! #$%&'()*+, -.+/'0$.1 2$. 345'.+)4$%
Fnurth U.5. EdItInn
Gcnc 5harp
Thc A!bcrt EInstcIn InstItutInn
AII maleriaI a¡¡earing in lhis
¡ubIicalion is in lhe ¡ubIic domain and
may be re¡roduced vilhoul
¡ermission from Gene Shar¡.
Cilalion of lhe source, and noli!calion lo lhe
AIberl Linslein Inslilulion for lhe re¡roduclion,
lransIalion, and re¡rinling of lhis ¡ubIicalion, are a¡¡recialed.
Iirsl Ldilion, May 2OO2
Second Ldilion, }une 2OO3
Third Ldilion, Iebruary 2OO8
Iourlh Ldilion, May 2O1O
From Dictatorship to Democracy vas originaIIy ¡ubIished in ßangkok
in 1993 by lhe Commillee for lhe Resloralion of Democracy in ßurma
in associalion vilh Khil Iyaing (The New Era Journal). Il has since
been lransIaled inlo al Ieasl lhirly-one olher Ianguages and has been
¡ubIished in Serbia, Indonesia, and ThaiIand, among olher counlries.
This is lhe fourlh Iniled Slales Ldilion.
Irinled in lhe Iniled Slales of America.
Irinled on RecycIed Ia¡er.
The AIberl Linslein Inslilulion
I.Ò. ßox 455
Lasl ßoslon, MA O2128, ISA
TeI: ISA +1 617-247-4882
Iax: ISA +1 617-247-4O35
L-maiI: einslein©
ISßN 1-88O813-O9-2
A conlinuing ¡robIem 2
Ireedom lhrough vioIence` 4
Cou¡s, eIeclions, foreign saviors` 5
Iacing lhe hard lrulh 7
Merils and Iimilalions of negolialions 1O
Negolialed surrender` 1O
Iover and |uslice in negolialions 12
¨AgreeabIe¨ diclalors 13
Whal kind of ¡eace` 14
Reasons for ho¡e 14
The ¨Monkey Masler¨ fabIe 17
Necessary sources of ¡oIilicaI ¡over 18
Cenlers of democralic ¡over 21
Idenlifying lhe AchiIIes' heeI 25
Weaknesses of diclalorshi¡s 26
Allacking veaknesses of diclalorshi¡s 27
The vorkings of nonvioIenl slruggIe 3O
NonvioIenl vea¡ons and disci¡Iine 3O
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq t
Ò¡enness, secrecy, and high slandards 33
Shifling ¡over reIalionshi¡s 34
Iour mechanisms of change 35
Democralizing effecls of ¡oIilicaI de!ance 37
Com¡Iexily of nonvioIenl slruggIe 38
ReaIislic ¡Ianning 39
HurdIes lo ¡Ianning 4O
Iour im¡orlanl lerms in slralegic ¡Ianning 43
Choice of means 48
IIanning for democracy 49
LxlernaI assislance 5O
IormuIaling a grand slralegy 5O
IIanning cam¡aign slralegies 53
S¡reading lhe idea of noncoo¡eralion 55
Re¡ression and counlermeasures 56
Adhering lo lhe slralegic ¡Ian 57
SeIeclive resislance 59
SymboIic chaIIenge 6O
S¡reading res¡onsibiIily 61
Aiming al lhe diclalors' ¡over 62
Shifls in slralegy 64
LscaIaling freedom 69
Disinlegraling lhe diclalorshi¡ 7O
HandIing success res¡onsibIy 71
ti Gcnc Sncrp
Threals of a nev diclalorshi¡ 73
ßIocking cou¡s 74
Conslilulion drafling 75
A democralic defense ¡oIicy 76
A merilorious res¡onsibiIily 76
THE HI5TORY OF -678 9:#;!;76<=:> ;7 9?87#6!#@ 87
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq tii
Òne of my ma|or concerns for many years has been hov ¡eo¡Ie
couId ¡revenl and deslroy diclalorshi¡s. This has been nurlured in
¡arl because of a beIief lhal human beings shouId nol be dominaled
and deslroyed by such regimes. Thal beIief has been slrenglhened
by readings on lhe im¡orlance of human freedom, on lhe nalure of
diclalorshi¡s (from ArislolIe lo anaIysls of lolaIilarianism), and his-
lories of diclalorshi¡s (es¡eciaIIy lhe Nazi and SlaIinisl syslems).
Òver lhe years I have had occasion lo gel lo knov ¡eo¡Ie vho
Iived and suffered under Nazi ruIe, incIuding some vho survived
concenlralion cam¡s. In Norvay I mel ¡eo¡Ie vho had resisled
fascisl ruIe and survived, and heard of lhose vho ¡erished. I laIked
vilh }evs vho had esca¡ed lhe Nazi cIulches and vilh ¡ersons vho
had heI¡ed lo save lhem.
KnovIedge of lhe lerror of Communisl ruIe in various counlries
has been Iearned more from books lhan ¡ersonaI conlacls. The lerror
of lhese syslems a¡¡eared lo me lo be es¡eciaIIy ¡oignanl for lhese
diclalorshi¡s vere im¡osed in lhe name of Iiberalion from o¡¡res-
sion and ex¡Ioilalion.
In more recenl decades lhrough visils of ¡ersons from dicla-
loriaIIy ruIed counlries, such as Ianama, IoIand, ChiIe, Tibel, and
ßurma, lhe reaIilies of loday's diclalorshi¡s became more reaI. Irom
Tibelans vho had foughl againsl Chinese Communisl aggression,
Russians vho had defealed lhe Augusl 1991 hard-Iine cou¡, and
Thais vho had nonvioIenlIy bIocked a relurn lo miIilary ruIe, I
have gained oflen lroubIing ¡ers¡eclives on lhe insidious nalure of
The sense of ¡alhos and oulrage againsl lhe brulaIilies, aIong
vilh admiralion of lhe caIm heroism of unbeIievabIy brave men
and vomen, vere somelimes slrenglhened by visils lo ¡Iaces vhere
lhe dangers vere sliII greal, and yel de!ance by brave ¡eo¡Ie con-
linued. These incIuded Ianama under Noriega, ViInius, Lilhuania,
under conlinued Soviel re¡ression, Tiananmen Square, ßei|ing,
during bolh lhe feslive demonslralion of freedom and vhiIe lhe
!rsl armored ¡ersonneI carriers enlered lhal falefuI nighl, and lhe
|ungIe headquarlers of lhe democralic o¡¡osilion al Maner¡Iav in
¨Iiberaled ßurma.¨
Somelimes I visiled lhe siles of lhe faIIen, as lhe leIevision lover
and lhe cemelery in ViInius, lhe ¡ubIic ¡ark in Riga vhere ¡eo¡Ie
had been gunned dovn, lhe cenler of Ierrara in norlhern IlaIy vhere
lhe fascisls Iined u¡ and shol resislers, and a sim¡Ie cemelery in
Maner¡Iav !IIed vilh bodies of men vho had died much loo young.
Il is a sad reaIizalion lhal every diclalorshi¡ Ieaves such dealh and
deslruclion in ils vake.
Òul of lhese concerns and ex¡eriences grev a delermined
ho¡e lhal ¡revenlion of lyranny mighl be ¡ossibIe, lhal successfuI
slruggIes againsl diclalorshi¡s couId be vaged vilhoul mass mu-
luaI sIaughlers, lhal diclalorshi¡s couId be deslroyed and nev ones
¡revenled from rising oul of lhe ashes.
I have lried lo lhink carefuIIy aboul lhe mosl effeclive vays
in vhich diclalorshi¡s couId be successfuIIy disinlegraled vilh lhe
Ieasl ¡ossibIe cosl in suffering and Iives. In lhis I have dravn on my
sludies over many years of diclalorshi¡s, resislance movemenls,
revoIulions, ¡oIilicaI lhoughl, governmenlaI syslems, and es¡eciaIIy
reaIislic nonvioIenl slruggIe.
This ¡ubIicalion is lhe resuIl. I am cerlain il is far from ¡erfecl.
ßul, ¡erha¡s, il offers some guideIines lo assisl lhoughl and ¡Ian-
ning lo ¡roduce movemenls of Iiberalion lhal are more ¡overfuI
and effeclive lhan mighl olhervise be lhe case.
Òf necessily, and of deIiberale choice, lhe focus of lhis essay is
on lhe generic ¡robIem of hov lo deslroy a diclalorshi¡ and lo ¡re-
venl lhe rise of a nev one. I am nol com¡elenl lo ¡roduce a delaiIed
anaIysis and ¡rescri¡lion for a ¡arlicuIar counlry. Hovever, il is my
ho¡e lhal lhis generic anaIysis may be usefuI lo ¡eo¡Ie in, unforlu-
naleIy, loo many counlries vho nov face lhe reaIilies of diclaloriaI
ruIe. They viII need lo examine lhe vaIidily of lhis anaIysis for lheir
silualions and lhe exlenl lo vhich ils ma|or recommendalions are, or
can be made lo be, a¡¡IicabIe for lheir Iiberalion slruggIes.
Novhere in lhis anaIysis do I assume lhal defying diclalors viII
be an easy or cosl-free endeavor. AII forms of slruggIe have com¡Iica-
ix Gcnc Sncrp
lions and cosls. Iighling diclalors viII, of course, bring casuaIlies. Il
is my ho¡e, hovever, lhal lhis anaIysis viII s¡ur resislance Ieaders
lo consider slralegies lhal may increase lheir effeclive ¡over vhiIe
reducing lhe reIalive IeveI of casuaIlies.
Nor shouId lhis anaIysis be inler¡reled lo mean lhal vhen a
s¡eci!c diclalorshi¡ is ended, aII olher ¡robIems viII aIso disa¡¡ear.
The faII of one regime does nol bring in a ulo¡ia. Ralher, il o¡ens lhe
vay for hard vork and Iong efforls lo buiId more |usl sociaI, eco-
nomic, and ¡oIilicaI reIalionshi¡s and lhe eradicalion of olher forms
of in|uslices and o¡¡ression. Il is my ho¡e lhal lhis brief examina-
lion of hov a diclalorshi¡ can be disinlegraled may be found usefuI
vherever ¡eo¡Ie Iive under dominalion and desire lo be free.
Gene Shar¡
6 Òclober 1993
AIberl Linslein Inslilulion
ßoslon, Massachusells
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq x
In recenl years various diclalorshi¡s ÷ of bolh inlernaI and exlernaI
origin ÷ have coIIa¡sed or slumbIed vhen confronled by de!anl,
mobiIized ¡eo¡Ie. Òflen seen as !rmIy enlrenched and im¡regnabIe,
some of lhese diclalorshi¡s ¡roved unabIe lo vilhsland lhe concerled
¡oIilicaI, economic, and sociaI de!ance of lhe ¡eo¡Ie.
Since 198O diclalorshi¡s have coIIa¡sed before lhe ¡redominanl-
Iy nonvioIenl de!ance of ¡eo¡Ie in Lslonia, Lalvia, and Lilhuania,
IoIand, Lasl Germany, CzechosIovakia and SIovenia, Madagascar,
MaIi, ßoIivia, and lhe IhiIi¡¡ines. NonvioIenl resislance has fur-
lhered lhe movemenl lovard democralizalion in Ne¡aI, Zambia,
Soulh Korea, ChiIe, Argenlina, Haili, ßraziI, Iruguay, MaIavi, Thai-
Iand, ßuIgaria, Hungary, Nigeria, and various ¡arls of lhe former
Soviel Inion (¡Iaying a signi!canl roIe in lhe defeal of lhe Augusl
1991 allem¡led hard-Iine cou¡ d'ólal).
In addilion, mass ¡oIilicaI de!ance
has occurred in China,
ßurma, and Tibel in recenl years. AIlhough lhose slruggIes have
nol broughl an end lo lhe ruIing diclalorshi¡s or occu¡alions, lhey
have ex¡osed lhe brulaI nalure of lhose re¡ressive regimes lo lhe
vorId communily and have ¡rovided lhe ¡o¡uIalions vilh vaIuabIe
ex¡erience vilh lhis form of slruggIe.
The lerm used in lhis conlexl vas inlroduced by Roberl HeIvey. ¨IoIilicaI de!-
ance¨ is nonvioIenl slruggIe (¡rolesl, noncoo¡eralion, and inlervenlion) a¡¡Iied
de!anlIy and acliveIy for ¡oIilicaI ¡ur¡oses. The lerm originaled in res¡onse lo
lhe confusion and dislorlion crealed by equaling nonvioIenl slruggIe vilh ¡aci!sm
and moraI or reIigious ¨nonvioIence.¨ ¨De!ance¨ denoles a deIiberale chaIIenge lo
aulhorily by disobedience, aIIoving no room for submission. ¨IoIilicaI de!ance¨
describes lhe environmenl in vhich lhe aclion is em¡Ioyed (¡oIilicaI) as veII as
lhe ob|eclive (¡oIilicaI ¡over). The lerm is used ¡rinci¡aIIy lo describe aclion by
¡o¡uIalions lo regain from diclalorshi¡s conlroI over governmenlaI inslilulions
by reIenlIessIy allacking lheir sources of ¡over and deIiberaleIy using slralegic
¡Ianning and o¡eralions lo do so. In lhis ¡a¡er, ¡oIilicaI de!ance, nonvioIenl re-
sislance, and nonvioIenl slruggIe viII be used inlerchangeabIy, aIlhough lhe Ialler
lvo lerms generaIIy refer lo slruggIes vilh a broader range of ob|eclives (sociaI,
economic, ¡sychoIogicaI, elc.).
The coIIa¡se of diclalorshi¡s in lhe above named counlries cer-
lainIy has nol erased aII olher ¡robIems in lhose socielies: ¡overly,
crime, bureaucralic inef!ciency, and environmenlaI deslruclion are
oflen lhe Iegacy of brulaI regimes. Hovever, lhe dovnfaII of lhese
diclalorshi¡s has minimaIIy Iifled much of lhe suffering of lhe vic-
lims of o¡¡ression, and has o¡ened lhe vay for lhe rebuiIding of
lhese socielies vilh grealer ¡oIilicaI democracy, ¡ersonaI Iiberlies,
and sociaI |uslice.
A cnntInuIng prnb!cm
There has indeed been a lrend lovards grealer democralizalion and
freedom in lhe vorId in lhe ¡asl decades. According lo Ireedom
House, vhich com¡iIes a yearIy inlernalionaI survey of lhe slalus of
¡oIilicaI righls and civiI Iiberlies, lhe number of counlries around lhe
vorId cIassi!ed as ¨Iree¨ has grovn signi!canlIy in recenl years:
Frcc Part!y Frcc Nnt Frcc
1983 54 47 64
1993 75 73 38
2003 89 55 48
2009 89 62 42
Hovever, lhis ¡osilive lrend is lem¡ered by lhe Iarge numbers
of ¡eo¡Ie sliII Iiving under condilions of lyranny. As of 2OO8, 34/ of
lhe vorId's 6.68 biIIion ¡o¡uIalion Iived in counlries designaled as
¨Nol Iree,¨
lhal is, areas vilh exlremeIy reslricled ¡oIilicaI righls
and civiI Iiberlies. The 42 counlries in lhe ¨Nol Iree¨ calegory are
ruIed by a range of miIilary diclalorshi¡s (as in ßurma), lradilionaI
re¡ressive monarchies (as in Saudi Arabia and ßhulan), dominanl
¡oIilicaI ¡arlies (as in China and Norlh Korea), foreign occu¡iers (as
in Tibel and Weslern Sahara), or are in a slale of lransilion.
2 Gcnc Sncrp
Ireedom House, |rcc!cm in inc Wcr|!, hll¡
Many counlries loday are in a slale of ra¡id economic, ¡oIilicaI,
and sociaI change. AIlhough lhe number of ¨Iree¨ counlries has in-
creased in recenl years, lhere is a greal risk lhal many nalions, in lhe
face of such ra¡id fundamenlaI changes, viII move in lhe o¡¡osile
direclion and ex¡erience nev forms of diclalorshi¡. MiIilary cIiques,
ambilious individuaIs, eIecled of!ciaIs, and doclrinaI ¡oIilicaI ¡arlies
viII re¡ealedIy seek lo im¡ose lheir viII. Cou¡s d'ólal are and viII
remain a common occurrence. ßasic human and ¡oIilicaI righls viII
conlinue lo be denied lo vasl numbers of ¡eo¡Ies.
InforlunaleIy, lhe ¡asl is sliII vilh us. The ¡robIem of diclalor-
shi¡s is dee¡. Ieo¡Ie in many counlries have ex¡erienced decades or
even cenluries of o¡¡ression, vhelher of domeslic or foreign origin.
IrequenlIy, unqueslioning submission lo aulhorily !gures and ruI-
ers has been Iong incuIcaled. In exlreme cases, lhe sociaI, ¡oIilicaI,
economic, and even reIigious inslilulions of lhe sociely ÷ oulside
of slale conlroI ÷ have been deIiberaleIy veakened, subordinaled,
or even re¡Iaced by nev regimenled inslilulions used by lhe slale
or ruIing ¡arly lo conlroI lhe sociely. The ¡o¡uIalion has oflen been
alomized (lurned inlo a mass of isoIaled individuaIs) unabIe lo vork
logelher lo achieve freedom, lo con!de in each olher, or even lo do
much of anylhing al lheir ovn inilialive.
The resuIl is ¡rediclabIe: lhe ¡o¡uIalion becomes veak, Iacks
seIf-con!dence, and is inca¡abIe of resislance. Ieo¡Ie are oflen loo
frighlened lo share lheir halred of lhe diclalorshi¡ and lheir hun-
ger for freedom even vilh famiIy and friends. Ieo¡Ie are oflen loo
lerri!ed lo lhink seriousIy of ¡ubIic resislance. In any case, vhal
vouId be lhe use` Inslead, lhey face suffering vilhoul ¡ur¡ose and
a fulure vilhoul ho¡e.
Currenl condilions in loday's diclalorshi¡s may be much vorse
lhan earIier. In lhe ¡asl, some ¡eo¡Ie may have allem¡led resislance.
Shorl-Iived mass ¡rolesls and demonslralions may have occurred.
Ierha¡s s¡irils soared lem¡orariIy. Al olher limes, individuaIs and
smaII grou¡s may have conducled brave bul im¡olenl geslures,
asserling some ¡rinci¡Ie or sim¡Iy lheir de!ance. Hovever nobIe
lhe molives, such ¡asl acls of resislance have oflen been insuf!cienl
lo overcome lhe ¡eo¡Ie's fear and habil of obedience, a necessary
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 3
¡rerequisile lo deslroy lhe diclalorshi¡. SadIy, lhose acls may have
broughl inslead onIy increased suffering and dealh, nol viclories or
even ho¡e.
Frccdnm thrnugh vIn!cncc?
Whal is lo be done in such circumslances` The obvious ¡ossibiIilies
seem useIess. ConslilulionaI and IegaI barriers, |udiciaI decisions,
and ¡ubIic o¡inion are normaIIy ignored by diclalors. Inder-
slandabIy, reacling lo lhe brulaIilies, lorlure, disa¡¡earances, and
kiIIings, ¡eo¡Ie oflen have concIuded lhal onIy vioIence can end a
diclalorshi¡. Angry viclims have somelimes organized lo !ghl lhe
brulaI diclalors vilh vhalever vioIenl and miIilary ca¡acily lhey
couId musler, des¡ile lhe odds being againsl lhem. These ¡eo¡Ie
have oflen foughl braveIy, al greal cosl in suffering and Iives. Their
accom¡Iishmenls have somelimes been remarkabIe, bul lhey rareIy
have von freedom. VioIenl rebeIIions can lrigger brulaI re¡ression
lhal frequenlIy Ieaves lhe ¡o¡uIace more heI¡Iess lhan before.
Whalever lhe merils of lhe vioIenl o¡lion, hovever, one ¡oinl
is cIear. Bq p|ccing ccn!!cncc in tic|cni mccns, cnc ncs cncscn inc tcrq
iqpc cj sirugg|c uiin unicn inc cpprcsscrs nccr|q c|ucqs nctc supcricr-
iiq. The diclalors are equi¡¡ed lo a¡¡Iy vioIence overvheImingIy.
Hovever Iong or brie"y lhese democrals can conlinue, evenluaIIy
lhe harsh miIilary reaIilies usuaIIy become inesca¡abIe. The diclalors
aImosl aIvays have su¡eriorily in miIilary hardvare, ammunilion,
lrans¡orlalion, and lhe size of miIilary forces. Des¡ile bravery, lhe
democrals are (aImosl aIvays) no malch.
When convenlionaI miIilary rebeIIion is recognized as unreaIis-
lic, some dissidenls lhen favor guerriIIa varfare. Hovever, guerriIIa
varfare rareIy, if ever, bene!ls lhe o¡¡ressed ¡o¡uIalion or ushers in
a democracy. GuerriIIa varfare is no obvious soIulion, ¡arlicuIarIy
given lhe very slrong lendency lovard immense casuaIlies among
one's ovn ¡eo¡Ie. The lechnique is no guaranlor againsl faiIure,
des¡ile su¡¡orling lheory and slralegic anaIyses, and somelimes
inlernalionaI backing. GuerriIIa slruggIes oflen Iasl a very Iong
lime. CiviIian ¡o¡uIalions are oflen dis¡Iaced by lhe ruIing gov-
4 Gcnc Sncrp
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 5
ernmenl, vilh immense human suffering and sociaI disIocalion.
Lven vhen successfuI, guerriIIa slruggIes oflen have signi!-
canl Iong-lerm negalive slrucluraI consequences. ImmedialeIy, lhe
allacked regime becomes more diclaloriaI as a resuIl of ils coun-
lermeasures. If lhe guerriIIas shouId !naIIy succeed, lhe resuIling
nev regime is oflen more diclaloriaI lhan ils ¡redecessor due lo lhe
cenlraIizing im¡acl of lhe ex¡anded miIilary forces and lhe veaken-
ing or deslruclion of lhe sociely's inde¡endenl grou¡s and inslilu-
lions during lhe slruggIe ÷ bodies lhal are vilaI in eslabIishing and
mainlaining a democralic sociely. Iersons hosliIe lo diclalorshi¡s
shouId Iook for anolher o¡lion.
