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In recent years various dictatorships—of both internal and external origin—have collapsed or stumbled when confronted by defiant, mobilized people. Often seen as firmly entrenched and impregnable, some of these dictatorships proved unable to withstand the concerted political, economic, and social defiance of the people.
Since 1980 dictatorships have collapsed before the predominantly nonviolent defiance of people in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Slovenia, Madagascar, Mali, Bolivia, and the Philippines. Nonviolent resistance has furthered the movement toward democratization in Nepal, Zambia, South Korea, Chile, Argentina, Haiti, Brazil, Uruguay, Malawi, Thailand, Bulgaria, Hungary, Zaire, Nigeria, and various parts of the former Soviet Union (playing a significant role in the defeat of the August 1991 attempted hard-line coup d’état).
In addition, mass political defiance has occurred in China, Burma, and Tibet in recent years. Although those struggles have not brought an end to the ruling dictatorships or occupations, they have exposed the brutal nature of those repressive regimes to the world community and have provided the populations with valuable experience with this form of struggle.
The collapse of dictatorships in the above named countries certainly has not erased all other problems in those societies: poverty, crime, bureaucratic inefficiency, and environmental destruction are often the legacy of brutal regimes. However, the downfall of these dictatorships has minimally lifted much of the suffering of the victims of oppression, and has opened the way for the rebuilding of these societies with greater political democracy, personal liberties, and social justice.
And, for an overview, Wikipedia:
From Dictatorship to Democracy contains a preface and ten sections. Its first appendix includes 198 Methods Of Nonviolent Action that were taken from Gene Sharp's The Politics of Nonviolent Action (1973), Part Two, The Methods of Nonviolent Action. The main sections of the 4th US edition are entitled:
1. Facing Dictatorships Realistically
2. The Dangers of Negotiations
3. Whence Comes the Power?
4. Dictatorships Have Weaknesses
5. Exercising Power
6. The Need for Strategic Planning
7. Planning Strategy
8. Applying Political Defiance
9. Disintegrating the Dictatorship
10. Groundwork for Durable Democracy
Three appendices are included in the fourth US edition of FDTD:
Appendix 1. The Methods of Nonviolent Action
Appendix 2. Acknowledgements and Notes on the History of From Dictatorship to Democracy
Appendix 3. A Note About Translations and Reprinting of this Publication
For Further Reading
Appendix 3 gives a step-by-step procedure for effectively translating FDTD into other languages.
From Dictatorship to Democracy has been circulated worldwide and cited repeatedly as influencing movements such as the Arab Spring (pictured) in 2011. Sharp has stated that after FDTD was first written, "although no efforts were made to promote the publication for use in other countries, translations and distribution of the publication began to spread on their own.... We usually do not know how awareness of this publication has spread from country to country.":88-9
A CNN profile of Sharp in 2012 stated that FDTD had "spread like a virus," calling it a "viral pamphlet." The book "started life in Myanmar as incendiary advice printed on a few sheets of paper and surreptitiously exchanged by activists living under a military dictatorship." Later it "took on a life of its own... eventually, some say, inspiring the uprisings known as the Arab Spring."
The Pakistani Daily Times stated that FDTD "has had an impact on the Arabic-speaking world even though the setting is in a non-Arabic world."
The Financial Times, in discussing the prospects for dictators worldwide, described Sharp as "the Lenin of the new Gandhi-ism" stating that
What is new... is the wildfire spread of systematically non-violent insurgency. This owes a great deal to the strategic thinking of Gene Sharp, an American academic whose how-to-topple-your-tyrant manual, From Dictatorship to Democracy, is the bible of activists from Belgrade to Rangoon.
The BBC reported in 2004 that FDTD "was used practically as a textbook" in lectures attended by members of Otpor, the Serbian resistance movement, in the year 2000.
The New York Times reported in 2011 that From Dictatorship to Democracy had been posted by the Muslim Brotherhood on its website during the 2011 Egyptian revolution.
More recently, The New York Times noted that FDTD was "available for download in more than two dozen languages" (and provided a link), while describing Sharp as a "leading [advocate] of grass-roots democracy."
From Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
And now a note concerning the format of this experiment: Data-encoded URIs. Personally I am rather fond of them: the document is stored in your own address bar. Right-click and bingo. The advantage of the data-encoded URI should be obvious in cases such as societal transformation through non-violent regime change -- there is no chance of retribution for hosting this tract. It hosts itself.
I have converted Gene Sharp's From Dictatorship To Democracy into a QR code as well for ease of mobile access.
My apologies if you have IE and thus cannot benefit; may I suggest another browser? Thanks to Tinyurl and Doiop I may have successfully persuaded Blogger to host the PDF in this format. Oh and of course many thanks to Hixie.ch for awesome software The Data URI Kitchen If a link does not work for you please try another. Or just scroll down to the source link appended at the end.
Pass it on.
|Link #3: QR-(long)|
|Thanks to goqr.me QR Code Generator, |
a QR code of the entire 500,000+ data-encoded URL
-- without third party mediation --
may not work with older phones -- click to enlarge.
|Suitable for older phones, this QR Code from goqr.me |
was made from the above URI, shortened beautifully
by the wonderful folks at Tinyurl. Thank you Tinyurl!