Sharp's weakness became the strength of the book allowing it to be easily translated and applicable in any country of the world across cultural and religious boundaries.

    The book caught fire figuratively and literally.

    From Burma word of mouth spread through Thailand to Indonesia where it was used against the military dictatorship there. Its success in helping to bring down Milosevic in Serbia in 2000 propelled it into use across Eastern Europe, South America and the Middle East.

    When it reached Russia the intelligence services raided the print shop and the shops selling it mysteriously burned to the ground.

    The Iranians became so worried they broadcast an animated propaganda film on state TV - of Gene Sharp plotting the overthrow of Iran from The White House.

    President Hugo Chavez used his weekly television address to warn the country that Sharp was a threat to the national security of Venezuela.

    Serbian connection

    After recent allegations of vote rigging in her home country of Gabon, supermodel and activist Gloria Mika travelled to Boston to meet Sharp.

    A Nonviolent Life
    Born January 1928 in Ohio
    Jailed for nine months in 1953-4 for protesting against conscription of young men to fight in Korean War
    Albert Einstein wrote the foreword to his first book - Gandhi Wields the Weapon of Moral Power: Three Case Histories - published in 1960
    His 1968 Oxford University D Phil, The Politics of Nonviolent Action, formed the basis of a book with the same title, published in 1973
    Professor (now emeritus professor) of political science at the University of Massachusetts since 1972, while simultaneously holding research positions at Harvard University
    Founded the Albert Einstein Institution in 1983, a non-profit organisation advancing the use of non-violent action in conflict around the world
    "I felt like I was going to meet the main man in terms of non-violent resistance in the world," she says. "It was important because some of the Gabonese were talking about a violent option. They were saying, let's go and kill some people and I was able to say: 'Hang on guys there's another option here.'"

    The Serbs who had used his books as a theoretical base for their activities founded their own organisation called the Centre for Applied Non Violence (CANVAS), and alongside their own materials have carried out workshops using Sharp's work in dozens of other countries.

    When I met Srdja Popovic the director of CANVAS in Belgrade in November he confirmed that they had been working with Egyptians. "That's the power of Sharp's work and this non-violent struggle," he says. "It doesn't matter who you are - black, white, Muslim, Christian, gay, straight or oppressed minority - it's useable. If they study it, anybody can do this."

    Photocopies in Arabic

    By the time I arrived in Tahrir square on 2 February many of those trained in Sharp's work were in detention. Others were under close observation by the intelligence services and journalists who visited them were detained for hours by the secret police. My own camera equipment was seized as soon as I landed.

    “This is an Egyptian revolution - we are not being told what to do by the Americans”
    Tahrir Square protester

    When I finally reached one of the organisers he refused to talk about Sharp on camera. He feared that wider knowledge of a US influence would destabilise the movement but confirmed that the work had been widely distributed in Arabic.

    "One of the main points which we used was Sharp's idea of identifying a regime's pillars of support," he said. "If we could build a relationship with the army, Mubarak's biggest pillar of support, to get them on our side, then we knew he would quickly be finished."

    That night as I settled down to sleep in a corner of Tahrir square some of the protesters came to show me text messages they said were from the army telling them that they wouldn't shoot. "We know them and we know they are on our side now," they said.

    One of the protesters, Mahmoud, had been given photocopies of a handout containing the list of 198 methods but he was unaware of their origins. He proudly described how many of them had been used in Egypt but he had never heard of Gene Sharp.

    When I pointed out that these non-violent weapons were the writings of an American academic he protested strongly. "This is an Egyptian revolution", he said. "We are not being told what to do by the Americans."

    And of course that is exactly what Sharp would want.

    Ruaridh Arrow's film, Gene Sharp: How to Start a Revolution, will be released in spring 2011 bbc.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Visit link at the bottom to access the links shown in orange.

    A Catalog of Tactics
    198 Methods of Non-Violent Action

    7th Grade Entries
    Israel / Palestine Border
    The Economic Boycott
    Large Puppets / FTAA
    Freedom of Speech
    The Sacred Cow
    Rampage for Children
    Smuggling To Myanmar
    Gay Homecoming
    Kid’s Rights in Peru
    Boycott in Buganda
    Fall of the Berlin Wall
    Norway Nuke Plant
    Carnation Revolution
    Animal Rights in Romania
    Hong Kong – Freedom
    Silent Marches

    8th Grade Entries
    Westboro Baptist
    Berliner Mauer
    Occupation of Mexico City
    El Pupitrazo!
    Israel / Internet
    Non-Violence in the U.K.
    Hong Kong Vigil
    Burning Draft Cards
    Band-Aid for Brazil
    Silent In School
    Soyapango Quake

    198 Methods of Nonviolent Action

    These methods were compiled by Dr. Gene Sharp and first published in his 1973 book, The Politics of Nonviolent Action, Vol. 2: The Methods of Nonviolent Action. (Boston: Porter Sargent Publishers, 1973). The book outlines each method and gives information about its historical use.