Cnups, c!cctInns, InrcIgn savInrs?
A miIilary cou¡ d'ólal againsl a diclalorshi¡ mighl a¡¡ear lo be
reIaliveIy one of lhe easiesl and quickesl vays lo remove a ¡arlicu-
IarIy re¡ugnanl regime. Hovever, lhere are very serious ¡robIems
vilh lhal lechnique. Mosl im¡orlanlIy, il Ieaves in ¡Iace lhe exisling
maIdislribulion of ¡over belveen lhe ¡o¡uIalion and lhe eIile in
conlroI of lhe governmenl and ils miIilary forces. The removaI of
¡arlicuIar ¡ersons and cIiques from lhe governing ¡osilions mosl
IikeIy viII mereIy make il ¡ossibIe for anolher grou¡ lo lake lheir
¡Iace. TheorelicaIIy, lhis grou¡ mighl be miIder in ils behavior and
be o¡en in Iimiled vays lo democralic reforms. Hovever, lhe o¡-
¡osile is as IikeIy lo be lhe case.
Afler consoIidaling ils ¡osilion, lhe nev cIique may lurn oul lo
be more rulhIess and more ambilious lhan lhe oId one. ConsequenlIy,
lhe nev cIique ÷ in vhich ho¡es may have been ¡Iaced ÷ viII be
abIe lo do vhalever il vanls vilhoul concern for democracy or
human righls. Thal is nol an acce¡labIe ansver lo lhe ¡robIem of
LIeclions are nol avaiIabIe under diclalorshi¡s as an inslru-
menl of signi!canl ¡oIilicaI change. Some diclaloriaI regimes,
such as lhose of lhe former Soviel-dominaled Laslern bIoc, venl
lhrough lhe molions in order lo a¡¡ear democralic. Those eIeclions,
hovever, vere mereIy rigidIy conlroIIed ¡Iebisciles lo gel ¡ubIic
endorsemenl of candidales aIready hand ¡icked by lhe diclalors.
Diclalors under ¡ressure may al limes agree lo nev eIeclions, bul
lhen rig lhem lo ¡Iace civiIian ¡u¡¡els in governmenl of!ces. If
o¡¡osilion candidales have been aIIoved lo run and vere acluaIIy
eIecled, as occurred in ßurma in 199O and Nigeria in 1993, resuIls
may sim¡Iy be ignored and lhe ¨viclors¨ sub|ecled lo inlimida-
lion, arresl, or even execulion. Diclalors are nol in lhe business
of aIIoving eIeclions lhal couId remove lhem from lheir lhrones.
Many ¡eo¡Ie nov suffering under a brulaI diclalorshi¡, or vho
have gone inlo exiIe lo esca¡e ils immediale gras¡, do nol beIieve lhal
lhe o¡¡ressed can Iiberale lhemseIves. They ex¡ecl lhal lheir ¡eo¡Ie
can onIy be saved by lhe aclions of olhers. These ¡eo¡Ie ¡Iace lheir
con!dence in exlernaI forces. They beIieve lhal onIy inlernalionaI
heI¡ can be slrong enough lo bring dovn lhe diclalors.
The viev lhal lhe o¡¡ressed are unabIe lo acl effecliveIy is
somelimes accurale for a cerlain lime ¡eriod. As noled, oflen o¡-
¡ressed ¡eo¡Ie are unviIIing and lem¡orariIy unabIe lo slruggIe
because lhey have no con!dence in lheir abiIily lo face lhe rulhIess
diclalorshi¡, and no knovn vay lo save lhemseIves. Il is lherefore
underslandabIe lhal many ¡eo¡Ie ¡Iace lheir ho¡e for Iiberalion in
olhers. This oulside force may be ¨¡ubIic o¡inion,¨ lhe Iniled Na-
lions, a ¡arlicuIar counlry, or inlernalionaI economic and ¡oIilicaI
Such a scenario may sound comforling, bul lhere are grave
¡robIems vilh lhis reIiance on an oulside savior. Such con!dence
may be lolaIIy mis¡Iaced. IsuaIIy no foreign saviors are coming, and
if a foreign slale does inlervene, il ¡robabIy shouId nol be lrusled.
A fev harsh reaIilies concerning reIiance on foreign inlervenlion
need lo be em¡hasized here:
ª IrequenlIy foreign slales viII loIerale, or even ¡osiliveIy as-
sisl, a diclalorshi¡ in order lo advance lheir ovn economic
or ¡oIilicaI inleresls.
ª Ioreign slales aIso may be viIIing lo seII oul an o¡¡ressed
¡eo¡Ie inslead of kee¡ing ¡Iedges lo assisl lheir Iiberalion
al lhe cosl of anolher ob|eclive.
6 Gcnc Sncrp
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 7
ª Some foreign slales viII acl againsl a diclalorshi¡ onIy lo
gain lheir ovn economic, ¡oIilicaI, or miIilary conlroI over
lhe counlry.
ª The foreign slales may become acliveIy invoIved for ¡osi-
live ¡ur¡oses onIy if and vhen lhe inlernaI resislance move-
menl has aIready begun shaking lhe diclalorshi¡, having
lhereby focused inlernalionaI allenlion on lhe brulaI nalure
of lhe regime.
Diclalorshi¡s usuaIIy exisl ¡rimariIy because of lhe inlernaI
¡over dislribulion in lhe home counlry. The ¡o¡uIalion and sociely
are loo veak lo cause lhe diclalorshi¡ serious ¡robIems, veaIlh and
¡over are concenlraled in loo fev hands. AIlhough diclalorshi¡s
may bene!l from or be somevhal veakened by inlernalionaI aclions,
lheir conlinualion is de¡endenl ¡rimariIy on inlernaI faclors.
InlernalionaI ¡ressures can be very usefuI, hovever, vhen lhey
are su¡¡orling a ¡overfuI inlernaI resislance movemenl. Then, for
exam¡Ie, inlernalionaI economic boycolls, embargoes, lhe breaking
of di¡Iomalic reIalions, ex¡uIsion from inlernalionaI organizalions,
condemnalion by Iniled Nalions bodies, and lhe Iike can assisl
grealIy. Hovever, in lhe absence of a slrong inlernaI resislance
movemenl such aclions by olhers are unIikeIy lo ha¡¡en.
FacIng thc hard truth
The concIusion is a hard one. When one vanls lo bring dovn a
diclalorshi¡ mosl effecliveIy and vilh lhe Ieasl cosl lhen one has
four immediale lasks:
ª Òne musl slrenglhen lhe o¡¡ressed ¡o¡uIalion lhemseIves
in lheir delerminalion, seIf-con!dence, and resislance skiIIs,
ª Òne musl slrenglhen lhe inde¡endenl sociaI grou¡s and in-
slilulions of lhe o¡¡ressed ¡eo¡Ie,
ª Òne musl creale a ¡overfuI inlernaI resislance force, and

ª Òne musl deveIo¡ a vise grand slralegic ¡Ian for Iiberalion
and im¡Iemenl il skiIIfuIIy.
A Iiberalion slruggIe is a lime for seIf-reIiance and inlernaI
slrenglhening of lhe slruggIe grou¡. As CharIes Slevarl IarneII
caIIed oul during lhe Irish renl slrike cam¡aign in 1879 and 188O:
Il is no use reIying on lhe Governmenl . . . . You musl onIy
reIy u¡on your ovn delerminalion . . . . |HjeI¡ yourseIves
by slanding logelher . . . slrenglhen lhose amongsl your-
seIves vho are veak . . . , band yourseIves logelher, orga-
nize yourseIves . . . and you musl vin . . .
When you have made lhis queslion ri¡e for sellIemenl,
lhen and nol liII lhen viII il be sellIed.
Againsl a slrong seIf-reIianl force, given vise slralegy, disci-
¡Iined and courageous aclion, and genuine slrenglh, lhe diclalor-
shi¡ viII evenluaIIy crumbIe. MinimaIIy, hovever, lhe above four
requiremenls musl be fuI!IIed.
As lhe above discussion indicales, Iiberalion from diclalorshi¡s
uIlimaleIy de¡ends on lhe ¡eo¡Ie's abiIily lo Iiberale lhemseIves.
The cases of successfuI ¡oIilicaI de!ance ÷ or nonvioIenl slruggIe
for ¡oIilicaI ends ÷ ciled above indicale lhal lhe means do exisl
for ¡o¡uIalions lo free lhemseIves, bul lhal o¡lion has remained
undeveIo¡ed. We viII examine lhis o¡lion in delaiI in lhe foIIoving
cha¡lers. Hovever, ve shouId !rsl Iook al lhe issue of negolialions
as a means of dismanlIing diclalorshi¡s.
Ialrick Sars!eId Ò'Hegarly, A Hisicrq cj |rc|cn! Un!cr inc Unicn, 1880-1922 (London:
Melhuen, 1952), ¡¡. 49O-491.
8 Gcnc Sncrp
When faced vilh lhe severe ¡robIems of confronling a diclalor-
shi¡ (as surveyed in Cha¡ler Òne), some ¡eo¡Ie may Ia¡se back
inlo ¡assive submission. Òlhers, seeing no ¡ros¡ecl of achieving
democracy, may concIude lhey musl come lo lerms vilh lhe a¡¡ar-
enlIy ¡ermanenl diclalorshi¡, ho¡ing lhal lhrough ¨conciIialion,¨
¨com¡romise,¨ and ¨negolialions¨ lhey mighl be abIe lo saIvage
some ¡osilive eIemenls and lo end lhe brulaIilies. Òn lhe surface,
Iacking reaIislic o¡lions, lhere is a¡¡eaI in lhal Iine of lhinking.
Serious slruggIe againsl brulaI diclalorshi¡s is nol a ¡Ieasanl
¡ros¡ecl. Why is il necessary lo go lhal roule` Can'l everyone |usl
be reasonabIe and !nd vays lo laIk, lo negoliale lhe vay lo a graduaI
end lo lhe diclalorshi¡` Can'l lhe democrals a¡¡eaI lo lhe dicla-
lors' sense of common humanily and convince lhem lo reduce lheir
dominalion bil by bil, and ¡erha¡s !naIIy lo give vay com¡IeleIy
lo lhe eslabIishmenl of a democracy`
Il is somelimes argued lhal lhe lrulh is nol aII on one side. Ier-
ha¡s lhe democrals have misunderslood lhe diclalors, vho may have
acled from good molives in dif!cuIl circumslances` Òr ¡erha¡s some
may lhink, lhe diclalors vouId gIadIy remove lhemseIves from lhe
dif!cuIl silualion facing lhe counlry if onIy given some encourage-
menl and enlicemenls. Il may be argued lhal lhe diclalors couId be
offered a ¨vin-vin¨ soIulion, in vhich everyone gains somelhing.
The risks and ¡ain of furlher slruggIe couId be unnecessary, il may
be argued, if lhe democralic o¡¡osilion is onIy viIIing lo sellIe lhe
con"icl ¡eacefuIIy by negolialions (vhich may even ¡erha¡s be
assisled by some skiIIed individuaIs or even anolher governmenl).
WouId lhal nol be ¡referabIe lo a dif!cuIl slruggIe, even if il is one
conducled by nonvioIenl slruggIe ralher lhan by miIilary var`
McrIts and !ImItatInns nI ncgntIatInns
Negolialions are a very usefuI looI in resoIving cerlain ly¡es of is-
sues in con"icls and shouId nol be negIecled or re|ecled vhen lhey
are a¡¡ro¡riale.
In some silualions vhere no fundamenlaI issues are al slake,
and lherefore a com¡romise is acce¡labIe, negolialions can be an
im¡orlanl means lo sellIe a con"icl. A Iabor slrike for higher vages
is a good exam¡Ie of lhe a¡¡ro¡riale roIe of negolialions in a con"icl:
a negolialed sellIemenl may ¡rovide an increase somevhere belveen
lhe sums originaIIy ¡ro¡osed by each of lhe conlending sides. Labor
con"icls vilh IegaI lrade unions are, hovever, quile differenl lhan
lhe con"icls in vhich lhe conlinued exislence of a crueI diclalorshi¡
or lhe eslabIishmenl of ¡oIilicaI freedom are al slake.
When lhe issues al slake are fundamenlaI, affecling reIigious
¡rinci¡Ies, issues of human freedom, or lhe vhoIe fulure deveIo¡-
menl of lhe sociely, negolialions do nol ¡rovide a vay of reaching a
muluaIIy salisfaclory soIulion. Òn some basic issues lhere shouId
be no com¡romise. ÒnIy a shifl in ¡over reIalions in favor of lhe
democrals can adequaleIy safeguard lhe basic issues al slake. Such
a shifl viII occur lhrough slruggIe, nol negolialions. This is nol lo
say lhal negolialions oughl never lo be used. The ¡oinl here is lhal
negolialions are nol a reaIislic vay lo remove a slrong diclalorshi¡
in lhe absence of a ¡overfuI democralic o¡¡osilion.
Negolialions, of course, may nol be an o¡lion al aII. IirmIy
enlrenched diclalors vho feeI secure in lheir ¡osilion may refuse lo
negoliale vilh lheir democralic o¡¡onenls. Òr, vhen negolialions
have been inilialed, lhe democralic negolialors may disa¡¡ear and
never be heard from again.
NcgntIatcd surrcndcr?
IndividuaIs and grou¡s vho o¡¡ose diclalorshi¡ and favor nego-
lialions viII oflen have good molives. Ls¡eciaIIy vhen a miIilary
slruggIe has conlinued for years againsl a brulaI diclalorshi¡ vilhoul
!naI viclory, il is underslandabIe lhal aII lhe ¡eo¡Ie of vhalever
10 Gcnc Sncrp
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 11
¡oIilicaI ¡ersuasion vouId vanl ¡eace. Negolialions are es¡eciaIIy
IikeIy lo become an issue among democrals vhere lhe diclalors have
cIear miIilary su¡eriorily and lhe deslruclion and casuaIlies among
one's ovn ¡eo¡Ie are no Ionger bearabIe. There viII lhen be a slrong
lem¡lalion lo ex¡Iore any olher roule lhal mighl saIvage some of lhe
democrals' ob|eclives vhiIe bringing an end lo lhe cycIe of vioIence
and counler-vioIence.
The offer by a diclalorshi¡ of ¨¡eace¨ lhrough negolialions vilh
lhe democralic o¡¡osilion is, of course, ralher disingenuous. The
vioIence couId be ended immedialeIy by lhe diclalors lhemseIves, if
onIy lhey vouId slo¡ vaging var on lheir ovn ¡eo¡Ie. They couId
al lheir ovn inilialive vilhoul any bargaining reslore res¡ecl for
human dignily and righls, free ¡oIilicaI ¡risoners, end lorlure, haIl
miIilary o¡eralions, vilhdrav from lhe governmenl, and a¡oIogize
lo lhe ¡eo¡Ie.
When lhe diclalorshi¡ is slrong bul an irrilaling resislance
exisls, lhe diclalors may vish lo negoliale lhe o¡¡osilion inlo sur-
render under lhe guise of making ¨¡eace.¨ The caII lo negoliale
can sound a¡¡eaIing, bul grave dangers can be Iurking vilhin lhe
negolialing room.
Òn lhe olher hand, vhen lhe o¡¡osilion is exce¡lionaIIy slrong
and lhe diclalorshi¡ is genuineIy lhrealened, lhe diclalors may seek
negolialions in order lo saIvage as much of lheir conlroI or veaIlh
as ¡ossibIe. In neilher case shouId lhe democrals heI¡ lhe diclalors
achieve lheir goaIs.
Democrals shouId be vary of lhe lra¡s lhal may be deIiber-
aleIy buiIl inlo a negolialion ¡rocess by lhe diclalors. The caII for
negolialions vhen basic issues of ¡oIilicaI Iiberlies are invoIved may
be an efforl by lhe diclalors lo induce lhe democrals lo surrender
¡eacefuIIy vhiIe lhe vioIence of lhe diclalorshi¡ conlinues. In lhose
ly¡es of con"icls lhe onIy ¡ro¡er roIe of negolialions may occur al
lhe end of a decisive slruggIe in vhich lhe ¡over of lhe diclalors
has been effecliveIy deslroyed and lhey seek ¡ersonaI safe ¡assage
lo an inlernalionaI air¡orl.
Pnwcr and justIcc In ncgntIatInns
If lhis |udgmenl sounds loo harsh a commenlary on negolialions,
¡erha¡s some of lhe romanlicism associaled vilh lhem needs lo
be moderaled. CIear lhinking is required as lo hov negolialions
¨Negolialion¨ does nol mean lhal lhe lvo sides sil dovn lo-
gelher on a basis of equaIily and laIk lhrough and resoIve lhe dif-
ferences lhal ¡roduced lhe con"icl belveen lhem. Tvo facls musl
be remembered. Iirsl, in negolialions il is nol lhe reIalive |uslice of
lhe con"icling vievs and ob|eclives lhal delermines lhe conlenl of a
negolialed agreemenl. Second, lhe conlenl of a negolialed agreemenl
is IargeIy delermined by lhe ¡over ca¡acily of each side.
SeveraI dif!cuIl queslions musl be considered. Whal can each
side do al a Ialer dale lo gain ils ob|eclives if lhe olher side faiIs lo
come lo an agreemenl al lhe negolialing labIe` Whal can each side
do afler an agreemenl is reached if lhe olher side breaks ils vord
and uses ils avaiIabIe forces lo seize ils ob|eclives des¡ile lhe agree-
A sellIemenl is nol reached in negolialions lhrough an assess-
menl of lhe righls and vrongs of lhe issues al slake. WhiIe lhose
may be much discussed, lhe reaI resuIls in negolialions come from
an assessmenl of lhe absoIule and reIalive ¡over silualions of lhe
conlending grou¡s. Whal can lhe democrals do lo ensure lhal lheir
minimum cIaims cannol be denied` Whal can lhe diclalors do lo
slay in conlroI and neulraIize lhe democrals` In olher vords, if an
agreemenl comes, il is more IikeIy lhe resuIl of each side eslimal-
ing hov lhe ¡over ca¡acilies of lhe lvo sides com¡are, and lhen
caIcuIaling hov an o¡en slruggIe mighl end.
Allenlion musl aIso be given lo vhal each side is viIIing lo give
u¡ in order lo reach agreemenl. In successfuI negolialions lhere is
com¡romise, a s¡Iilling of differences. Lach side gels ¡arl of vhal
il vanls and gives u¡ ¡arl of ils ob|eclives.
In lhe case of exlreme diclalorshi¡s vhal are lhe ¡ro-democ-
racy forces lo give u¡ lo lhe diclalors` Whal ob|eclives of
lhe diclalors are lhe ¡ro-democracy forces lo acce¡l` Are lhe
12 Gcnc Sncrp
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 13
democrals lo give lo lhe diclalors (vhelher a ¡oIilicaI ¡arly or
a miIilary cabaI) a conslilulionaIIy-eslabIished ¡ermanenl roIe
in lhe fulure governmenl` Where is lhe democracy in lhal`
Lven assuming lhal aII goes veII in negolialions, il is necessary
lo ask: Whal kind of ¡eace viII be lhe resuIl` WiII Iife lhen be bel-
ler or vorse lhan il vouId be if lhe democrals began or conlinued
lo slruggIe`
°Agrccab!c" dIctatnrs
Diclalors may have a variely of molives and ob|eclives underIying
lheir dominalion: ¡over, ¡osilion, veaIlh, resha¡ing lhe sociely, and
lhe Iike. Òne shouId remember lhal none of lhese viII be served if
lhey abandon lheir conlroI ¡osilions. In lhe evenl of negolialions
diclalors viII lry lo ¡reserve lheir goaIs.
Whalever ¡romises offered by diclalors in any negolialed
sellIemenl, no one shouId ever forgel lhal lhe diclalors may ¡romise
anylhing lo secure submission from lheir democralic o¡¡onenls, and
lhen brazenIy vioIale lhose same agreemenls.
If lhe democrals agree lo haIl resislance in order lo gain a re-
¡rieve from re¡ression, lhey may be very disa¡¡oinled. A haIl lo
resislance rareIy brings reduced re¡ression. Ònce lhe reslraining
force of inlernaI and inlernalionaI o¡¡osilion has been removed,
diclalors may even make lheir o¡¡ression and vioIence more brulaI
lhan before. The coIIa¡se of ¡o¡uIar resislance oflen removes lhe
counlervaiIing force lhal has Iimiled lhe conlroI and brulaIily of lhe
diclalorshi¡. The lyranls can lhen move ahead againsl vhomever
lhey vish. ¨Ior lhe lyranl has lhe ¡over lo in"icl onIy lhal vhich
ve Iack lhe slrenglh lo resisl,¨ vrole KrishnaIaI Shridharani.
Resislance, nol negolialions, is essenliaI for change in con"icls
vhere fundamenlaI issues are al slake. In nearIy aII cases, resislance
musl conlinue lo drive diclalors oul of ¡over. Success is mosl oflen
KrishnaIaI Shridharani, Wcr Wiincui Vic|cncc. A Siu!q cj Gcn!ni´s Mcinc! cn! |is
Acccmp|isnmcnis (Nev York: Harcourl, ßrace, 1939, and re¡rinl Nev York and
London: GarIand IubIishing, 1972), ¡. 26O.
delermined nol by negolialing a sellIemenl bul lhrough lhe vise use
of lhe mosl a¡¡ro¡riale and ¡overfuI means of resislance avaiIabIe.
Il is our conlenlion, lo be ex¡Iored Ialer in more delaiI, lhal ¡oIilicaI
de!ance, or nonvioIenl slruggIe, is lhe mosl ¡overfuI means avaiI-
abIe lo lhose slruggIing for freedom.
What kInd nI pcacc?
If diclalors and democrals are lo laIk aboul ¡eace al aII, exlremeIy
cIear lhinking is needed because of lhe dangers invoIved. Nol ev-
eryone vho uses lhe vord ¨¡eace¨ vanls ¡eace vilh freedom and
|uslice. Submission lo crueI o¡¡ression and ¡assive acquiescence lo
rulhIess diclalors vho have ¡er¡elraled alrocilies on hundreds of
lhousands of ¡eo¡Ie is no reaI ¡eace. HilIer oflen caIIed for ¡eace,
by vhich he meanl submission lo his viII. A diclalors' ¡eace is oflen
no more lhan lhe ¡eace of lhe ¡rison or of lhe grave.
