5. Gene Sharp: “The Machiavelli of Nonviolence”

Oct-07-2011 | Comments Off

Bird’s Eye: This is a person whose ideas you need to know. Gene Sharp is “is Professor Emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts. He is known for his extensive writings on nonviolent struggle, which have influenced numerous anti-government resistance movements around the world.” (more from Wikipedia here). We start with Prospect magazine’s brief summary of his work, then offer a translation of the pamphlet that Egyptian activists used in Tahrir Square, and end with a link to the Albert Einstein Institution for strategic nonviolence, where Sharp’s works are available for a free download, (though not at the speed of light.)

* How to Start a Revolution Prospect Magazine

The hallmarks of a Sharp revolution are the employment of colours and symbols, signs written in English to maximise western media coverage, women and children strategically positioned at the front of the protest—all now familiar to us now from uprisings in Bosnia, Burma, Zimbabwe, Estonia, Syria and Egypt.

It is not surprising, then, that From Dictatorship to Democracy has been translated into more than 30 languages. How To Start A Revolution charts the spread of Sharp’s ideas and looks at their impact on uprisings across the world. His description of 198 nonviolent means of destabilising dictatorships, for instance, has taken root in oppressed countries around the world, gaining advocates most recently among the protestors of the Arab Spring.

…In late January of this year, a 26-page pamphlet entitled How to Protest Intelligently began circulating in Cairo. The strategies it outlined—carrying flowers, uniting with the police and army, chanting peacefully and taking over government buildings—embodied the nonviolent ethos at the heart of Sharp’s blueprint.

* Egyptian Activists’ Action Plan: Translated Alexis Madrigal The Atlantic

The “How to Protest Intelligently” pamphlet, in English

* Advancing Freedom Through Nonviolent Action Albert Einstein Institution

Free downloads of many of Sharp’s works here, amongst many other fascinating works.

The Albert Einstein Institution is a nonprofit organization advancing the study and use of strategic nonviolent action in conflicts throughout the world. We are committed to the defense of freedom, democracy, and the reduction of political violence through the use of nonviolent action.  Our goals are to understand the dynamics of nonviolent action in conflicts, to explore its policy potential, and to communicate this through print and other media, translations, conferences, consultations, and workshops.







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