    You may also download (link does not work) this list of methods.


    Formal Statements
    1. Public Speeches
    2. Letters of opposition or support
    3. Declarations by organizations and institutions
    4. Signed public statements
    5. Declarations of indictment and intention
    6. Group or mass petitions

    Communications with a Wider Audience
    7. Slogans, caricatures, and symbols
    8. Banners, posters, and displayed communications
    9. Leaflets, pamphlets, and books
    10. Newspapers and journals
    11. Records, radio, and television
    12. Skywriting and earthwriting

    Group Representations
    13. Deputations
    14. Mock awards
    15. Group lobbying
    16. Picketing
    17. Mock elections

    Symbolic Public Acts
    18. Displays of flags and symbolic colors
    19. Wearing of symbols
    20. Prayer and worship
    21. Delivering symbolic objects
    22. Protest disrobings
    23. Destruction of own property
    24. Symbolic lights
    25. Displays of portraits
    26. Paint as protest
    27. New signs and names
    28. Symbolic sounds
    29. Symbolic reclamations
    30. Rude gestures

    Pressures on Individuals
    31. “Haunting” officials
    32. Taunting officials
    33. Fraternization
    34. Vigils

    Drama and Music
    35. Humorous skits and pranks
    36. Performances of plays and music
    37. Singing

    38. Marches
    39. Parades
    40. Religious processions
    41. Pilgrimages
    42. Motorcades

    Honoring the Dead
    43. Political mourning
    44. Mock funerals
    45. Demonstrative funerals
    46. Homage at burial places

    Public Assemblies
    47. Assemblies of protest or support
    48. Protest meetings
    49. Camouflaged meetings of protest
    50. Teach-ins

    Withdrawal and Renunciation
    51. Walk-outs
    52. Silence
    53. Renouncing honors
    54. Turning one’s back


    Ostracism of Persons
    55. Social boycott
    56. Selective social boycott
    57. Lysistratic nonaction
    58. Excommunication
    59. Interdict

    Noncooperation with Social Events, Customs, and Institutions
    60. Suspension of social and sports activities
    61. Boycott of social affairs
    62. Student strike
    63. Social disobedience
    64. Withdrawal from social institutions

    Withdrawal from the Social System
    65. Stay-at-home
    66. Total personal noncooperation
    67. “Flight” of workers
    68. Sanctuary
    69. Collective disappearance
    70. Protest emigration (hijrat)


    Actions by Consumers
    71. Consumers’ boycott
    72. Nonconsumption of boycotted goods
    73. Policy of austerity
    74. Rent withholding
    75. Refusal to rent
    76. National consumers’ boycott
    77. International consumers’ boycott

    Action by Workers and Producers
    78. Workmen’s boycott
    79. Producers’ boycott

    Action by Middlemen
    80. Suppliers’ and handlers’ boycott

    Action by Owners and Management
    81. Traders’ boycott
    82. Refusal to let or sell property
    83. Lockout
    84. Refusal of industrial assistance
    85. Merchants’ “general strike”

    Action by Holders of Financial Resources
    86. Withdrawal of bank deposits
    87. Refusal to pay fees, dues, and assessments
    88. Refusal to pay debts or interest
    89. Severance of funds and credit
    90. Revenue refusal
    91. Refusal of a government’s money

    Action by Governments
    92. Domestic embargo
    93. Blacklisting of traders
    94. International sellers’ embargo
    95. International buyers’ embargo
    96. International trade embargo


    Symbolic Strikes
    97. Protest strike
    98. Quickie walkout (lightning strike)

    Agricultural Strikes
    99. Peasant strike
    100. Farm Workers’ strike

    Strikes by Special Groups
    101. Refusal of impressed labor
    102. Prisoners’ strike
    103. Craft strike
    104. Professional strike

    Ordinary Industrial Strikes
    105. Establishment strike
    106. Industry strike
    107. Sympathetic strike

    Restricted Strikes
    108. Detailed strike
    109. Bumper strike
    110. Slowdown strike
    111. Working-to-rule strike
    112. Reporting “sick” (sick-in)
    113. Strike by resignation
    114. Limited strike
    115. Selective strike