There are olher dangers. WeII-inlended negolialors somelimes
confuse lhe ob|eclives of lhe negolialions and lhe negolialion ¡rocess
ilseIf. Iurlher, democralic negolialors, or foreign negolialion s¡eciaI-
isls acce¡led lo assisl in lhe negolialions, may in a singIe slroke ¡ro-
vide lhe diclalors vilh lhe domeslic and inlernalionaI Iegilimacy lhal
lhey had been ¡reviousIy denied because of lheir seizure of lhe slale,
human righls vioIalions, and brulaIilies. Wilhoul lhal des¡eraleIy
needed Iegilimacy, lhe diclalors cannol conlinue lo ruIe inde!nileIy.
Lx¡onenls of ¡eace shouId nol ¡rovide lhem Iegilimacy.
Rcasnns Inr hnpc
As slaled earIier, o¡¡osilion Ieaders may feeI forced lo ¡ursue ne-
golialions oul of a sense of ho¡eIessness of lhe democralic slruggIe.
Hovever, lhal sense of ¡overIessness can be changed. Diclalorshi¡s
are nol ¡ermanenl. Ieo¡Ie Iiving under diclalorshi¡s need nol re-
main veak, and diclalors need nol be aIIoved lo remain ¡overfuI
inde!nileIy. ArislolIe noled Iong ago, ¨. . . |ÒjIigarchy and lyranny
are shorler-Iived lhan any olher conslilulion. . . . |AjII round, lyran-
14 Gcnc Sncrp
ArislolIe, 1nc Pc|iiics, lransI. by T. A. SincIair (Harmondsvorlh, MiddIesex, Lng-
Iand and ßaIlimore, MaryIand: Ienguin ßooks 1976 |1962j), ßook V, Cha¡ler 12,
¡¡. 231 and 232.
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 15
nies have nol Iasled Iong.¨
Modern diclalorshi¡s are aIso vuInerabIe.
Their veaknesses can be aggravaled and lhe diclalors' ¡over can be
disinlegraled. (In Cha¡ler Iour ve viII examine lhese veaknesses
in more delaiI.)
Recenl hislory shovs lhe vuInerabiIily of diclalorshi¡s, and re-
veaIs lhal lhey can crumbIe in a reIaliveIy shorl lime s¡an: vhereas
len years ÷ 198O-199O ÷ vere required lo bring dovn lhe Commu-
nisl diclalorshi¡ in IoIand, in Lasl Germany and CzechosIovakia in
1989 il occurred vilhin veeks. In LI SaIvador and GualemaIa in 1944
lhe slruggIes againsl lhe enlrenched brulaI miIilary diclalors required
a¡¡roximaleIy lvo veeks each. The miIilariIy ¡overfuI regime of
lhe Shah in Iran vas undermined in a fev monlhs. The Marcos dic-
lalorshi¡ in lhe IhiIi¡¡ines feII before ¡eo¡Ie ¡over vilhin veeks
in 1986: lhe Iniled Slales governmenl quickIy abandoned Iresidenl
Marcos vhen lhe slrenglh of lhe o¡¡osilion became a¡¡arenl. The
allem¡led hard-Iine cou¡ in lhe Soviel Inion in Augusl 1991 vas
bIocked in days by ¡oIilicaI de!ance. Thereafler, many of ils Iong
dominaled consliluenl nalions in onIy days, veeks, and monlhs
regained lheir inde¡endence.
The oId ¡reconce¡lion lhal vioIenl means aIvays vork quickIy
and nonvioIenl means aIvays require vasl lime is cIearIy nol vaIid.
AIlhough much lime may be required for changes in lhe underIying
silualion and sociely, lhe acluaI !ghl againsl a diclalorshi¡ somelimes
occurs reIaliveIy quickIy by nonvioIenl slruggIe.
Negolialions are nol lhe onIy aIlernalive lo a conlinuing var
of annihiIalion on lhe one hand and ca¡iluIalion on lhe olher. The
exam¡Ies |usl ciled, as veII as lhose Iisled in Cha¡ler Òne, iIIuslrale
lhal anolher o¡lion exisls for lhose vho vanl bolh ¡eace cn! free-
dom: ¡oIilicaI de!ance.
Achieving a sociely vilh bolh freedom and ¡eace is of course no
sim¡Ie lask. Il viII require greal slralegic skiII, organizalion, and
¡Ianning. Above aII, il viII require ¡over. Democrals cannol ho¡e
lo bring dovn a diclalorshi¡ and eslabIish ¡oIilicaI freedom vilhoul
lhe abiIily lo a¡¡Iy lheir ovn ¡over effecliveIy.
ßul hov is lhis ¡ossibIe` Whal kind of ¡over can lhe democralic
o¡¡osilion mobiIize lhal viII be suf!cienl lo deslroy lhe diclalorshi¡
and ils vasl miIilary and ¡oIice nelvorks` The ansvers Iie in an ofl
ignored underslanding of ¡oIilicaI ¡over. Learning lhis insighl is
nol reaIIy so dif!cuIl a lask. Some basic lrulhs are quile sim¡Ie.
Thc °Mnnkcy Mastcr" Iab!c
A Iourleenlh Cenlury Chinese ¡arabIe by Liu-}i, for exam¡Ie, oul-
Iines lhis negIecled underslanding of ¡oIilicaI ¡over quile veII:
In lhe feudaI slale of Chu an oId man survived by kee¡ing
monkeys in his service. The ¡eo¡Ie of Chu caIIed him ¨|u
gong¨ (monkey masler).
Lach morning, lhe oId man vouId assembIe lhe monkeys
in his courlyard, and order lhe eIdesl one lo Iead lhe olhers
lo lhe mounlains lo galher fruils from bushes and lrees.
Il vas lhe ruIe lhal each monkey had lo give one-lenlh of
his coIIeclion lo lhe oId man. Those vho faiIed lo do so
vouId be rulhIessIy "ogged. AII lhe monkeys suffered
billerIy, bul dared nol com¡Iain.
This slory, originaIIy lilIed ¨RuIe by Tricks¨ is from Yu-|i-zi by Liu }i (1311-1375)
and has been lransIaled by Sidney Tai, aII righls reserved. Yu-Ii-zi is aIso lhe ¡seud-
onym of Liu }i. The lransIalion vas originaIIy ¡ubIished in Ncntic|cni Scnciicns.
Ncus jrcm inc A||cri |insicin |nsiiiuiicn (Cambridge, Mass.), VoI. IV, No. 3 (Winler
1992-1993), ¡. 3.
Òne day, a smaII monkey asked lhe olher monkeys: ¨Did
lhe oId man ¡Ianl aII lhe fruil lrees and bushes`¨ The olh-
ers said: ¨No, lhey grev naluraIIy.¨ The smaII monkey
furlher asked: ¨Can'l ve lake lhe fruils vilhoul lhe oId
man's ¡ermission`¨ The olhers re¡Iied: ¨Yes, ve aII can.¨
The smaII monkey conlinued: ¨Then, vhy shouId ve de-
¡end on lhe oId man, vhy musl ve aII serve him`¨
ßefore lhe smaII monkey vas abIe lo !nish his slalemenl,
aII lhe monkeys suddenIy became enIighlened and avak-
Òn lhe same nighl, valching lhal lhe oId man had faIIen
asIee¡, lhe monkeys lore dovn aII lhe barricades of lhe
slockade in vhich lhey vere con!ned, and deslroyed lhe
slockade enlireIy. They aIso look lhe fruils lhe oId man had
in slorage, broughl aII vilh lhem lo lhe voods, and never
relurned. The oId man !naIIy died of slarvalion.
Yu-Ii-zi says, ¨Some men in lhe vorId ruIe lheir ¡eo¡Ie by
lricks and nol by righleous ¡rinci¡Ies. Aren'l lhey |usl Iike
lhe monkey masler` They are nol avare of lheir muddIe-
headedness. As soon as lheir ¡eo¡Ie become enIighlened,
lheir lricks no Ionger vork.¨
Ncccssary snurccs nI pn!ItIca! pnwcr
The ¡rinci¡Ie is sim¡Ie. Diclalors require lhe assislance of lhe ¡eo¡Ie
lhey ruIe, vilhoul vhich lhey cannol secure and mainlain lhe sources
of ¡oIilicaI ¡over. These sources of ¡oIilicaI ¡over incIude:
ª Auincriiq, lhe beIief among lhe ¡eo¡Ie lhal lhe regime is Ie-
gilimale, and lhal lhey have a moraI duly lo obey il,
ª Humcn rcscurccs, lhe number and im¡orlance of lhe ¡ersons
and grou¡s vhich are obeying, coo¡eraling, or ¡roviding
assislance lo lhe ruIers,
18 Gcnc Sncrp
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 19
ª S|i||s cn! |ncu|c!gc, needed by lhe regime lo ¡erform s¡e-
ci!c aclions and su¡¡Iied by lhe coo¡eraling ¡ersons and
ª |nicngi||c jccicrs, ¡sychoIogicaI and ideoIogicaI faclors lhal
may induce ¡eo¡Ie lo obey and assisl lhe ruIers,
ª Mcicric| rcscurccs, lhe degree lo vhich lhe ruIers conlroI or
have access lo ¡ro¡erly, naluraI resources, !nanciaI resources,
lhe economic syslem, and means of communicalion and
lrans¡orlalion, and
ª Scnciicns, ¡unishmenls, lhrealened or a¡¡Iied, againsl lhe
disobedienl and noncoo¡eralive lo ensure lhe submission
and coo¡eralion lhal are needed for lhe regime lo exisl and
carry oul ils ¡oIicies.
AII of lhese sources, hovever, de¡end on acce¡lance of lhe
regime, on lhe submission and obedience of lhe ¡o¡uIalion, and on
lhe coo¡eralion of innumerabIe ¡eo¡Ie and lhe many inslilulions of
lhe sociely. These are nol guaranleed.
IuII coo¡eralion, obedience, and su¡¡orl viII increase lhe avaiI-
abiIily of lhe needed sources of ¡over and, consequenlIy, ex¡and
lhe ¡over ca¡acily of any governmenl.
Òn lhe olher hand, vilhdravaI of ¡o¡uIar and inslilulionaI co-
o¡eralion vilh aggressors and diclalors diminishes, and may sever,
lhe avaiIabiIily of lhe sources of ¡over on vhich aII ruIers de¡end.
Wilhoul avaiIabiIily of lhose sources, lhe ruIers' ¡over veakens and
!naIIy dissoIves.
NaluraIIy, diclalors are sensilive lo aclions and ideas lhal lhreal-
en lheir ca¡acily lo do as lhey Iike. Diclalors are lherefore IikeIy lo
lhrealen and ¡unish lhose vho disobey, slrike, or faiI lo coo¡erale.
Hovever, lhal is nol lhe end of lhe slory. Re¡ression, even brulaIi-
lies, do nol aIvays ¡roduce a resum¡lion of lhe necessary degree of
submission and coo¡eralion for lhe regime lo funclion.
If, des¡ile re¡ression, lhe sources of ¡over can be reslricled or
severed for enough lime, lhe iniliaI resuIls may be uncerlainly and
confusion vilhin lhe diclalorshi¡. Thal is IikeIy lo be foIIoved by
a cIear veakening of lhe ¡over of lhe diclalorshi¡. Òver lime, lhe
vilhhoIding of lhe sources of ¡over can ¡roduce lhe ¡araIysis and
im¡olence of lhe regime, and in severe cases, ils disinlegralion. The
diclalors' ¡over viII die, sIovIy or ra¡idIy, from ¡oIilicaI slarva-
The degree of Iiberly or lyranny in any governmenl is, il foI-
Iovs, in Iarge degree a re"eclion of lhe reIalive delerminalion of lhe
sub|ecls lo be free and lheir viIIingness and abiIily lo resisl efforls
lo ensIave lhem.
Conlrary lo ¡o¡uIar o¡inion, even lolaIilarian diclalorshi¡s
are de¡endenl on lhe ¡o¡uIalion and lhe socielies lhey ruIe. As lhe
¡oIilicaI scienlisl KarI W. Deulsch noled in 1953:
TolaIilarian ¡over is slrong onIy if il does nol have lo be
used loo oflen. If lolaIilarian ¡over musl be used al aII
limes againsl lhe enlire ¡o¡uIalion, il is unIikeIy lo remain
¡overfuI for Iong. Since lolaIilarian regimes require more
¡over for deaIing vilh lheir sub|ecls lhan do olher ly¡es
of governmenl, such regimes sland in grealer need of
vides¡read and de¡endabIe com¡Iiance habils among
lheir ¡eo¡Ie, more lhan lhal lhey have lo be abIe lo counl
on lhe aclive su¡¡orl of al Ieasl signi!canl ¡arls of lhe
¡o¡uIalion in case of need.
The LngIish Nineleenlh Cenlury IegaI lheorisl }ohn Auslin
described lhe silualion of a diclalorshi¡ confronling a disaffecled
¡eo¡Ie. Auslin argued lhal if mosl of lhe ¡o¡uIalion vere deler-
mined lo deslroy lhe governmenl and vere viIIing lo endure re¡res-
sion lo do so, lhen lhe mighl of lhe governmenl, incIuding lhose
vho su¡¡orled il, couId nol ¡reserve lhe haled governmenl, even if
20 Gcnc Sncrp
KarI W. Deulsch, ¨Cracks in lhe MonoIilh,¨ in CarI }. Iriedrich, ed., 1cic|iicricnism
(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Iniversily Iress, 1954), ¡¡. 313-314.
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 21
il received foreign assislance. The de!anl ¡eo¡Ie couId nol be forced
back inlo ¡ermanenl obedience and sub|eclion, Auslin concIuded.
NiccoIo MachiaveIIi had much earIier argued lhal lhe ¡rince
¨. . . vho has lhe ¡ubIic as a vhoIe for his enemy can never make
himseIf secure, and lhe grealer his crueIly, lhe veaker does his re-
gime become.¨
The ¡raclicaI ¡oIilicaI a¡¡Iicalion of lhese insighls vas dem-
onslraled by lhe heroic Norvegian resislers againsl lhe Nazi occu-
¡alion, and as ciled in Cha¡ler Òne, by lhe brave IoIes, Germans,
Czechs, SIovaks, and many olhers vho resisled Communisl aggres-
sion and diclalorshi¡, and !naIIy heI¡ed ¡roduce lhe coIIa¡se of
Communisl ruIe in Luro¡e. This, of course, is no nev ¡henomenon:
cases of nonvioIenl resislance go back al Ieasl lo 494 ß.C. vhen ¡Ie-
beians vilhdrev coo¡eralion from lheir Roman ¡alrician maslers.

NonvioIenl slruggIe has been em¡Ioyed al various limes by ¡eo¡Ies
lhroughoul Asia, Africa, lhe Americas, AuslraIasia, and lhe Iaci!c
isIands, as veII as Luro¡e.
Three of lhe mosl im¡orlanl faclors in delermining lo vhal
degree a governmenl's ¡over viII be conlroIIed or unconlroIIed
lherefore are: (1) lhe reIalive !csirc of lhe ¡o¡uIace lo im¡ose Iimils
on lhe governmenl's ¡over, (2) lhe reIalive sircngin of lhe sub|ecls'
inde¡endenl organizalions and inslilulions lo vilhdrav coIIecliveIy
lhe sources of ¡over, and (3) lhe ¡o¡uIalion's reIalive c|i|iiq lo vilh-
hoId lheir consenl and assislance.
Ccntcrs nI dcmncratIc pnwcr
Òne characlerislic of a democralic sociely is lhal lhere exisl inde-
¡endenl of lhe slale a muIlilude of nongovernmenlaI grou¡s and
}ohn Auslin, Icciurcs cn jurispru!cncc cr inc Pni|cscpnq cj Pcsiiitc Icu (Iiflh edilion,
revised and ediled by Roberl Cam¡beII, 2 voI., London: }ohn Murray, 1911 |1861j),
VoI. I, ¡. 296.
NiccoIo MachiaveIIi, ¨The Discourses on lhe Iirsl Ten ßooks of Livy,¨ in 1nc
Disccurscs cj Niccc|c Mccnictc||i (London: RoulIedge and Kegan IauI, 195O), VoI.
I, ¡. 254.
See Gene Shar¡, 1nc Pc|iiics cj Ncntic|cni Aciicn (ßoslon: Iorler Sargenl, 1973), ¡.
75 and ¡assim for olher hisloricaI exam¡Ies.
inslilulions. These incIude, for exam¡Ie, famiIies, reIigious organiza-
lions, cuIluraI associalions, s¡orls cIubs, economic inslilulions, lrade
unions, sludenl associalions, ¡oIilicaI ¡arlies, viIIages, neighborhood
associalions, gardening cIubs, human righls organizalions, musicaI
grou¡s, Iilerary socielies, and olhers. These bodies are im¡orlanl
in serving lheir ovn ob|eclives and aIso in heI¡ing lo meel sociaI
AddilionaIIy, lhese bodies have greal ¡oIilicaI signi!cance.
They ¡rovide grou¡ and inslilulionaI bases by vhich ¡eo¡Ie can exerl
in"uence over lhe direclion of lheir sociely and resisl olher grou¡s
or lhe governmenl vhen lhey are seen lo im¡inge un|uslIy on lheir
inleresls, aclivilies, or ¡ur¡oses. IsoIaled individuaIs, nol members
of such grou¡s, usuaIIy are unabIe lo make a signi!canl im¡acl on
lhe resl of lhe sociely, much Iess a governmenl, and cerlainIy nol a
ConsequenlIy, if lhe aulonomy and freedom of such bodies
can be laken avay by lhe diclalors, lhe ¡o¡uIalion viII be reIaliveIy
heI¡Iess. AIso, if lhese inslilulions can lhemseIves be diclaloriaIIy
conlroIIed by lhe cenlraI regime or re¡Iaced by nev conlroIIed ones,
lhey can be used lo dominale bolh lhe individuaI members and aIso
lhose areas of lhe sociely.
Hovever, if lhe aulonomy and freedom of lhese inde¡endenl
civiI inslilulions (oulside of governmenl conlroI) can be mainlained
or regained lhey are highIy im¡orlanl for lhe a¡¡Iicalion of ¡oIili-
caI de!ance. The common fealure of lhe ciled exam¡Ies in vhich
diclalorshi¡s have been disinlegraled or veakened has been lhe
courageous mcss a¡¡Iicalion of ¡oIilicaI de!ance by lhe ¡o¡uIalion
and ils inslilulions.
As slaled, lhese cenlers of ¡over ¡rovide lhe inslilulionaI bases
from vhich lhe ¡o¡uIalion can exerl ¡ressure or can resisl diclalo-
riaI conlroIs. In lhe fulure, lhey viII be ¡arl of lhe indis¡ensabIe
slrucluraI base for a free sociely. Their conlinued inde¡endence
and grovlh lherefore is oflen a ¡rerequisile for lhe success of lhe
Iiberalion slruggIe.
If lhe diclalorshi¡ has been IargeIy successfuI in deslroying or
conlroIIing lhe sociely's inde¡endenl bodies, il viII be im¡orlanl for
22 Gcnc Sncrp
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 23
lhe resislers lo creale nev inde¡endenl sociaI grou¡s and inslilu-
lions, or lo reasserl democralic conlroI over surviving or ¡arliaIIy
conlroIIed bodies. During lhe Hungarian RevoIulion of 1956-1957
a muIlilude of direcl democracy counciIs emerged, even |oining
logelher lo eslabIish for some veeks a vhoIe federaled syslem of
inslilulions and governance. In IoIand during lhe Iale 198Os vork-
ers mainlained iIIegaI SoIidarily unions and, in some cases, look
over conlroI of lhe of!ciaI, Communisl-dominaled, lrade unions.
Such inslilulionaI deveIo¡menls can have very im¡orlanl ¡oIilicaI
Òf course, none of lhis means lhal veakening and deslroying
diclalorshi¡s is easy, nor lhal every allem¡l viII succeed. Il cerlainIy
does nol mean lhal lhe slruggIe viII be free of casuaIlies, for lhose
sliII serving lhe diclalors are IikeIy lo !ghl back in an efforl lo force
lhe ¡o¡uIace lo resume coo¡eralion and obedience.
1nc c|ctc insigni inic pcucr !ccs mccn, ncuctcr, inci inc !c|i|crcic
!isinicgrciicn cj !icicicrsnips is pcssi||c. Diclalorshi¡s in ¡arlicuIar
have s¡eci!c characlerislics lhal render lhem highIy vuInerabIe
lo skiIIfuIIy im¡Iemenled ¡oIilicaI de!ance. Lel us examine lhese
characlerislics in more delaiI.
Diclalorshi¡s oflen a¡¡ear invuInerabIe. InleIIigence agencies,
¡oIice, miIilary forces, ¡risons, concenlralion cam¡s, and execu-
lion squads are conlroIIed by a ¡overfuI fev. A counlry's !nances,
naluraI resources, and ¡roduclion ca¡acilies are oflen arbilrariIy
¡Iundered by diclalors and used lo su¡¡orl lhe diclalors' viII.
In com¡arison, democralic o¡¡osilion forces oflen a¡¡ear
exlremeIy veak, ineffeclive, and ¡overIess. Thal ¡erce¡lion of
invuInerabiIily againsl ¡overIessness makes effeclive o¡¡osilion
Thal is nol lhe vhoIe slory, hovever.
IdcntIIyIng thc AchI!!cs' hcc!
A mylh from CIassicaI Greece iIIuslrales veII lhe vuInerabiIily of
lhe su¡¡osedIy invuInerabIe. Againsl lhe varrior AchiIIes, no bIov
vouId in|ure and no svord vouId ¡enelrale his skin. When sliII a
baby, AchiIIes' molher had su¡¡osedIy di¡¡ed him inlo lhe valers
of lhe magicaI river Slyx, resuIling in lhe ¡roleclion of his body from
aII dangers. There vas, hovever, a ¡robIem. Since lhe baby vas
heId by his heeI so lhal he vouId nol be vashed avay, lhe magicaI
valer had nol covered lhal smaII ¡arl of his body. When AchiIIes
vas a grovn man he a¡¡eared lo aII lo be invuInerabIe lo lhe en-
emies' vea¡ons. Hovever, in lhe ballIe againsl Troy, inslrucled by
one vho knev lhe veakness, an enemy soIdier aimed his arrov al
AchiIIes' un¡rolecled heeI, lhe one s¡ol vhere he couId be in|ured.
The slrike ¡roved falaI. SliII loday, lhe ¡hrase ¨AchiIIes' heeI¨ refers
lo lhe vuInerabIe ¡arl of a ¡erson, a ¡Ian, or an inslilulion al vhich
if allacked lhere is no ¡roleclion.
The same ¡rinci¡Ie a¡¡Iies lo rulhIess diclalorshi¡s. They, loo,
can be conquered, bul mosl quickIy and vilh Ieasl cosl if lheir veak-
nesses can be idenli!ed and lhe allack concenlraled on lhem.
26 Gcnc Sncrp
Wcakncsscs nI dIctatnrshIps
Among lhe veaknesses of diclalorshi¡s are lhe foIIoving:
1. The coo¡eralion of a muIlilude of ¡eo¡Ie, grou¡s, and insli-
lulions needed lo o¡erale lhe syslem may be reslricled or
2. The requiremenls and effecls of lhe regime's ¡asl ¡oIicies
viII somevhal Iimil ils ¡resenl abiIily lo ado¡l and im¡Ie-
menl con"icling ¡oIicies.
3. The syslem may become rouline in ils o¡eralion, Iess abIe lo
ad|usl quickIy lo nev silualions.
4. IersonneI and resources aIready aIIocaled for exisling lasks
viII nol be easiIy avaiIabIe for nev needs.
5. Subordinales fearfuI of dis¡Ieasing lheir su¡eriors may nol
re¡orl accurale or com¡Iele informalion needed by lhe dic-
lalors lo make decisions.
6. The ideoIogy may erode, and mylhs and symboIs of lhe sys-
lem may become unslabIe.
7. If a slrong ideoIogy is ¡resenl lhal in"uences one's viev of
reaIily, !rm adherence lo il may cause inallenlion lo acluaI
condilions and needs.
8. Delerioraling ef!ciency and com¡elency of lhe bureaucracy,
or excessive conlroIs and reguIalions, may make lhe syslem's
¡oIicies and o¡eralion ineffeclive.
9. InlernaI inslilulionaI con"icls and ¡ersonaI rivaIries and hos-
liIilies may harm, and even disru¡l, lhe o¡eralion of lhe dic-
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 27
1O. InleIIecluaIs and sludenls may become reslIess in res¡onse
lo condilions, reslriclions, doclrinaIism, and re¡ression.
11. The generaI ¡ubIic may over lime become a¡alhelic, ske¡li-
caI, and even hosliIe lo lhe regime.
12. RegionaI, cIass, cuIluraI, or nalionaI differences may become
13. The ¡over hierarchy of lhe diclalorshi¡ is aIvays unslabIe
lo some degree, and al limes exlremeIy so. IndividuaIs do
nol onIy remain in lhe same ¡osilion in lhe ranking, bul may
rise or faII lo olher ranks or be removed enlireIy and re¡Iaced
by nev ¡ersons.
14. Seclions of lhe ¡oIice or miIilary forces may acl lo achieve
lheir ovn ob|eclives, even againsl lhe viII of eslabIished dic-
lalors, incIuding by cou¡ d'ólal.
15. If lhe diclalorshi¡ is nev, lime is required for il lo become
veII eslabIished.
16. Wilh so many decisions made by so fev ¡eo¡Ie in lhe dicla-
lorshi¡, mislakes of |udgmenl, ¡oIicy, and aclion are IikeIy
lo occur.
17. If lhe regime seeks lo avoid lhese dangers and decenlraI-
izes conlroIs and decision making, ils conlroI over lhe cen-
lraI Ievers of ¡over may be furlher eroded.
AttackIng wcakncsscs nI dIctatnrshIps
Wilh knovIedge of such inherenl veaknesses, lhe democralic o¡-
¡osilion can seek lo aggravale lhese ¨AchiIIes' heeIs¨ deIiberaleIy
in order lo aIler lhe syslem draslicaIIy or lo disinlegrale il.
The concIusion is lhen cIear: des¡ile lhe a¡¡earances of slrenglh,
aII diclalorshi¡s have veaknesses, inlernaI inef!ciencies, ¡ersonaI
rivaIries, inslilulionaI inef!ciencies, and con"icls belveen organiza-
lions and de¡arlmenls. These veaknesses, over lime, lend lo make
lhe regime Iess effeclive and more vuInerabIe lo changing condilions
and deIiberale resislance. Nol everylhing lhe regime sels oul lo ac-
com¡Iish viII gel com¡Ieled. Al limes, for exam¡Ie, even HilIer's
direcl orders vere never im¡Iemenled because lhose benealh him in
lhe hierarchy refused lo carry lhem oul. The diclaloriaI regime may
al limes even faII a¡arl quickIy, as ve have aIready observed.
This does nol mean diclalorshi¡s can be deslroyed vilhoul risks
and casuaIlies. Lvery ¡ossibIe course of aclion for Iiberalion viII
invoIve risks and ¡olenliaI suffering, and viII lake lime lo o¡erale.
And, of course, no means of aclion can ensure ra¡id success in every
silualion. Hovever, ly¡es of slruggIe lhal largel lhe diclalorshi¡'s
idenli!abIe veaknesses have grealer chance of success lhan lhose
lhal seek lo !ghl lhe diclalorshi¡ vhere il is cIearIy slrongesl. The
queslion is ncu lhis slruggIe is lo be vaged.
28 Gcnc Sncrp
In Cha¡ler Òne ve noled lhal miIilary resislance againsl diclalor-
shi¡s does nol slrike lhem vhere lhey are veakesl, bul ralher vhere
lhey are slrongesl. ßy choosing lo com¡ele in lhe areas of miIilary
forces, su¡¡Iies of ammunilion, vea¡ons lechnoIogy, and lhe Iike,
resislance movemenls lend lo ¡ul lhemseIves al a dislincl disadvan-
lage. Diclalorshi¡s viII aImosl aIvays be abIe lo musler su¡erior
resources in lhese areas. The dangers of reIying on foreign ¡overs
for saIvalion vere aIso oulIined. In Cha¡ler Tvo ve examined lhe
¡robIems of reIying on negolialions as a means lo remove diclalor-
Whal means are lhen avaiIabIe lhal viII offer lhe democralic
resislance dislincl advanlages and viII lend lo aggravale lhe iden-
li!ed veaknesses of diclalorshi¡s` Whal lechnique of aclion viII
ca¡ilaIize on lhe lheory of ¡oIilicaI ¡over discussed in Cha¡ler
Three` The aIlernalive of choice is ¡oIilicaI de!ance.
IoIilicaI de!ance has lhe foIIoving characlerislics:
ª Il does nol acce¡l lhal lhe oulcome viII be decided by lhe
means of !ghling chosen by lhe diclalorshi¡.
ª Il is dif!cuIl for lhe regime lo combal.
ª Il can uniqueIy aggravale veaknesses of lhe diclalorshi¡ and
can sever ils sources of ¡over.
ª Il can in aclion be videIy dis¡ersed bul can aIso be concen-
lraled on a s¡eci!c ob|eclive.
ª Il Ieads lo errors of |udgmenl and aclion by lhe diclalors.
ª Il can effecliveIy uliIize lhe ¡o¡uIalion as a vhoIe and lhe
sociely's grou¡s and inslilulions in lhe slruggIe lo end lhe
brulaI dominalion of lhe fev.
ª Il heI¡s lo s¡read lhe dislribulion of effeclive ¡over in lhe
sociely, making lhe eslabIishmenl and mainlenance of a
democralic sociely more ¡ossibIe.
Thc wnrkIngs nI nnnvIn!cnt strugg!c
Like miIilary ca¡abiIilies, ¡oIilicaI de!ance can be em¡Ioyed for a
variely of ¡ur¡oses, ranging from efforls lo in"uence lhe o¡¡onenls
lo lake differenl aclions, lo creale condilions for a ¡eacefuI resoIu-
lion of con"icl, or lo disinlegrale lhe o¡¡onenls' regime. Hovever,
¡oIilicaI de!ance o¡erales in quile differenl vays from vioIence.
AIlhough bolh lechniques are means lo vage slruggIe, lhey do so
vilh very differenl means and vilh differenl consequences. The
vays and resuIls of vioIenl con"icl are veII knovn. IhysicaI vea¡-
ons are used lo inlimidale, in|ure, kiII, and deslroy.
NonvioIenl slruggIe is a much more com¡Iex and varied
means of slruggIe lhan is vioIence. Inslead, lhe slruggIe is foughl
by ¡sychoIogicaI, sociaI, economic, and ¡oIilicaI vea¡ons a¡¡Iied
by lhe ¡o¡uIalion and lhe inslilulions of lhe sociely. These have
been knovn under various names of ¡rolesls, slrikes, noncoo¡era-
lion, boycolls, disaffeclion, and ¡eo¡Ie ¡over. As noled earIier, aII
governmenls can ruIe onIy as Iong as lhey receive re¡Ienishmenl of
lhe needed sources of lheir ¡over from lhe coo¡eralion, submission,
and obedience of lhe ¡o¡uIalion and lhe inslilulions of lhe sociely.
IoIilicaI de!ance, unIike vioIence, is uniqueIy suiled lo severing
lhose sources of ¡over.
NnnvIn!cnt wcapnns and dIscIp!Inc
The common error of ¡asl im¡rovised ¡oIilicaI de!ance cam¡aigns
is lhe reIiance on onIy one or lvo melhods, such as slrikes and mass
demonslralions. In facl, a muIlilude of melhods exisl lhal aIIov
30 Gcnc Sncrp
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 31
resislance slralegisls lo concenlrale and dis¡erse resislance as re-
Aboul lvo hundred s¡eci!c melhods of nonvioIenl aclion have
been idenli!ed, and lhere are cerlainIy scores more. These melhods
are cIassi!ed under lhree broad calegories: ¡rolesl and ¡ersuasion,
noncoo¡eralion, and inlervenlion. Melhods of nonvioIenl ¡rolesl
and ¡ersuasion are IargeIy symboIic demonslralions, incIuding ¡a-
rades, marches, and vigiIs (54 melhods). Noncoo¡eralion is divided
inlo lhree sub-calegories: (a) sociaI noncoo¡eralion (16 melhods),
(b) economic noncoo¡eralion, incIuding boycolls (26 melhods) and
slrikes (23 melhods), and (c) ¡oIilicaI noncoo¡eralion (38 melhods).
NonvioIenl inlervenlion, by ¡sychoIogicaI, ¡hysicaI, sociaI, econom-
ic, or ¡oIilicaI means, such as lhe fasl, nonvioIenl occu¡alion, and
¡araIIeI governmenl (41 melhods), is lhe !naI grou¡. A Iisl of 198 of
lhese melhods is incIuded as lhe A¡¡endix lo lhis ¡ubIicalion.
The use of a considerabIe number of lhese melhods ÷ carefuIIy
chosen, a¡¡Iied ¡ersislenlIy and on a Iarge scaIe, vieIded in lhe
conlexl of a vise slralegy and a¡¡ro¡riale laclics, by lrained civiI-
ians ÷ is IikeIy lo cause any iIIegilimale regime severe ¡robIems.
This a¡¡Iies lo aII diclalorshi¡s.
In conlrasl lo miIilary means, lhe melhods of nonvioIenl slrug-
gIe can be focused direclIy on lhe issues al slake. Ior exam¡Ie, since
lhe issue of diclalorshi¡ is ¡rimariIy ¡oIilicaI, lhen ¡oIilicaI forms of
nonvioIenl slruggIe vouId be cruciaI. These vouId incIude deniaI
of Iegilimacy lo lhe diclalors and noncoo¡eralion vilh lheir regime.
Noncoo¡eralion vouId aIso be a¡¡Iied againsl s¡eci!c ¡oIicies. Al
limes slaIIing and ¡rocraslinalion may be quielIy and even secrelIy
¡racliced, vhiIe al olher limes o¡en disobedience and de!anl ¡ubIic
demonslralions and slrikes may be visibIe lo aII.
Òn lhe olher hand, if lhe diclalorshi¡ is vuInerabIe lo economic
¡ressures or if many of lhe ¡o¡uIar grievances againsl il are eco-
nomic, lhen economic aclion, such as boycolls or slrikes, may be
a¡¡ro¡riale resislance melhods. The diclalors' efforls lo ex¡Ioil lhe
economic syslem mighl be mel vilh Iimiled generaI slrikes, sIov-
dovns, and refusaI of assislance by (or disa¡¡earance of) indis¡ens-
abIe ex¡erls. SeIeclive use of various ly¡es of slrikes may be con-
ducled al key ¡oinls in manufacluring, in lrans¡orl, in lhe su¡¡Iy
of rav maleriaIs, and in lhe dislribulion of ¡roducls.
Some melhods of nonvioIenl slruggIe require ¡eo¡Ie lo ¡erform
acls unreIaled lo lheir normaI Iives, such as dislribuling Iea"els,
o¡eraling an underground ¡ress, going on hunger slrike, or silling
dovn in lhe slreels. These melhods may be dif!cuIl for some ¡eo¡Ie
lo underlake exce¡l in very exlreme silualions.
Òlher melhods of nonvioIenl slruggIe inslead require ¡eo¡Ie
lo conlinue a¡¡roximaleIy lheir normaI Iives, lhough in somevhal
differenl vays. Ior exam¡Ie, ¡eo¡Ie may re¡orl for vork, inslead
of slriking, bul lhen deIiberaleIy vork more sIovIy or inef!cienlIy
lhan usuaI. ¨Mislakes¨ may be consciousIy made more frequenlIy.
Òne may become ¨sick¨ and ¨unabIe¨ lo vork al cerlain limes. Òr,
one may sim¡Iy refuse lo vork. Òne mighl go lo reIigious services
vhen lhe acl ex¡resses nol onIy reIigious bul aIso ¡oIilicaI convic-
lions. Òne may acl lo ¡rolecl chiIdren from lhe allackers' ¡ro¡aganda
by educalion al home or in iIIegaI cIasses. Òne mighl refuse lo |oin
cerlain ¨recommended¨ or required organizalions lhal one vouId
nol have |oined freeIy in earIier limes. The simiIarily of such ly¡es
of aclion lo ¡eo¡Ie's usuaI aclivilies and lhe Iimiled degree of de¡ar-
lure from lheir normaI Iives may make ¡arlici¡alion in lhe nalionaI
Iiberalion slruggIe much easier for many ¡eo¡Ie.
Since nonvioIenl slruggIe and vioIence o¡erale in fundamen-
laIIy differenl vays, even Iimiled resislance vioIence during a ¡o-
IilicaI de!ance cam¡aign viII be counler¡roduclive, for il viII shifl
lhe slruggIe lo one in vhich lhe diclalors have an overvheIming
advanlage (miIilary varfare). NonvioIenl disci¡Iine is a key lo suc-
cess and musl be mainlained des¡ile ¡rovocalions and brulaIilies
by lhe diclalors and lheir agenls.
The mainlenance of nonvioIenl disci¡Iine againsl vioIenl o¡-
¡onenls faciIilales lhe vorkings of lhe four mechanisms of change
in nonvioIenl slruggIe (discussed beIov). NonvioIenl disci¡Iine is
aIso exlremeIy im¡orlanl in lhe ¡rocess of ¡oIilicaI |iu-|ilsu. In lhis
¡rocess lhe slark brulaIily of lhe regime againsl lhe cIearIy nonvio-
Ienl aclionisls ¡oIilicaIIy rebounds againsl lhe diclalors' ¡osilion,
32 Gcnc Sncrp
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 33
causing dissenlion in lheir ovn ranks as veII as fomenling su¡¡orl
for lhe resislers among lhe generaI ¡o¡uIalion, lhe regime's usuaI
su¡¡orlers, and lhird ¡arlies.
In some cases, hovever, Iimiled vioIence againsl lhe diclalor-
shi¡ may be inevilabIe. Iruslralion and halred of lhe regime may
ex¡Iode inlo vioIence. Òr, cerlain grou¡s may be unviIIing lo aban-
don vioIenl means even lhough lhey recognize lhe im¡orlanl roIe of
nonvioIenl slruggIe. In lhese cases, ¡oIilicaI de!ance does nol need lo
be abandoned. Hovever, il viII be necessary lo se¡arale lhe vioIenl
aclion as far as ¡ossibIe from lhe nonvioIenl aclion. This shouId be
done in lerms of geogra¡hy, ¡o¡uIalion grou¡s, liming, and issues.
Òlhervise lhe vioIence couId have a disaslrous effecl on lhe ¡olen-
liaIIy much more ¡overfuI and successfuI use of ¡oIilicaI de!ance.
The hisloricaI record indicales lhal vhiIe casuaIlies in dead
and vounded musl be ex¡ecled in ¡oIilicaI de!ance, lhey viII be
far fever lhan lhe casuaIlies in miIilary varfare. Iurlhermore, lhis
ly¡e of slruggIe does nol conlribule lo lhe endIess cycIe of kiIIing
and brulaIily.
NonvioIenl slruggIe bolh requires and lends lo ¡roduce a Ioss
(or grealer conlroI) of fear of lhe governmenl and ils vioIenl re¡res-
sion. Thal abandonmenl or conlroI of fear is a key eIemenl in deslroy-
ing lhe ¡over of lhe diclalors over lhe generaI ¡o¡uIalion.
Opcnncss, sccrccy, and hIgh standards
Secrecy, dece¡lion, and underground cons¡iracy ¡ose very dif!-
cuIl ¡robIems for a movemenl using nonvioIenl aclion. Il is oflen
im¡ossibIe lo kee¡ lhe ¡oIilicaI ¡oIice and inleIIigence agenls from
Iearning aboul inlenlions and ¡Ians. Irom lhe ¡ers¡eclive of lhe
movemenl, secrecy is nol onIy rooled in fear bul conlribules lo fear,
vhich dam¡ens lhe s¡iril of resislance and reduces lhe number of
¡eo¡Ie vho can ¡arlici¡ale in a given aclion. Il aIso can conlribule
lo sus¡icions and accusalions, oflen un|usli!ed, vilhin lhe move-
menl, concerning vho is an informer or agenl for lhe o¡¡onenls.
Secrecy may aIso affecl lhe abiIily of a movemenl lo remain nonvio-
Ienl. In conlrasl, o¡enness regarding inlenlions and ¡Ians viII nol
onIy have lhe o¡¡osile effecls, bul viII conlribule lo an image lhal
lhe resislance movemenl is in facl exlremeIy ¡overfuI. The ¡robIem
is of course more com¡Iex lhan lhis suggesls, and lhere are signi!-
canl as¡ecls of resislance aclivilies lhal may require secrecy. A veII-
informed assessmenl viII be required by lhose knovIedgeabIe aboul
bolh lhe dynamics of nonvioIenl slruggIe and aIso lhe diclalorshi¡'s
means of surveiIIance in lhe s¡eci!c silualion.
The ediling, ¡rinling, and dislribulion of underground ¡ubIica-
lions, lhe use of iIIegaI radio broadcasls from vilhin lhe counlry, and
lhe galhering of inleIIigence aboul lhe o¡eralions of lhe diclalorshi¡
are among lhe s¡eciaI Iimiled ly¡es of aclivilies vhere a high degree
of secrecy viII be required.
The mainlenance of high slandards of behavior in nonvioIenl
aclion is necessary al aII slages of lhe con"icl. Such faclors as fearIess-
ness and mainlaining nonvioIenl disci¡Iine are aIvays required. Il is
im¡orlanl lo remember lhal Iarge numbers of ¡eo¡Ie may frequenlIy
be necessary lo effecl ¡arlicuIar changes. Hovever, such numbers
can be oblained as reIiabIe ¡arlici¡anls onIy by mainlaining lhe high
slandards of lhe movemenl.
5hIItIng pnwcr rc!atInnshIps
Slralegisls need lo remember lhal lhe con"icl in vhich ¡oIilicaI de!-
ance is a¡¡Iied is a conslanlIy changing !eId of slruggIe vilh conlinu-
ing inler¡Iay of moves and counlermoves. Nolhing is slalic. Iover
reIalionshi¡s, bolh absoIule and reIalive, are sub|ecl lo conslanl and
ra¡id changes. This is made ¡ossibIe by lhe resislers conlinuing lheir
nonvioIenl ¡ersislence des¡ile re¡ression.
The varialions in lhe res¡eclive ¡over of lhe conlending sides
in lhis ly¡e of con"icl silualion are IikeIy lo be more exlreme lhan in
vioIenl con"icls, lo lake ¡Iace more quickIy, and lo have more diverse
and ¡oIilicaIIy signi!canl consequences. Due lo lhese varialions,
s¡eci!c aclions by lhe resislers are IikeIy lo have consequences far
beyond lhe ¡arlicuIar lime and ¡Iace in vhich lhey occur. These ef-
fecls viII rebound lo slrenglhen or veaken one grou¡ or anolher.
34 Gcnc Sncrp
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 35
In addilion, lhe nonvioIenl grou¡ may, by ils aclions exerl in-
"uence over lhe increase or decrease in lhe reIalive slrenglh of inc
cppcncni grcup lo a greal exlenl. Ior exam¡Ie, disci¡Iined courageous
nonvioIenl resislance in face of lhe diclalors' brulaIilies may induce
unease, disaffeclion, unreIiabiIily, and in exlreme silualions even
muliny among lhe diclalors' ovn soIdiers and ¡o¡uIalion. This
resislance may aIso resuIl in increased inlernalionaI condemnalion
of lhe diclalorshi¡. In addilion, skiIIfuI, disci¡Iined, and ¡ersislenl
use of ¡oIilicaI de!ance may resuIl in more and more ¡arlici¡alion in
lhe resislance by ¡eo¡Ie vho normaIIy vouId give lheir lacil su¡¡orl
lo lhe diclalors or generaIIy remain neulraI in lhe con"icl.