    Multi-Industry Strikes
    116. Generalized strike
    117. General strike

    Combination of Strikes and Economic Closures
    118. Hartal
    119. Economic shutdown


    Rejection of Authority
    120. Withholding or withdrawal of allegiance
    121. Refusal of public support
    122. Literature and speeches advocating resistance

    Citizens’ Noncooperation with Government
    123. Boycott of legislative bodies
    124. Boycott of elections
    125. Boycott of government employment and positions
    126. Boycott of government depts., agencies, and other bodies
    127. Withdrawal from government educational institutions
    128. Boycott of government-supported organizations
    129. Refusal of assistance to enforcement agents
    130. Removal of own signs and placemarks
    131. Refusal to accept appointed officials
    132. Refusal to dissolve existing institutions

    Citizens’ Alternatives to Obedience
    133. Reluctant and slow compliance
    134. Nonobedience in absence of direct supervision
    135. Popular nonobedience
    136. Disguised disobedience
    137. Refusal of an assemblage or meeting to disperse
    138. Sitdown
    139. Noncooperation with conscription and deportation
    140. Hiding, escape, and false identities
    141. Civil disobedience of “illegitimate” laws

    Action by Government Personnel
    142. Selective refusal of assistance by government aides
    143. Blocking of lines of command and information
    144. Stalling and obstruction
    145. General administrative noncooperation
    146. Judicial noncooperation
    147. Deliberate inefficiency and selective noncooperation by enforcement agents
    148. Mutiny

    Domestic Governmental Action
    149. Quasi-legal evasions and delays
    150. Noncooperation by constituent governmental units

    International Governmental Action
    151. Changes in diplomatic and other representations
    152. Delay and cancellation of diplomatic events
    153. Withholding of diplomatic recognition
    154. Severance of diplomatic relations
    155. Withdrawal from international organizations
    156. Refusal of membership in international bodies
    157. Expulsion from international organizations


    Psychological Intervention
    158. Self-exposure to the elements
    159. The fast
    a) Fast of moral pressure
    b) Hunger strike
    c) Satyagrahic fast
    160. Reverse trial
    161. Nonviolent harassment

    Physical Intervention
    162. Sit-in
    163. Stand-in
    164. Ride-in
    165. Wade-in
    166. Mill-in
    167. Pray-in
    168. Nonviolent raids
    169. Nonviolent air raids
    170. Nonviolent invasion
    171. Nonviolent interjection
    172. Nonviolent obstruction
    173. Nonviolent occupation

    Social Intervention
    174. Establishing new social patterns
    175. Overloading of facilities
    176. Stall-in
    177. Speak-in
    178. Guerrilla theater
    179. Alternative social institutions
    180. Alternative communication system

    Economic Intervention
    181. Reverse strike
    182. Stay-in strike
    183. Nonviolent land seizure
    184. Defiance of blockades
    185. Politically motivated counterfeiting
    186. Preclusive purchasing
    187. Seizure of assets
    188. Dumping
    189. Selective patronage
    190. Alternative markets
    191. Alternative transportation systems
    192. Alternative economic institutions

    Political Intervention
    193. Overloading of administrative systems
    194. Disclosing identities of secret agents
    195. Seeking imprisonment
    196. Civil disobedience of “neutral” laws
    197. Work-on without collaboration
    198. Dual sovereignty and parallel government

    Source: Gene Sharp, The Politics of Nonviolent Action, Vol. 2: The Methods of Nonviolent Action (Boston: Porter Sargent Publishers, 1973). 198 nonviolentweapons.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Dear Friends,

    It has been a busy entry into the spring season! As you know, in February, amid protest and revolution in the Middle East and North Africa, we decided to formally launch our website,, in the hopes of sharing our vast library of resources for activists and supporters with the rest of the world- not just those in our community.

    We’ve been busy spreading the word about in places like Austin, Chile, London, New York, Pakistan, Washington, D.C. and more. Additionally, the international media have taken notice of the work we are doing to support digital activists.

    At we're focused not only on providing resources- but also on connecting activists with the things they need. That’s why we are launching the Marketplace, an online platform where digital activists and their supporters can exchange “needs” and “haves”. A pre-vetted group will be able to access the Marketplace, earn points by helping their fellow activists and exchange these points for things donated by our sponsors and supporters. Some examples of donated resources are: a small grant, a ticket to a tech conference, and consultations with experts in marketing, advertising, or PR. If you’d like to help us by donating to the Marketplace please get in touch!

    Lastly, as always, please continue to connect on Twitter and Facebook and help us to share our resources with more people by telling your friends.

    - The Board and Staff

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