Fnur mcchanIsms nI changc
NonvioIenl slruggIe ¡roduces change in four vays. The !rsl
mechanism is lhe Ieasl IikeIy, lhough il has occurred. When mem-
bers of lhe o¡¡onenl grou¡ are emolionaIIy moved by lhe suffering
of re¡ression im¡osed on courageous nonvioIenl resislers or are
ralionaIIy ¡ersuaded lhal lhe resislers' cause is |usl, lhey may come
lo acce¡l lhe resislers' aims. This mechanism is caIIed conversion.
Though cases of ccntcrsicn in nonvioIenl aclion do somelimes ha¡-
¡en, lhey are rare, and in mosl con"icls lhis does nol occur al aII or
al Ieasl nol on a signi!canl scaIe.
Iar more oflen, nonvioIenl slruggIe o¡erales by changing lhe
con"icl silualion and lhe sociely so lhal lhe o¡¡onenls sim¡Iy cannol
do as lhey Iike. Il is lhis change lhal ¡roduces lhe olher lhree mecha-
nisms: accommodalion, nonvioIenl coercion, and disinlegralion.
Which of lhese occurs de¡ends on lhe degree lo vhich lhe reIalive
and absoIule ¡over reIalions are shifled in favor of lhe democrals.
If lhe issues are nol fundamenlaI ones, lhe demands of lhe o¡-
¡osilion in a Iimiled cam¡aign are nol considered lhrealening, and
lhe conlesl of forces has aIlered lhe ¡over reIalionshi¡s lo some
degree, lhe immediale con"icl may be ended by reaching an agree-
menl, a s¡Iilling of differences or com¡romise. This mechanism is
caIIed ccccmmc!ciicn. Many slrikes are sellIed in lhis manner, for
exam¡Ie, vilh bolh sides allaining some of lheir ob|eclives bul nei-
lher achieving aII il vanled. A governmenl may ¡erceive such a
sellIemenl lo have some ¡osilive bene!ls, such as defusing lension,
crealing an im¡ression of ¨fairness,¨ or ¡oIishing lhe inlernalionaI
image of lhe regime. Il is im¡orlanl, lherefore, lhal greal care be
exercised in seIecling lhe issues on vhich a sellIemenl by accom-
modalion is acce¡labIe. A slruggIe lo bring dovn a diclalorshi¡ is
nol one of lhese.
NonvioIenl slruggIe can be much more ¡overfuI lhan indicaled
by lhe mechanisms of conversion or accommodalion. Mass nonco-
o¡eralion and de!ance can so change sociaI and ¡oIilicaI silualions,
es¡eciaIIy ¡over reIalionshi¡s, lhal lhe diclalors' abiIily lo conlroI
lhe economic, sociaI, and ¡oIilicaI ¡rocesses of governmenl and lhe
sociely is in facl laken avay. The o¡¡onenls' miIilary forces may be-
come so unreIiabIe lhal lhey no Ionger sim¡Iy obey orders lo re¡ress
resislers. AIlhough lhe o¡¡onenls' Ieaders remain in lheir ¡osilions,
and adhere lo lheir originaI goaIs, lheir abiIily lo acl effecliveIy has
been laken avay from lhem. Thal is caIIed ncntic|cni cccrcicn.
In some exlreme silualions, lhe condilions ¡roducing nonvioIenl
coercion are carried sliII furlher. The o¡¡onenls' Ieadershi¡ in facl
Ioses aII abiIily lo acl and lheir ovn slruclure of ¡over coIIa¡ses.
The resislers' seIf-direclion, noncoo¡eralion, and de!ance become so
com¡Iele lhal lhe o¡¡onenls nov Iack even a sembIance of conlroI
over lhem. The o¡¡onenls' bureaucracy refuses lo obey ils ovn Iead-
ershi¡. The o¡¡onenls' lroo¡s and ¡oIice muliny. The o¡¡onenls'
usuaI su¡¡orlers or ¡o¡uIalion re¡udiale lheir former Ieadershi¡,
denying lhal lhey have any righl lo ruIe al aII. Hence, lheir former
assislance and obedience faIIs avay. The fourlh mechanism of
change, !isinicgrciicn of lhe o¡¡onenls' syslem, is so com¡Iele lhal
lhey do nol even have suf!cienl ¡over lo surrender. The regime
sim¡Iy faIIs lo ¡ieces.
In ¡Ianning Iiberalion slralegies, lhese four mechanisms shouId
be ke¡l in mind. They somelimes o¡erale essenliaIIy by chance.
Hovever, lhe seIeclion of one or more of lhese as lhe inlended mecha-
36 Gcnc Sncrp
nism of change in a con"icl viII make il ¡ossibIe lo formuIale s¡e-
ci!c and muluaIIy reinforcing slralegies. Which mechanism (or
mechanisms) lo seIecl viII de¡end on numerous faclors, incIuding
lhe absoIule and reIalive ¡over of lhe conlending grou¡s and lhe
alliludes and ob|eclives of lhe nonvioIenl slruggIe grou¡.
DcmncratIzIng cIIccts nI pn!ItIca! dc!ancc
In conlrasl lo lhe cenlraIizing effecls of vioIenl sanclions, use of lhe
lechnique of nonvioIenl slruggIe conlribules lo democralizing lhe
¡oIilicaI sociely in severaI vays.
Òne ¡arl of lhe democralizing effecl is negalive. Thal is, in
conlrasl lo miIilary means, lhis lechnique does nol ¡rovide a means
of re¡ression under command of a ruIing eIile vhich can be lurned
againsl lhe ¡o¡uIalion lo eslabIish or mainlain a diclalorshi¡. Lead-
ers of a ¡oIilicaI de!ance movemenl can exerl in"uence and a¡¡Iy
¡ressures on lheir foIIovers, bul lhey cannol im¡rison or execule
lhem vhen lhey dissenl or choose olher Ieaders.
Anolher ¡arl of lhe democralizing effecl is ¡osilive. Thal is,
nonvioIenl slruggIe ¡rovides lhe ¡o¡uIalion vilh means of resislance
lhal can be used lo achieve and defend lheir Iiberlies againsl exisling
or vouId-be diclalors. ßeIov are severaI of lhe ¡osilive democraliz-
ing effecls nonvioIenl slruggIe may have:
ª Lx¡erience in a¡¡Iying nonvioIenl slruggIe may resuIl in lhe
¡o¡uIalion being more seIf-con!denl in chaIIenging lhe
regime's lhreals and ca¡acily for vioIenl re¡ression.
ª NonvioIenl slruggIe ¡rovides lhe means of noncoo¡eralion
and de!ance by vhich lhe ¡o¡uIalion can resisl undemo-
cralic conlroIs over lhem by any diclaloriaI grou¡.
ª NonvioIenl slruggIe can be used lo asserl lhe ¡raclice of
democralic freedoms, such as free s¡eech, free ¡ress, inde-
¡endenl organizalions, and free assembIy, in face of re¡res-
sive conlroIs.
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 37
ª NonvioIenl slruggIe conlribules slrongIy lo lhe survivaI, re-
birlh, and slrenglhening of lhe inde¡endenl grou¡s and in-
slilulions of lhe sociely, as ¡reviousIy discussed. These are
im¡orlanl for democracy because of lheir ca¡acily lo mobi-
Iize lhe ¡over ca¡acily of lhe ¡o¡uIalion and lo im¡ose Iim-
ils on lhe effeclive ¡over of any vouId-be diclalors.
ª NonvioIenl slruggIe ¡rovides means by vhich lhe ¡o¡uIa-
lion can vieId ¡over againsl re¡ressive ¡oIice and miIilary
aclion by a diclaloriaI governmenl.
ª NonvioIenl slruggIe ¡rovides melhods by vhich lhe ¡o¡u-
Ialion and lhe inde¡endenl inslilulions can in lhe inleresls
of democracy reslricl or sever lhe sources of ¡over for lhe
ruIing eIile, lhereby lhrealening ils ca¡acily lo conlinue ils
Cnmp!cxIty nI nnnvIn!cnt strugg!c
As ve have seen from lhis discussion, nonvioIenl slruggIe is a com-
¡Iex lechnique of sociaI aclion, invoIving a muIlilude of melhods,
a range of mechanisms of change, and s¡eci!c behavioraI require-
menls. To be effeclive, es¡eciaIIy againsl a diclalorshi¡, ¡oIilicaI
de!ance requires carefuI ¡Ianning and ¡re¡aralion. Iros¡eclive
¡arlici¡anls viII need lo undersland vhal is required of lhem.
Resources viII need lo have been made avaiIabIe. And slralegisls
viII need lo have anaIyzed hov nonvioIenl slruggIe can be mosl
effecliveIy a¡¡Iied. We nov lurn our allenlion lo lhis Ialler cruciaI
eIemenl: lhe need for slralegic ¡Ianning.
38 Gcnc Sncrp
IoIilicaI de!ance cam¡aigns againsl diclalorshi¡s may begin in a
variely of vays. In lhe ¡asl lhese slruggIes have aImosl aIvays been
un¡Ianned and essenliaIIy accidenlaI. S¡eci!c grievances lhal have
lriggered ¡asl iniliaI aclions have varied videIy, bul oflen incIuded
nev brulaIilies, lhe arresl or kiIIing of a highIy regarded ¡erson, a
nev re¡ressive ¡oIicy or order, food shorlages, disres¡ecl lovard
reIigious beIiefs, or an anniversary of an im¡orlanl reIaled evenl.
Somelimes, a ¡arlicuIar acl by lhe diclalorshi¡ has so enraged lhe
¡o¡uIace lhal lhey have Iaunched inlo aclion vilhoul having any
idea hov lhe rising mighl end. Al olher limes a courageous indi-
viduaI or a smaII grou¡ may have laken aclion vhich aroused su¡-
¡orl. A s¡eci!c grievance may be recognized by olhers as simiIar
lo vrongs lhey had ex¡erienced and lhey, loo, may lhus |oin lhe
slruggIe. Somelimes, a s¡eci!c caII for resislance from a smaII grou¡
or individuaI may meel an unex¡ecledIy Iarge res¡onse.
WhiIe s¡onlaneily has some ¡osilive quaIilies, il has oflen
had disadvanlages. IrequenlIy, lhe democralic resislers have nol
anlici¡aled lhe brulaIilies of lhe diclalorshi¡, so lhal lhey suffered
graveIy and lhe resislance has coIIa¡sed. Al limes lhe Iack of ¡Ian-
ning by democrals has Iefl cruciaI decisions lo chance, vilh disaslrous
resuIls. Lven vhen lhe o¡¡ressive syslem vas broughl dovn, Iack
of ¡Ianning on hov lo handIe lhe lransilion lo a democralic syslem
has conlribuled lo lhe emergence of a nev diclalorshi¡.
Rca!IstIc p!annIng
In lhe fulure, un¡Ianned ¡o¡uIar aclion viII undoubledIy ¡Iay sig-
ni!canl roIes in risings againsl diclalorshi¡s. Hovever, il is nov
¡ossibIe lo caIcuIale lhe mosl effeclive vays lo bring dovn a dicla-
lorshi¡, lo assess vhen lhe ¡oIilicaI silualion and ¡o¡uIar mood are
ri¡e, and lo choose hov lo iniliale a cam¡aign. Very carefuI lhoughl
|csc! cn c rcc|isiic csscssmcni of lhe silualion and lhe ca¡abiIilies of
lhe ¡o¡uIace is required in order lo seIecl effeclive vays lo achieve
freedom under such circumslances.
If one vishes lo accom¡Iish somelhing, il is vise lo ¡Ian hov lo
do il. The more im¡orlanl lhe goaI, or lhe graver lhe consequences
of faiIure, lhe more im¡orlanl ¡Ianning becomes. Slralegic ¡Ian-
ning increases lhe IikeIihood lhal aII avaiIabIe resources viII be
mobiIized and em¡Ioyed mosl effecliveIy. This is es¡eciaIIy lrue for
a democralic movemenl ÷ vhich has Iimiled maleriaI resources and
vhose su¡¡orlers viII be in danger ÷ lhal is lrying lo bring dovn
a ¡overfuI diclalorshi¡. In conlrasl, lhe diclalorshi¡ usuaIIy viII
have access lo vasl maleriaI resources, organizalionaI slrenglh, and
abiIily lo ¡er¡elrale brulaIilies.
¨To ¡Ian a slralegy¨ here means lo caIcuIale a course of aclion
lhal viII make il more IikeIy lo gel from lhe ¡resenl lo lhe desired
fulure silualion. In lerms of lhis discussion, il means from a dic-
lalorshi¡ lo a fulure democralic syslem. A ¡Ian lo achieve lhal
ob|eclive viII usuaIIy consisl of a ¡hased series of cam¡aigns and
olher organized aclivilies designed lo slrenglhen lhe o¡¡ressed
¡o¡uIalion and sociely and lo veaken lhe diclalorshi¡. Nole here
lhal lhe ob|eclive is nol sim¡Iy lo deslroy lhe currenl diclalorshi¡
bul lo em¡Iace a democralic syslem. A grand slralegy lhal Iimils
ils ob|eclive lo mereIy deslroying lhe incumbenl diclalorshi¡ runs
a greal risk of ¡roducing anolher lyranl.

Hurd!cs tn p!annIng
Some ex¡onenls of freedom in various ¡arls of lhe vorId do nol
bring lheir fuII ca¡acilies lo bear on lhe ¡robIem of hov lo achieve
Iiberalion. ÒnIy rareIy do lhese advocales fuIIy recognize lhe
exlreme im¡orlance of carefuI slralegic ¡Ianning before lhey acl.
ConsequenlIy, lhis is aImosl never done.
Why is il lhal lhe ¡eo¡Ie vho have lhe vision of bringing ¡o-
IilicaI freedom lo lheir ¡eo¡Ie shouId so rareIy ¡re¡are a com¡re-
hensive slralegic ¡Ian lo achieve lhal goaI` InforlunaleIy, oflen
mosl ¡eo¡Ie in democralic o¡¡osilion grou¡s do nol undersland
lhe need for slralegic ¡Ianning or are nol accuslomed or lrained lo

40 Gcnc Sncrp
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 41
lhink slralegicaIIy. This is a dif!cuIl lask. ConslanlIy harassed by
lhe diclalorshi¡, and overvheImed by immediale res¡onsibiIilies,
resislance Ieaders oflen do nol have lhe safely or lime lo deveIo¡
slralegic lhinking skiIIs.
Inslead, il is a common ¡allern sim¡Iy lo reacl lo lhe inilialives
of lhe diclalorshi¡. The o¡¡osilion is lhen aIvays on lhe defensive,
seeking lo mainlain Iimiled Iiberlies or baslions of freedom, al besl
sIoving lhe advance of lhe diclaloriaI conlroIs or causing cerlain
¡robIems for lhe regime's nev ¡oIicies.
Some individuaIs and grou¡s, of course, may nol see lhe need
for broad Iong-lerm ¡Ianning of a Iiberalion movemenl. Inslead, lhey
may naïveIy lhink lhal if lhey sim¡Iy es¡ouse lheir goaI slrongIy,
!rmIy, and Iong enough, il viII somehov come lo ¡ass. Òlhers as-
sume lhal if lhey sim¡Iy Iive and vilness according lo lheir ¡rinci¡Ies
and ideaIs in face of dif!cuIlies, lhey are doing aII lhey can lo im¡Ie-
menl lhem. The es¡ousaI of humane goaIs and IoyaIly lo ideaIs are
admirabIe, bul are grossIy inadequale lo end a diclalorshi¡ and lo
achieve freedom.
Òlher o¡¡onenls of diclalorshi¡ may naïveIy lhink lhal if onIy
lhey use enough vioIence, freedom viII come. ßul, as noled earIier,
vioIence is no guaranlor of success. Inslead of Iiberalion, il can Iead
lo defeal, massive lragedy, or bolh. In mosl silualions lhe diclalor-
shi¡ is besl equi¡¡ed for vioIenl slruggIe and lhe miIilary reaIilies
rareIy, if ever, favor lhe democrals.
There are aIso aclivisls vho base lheir aclions on vhal lhey
¨feeI¨ lhey shouId do. These a¡¡roaches are, hovever, nol onIy
egocenlric bul lhey offer no guidance for deveIo¡ing a grand slral-
egy of Iiberalion.
Aclion based on a ¨brighl idea¨ lhal someone has had is aIso
Iimiled. Whal is needed inslead is aclion based on carefuI caIcuIa-
lion of lhe ¨nexl sle¡s¨ required lo lo¡¡Ie lhe diclalorshi¡. Wilhoul
slralegic anaIysis, resislance Ieaders viII oflen nol knov vhal lhal
¨nexl sle¡¨ shouId be, for lhey have nol lhoughl carefuIIy aboul lhe
successive s¡eci!c sle¡s required lo achieve viclory. Crealivily and
brighl ideas are very im¡orlanl, bul lhey need lo be uliIized in order
lo advance lhe slralegic silualion of lhe democralic forces.
AculeIy avare of lhe muIlilude of aclions lhal couId be laken
againsl lhe diclalorshi¡ and unabIe lo delermine vhere lo begin,
some ¡eo¡Ie counseI ¨Do everylhing simuIlaneousIy.¨ Thal mighl
be heI¡fuI bul, of course, is im¡ossibIe, es¡eciaIIy for reIaliveIy veak
movemenls. Iurlhermore, such an a¡¡roach ¡rovides no guidance
on vhere lo begin, on vhere lo concenlrale efforls, and hov lo use
oflen Iimiled resources.
Òlher ¡ersons and grou¡s may see lhe need for some ¡Ianning,
bul are onIy abIe lo lhink aboul il on a shorl-lerm or laclicaI basis.
They may nol see lhal Ionger-lerm ¡Ianning is necessary or ¡ossibIe.
They may al limes be unabIe lo lhink and anaIyze in slralegic lerms,
aIIoving lhemseIves lo be re¡ealedIy dislracled by reIaliveIy smaII
issues, oflen res¡onding lo lhe o¡¡onenls' aclions ralher lhan seiz-
ing lhe inilialive for lhe democralic resislance. Devoling so much
energy lo shorl-lerm aclivilies, lhese Ieaders oflen faiI lo ex¡Iore
severaI aIlernalive courses of aclion vhich couId guide lhe overaII
efforls so lhal lhe goaI is conslanlIy a¡¡roached.
Il is aIso |usl ¡ossibIe lhal some democralic movemenls do
nol ¡Ian a com¡rehensive slralegy lo bring dovn lhe diclalorshi¡,
concenlraling inslead onIy on immediale issues, for anolher reason.
Inside lhemseIves, lhey do nol reaIIy beIieve lhal lhe diclalorshi¡
can be ended by lheir ovn efforls. Therefore, ¡Ianning hov lo do
so is considered lo be a romanlic vasle of lime or an exercise in
fuliIily. Ieo¡Ie slruggIing for freedom againsl eslabIished brulaI
diclalorshi¡s are oflen confronled by such immense miIilary and
¡oIice ¡over lhal il a¡¡ears lhe diclalors can accom¡Iish vhalever
lhey viII. Lacking reaI ho¡e, lhese ¡eo¡Ie viII, neverlheIess, defy
lhe diclalorshi¡ for reasons of inlegrily and ¡erha¡s hislory. Though
lhey viII never admil il, ¡erha¡s never consciousIy recognize il, lheir
aclions a¡¡ear lo lhemseIves as ho¡eIess. Hence, for lhem, Iong-lerm
com¡rehensive slralegic ¡Ianning has no meril.
The resuIl of such faiIures lo ¡Ian slralegicaIIy is oflen draslic:
one's slrenglh is dissi¡aled, one's aclions are ineffeclive, energy is
vasled on minor issues, advanlages are nol uliIized, and sacri!ces
are for naughl. If democrals do nol ¡Ian slralegicaIIy lhey are IikeIy
lo faiI lo achieve lheir ob|eclives. A ¡oorIy ¡Ianned, odd mixlure of
42 Gcnc Sncrp
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 43
aclivilies viII nol move a ma|or resislance efforl forvard. Inslead,
il viII more IikeIy aIIov lhe diclalorshi¡ lo increase ils conlroIs and
InforlunaleIy, because com¡rehensive slralegic ¡Ians for Iibera-
lion are rareIy, if ever, deveIo¡ed, diclalorshi¡s a¡¡ear much more
durabIe lhan lhey in facl are. They survive for years or decades
Ionger lhan need be lhe case.
Fnur Impnrtant tcrms In stratcgIc p!annIng
In order lo heI¡ us lo lhink slralegicaIIy, cIarily aboul lhe meanings
of four basic lerms is im¡orlanl.
Grcn! sircicgq is lhe conce¡lion lhal serves lo coordinale and
direcl lhe use of aII a¡¡ro¡riale and avaiIabIe resources (economic,
human, moraI, ¡oIilicaI, organizalionaI, elc.) of a grou¡ seeking lo
allain ils ob|eclives in a con"icl.
Grand slralegy, by focusing ¡rimary allenlion on lhe grou¡'s
ob|eclives and resources in lhe con"icl, delermines lhe mosl a¡¡ro-
¡riale lechnique of aclion (such as convenlionaI miIilary varfare or
nonvioIenl slruggIe) lo be em¡Ioyed in lhe con"icl. In ¡Ianning a
grand slralegy resislance Ieaders musl evaIuale and ¡Ian vhich ¡res-
sures and in"uences are lo be broughl lo bear u¡on lhe o¡¡onenls.
Iurlher, grand slralegy viII incIude decisions on lhe a¡¡ro¡riale
condilions and liming under vhich iniliaI and subsequenl resislance
cam¡aigns viII be Iaunched.
Grand slralegy sels lhe basic framevork for lhe seIeclion of
more Iimiled slralegies for vaging lhe slruggIe. Grand slralegy aIso
delermines lhe aIIocalion of generaI lasks lo ¡arlicuIar grou¡s and
lhe dislribulion of resources lo lhem for use in lhe slruggIe.
Sircicgq is lhe conce¡lion of hov besl lo achieve ¡arlicuIar ob-
|eclives in a con"icl, o¡eraling vilhin lhe sco¡e of lhe chosen grand
slralegy. Slralegy is concerned vilh vhelher, vhen, and hov lo !ghl,
as veII as hov lo achieve maximum effecliveness in slruggIing for
cerlain ends. A slralegy has been com¡ared lo lhe arlisl's conce¡l,
vhiIe a slralegic ¡Ian is lhe archilecl's bIue¡rinl.
Roberl HeIvey, ¡ersonaI communicalion, 15 Augusl 1993.
Slralegy may aIso incIude efforls lo deveIo¡ a slralegic silua-
lion lhal is so advanlageous lhal lhe o¡¡onenls are abIe lo foresee
lhal o¡en con"icl is IikeIy lo bring lheir cerlain defeal, and lhere-
fore ca¡iluIale vilhoul an o¡en slruggIe. Òr, if nol, lhe im¡roved
slralegic silualion viII make success of lhe chaIIengers cerlain in
slruggIe. Slralegy aIso invoIves hov lo acl lo make good use of
successes vhen gained.
A¡¡Iied lo lhe course of lhe slruggIe ilseIf, lhe slralegic ¡Ian is
lhe basic idea of hov a cam¡aign shaII deveIo¡, and hov ils se¡arale
com¡onenls shaII be !lled logelher lo conlribule mosl advanla-
geousIy lo achieve ils ob|eclives. Il invoIves lhe skiIIfuI de¡Ioymenl
of ¡arlicuIar aclion grou¡s in smaIIer o¡eralions. IIanning for a
vise slralegy musl lake inlo consideralion lhe requiremenls for suc-
cess in lhe o¡eralion of lhe chosen lechnique of slruggIe. Differenl
lechniques viII have differenl requiremenls. Òf course, |usl fuI!II-
ing ¨requiremenls¨ is nol suf!cienl lo ensure success. AddilionaI
faclors may aIso be needed.
In devising slralegies, lhe democrals musl cIearIy de!ne lheir
ob|eclives and delermine hov lo measure lhe effecliveness of efforls
lo achieve lhem. This de!nilion and anaIysis ¡ermils lhe slralegisl
lo idenlify lhe ¡recise requiremenls for securing each seIecled ob|ec-
live. This need for cIarily and de!nilion a¡¡Iies equaIIy lo laclicaI
Taclics and melhods of aclion are used lo im¡Iemenl lhe slral-
egy. 1cciics reIale lo lhe skiIIfuI use of one's forces lo lhe besl ad-
vanlage in a Iimiled silualion. A laclic is a Iimiled aclion, em¡Ioyed
lo achieve a reslricled ob|eclive. The choice of laclics is governed
by lhe conce¡lion of hov besl in a reslricled ¡hase of a con"icl lo
uliIize lhe avaiIabIe means of !ghling lo im¡Iemenl lhe slralegy. To
be mosl effeclive, laclics and melhods musl be chosen and a¡¡Iied
vilh conslanl allenlion lo lhe achievemenl of slralegic ob|eclives.
TaclicaI gains lhal do nol reinforce lhe allainmenl of slralegic ob|ec-
lives may in lhe end lurn oul lo be vasled energy.
A laclic is lhus concerned vilh a Iimiled course of aclion lhal
!ls vilhin lhe broad slralegy, |usl as a slralegy !ls vilhin lhe grand
slralegy. Taclics are aIvays concerned vilh !ghling, vhereas slral-
44 Gcnc Sncrp
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 45
egy incIudes vider consideralions. A ¡arlicuIar laclic can onIy be
underslood as ¡arl of lhe overaII slralegy of a ballIe or a cam¡aign.
Taclics are a¡¡Iied for shorler ¡eriods of lime lhan slralegies, or in
smaIIer areas (geogra¡hicaI, inslilulionaI, elc.), or by a more Iimiled
number of ¡eo¡Ie, or for more Iimiled ob|eclives. In nonvioIenl
aclion lhe dislinclion belveen a laclicaI ob|eclive and a slralegic
ob|eclive may be ¡arlIy indicaled by vhelher lhe chosen ob|eclive
of lhe aclion is minor or ma|or.
Òffensive laclicaI engagemenls are seIecled lo su¡¡orl allain-
menl of slralegic ob|eclives. TaclicaI engagemenls are lhe looIs of lhe
slralegisl in crealing condilions favorabIe for deIivering decisive al-
lacks againsl an o¡¡onenl. Il is mosl im¡orlanl, lherefore, lhal lhose
given res¡onsibiIily for ¡Ianning and execuling laclicaI o¡eralions be
skiIIed in assessing lhe silualion, and seIecling lhe mosl a¡¡ro¡riale
melhods for il. Those ex¡ecled lo ¡arlici¡ale musl be lrained in lhe
use of lhe chosen lechnique and lhe s¡eci!c melhods.
Mcinc! refers lo lhe s¡eci!c vea¡ons or means of aclion. Wilhin
lhe lechnique of nonvioIenl slruggIe, lhese incIude lhe dozens of
¡arlicuIar forms of aclion (such as lhe many kinds of slrikes, boy-
colls, ¡oIilicaI noncoo¡eralion, and lhe Iike) ciled in Cha¡ler Iive.
(See aIso A¡¡endix.)
The deveIo¡menl of a res¡onsibIe and effeclive slralegic ¡Ian
for a nonvioIenl slruggIe de¡ends u¡on lhe carefuI formuIalion and
seIeclion of lhe grand slralegy, slralegies, laclics, and melhods.
The main Iesson of lhis discussion is lhal a caIcuIaled use of
one's inleIIecl is required in carefuI slralegic ¡Ianning for Iiberalion
from a diclalorshi¡. IaiIure lo ¡Ian inleIIigenlIy can conlribule lo
disaslers, vhiIe lhe effeclive use of one's inleIIecluaI ca¡acilies can
charl a slralegic course lhal viII |udiciousIy uliIize one's avaiIabIe
resources lo move lhe sociely lovard lhe goaI of Iiberly and democ-
In order lo increase lhe chances for success, resislance Ieaders
viII need lo formuIale a com¡rehensive ¡Ian of aclion ca¡abIe of
slrenglhening lhe suffering ¡eo¡Ie, veakening and lhen deslroy-
ing lhe diclalorshi¡, and buiIding a durabIe democracy. To achieve
such a ¡Ian of aclion, a carefuI assessmenl of lhe silualion and of lhe
o¡lions for effeclive aclion is needed. Òul of such a carefuI anaIysis
bolh a grand slralegy and lhe s¡eci!c cam¡aign slralegies for achiev-
ing freedom can be deveIo¡ed. Though reIaled, lhe deveIo¡menl of
grand slralegy and cam¡aign slralegies are lvo se¡arale ¡rocesses.
ÒnIy afler lhe grand slralegy has been deveIo¡ed can lhe s¡eci!c
cam¡aign slralegies be fuIIy deveIo¡ed. Cam¡aign slralegies viII
need lo be designed lo achieve and reinforce lhe grand slralegic
The deveIo¡menl of resislance slralegy requires allenlion lo
many queslions and lasks. Here ve shaII idenlify some of lhe im-
¡orlanl faclors lhal need lo be considered, bolh al lhe grand slrale-
gic IeveI and lhe IeveI of cam¡aign slralegy. AII slralegic ¡Ianning,
hovever, requires lhal lhe resislance ¡Ianners have a ¡rofound
underslanding of lhe enlire con"icl silualion, incIuding allenlion lo
¡hysicaI, hisloricaI, governmenlaI, miIilary, cuIluraI, sociaI, ¡oIilicaI,
¡sychoIogicaI, economic, and inlernalionaI faclors. Slralegies can
onIy be deveIo¡ed in lhe conlexl of lhe ¡arlicuIar slruggIe and ils
Òf ¡rimary im¡orlance, democralic Ieaders and slralegic ¡Ian-
ners viII vanl lo assess lhe ob|eclives and im¡orlance of lhe cause.
Are lhe ob|eclives vorlh a ma|or slruggIe, and vhy` Il is crilicaI lo
delermine lhe reaI ob|eclive of lhe slruggIe. We have argued here
lhal overlhrov of lhe diclalorshi¡ or removaI of lhe ¡resenl dicla-
lors is nci enough. The ob|eclive in lhese con"icls needs lo be lhe
eslabIishmenl of a free sociely vilh a democralic syslem of govern-
menl. CIarily on lhis ¡oinl viII in"uence lhe deveIo¡menl of a grand
slralegy and of lhe ensuing s¡eci!c slralegies.
IarlicuIarIy, slralegisls viII need lo ansver many fundamenlaI
queslions, such as lhese:
ª Whal are lhe main obslacIes lo achieving freedom`
ª Whal faclors viII faciIilale achieving freedom`
ª Whal are lhe main slrenglhs of lhe diclalorshi¡`
ª Whal are lhe various veaknesses of lhe diclalorshi¡`
ª To vhal degree are lhe sources of ¡over for lhe diclalorshi¡
ª Whal are lhe slrenglhs of lhe democralic forces and lhe gen-
eraI ¡o¡uIalion`
ª Whal are lhe veaknesses of lhe democralic forces and hov
can lhey be correcled`
ª Whal is lhe slalus of lhird ¡arlies, nol immedialeIy invoIved
in lhe con"icl, vho aIready assisl or mighl assisl, eilher lhe
diclalorshi¡ or lhe democralic movemenl, and if so in vhal
ChnIcc nI mcans
Al lhe grand slralegic IeveI, ¡Ianners viII need lo choose lhe main
means of slruggIe lo be em¡Ioyed in lhe coming con"icl. The merils
and Iimilalions of severaI aIlernalive lechniques of slruggIe viII need
lo be evaIualed, such as convenlionaI miIilary varfare, guerriIIa
varfare, ¡oIilicaI de!ance, and olhers.
In making lhis choice lhe slralegisls viII need lo consider such
queslions as lhe foIIoving: Is lhe chosen ly¡e of slruggIe vilhin
lhe ca¡acilies of lhe democrals` Does lhe chosen lechnique uliIize
slrenglhs of lhe dominaled ¡o¡uIalion` Does lhis lechnique largel
48 Gcnc Sncrp
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 49
lhe veaknesses of lhe diclalorshi¡, or does il slrike al ils slrongesl
¡oinls` Do lhe means heI¡ lhe democrals become more seIf-reIianl,
or do lhey require de¡endency on lhird ¡arlies or exlernaI su¡¡Iiers`
Whal is lhe record of lhe use of lhe chosen means in bringing dovn
diclalorshi¡s` Do lhey increase or Iimil lhe casuaIlies and deslruclion
lhal may be incurred in lhe coming con"icl` Assuming success in
ending lhe diclalorshi¡, vhal effecl vouId lhe seIecled means have
on lhe ly¡e of governmenl lhal vouId arise from lhe slruggIe` The
ly¡es of aclion delermined lo be counler¡roduclive viII need lo be
excIuded in lhe deveIo¡ed grand slralegy.
In ¡revious cha¡lers ve have argued lhal ¡oIilicaI de!ance
offers signi!canl com¡aralive advanlages lo olher lechniques of
slruggIe. Slralegisls viII need lo examine lheir ¡arlicuIar con"icl
silualion and delermine vhelher ¡oIilicaI de!ance ¡rovides af!rma-
live ansvers lo lhe above queslions.
P!annIng Inr dcmncracy
Il shouId be remembered lhal againsl a diclalorshi¡ lhe ob|eclive of
lhe grand slralegy is nol sim¡Iy lo bring dovn lhe diclalors bul lo
inslaII a democralic syslem and make lhe rise of a nev diclalorshi¡
im¡ossibIe. To accom¡Iish lhese ob|eclives, lhe chosen means of
slruggIe viII need lo conlribule lo a change in lhe dislribulion of
effeclive ¡over in lhe sociely. Inder lhe diclalorshi¡ lhe ¡o¡uIa-
lion and civiI inslilulions of lhe sociely have been loo veak, and lhe
governmenl loo slrong. Wilhoul a change in lhis imbaIance, a nev
sel of ruIers can, if lhey vish, be |usl as diclaloriaI as lhe oId ones.
A ¨¡aIace revoIulion¨ or a cou¡ d'ólal lherefore is nol veIcome.
IoIilicaI de!ance conlribules lo a more equilabIe dislribulion
of effeclive ¡over lhrough lhe mobiIizalion of lhe sociely againsl
lhe diclalorshi¡, as vas discussed in Cha¡ler Iive. This ¡rocess
occurs in severaI vays. The deveIo¡menl of a nonvioIenl slruggIe
ca¡acily means lhal lhe diclalorshi¡'s ca¡acily for vioIenl re¡ression
no Ionger as easiIy ¡roduces inlimidalion and submission among
lhe ¡o¡uIalion. The ¡o¡uIalion viII have al ils dis¡osaI ¡over-
fuI means lo counler and al limes bIock lhe exerlion of lhe dicla-
lors' ¡over. Iurlher, lhe mobiIizalion of ¡o¡uIar ¡over lhrough
¡oIilicaI de!ance viII slrenglhen lhe inde¡endenl inslilulions of
lhe sociely. The ex¡erience of once exercising effeclive ¡over is
nol quickIy forgol. The knovIedge and skiII gained in slruggIe viII
make lhe ¡o¡uIalion Iess IikeIy lo be easiIy dominaled by vouId-be
diclalors. This shifl in ¡over reIalionshi¡s vouId uIlimaleIy make
eslabIishmenl of a durabIe democralic sociely much more IikeIy.
Extcrna! assIstancc
As ¡arl of lhe ¡re¡aralion of a grand slralegy il is necessary lo as-
sess vhal viII be lhe reIalive roIes of inlernaI resislance and exlernaI
¡ressures for disinlegraling lhe diclalorshi¡. In lhis anaIysis ve have
argued lhal lhe main force of lhe slruggIe musl be borne from inside
lhe counlry ilseIf. To lhe degree lhal inlernalionaI assislance comes
al aII, il viII be slimuIaled by lhe inlernaI slruggIe.
As a modesl su¡¡Iemenl, efforls can be made lo mobiIize vorId
¡ubIic o¡inion againsl lhe diclalorshi¡, on humanilarian, moraI, and
reIigious grounds. Lfforls can be laken lo oblain di¡Iomalic, ¡oIilicaI,
and economic sanclions by governmenls and inlernalionaI organiza-
lions againsl lhe diclalorshi¡. These may lake lhe forms of economic
and miIilary vea¡ons embargoes, reduclion in IeveIs of di¡Iomalic
recognilion or lhe breaking of di¡Iomalic lies, banning of economic
assislance and ¡rohibilion of inveslmenls in lhe diclaloriaI counlry,
ex¡uIsion of lhe diclaloriaI governmenl from various inlernalionaI
organizalions and from Iniled Nalions bodies. Iurlher, inlernalionaI
assislance, such as lhe ¡rovision of !nanciaI and communicalions
su¡¡orl, can aIso be ¡rovided direclIy lo lhe democralic forces.
Fnrmu!atIng a grand stratcgy
IoIIoving an assessmenl of lhe silualion, lhe choice of means, and a
delerminalion of lhe roIe of exlernaI assislance, ¡Ianners of lhe grand
slralegy viII need lo skelch in broad slrokes hov lhe con"icl mighl
besl be conducled. This broad ¡Ian vouId slrelch from lhe ¡resenl
lo lhe fulure Iiberalion and lhe inslilulion of a democralic syslem.
50 Gcnc Sncrp
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 51
In formuIaling a grand slralegy lhese ¡Ianners viII need lo ask
lhemseIves a variely of queslions. The foIIoving queslions ¡ose (in
a more s¡eci!c vay lhan earIier) lhe ly¡es of consideralions required
in devising a grand slralegy for a ¡oIilicaI de!ance slruggIe:
Hov mighl lhe Iong-lerm slruggIe besl begin` Hov can lhe
o¡¡ressed ¡o¡uIalion musler suf!cienl seIf-con!dence and slrenglh
lo acl lo chaIIenge lhe diclalorshi¡, even iniliaIIy in a Iimiled vay`
Hov couId lhe ¡o¡uIalion's ca¡acily lo a¡¡Iy noncoo¡eralion and
de!ance be increased vilh lime and ex¡erience` Whal mighl be
lhe ob|eclives of a series of Iimiled cam¡aigns lo regain democralic
conlroI over lhe sociely and Iimil lhe diclalorshi¡`
Are lhere inde¡endenl inslilulions lhal have survived lhe dic-
lalorshi¡ vhich mighl be used in lhe slruggIe lo eslabIish freedom`
Whal inslilulions of lhe sociely can be regained from lhe diclalors'
conlroI, or vhal inslilulions need lo be nevIy crealed by lhe demo-
crals lo meel lheir needs and eslabIish s¡heres of democracy even
vhiIe lhe diclalorshi¡ conlinues`
Hov can organizalionaI slrenglh in lhe resislance be deveIo¡ed`
Hov can ¡arlici¡anls be lrained` Whal resources (!nances, equi¡-
menl, elc.) viII be required lhroughoul lhe slruggIe` Whal ly¡es of
symboIism can be mosl effeclive in mobiIizing lhe ¡o¡uIalion`
ßy vhal kinds of aclion and in vhal slages couId lhe sources
of ¡over of lhe diclalors be incremenlaIIy veakened and severed`
Hov can lhe resisling ¡o¡uIalion simuIlaneousIy ¡ersisl in ils de!-
ance and aIso mainlain lhe necessary nonvioIenl disci¡Iine` Hov
can lhe sociely conlinue lo meel ils basic needs during lhe course of
lhe slruggIe` Hov can sociaI order be mainlained in lhe midsl of
lhe con"icl` As viclory a¡¡roaches, hov can lhe democralic resis-
lance conlinue lo buiId lhe inslilulionaI base of lhe ¡osl-diclalorshi¡
sociely lo make lhe lransilion as smoolh as ¡ossibIe`
Il musl be remembered lhal no singIe bIue¡rinl exisls or can be
crealed lo ¡Ian slralegy for every Iiberalion movemenl againsl dic-
lalorshi¡s. Lach slruggIe lo bring dovn a diclalorshi¡ and eslabIish
a democralic syslem viII be somevhal differenl. No lvo silualions
viII be exaclIy aIike, each diclalorshi¡ viII have some individuaI
characlerislics, and lhe ca¡acilies of lhe freedom-seeking ¡o¡uIalion
viII vary. IIanners of grand slralegy for a ¡oIilicaI de!ance slruggIe
viII require a ¡rofound underslanding nol onIy of lheir s¡eci!c
con"icl silualion, bul of lheir chosen means of slruggIe as veII.

When lhe grand slralegy of lhe slruggIe has been carefuIIy
¡Ianned lhere are sound reasons for making il videIy knovn. The
Iarge numbers of ¡eo¡Ie required lo ¡arlici¡ale may be more viIIing
and abIe lo acl if lhey undersland lhe generaI conce¡lion, as veII
as s¡eci!c inslruclions. This knovIedge couId ¡olenliaIIy have a
very ¡osilive effecl on lheir moraIe, lheir viIIingness lo ¡arlici¡ale,
and lo acl a¡¡ro¡rialeIy. The generaI oulIines of lhe grand slralegy
vouId become knovn lo lhe diclalors in any case and knovIedge
of ils fealures ¡olenliaIIy couId Iead lhem lo be Iess brulaI in lheir
re¡ression, knoving lhal il couId rebound ¡oIilicaIIy againsl lhem-
seIves. Avareness of lhe s¡eciaI characlerislics of lhe grand slralegy
couId ¡olenliaIIy aIso conlribule lo dissension and defeclions from
lhe diclalors' ovn cam¡.
Ònce a grand slralegic ¡Ian for bringing dovn lhe diclalor-
shi¡ and eslabIishing a democralic syslem has been ado¡led, il is
im¡orlanl for lhe ¡ro-democracy grou¡s lo ¡ersisl in a¡¡Iying il.
ÒnIy in very rare circumslances shouId lhe slruggIe de¡arl from
lhe iniliaI grand slralegy. When lhere is abundanl evidence lhal lhe
chosen grand slralegy vas misconceived, or lhal lhe circumslances
of lhe slruggIe have fundamenlaIIy changed, ¡Ianners may need lo
aIler lhe grand slralegy. Lven lhen, lhis shouId be done onIy afler a
basic reassessmenl has been made and a nev more adequale grand
slralegic ¡Ian has been deveIo¡ed and ado¡led.
52 Gcnc Sncrp
Recommended fuII Ienglh sludies are Gene Shar¡, 1nc Pc|iiics cj Ncntic|cni Aciicn
cj Ncntic|cni Aciicn, (ßoslon, Massachusells: Iorler Sargenl, 1973) and Ieler Acker-
man and Chrislo¡her KruegIer, Sircicgic Ncntic|cni Ccn"ici, (Wesl¡orl, Conneclicul:
Iraeger, 1994). AIso see Gene Shar¡, Waging Nonviolent Stuggle: Twentieth Century
Practice and Twenty-First Century Potential. ßoslon: Iorler Sargenl, 2OO5.
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 53
P!annIng campaIgn stratcgIcs
Hovever vise and ¡romising lhe deveIo¡ed grand slralegy lo end
lhe diclalorshi¡ and lo inslilule democracy may be, a grand slral-
egy does nol im¡Iemenl ilseIf. IarlicuIar slralegies viII need lo be
deveIo¡ed lo guide lhe ma|or cam¡aigns aimed al undermining lhe
diclalors' ¡over. These slralegies, in lurn, viII incor¡orale and guide
a range of laclicaI engagemenls lhal viII aim lo slrike decisive bIovs
againsl lhe diclalors' regime. The laclics and lhe s¡eci!c melhods of
aclion musl be chosen carefuIIy so lhal lhey conlribule lo achieving
lhe goaIs of each ¡arlicuIar slralegy. The discussion here focuses
excIusiveIy on lhe IeveI of slralegy.
Slralegisls ¡Ianning lhe ma|or cam¡aigns viII, Iike lhose vho
¡Ianned lhe grand slralegy, require a lhorough underslanding of lhe
nalure and modes of o¡eralion of lheir chosen lechnique of slruggIe.
}usl as miIilary of!cers musl undersland force slruclures, laclics,
Iogislics, munilions, lhe effecls of geogra¡hy, and lhe Iike in order
lo ¡Iol miIilary slralegy, ¡oIilicaI de!ance ¡Ianners musl undersland
lhe nalure and slralegic ¡rinci¡Ies of nonvioIenl slruggIe. Lven lhen,
hovever, knovIedge of nonvioIenl slruggIe, allenlion lo recommen-
dalions in lhis essay, and ansvers lo lhe queslions ¡osed here viII
nol lhemseIves ¡roduce slralegies. The formuIalion of slralegies for
lhe slruggIe sliII requires an informed crealivily.
In ¡Ianning lhe slralegies for lhe s¡eci!c seIeclive resislance
cam¡aigns and for lhe Ionger lerm deveIo¡menl of lhe Iiberalion
slruggIe, lhe ¡oIilicaI de!ance slralegisls viII need lo consider vari-
ous issues and ¡robIems. The foIIoving are among lhese:
ª Delerminalion of lhe s¡eci!c ob|eclives of lhe cam¡aign and
lheir conlribulions lo im¡Iemenling lhe grand slralegy.
ª Consideralion of lhe s¡eci!c melhods, or ¡oIilicaI vea¡ons,
lhal can besl be used lo im¡Iemenl lhe chosen slralegies.
Wilhin each overaII ¡Ian for a ¡arlicuIar slralegic cam¡aign
il viII be necessary lo delermine vhal smaIIer, laclicaI ¡Ians
and vhich s¡eci!c melhods of aclion shouId be used lo im-
¡ose ¡ressures and reslriclions againsl lhe diclalorshi¡'s
sources of ¡over. Il shouId be remembered lhal lhe achieve-
menl of ma|or ob|eclives viII come as a resuIl of carefuIIy
chosen and im¡Iemenled s¡eci!c smaIIer sle¡s.
ª Delerminalion vhelher, or hov, economic issues shouId be
reIaled lo lhe overaII essenliaIIy ¡oIilicaI slruggIe. If eco-
nomic issues are lo be ¡rominenl in lhe slruggIe, care viII be
needed lhal lhe economic grievances can acluaIIy be rem-
edied afler lhe diclalorshi¡ is ended. Òlhervise, disiIIusion-
menl and disaffeclion may sel in if quick soIulions are nol
¡rovided during lhe lransilion ¡eriod lo a democralic soci-
ely. Such disiIIusionmenl couId faciIilale lhe rise of diclalo-
riaI forces ¡romising an end lo economic voes.
ª Delerminalion in advance of vhal kind of Ieadershi¡ slruc-
lure and communicalions syslem viII vork besl for inilial-
ing lhe resislance slruggIe. Whal means of decision-making
and communicalion viII be ¡ossibIe during lhe course of lhe
slruggIe lo give conlinuing guidance lo lhe resislers and lhe
generaI ¡o¡uIalion`
ª Communicalion of lhe resislance nevs lo lhe generaI ¡o¡u-
Ialion, lo lhe diclalors' forces, and lhe inlernalionaI ¡ress.
CIaims and re¡orling shouId aIvays be slriclIy facluaI. Lx-
aggeralions and unfounded cIaims viII undermine lhe cred-
ibiIily of lhe resislance.
ª IIans for seIf-reIianl conslruclive sociaI, educalionaI, eco-
nomic, and ¡oIilicaI aclivilies lo meel lhe needs of one's ovn
¡eo¡Ie during lhe coming con"icl. Such ¡ro|ecls can be con-
ducled by ¡ersons nol direclIy invoIved in lhe resislance ac-
ª Delerminalion of vhal kind of exlernaI assislance is desir-
abIe in su¡¡orl of lhe s¡eci!c cam¡aign or lhe generaI Iib-
eralion slruggIe. Hov can exlernaI heI¡ be besl mobiIized
54 Gcnc Sncrp
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 55
and used vilhoul making lhe inlernaI slruggIe de¡endenl
on uncerlain exlernaI faclors` Allenlion viII need lo be given
lo vhich exlernaI grou¡s are mosl IikeIy, and mosl a¡¡ro-
¡riale, lo assisl, such as non-governmenlaI organizalions (so-
ciaI movemenls, reIigious or ¡oIilicaI grou¡s, Iabor unions,
elc.), governmenls, and1or lhe Iniled Nalions and ils vari-
ous bodies.
Iurlhermore, lhe resislance ¡Ianners viII need lo lake measures
lo ¡reserve order and lo meel sociaI needs by one's ovn forces during
mass resislance againsl diclaloriaI conlroIs. This viII nol onIy creale
aIlernalive inde¡endenl democralic slruclures and meel genuine
needs, bul aIso viII reduce credibiIily for any cIaims lhal rulhIess
re¡ression is required lo haIl disorder and IavIessness.
5prcadIng thc Idca nI nnncnnpcratInn
Ior successfuI ¡oIilicaI de!ance againsl a diclalorshi¡, il is essenliaI
lhal lhe ¡o¡uIalion gras¡ lhe idea of noncoo¡eralion. As iIIuslraled
by lhe ¨Monkey Masler¨ slory (see Cha¡ler Three), lhe basic idea is
sim¡Ie: if enough of lhe subordinales refuse lo conlinue lheir coo¡-
eralion Iong enough des¡ile re¡ression, lhe o¡¡ressive syslem viII
be veakened and !naIIy coIIa¡se.
Ieo¡Ie Iiving under lhe diclalorshi¡ may be aIready famiIiar
vilh lhis conce¡l from a variely of sources. Lven so, lhe demo-
cralic forces shouId deIiberaleIy s¡read and ¡o¡uIarize lhe idea
of noncoo¡eralion. The ¨Monkey Masler¨ slory, or a simiIar one,
couId be disseminaled lhroughoul lhe sociely. Such a slory couId
be easiIy underslood. Ònce lhe generaI conce¡l of noncoo¡eralion
is gras¡ed, ¡eo¡Ie viII be abIe lo undersland lhe reIevance of fulure
caIIs lo ¡raclice noncoo¡eralion vilh lhe diclalorshi¡. They viII
aIso be abIe on lheir ovn lo im¡rovise a myriad of s¡eci!c forms of
noncoo¡eralion in nev silualions.
Des¡ile lhe dif!cuIlies and dangers in allem¡ls lo commu-
nicale ideas, nevs, and resislance inslruclions vhiIe Iiving under
diclalorshi¡s, democrals have frequenlIy ¡roved lhis lo be ¡ossibIe.
Lven under Nazi and Communisl ruIe il vas ¡ossibIe for resislers
lo communicale nol onIy vilh olher individuaIs bul even vilh Iarge
¡ubIic audiences lhrough lhe ¡roduclion of iIIegaI nevs¡a¡ers,
Iea"els, books, and in Ialer years vilh audio and video casselles.
Wilh lhe advanlage of ¡rior slralegic ¡Ianning, generaI guide-
Iines for resislance can be ¡re¡ared and disseminaled. These can
indicale lhe issues and circumslances under vhich lhe ¡o¡uIalion
shouId ¡rolesl and vilhhoId coo¡eralion, and hov lhis mighl be
done. Then, even if communicalions from lhe democralic Ieader-
shi¡ are severed, and s¡eci!c inslruclions have nol been issued or
received, lhe ¡o¡uIalion viII knov hov lo acl on cerlain im¡orlanl
issues. Such guideIines vouId aIso ¡rovide a lesl lo idenlify counler-
feil ¨resislance inslruclions¨ issued by lhe ¡oIilicaI ¡oIice designed
lo ¡rovoke discrediling aclion.
RcprcssInn and cnuntcrmcasurcs
Slralegic ¡Ianners viII need lo assess lhe IikeIy res¡onses and re-
¡ression, es¡eciaIIy lhe lhreshoId of vioIence, of lhe diclalorshi¡
lo lhe aclions of lhe democralic resislance. Il viII be necessary lo
delermine hov lo vilhsland, counleracl, or avoid lhis ¡ossibIe
increased re¡ression vilhoul submission. TaclicaIIy, for s¡eci!c
occasions, a¡¡ro¡riale varnings lo lhe ¡o¡uIalion and lhe resislers
aboul ex¡ecled re¡ression vouId be in order, so lhal lhey viII knov
lhe risks of ¡arlici¡alion. If re¡ression may be serious, ¡re¡aralions
for medicaI assislance for vounded resislers shouId be made.
Anlici¡aling re¡ression, lhe slralegisls viII do veII lo consider
in advance lhe use of laclics and melhods lhal viII conlribule lo
achieving lhe s¡eci!c goaI of a cam¡aign, or Iiberalion, bul lhal viII
make brulaI re¡ression Iess IikeIy or Iess ¡ossibIe. Ior exam¡Ie, slreel
demonslralions and ¡arades againsl exlreme diclalorshi¡s may be
dramalic, bul lhey may aIso risk lhousands of dead demonslralors.
The high cosl lo lhe demonslralors may nol, hovever, acluaIIy a¡-
¡Iy more ¡ressure on lhe diclalorshi¡ lhan vouId occur lhrough
everyone slaying home, a slrike, or massive acls of noncoo¡eralion
from lhe civiI servanls.
56 Gcnc Sncrp
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 57
If il has been ¡ro¡osed lhal ¡rovocalive resislance aclion
risking high casuaIlies viII be required for a slralegic ¡ur¡ose,
lhen one shouId very carefuIIy consider lhe ¡ro¡osaI's cosls and
¡ossibIe gains. WiII lhe ¡o¡uIalion and lhe resislers be IikeIy lo
behave in a disci¡Iined and nonvioIenl manner during lhe course
of lhe slruggIe` Can lhey resisl ¡rovocalions lo vioIence` IIanners
musl consider vhal measures may be laken lo kee¡ nonvioIenl
disci¡Iine and mainlain lhe resislance des¡ile brulaIilies. WiII such
measures as ¡Iedges, ¡oIicy slalemenls, disci¡Iine Iea"els, marshaIs
for demonslralions, and boycolls of ¡ro-vioIence ¡ersons and grou¡s
be ¡ossibIe and effeclive` Leaders shouId aIvays be aIerl for lhe
¡resence of cgcnis prctcccicurs vhose mission viII be lo incile lhe
demonslralors lo vioIence.
AdhcrIng tn thc stratcgIc p!an
Ònce a sound slralegic ¡Ian is in ¡Iace, lhe democralic forces
shouId nol be dislracled by minor moves of lhe diclalors lhal may
lem¡l lhem lo de¡arl from lhe grand slralegy and lhe slralegy for a
¡arlicuIar cam¡aign, causing lhem lo focus ma|or aclivilies on unim-
¡orlanl issues. Nor shouId lhe emolions of lhe momenl ÷ ¡erha¡s
in res¡onse lo nev brulaIilies by lhe diclalorshi¡ ÷ be aIIoved lo
diverl lhe democralic resislance from ils grand slralegy or lhe cam-
¡aign slralegy. The brulaIilies may have been ¡er¡elraled ¡reciseIy
in order lo ¡rovoke lhe democralic forces lo abandon lheir veII-Iaid
¡Ian and even lo commil vioIenl acls in order lhal lhe diclalors couId
more easiIy defeal lhem.
As Iong as lhe basic anaIysis is |udged lo be sound, lhe lask of lhe
¡ro-democracy forces is lo ¡ress forvard slage by slage. Òf course,
changes in laclics and inlermediale ob|eclives viII occur and good
Ieaders viII aIvays be ready lo ex¡Ioil o¡¡orlunilies. These ad|usl-
menls shouId nol be confused vilh ob|eclives of lhe grand slralegy
or lhe ob|eclives of lhe s¡eci!c cam¡aign. CarefuI im¡Iemenlalion of
lhe chosen grand slralegy and of slralegies for ¡arlicuIar cam¡aigns
viII grealIy conlribule lo success.

In silualions in vhich lhe ¡o¡uIalion feeIs ¡overIess and frighlened,
il is im¡orlanl lhal iniliaI lasks for lhe ¡ubIic be Iov-risk, con!dence-
buiIding aclions. These ly¡es of aclions ÷ such as vearing one's
cIolhes in an unusuaI vay ÷ may ¡ubIicIy regisler a dissenling
o¡inion and ¡rovide an o¡¡orlunily for lhe ¡ubIic lo ¡arlici¡ale
signi!canlIy in acls of dissenl. In olher cases a reIaliveIy minor (on
lhe surface) non¡oIilicaI issue (such as securing a safe valer su¡¡Iy)
mighl be made lhe focus for grou¡ aclion. Slralegisls shouId choose
an issue lhe merils of vhich viII be videIy recognized and dif!cuIl
lo re|ecl. Success in such Iimiled cam¡aigns couId nol onIy correcl
s¡eci!c grievances bul aIso convince lhe ¡o¡uIalion lhal il indeed
has ¡over ¡olenliaI.
Mosl of lhe slralegies of cam¡aigns in lhe Iong-lerm slruggIe
shouId not aim for lhe immediale com¡Iele dovnfaII of lhe diclalor-
shi¡, bul inslead for gaining Iimiled ob|eclives. Nor does every cam-
¡aign require lhe ¡arlici¡alion of aII seclions of lhe ¡o¡uIalion.
In conlem¡Ialing a series of s¡eci!c cam¡aigns lo im¡Iemenl
lhe grand slralegy, lhe de!ance slralegisls need lo consider hov lhe
cam¡aigns al lhe beginning, lhe middIe, and near lhe concIusion of
lhe Iong-lerm slruggIe viII differ from each olher.
5c!cctIvc rcsIstancc
In lhe iniliaI slages of lhe slruggIe, se¡arale cam¡aigns vilh differ-
enl s¡eci!c ob|eclives can be very usefuI. Such seIeclive cam¡aigns
may foIIov one afler lhe olher. ÒccasionaIIy, lvo or lhree mighl
overIa¡ in lime.
In ¡Ianning a slralegy for ¨seIeclive resislance¨ il is necessary
lo idenlify s¡eci!c Iimiled issues or grievances lhal symboIize lhe
generaI o¡¡ression of lhe diclalorshi¡. Such issues may be lhe a¡-
¡ro¡riale largels for conducling cam¡aigns lo gain inlermediary
slralegic ob|eclives vilhin lhe overaII grand slralegy.
These inlermediary slralegic ob|eclives need lo be allainabIe
by lhe currenl or ¡ro|ecled ¡over ca¡acily of lhe democralic forces.
This heI¡s lo ensure a series of viclories, vhich are good for moraIe,
and aIso conlribule lo advanlageous incremenlaI shifls in ¡over
reIalions for lhe Iong-lerm slruggIe.
SeIeclive resislance slralegies shouId concenlrale ¡rimariIy on
s¡eci!c sociaI, economic, or ¡oIilicaI issues. These may be chosen in
order lo kee¡ some ¡arl of lhe sociaI and ¡oIilicaI syslem oul of lhe
diclalors' conlroI, lo regain conlroI of some ¡arl currenlIy conlroIIed
by lhe diclalors, or lo deny lhe diclalors a ¡arlicuIar ob|eclive. If
¡ossibIe, lhe cam¡aign of seIeclive resislance shouId aIso slrike al
one veakness or more of lhe diclalorshi¡, as aIready discussed.
Thereby, democrals can make lhe grealesl ¡ossibIe im¡acl vilh lheir
avaiIabIe ¡over ca¡acily.
Very earIy lhe slralegisls need lo ¡Ian al Ieasl lhe slralegy for lhe
!rsl cam¡aign. Whal are lo be ils Iimiled ob|eclives` Hov viII il heI¡
fuI!II lhe chosen grand slralegy` If ¡ossibIe, il is vise lo formuIale
al Ieasl lhe generaI oulIines of slralegies for a second and ¡ossibIy
a lhird cam¡aign. AII such slralegies viII need lo im¡Iemenl lhe
chosen grand slralegy and o¡erale vilhin ils generaI guideIines.
5ymbn!Ic cha!!cngc
Al lhe beginning of a nev cam¡aign lo undermine lhe diclalorshi¡,
lhe !rsl more s¡eci!caIIy ¡oIilicaI aclions may be Iimiled in sco¡e.
They shouId be designed in ¡arl lo lesl and in"uence lhe mood of
lhe ¡o¡uIalion, and lo ¡re¡are lhem for conlinuing slruggIe lhrough
noncoo¡eralion and ¡oIilicaI de!ance.
The iniliaI aclion is IikeIy lo lake lhe form of symboIic ¡rolesl
or may be a symboIic acl of Iimiled or lem¡orary noncoo¡eralion.
If lhe number of ¡ersons viIIing lo acl is smaII, lhen lhe iniliaI acl
mighl, for exam¡Ie, invoIve ¡Iacing "overs al a ¡Iace of symboIic
im¡orlance. Òn lhe olher hand, if lhe number of ¡ersons viIIing lo
acl is very Iarge, lhen a !ve minule haIl lo aII aclivilies or severaI
minules of siIence mighl be used. In olher silualions, a fev indi-
60 Gcnc Sncrp
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 61
viduaIs mighl underlake a hunger slrike, a vigiI al a ¡Iace of symboIic
im¡orlance, a brief sludenl boycoll of cIasses, or a lem¡orary sil-in
al an im¡orlanl of!ce. Inder a diclalorshi¡ lhese more aggressive
aclions vouId mosl IikeIy be mel vilh harsh re¡ression.
Cerlain symboIic acls, such as a ¡hysicaI occu¡alion in fronl
of lhe diclalor's ¡aIace or ¡oIilicaI ¡oIice headquarlers may invoIve
high risk and are lherefore nol advisabIe for inilialing a cam¡aign.
IniliaI symboIic ¡rolesl aclions have al limes aroused ma|or
nalionaI and inlernalionaI allenlion ÷ as lhe mass slreel demonslra-
lions in ßurma in 1988 or lhe sludenl occu¡alion and hunger slrike
in Tiananman Square in ßei|ing in 1989. The high casuaIlies of dem-
onslralors in bolh of lhese cases ¡oinls lo lhe greal care slralegisls
musl exercise in ¡Ianning cam¡aigns. AIlhough having a lremen-
dous moraI and ¡sychoIogicaI im¡acl, such aclions by lhemseIves
are unIikeIy lo bring dovn a diclalorshi¡, for lhey remain IargeIy
symboIic and do nol aIler lhe ¡over ¡osilion of lhe diclalorshi¡.
Il usuaIIy is nol ¡ossibIe lo sever lhe avaiIabiIily of lhe sources
of ¡over lo lhe diclalors com¡IeleIy and ra¡idIy al lhe beginning of
a slruggIe. Thal vouId require virluaIIy lhe vhoIe ¡o¡uIalion and
aImosl aII lhe inslilulions of lhe sociely ÷ vhich had ¡reviousIy been
IargeIy submissive ÷ lo re|ecl absoIuleIy lhe regime and suddenIy defy
il by massive and slrong noncoo¡eralion. Thal has nol yel occurred
and vouId be mosl dif!cuIl lo achieve. In mosl cases, lherefore, a
quick cam¡aign of fuII noncoo¡eralion and de!ance is an unreaIislic
slralegy for an earIy cam¡aign againsl lhe diclalorshi¡.
5prcadIng rcspnnsIbI!Ity
During a seIeclive resislance cam¡aign lhe brunl of lhe slruggIe is
for a lime usuaIIy borne by one seclion or more of lhe ¡o¡uIalion.
In a Ialer cam¡aign vilh a differenl ob|eclive, lhe burden of lhe
slruggIe vouId be shifled lo olher ¡o¡uIalion grou¡s. Ior exam¡Ie,
sludenls mighl conducl slrikes on an educalionaI issue, reIigious
Ieaders and beIievers mighl concenlrale on a freedom of reIigion
issue, raiI vorkers mighl melicuIousIy obey safely reguIalions so as
lo sIov dovn lhe raiI lrans¡orl syslem, |ournaIisls mighl chaIIenge
censorshi¡ by ¡ubIishing ¡a¡ers vilh bIank s¡aces in vhich ¡rohib-
iled arlicIes vouId have a¡¡eared, or ¡oIice mighl re¡ealedIy faiI
lo Iocale and arresl vanled members of lhe democralic o¡¡osilion.
Ihasing resislance cam¡aigns by issue and ¡o¡uIalion grou¡ viII
aIIov cerlain segmenls of lhe ¡o¡uIalion lo resl vhiIe resislance
SeIeclive resislance is es¡eciaIIy im¡orlanl ic !cjcn! lhe exis-
lence and aulonomy of inde¡endenl sociaI, economic, and ¡oIilicaI
grou¡s and inslilulions oulside lhe conlroI of lhe diclalorshi¡, vhich
vere brie"y discussed earIier. These cenlers of ¡over ¡rovide lhe
inslilulionaI bases from vhich lhe ¡o¡uIalion can exerl ¡ressure or
can resisl diclaloriaI conlroIs. In lhe slruggIe, lhey are IikeIy lo be
among lhe !rsl largels of lhe diclalorshi¡.
AImIng at thc dIctatnrs' pnwcr
As lhe Iong-lerm slruggIe deveIo¡s beyond lhe iniliaI slralegies inlo
more ambilious and advanced ¡hases, lhe slralegisls viII need lo
caIcuIale hov lhe diclalors' sources of ¡over can be furlher reslricled.
The aim vouId be lo use ¡o¡uIar noncoo¡eralion lo creale a nev
more advanlageous slralegic silualion for lhe democralic forces.
As lhe democralic resislance forces gained slrenglh, slralegisls
vouId ¡Iol more ambilious noncoo¡eralion and de!ance lo sever
lhe diclalorshi¡s' sources of ¡over, vilh lhe goaI of ¡roducing in-
creasing ¡oIilicaI ¡araIysis, and in lhe end lhe disinlegralion of lhe
diclalorshi¡ ilseIf.
Il viII be necessary lo ¡Ian carefuIIy hov lhe democralic forces
can veaken lhe su¡¡orl lhal ¡eo¡Ie and grou¡s have ¡reviousIy of-
fered lo lhe diclalorshi¡. WiII lheir su¡¡orl be veakened by reveIa-
lions of lhe brulaIilies ¡er¡elraled by lhe regime, by ex¡osure of lhe
disaslrous economic consequences of lhe diclalors' ¡oIicies, or by a
nev underslanding lhal lhe diclalorshi¡ can be ended` The diclalors'
su¡¡orlers shouId al Ieasl be induced lo become ¨neulraI¨ in lheir
aclivilies (¨fence sillers¨) or ¡referabIy lo become aclive su¡¡orlers
of lhe movemenl for democracy.
During lhe ¡Ianning and im¡Iemenlalion of ¡oIilicaI de!ance
62 Gcnc Sncrp
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and noncoo¡eralion, il is highIy im¡orlanl lo ¡ay cIose allenlion
lo aII of lhe diclalors' main su¡¡orlers and aides, incIuding lheir
inner cIique, ¡oIilicaI ¡arly, ¡oIice, and bureaucrals, bul es¡eciaIIy
lheir army.
The degree of IoyaIly of lhe miIilary forces, bolh soIdiers and
of!cers, lo lhe diclalorshi¡ needs lo be carefuIIy assessed and a
delerminalion shouId be made as lo vhelher lhe miIilary is o¡en
lo in"uence by lhe democralic forces. Mighl many of lhe ordinary
soIdiers be unha¡¡y and frighlened conscri¡ls` Mighl many of lhe
soIdiers and of!cers be aIienaled from lhe regime for ¡ersonaI, fam-
iIy, or ¡oIilicaI reasons` Whal olher faclors mighl make soIdiers and
of!cers vuInerabIe lo democralic subversion`
LarIy in lhe Iiberalion slruggIe a s¡eciaI slralegy shouId be de-
veIo¡ed lo communicale vilh lhe diclalors' lroo¡s and funclionaries.
ßy vords, symboIs, and aclions, lhe democralic forces can inform lhe
lroo¡s lhal lhe Iiberalion slruggIe viII be vigorous, delermined, and
¡ersislenl. Troo¡s shouId Iearn lhal lhe slruggIe viII be of a s¡eciaI
characler, designed lo undermine lhe diclalorshi¡ bul nol lo lhrealen
lheir Iives. Such efforls vouId aim uIlimaleIy lo undermine lhe moraIe
of lhe diclalors' lroo¡s and !naIIy lo subverl lheir IoyaIly and obedi-
ence in favor of lhe democralic movemenl. SimiIar slralegies couId
be aimed al lhe ¡oIice and civiI servanls.
The allem¡l lo garner sym¡alhy from and, evenluaIIy, induce
disobedience among lhe diclalors' forces oughl nol lo be inler¡reled,
hovever, lo mean encouragemenl of lhe miIilary forces lo make a
quick end lo lhe currenl diclalorshi¡ lhrough miIilary aclion. Such
a scenario is nol IikeIy lo inslaII a vorking democracy, for (as ve
have discussed) a cou¡ d'ólal does IillIe lo redress lhe imbaIance of
¡over reIalions belveen lhe ¡o¡uIace and lhe ruIers. Therefore, il
viII be necessary lo ¡Ian hov sym¡alhelic miIilary of!cers can be
broughl lo undersland lhal neilher a miIilary cou¡ nor a civiI var
againsl lhe diclalorshi¡ is required or desirabIe.
Sym¡alhelic of!cers can ¡Iay vilaI roIes in lhe democralic
slruggIe, such as s¡reading disaffeclion and noncoo¡eralion in lhe
miIilary forces, encouraging deIiberale inef!ciencies and lhe quiel
ignoring of orders, and su¡¡orling lhe refusaI lo carry oul re¡res-
sion. MiIilary ¡ersonneI may aIso offer various modes of ¡osilive
nonvioIenl assislance lo lhe democracy movemenl, incIuding safe
¡assage, informalion, food, medicaI su¡¡Iies, and lhe Iike.
The army is one of lhe mosl im¡orlanl sources of lhe ¡over of
diclalors because il can use ils disci¡Iined miIilary unils and vea¡-
onry direclIy lo allack and lo ¡unish lhe disobedienl ¡o¡uIalion.
Dc!cncc sircicgisis sncu|! rcmcm|cr inci ii ui|| |c cxccpiicnc||q !ij!cu|i,
cr impcssi||c, ic !isinicgrcic inc !icicicrsnip ij inc pc|icc, |urccucrcis, cn!
mi|iicrq jcrccs rcmcin ju||q suppcriitc cj inc !icicicrsnip cn! c|c!icni in
ccrrqing cui iis ccmmcn!s. Slralegies aimed al subverling lhe IoyaIly
of lhe diclalors' forces shouId lherefore be given a high ¡riorily by
democralic slralegisls.
The democralic forces shouId remember lhal disaffeclion and
disobedience among lhe miIilary forces and ¡oIice can be highIy
dangerous for lhe members of lhose grou¡s. SoIdiers and ¡oIice
couId ex¡ecl severe ¡enaIlies for any acl of disobedience and execu-
lion for acls of muliny. The democralic forces shouId nol ask lhe
soIdiers and of!cers lhal lhey immedialeIy muliny. Inslead, vhere
communicalion is ¡ossibIe, il shouId be made cIear lhal lhere are a
muIlilude of reIaliveIy safe forms of ¨disguised disobedience¨ lhal
lhey can lake iniliaIIy. Ior exam¡Ie, ¡oIice and lroo¡s can carry oul
inslruclions for re¡ression inef!cienlIy, faiI lo Iocale vanled ¡ersons,
varn resislers of im¡ending re¡ression, arresls, or de¡orlalions, and
faiI lo re¡orl im¡orlanl informalion lo lheir su¡erior of!cers. Disaf-
fecled of!cers in lurn can negIecl lo reIay commands for re¡ression
dovn lhe chain of command. SoIdiers may shool over lhe heads of
demonslralors. SimiIarIy, for lheir ¡arl, civiI servanls can Iose !Ies
and inslruclions, vork inef!cienlIy, and become ¨iII¨ so lhal lhey
need lo slay home unliI lhey ¨recover.¨
5hIIts In stratcgy
The ¡oIilicaI de!ance slralegisls viII need conslanlIy lo assess hov
lhe grand slralegy and lhe s¡eci!c cam¡aign slralegies are being
im¡Iemenled. Il is ¡ossibIe, for exam¡Ie, lhal lhe slruggIe may nol
go as veII as ex¡ecled. In lhal case il viII be necessary lo caIcuIale
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vhal shifls in slralegy mighl be required. Whal can be done lo in-
crease lhe movemenl's slrenglh and regain lhe inilialive` In such
a silualion, il viII be necessary lo idenlify lhe ¡robIem, make a
slralegic reassessmenl, ¡ossibIy shifl slruggIe res¡onsibiIilies lo a
differenl ¡o¡uIalion grou¡, mobiIize addilionaI sources of ¡over,
and deveIo¡ aIlernalive courses of aclion. When lhal is done, lhe
nev ¡Ian shouId be im¡Iemenled immedialeIy.
ConverseIy, if lhe slruggIe has gone much beller lhan ex¡ecled
and lhe diclalorshi¡ is coIIa¡sing earIier lhan ¡reviousIy caIcuIaled,
hov can lhe democralic forces ca¡ilaIize on unex¡ecled gains and
move lovard ¡araIyzing lhe diclalorshi¡` We viII ex¡Iore lhis ques-
lion in lhe foIIoving cha¡ler.
The cumuIalive effecl of veII-conducled and successfuI ¡oIilicaI
de!ance cam¡aigns is lo slrenglhen lhe resislance and lo eslabIish
and ex¡and areas of lhe sociely vhere lhe diclalorshi¡ faces Iimils
on ils effeclive conlroI. These cam¡aigns aIso ¡rovide im¡orlanl
ex¡erience in hov lo refuse coo¡eralion and hov lo offer ¡oIilicaI
de!ance. Thal ex¡erience viII be of greal assislance vhen lhe lime
comes for noncoo¡eralion and de!ance on a mass scaIe.
As vas discussed in Cha¡ler Three, obedience, coo¡eralion,
and submission are essenliaI if diclalors are lo be ¡overfuI. Wilh-
oul access lo lhe sources of ¡oIilicaI ¡over, lhe diclalors' ¡over
veakens and !naIIy dissoIves. WilhdravaI of su¡¡orl is lherefore
lhe ma|or required aclion lo disinlegrale a diclalorshi¡. Il may be
usefuI lo reviev hov lhe sources of ¡over can be affecled by ¡oIili-
caI de!ance.
Acls of symboIic re¡udialion and de!ance are among lhe avaiI-
abIe means lo undermine lhe regime's moraI and ¡oIilicaI cuincr-
iiq ÷ ils Iegilimacy. The grealer lhe regime's aulhorily, lhe grealer
and more reIiabIe is lhe obedience and coo¡eralion vhich il viII
receive. MoraI disa¡¡rovaI needs lo be ex¡ressed in aclion in order
lo seriousIy lhrealen lhe exislence of lhe diclalorshi¡. WilhdravaI
of coo¡eralion and obedience are needed lo sever lhe avaiIabiIily of
olher sources of lhe regime's ¡over.
A second im¡orlanl such source of ¡over is numcn rcscurccs,
lhe number and im¡orlance of lhe ¡ersons and grou¡s lhal obey,
coo¡erale vilh, or assisl lhe ruIers. If noncoo¡eralion is ¡racliced by
Iarge ¡arls of lhe ¡o¡uIalion, lhe regime viII be in serious lroubIe.
Ior exam¡Ie, if lhe civiI servanls no Ionger funclion vilh lheir normaI
ef!ciency or even slay al home, lhe adminislralive a¡¡aralus viII
be graveIy affecled.
SimiIarIy, if lhe noncoo¡eraling ¡ersons and grou¡s incIude
lhose lhal have ¡reviousIy su¡¡Iied s¡eciaIized s|i||s cn! |ncu|-
c!gc, lhen lhe diclalors viII see lheir ca¡acily lo im¡Iemenl lheir
viII graveIy veakened. Lven lheir abiIily lo make veII-informed
decisions and deveIo¡ effeclive ¡oIicies may be seriousIy reduced.
If ¡sychoIogicaI and ideoIogicaI in"uences ÷ caIIed inicngi||c
jccicrs ÷ lhal usuaIIy induce ¡eo¡Ie lo obey and assisl lhe ruIers
are veakened or reversed, lhe ¡o¡uIalion viII be more incIined lo
disobey and lo noncoo¡erale.
The diclalors' access lo mcicric| rcscurccs aIso direclIy affecls
lheir ¡over. Wilh conlroI of !nanciaI resources, lhe economic
syslem, ¡ro¡erly, naluraI resources, lrans¡orlalion, and means of
communicalion in lhe hands of acluaI or ¡olenliaI o¡¡onenls of
lhe regime, anolher ma|or source of lheir ¡over is vuInerabIe or re-
moved. Slrikes, boycolls, and increasing aulonomy in lhe economy,
communicalions, and lrans¡orlalion viII veaken lhe regime.
As ¡reviousIy discussed, lhe diclalors' abiIily lo lhrealen or
a¡¡Iy scnciicns ÷ ¡unishmenls againsl lhe reslive, disobedienl, and
noncoo¡eralive seclions of lhe ¡o¡uIalion ÷ is a cenlraI source of
lhe ¡over of diclalors. This source of ¡over can be veakened in
lvo vays. Iirsl, if lhe ¡o¡uIalion is ¡re¡ared, as in a var, lo risk
serious consequences as lhe ¡rice of de!ance, lhe effecliveness of lhe
avaiIabIe sanclions viII be draslicaIIy reduced (lhal is, lhe diclalors'
re¡ression viII nol secure lhe desired submission). Second, if lhe
¡oIice and lhe miIilary forces lhemseIves become disaffecled, lhey
may on an individuaI or mass basis evade or oulrighl defy orders lo
arresl, beal, or shool resislers. If lhe diclalors can no Ionger reIy on
lhe ¡oIice and miIilary forces lo carry oul re¡ression, lhe diclalorshi¡
is graveIy lhrealened.
In summary, success againsl an enlrenched diclalorshi¡ requires
lhal noncoo¡eralion and de!ance reduce and remove lhe sources of
lhe regime's ¡over. Wilhoul conslanl re¡Ienishmenl of lhe necessary
sources of ¡over lhe diclalorshi¡ viII veaken and !naIIy disinle-
grale. Com¡elenl slralegic ¡Ianning of ¡oIilicaI de!ance againsl
diclalorshi¡s lherefore needs lo largel lhe diclalors' mosl im¡orlanl
sources of ¡over.
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Esca!atIng Irccdnm
Combined vilh ¡oIilicaI de!ance during lhe ¡hase of seIeclive re-
sislance, lhe grovlh of aulonomous sociaI, economic, cuIluraI, and
¡oIilicaI inslilulions ¡rogressiveIy ex¡ands lhe ¨democralic s¡ace¨
of lhe sociely and shrinks lhe conlroI of lhe diclalorshi¡. As lhe civiI
inslilulions of lhe sociely become slronger vis-à-vis lhe diclalorshi¡,
lhen, vhalever lhe diclalors may vish, lhe ¡o¡uIalion is incremen-
laIIy buiIding an inde¡endenl sociely oulside of lheir conlroI. If and
vhen lhe diclalorshi¡ inlervenes lo haIl lhis ¨escaIaling freedom,¨
nonvioIenl slruggIe can be a¡¡Iied in defense of lhis nevIy von
s¡ace and lhe diclalorshi¡ viII be faced vilh yel anolher ¨fronl¨ in
lhe slruggIe.
In lime, lhis combinalion of resislance and inslilulion buiIding
can Iead lo !c jccic freedom, making lhe coIIa¡se of lhe diclalor-
shi¡ and lhe formaI inslaIIalion of a democralic syslem undeniabIe
because lhe ¡over reIalionshi¡s vilhin lhe sociely have been fun-
damenlaIIy aIlered.
IoIand in lhe 197Os and 198Os ¡rovides a cIear exam¡Ie of lhe
¡rogressive recIaiming of a sociely's funclions and inslilulions by
lhe resislance. The CalhoIic church had been ¡erseculed bul never
broughl under fuII Communisl conlroI. In 1976 cerlain inleIIecluaIs
and vorkers formed smaII grou¡s such as K.Ò.R. (Workers Defense
Commillee) lo advance lheir ¡oIilicaI ideas. The organizalion of
lhe SoIidarily lrade union vilh ils ¡over lo vieId effeclive slrikes
forced ils ovn IegaIizalion in 198O. Ieasanls, sludenls, and many
olher grou¡s aIso formed lheir ovn inde¡endenl organizalions.
When lhe Communisls reaIized lhal lhese grou¡s had changed lhe
¡over reaIilies, SoIidarily vas again banned and lhe Communisls
resorled lo miIilary ruIe.
Lven under marliaI Iav, vilh many im¡risonmenls and harsh
¡erseculion, lhe nev inde¡endenl inslilulions of lhe sociely con-
linued lo funclion. Ior exam¡Ie, dozens of iIIegaI nevs¡a¡ers and
magazines conlinued lo be ¡ubIished. IIIegaI ¡ubIishing houses an-
nuaIIy issued hundreds of books, vhiIe veII-knovn vrilers boycol-
led Communisl ¡ubIicalions and governmenl ¡ubIishing houses.
SimiIar aclivilies conlinued in olher ¡arls of lhe sociely.
Inder lhe }aruseIski miIilary regime, lhe miIilary-Communisl
governmenl vas al one ¡oinl described as bouncing around on lhe
lo¡ of lhe sociely. The of!ciaIs sliII occu¡ied governmenl of!ces and
buiIdings. The regime couId sliII slrike dovn inlo lhe sociely, vilh
¡unishmenls, arresls, im¡risonmenl, seizure of ¡rinling ¡resses, and
lhe Iike. The diclalorshi¡, hovever, couId nol conlroI lhe sociely.
Irom lhal ¡oinl, il vas onIy a maller of lime unliI lhe sociely vas
abIe lo bring dovn lhe regime com¡IeleIy.
Lven vhiIe a diclalorshi¡ sliII occu¡ies governmenl ¡osilions
il is somelimes ¡ossibIe lo organize a democralic ¨¡araIIeI govern-
menl.¨ This vouId increasingIy o¡erale as a rivaI governmenl lo
vhich IoyaIly, com¡Iiance, and coo¡eralion are given by lhe ¡o¡u-
Ialion and lhe sociely's inslilulions. The diclalorshi¡ vouId lhen
consequenlIy, on an increasing basis, be de¡rived of lhese characler-
islics of governmenl. LvenluaIIy, lhe democralic ¡araIIeI governmenl
may fuIIy re¡Iace lhe diclaloriaI regime as ¡arl of lhe lransilion lo
a democralic syslem. In due course lhen a conslilulion vouId be
ado¡led and eIeclions heId as ¡arl of lhe lransilion.
DIsIntcgratIng thc dIctatnrshIp
WhiIe lhe inslilulionaI lransformalion of lhe sociely is laking ¡Iace,
lhe de!ance and noncoo¡eralion movemenl may escaIale. Slralegisls
of lhe democralic forces shouId conlem¡Iale earIy lhal lhere viII
come a lime vhen lhe democralic forces can move beyond seIeclive
resislance and Iaunch mass de!ance. In mosl cases, lime viII be
required for crealing, buiIding, or ex¡anding resislance ca¡acilies,
and lhe deveIo¡menl of mass de!ance may occur onIy afler severaI
years. During lhis inlerim ¡eriod cam¡aigns of seIeclive resislance
shouId be Iaunched vilh increasingIy im¡orlanl ¡oIilicaI ob|eclives.
Larger ¡arls of lhe ¡o¡uIalion al aII IeveIs of lhe sociely shouId be-
come invoIved. Given delermined and disci¡Iined ¡oIilicaI de!ance
during lhis escaIalion of aclivilies, lhe inlernaI veaknesses of lhe
diclalorshi¡ are IikeIy lo become increasingIy obvious.
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The combinalion of slrong ¡oIilicaI de!ance and lhe buiIding
of inde¡endenl inslilulions is IikeIy in lime lo ¡roduce vides¡read
inlernalionaI allenlion favorabIe lo lhe democralic forces. Il may aIso
¡roduce inlernalionaI di¡Iomalic condemnalions, boycolls, and em-
bargoes in su¡¡orl of lhe democralic forces (as il did for IoIand).
Slralegisls shouId be avare lhal in some silualions lhe coIIa¡se
of lhe diclalorshi¡ may occur exlremeIy ra¡idIy, as in Lasl Germany
in 1989. This can ha¡¡en vhen lhe sources of ¡over are massiveIy
severed as a resuIl of lhe vhoIe ¡o¡uIalion's revuIsion againsl lhe
diclalorshi¡. This ¡allern is nol usuaI, hovever, and il is beller lo
¡Ian for a Iong-lerm slruggIe (bul lo be ¡re¡ared for a shorl one).
During lhe course of lhe Iiberalion slruggIe, viclories, even on
Iimiled issues, shouId be ceIebraled. Those vho have earned lhe
viclory shouId be recognized. CeIebralions vilh vigiIance shouId
aIso heI¡ lo kee¡ u¡ lhe moraIe needed for fulure slages of lhe
Hand!Ing succcss rcspnnsIb!y
IIanners of lhe grand slralegy shouId caIcuIale in advance lhe ¡os-
sibIe and ¡referred vays in vhich a successfuI slruggIe mighl besl
be concIuded in order lo ¡revenl lhe rise of a nev diclalorshi¡ and lo
ensure lhe graduaI eslabIishmenl of a durabIe democralic syslem.
The democrals shouId caIcuIale hov lhe lransilion from lhe
diclalorshi¡ lo lhe inlerim governmenl shaII be handIed al lhe end
of lhe slruggIe. Il is desirabIe al lhal lime lo eslabIish quickIy a nev
funclioning governmenl. Hovever, il musl nol be mereIy lhe oId
one vilh nev ¡ersonneI. Il is necessary lo caIcuIale vhal seclions of
lhe oId governmenlaI slruclure (as lhe ¡oIilicaI ¡oIice) are lo be com-
¡IeleIy aboIished because of lheir inherenl anli-democralic characler
and vhich seclions relained lo be sub|ecled lo Ialer democralizalion
efforls. A com¡Iele governmenlaI void couId o¡en lhe vay lo chaos
or a nev diclalorshi¡.
Thoughl shouId be given in advance lo delermine vhal is lo be
lhe ¡oIicy lovard high of!ciaIs of lhe diclalorshi¡ vhen ils ¡over
disinlegrales. Ior exam¡Ie, are lhe diclalors lo be broughl lo lriaI in
a courl` Are lhey lo be ¡ermilled lo Ieave lhe counlry ¡ermanenlIy`
Whal olher o¡lions may lhere be lhal are consislenl vilh ¡oIilicaI
de!ance, lhe need for reconslrucling lhe counlry, and buiIding a
democracy foIIoving lhe viclory` A bIood balh musl be avoided
vhich couId have draslic consequences on lhe ¡ossibiIily of a fulure
democralic syslem.
S¡eci!c ¡Ians for lhe lransilion lo democracy shouId be ready
for a¡¡Iicalion vhen lhe diclalorshi¡ is veakening or coIIa¡ses.
Such ¡Ians viII heI¡ lo ¡revenl anolher grou¡ from seizing slale
¡over lhrough a cou¡ d'ólal. IIans for lhe inslilulion of democralic
conslilulionaI governmenl vilh fuII ¡oIilicaI and ¡ersonaI Iiberlies
viII aIso be required. The changes von al a greal ¡rice shouId nol
be Iosl lhrough Iack of ¡Ianning.
When confronled vilh lhe increasingIy em¡overed ¡o¡uIalion
and lhe grovlh of inde¡endenl democralic grou¡s and inslilulions ÷
bolh of vhich lhe diclalorshi¡ is unabIe lo conlroI ÷ lhe diclalors viII
!nd lhal lheir vhoIe venlure is unraveIIing. Massive shul-dovns of
lhe sociely, generaI slrikes, mass slay-al-homes, de!anl marches, or
olher aclivilies viII increasingIy undermine lhe diclalors' ovn orga-
nizalion and reIaled inslilulions. As a consequence of such de!ance
and noncoo¡eralion, execuled viseIy and vilh mass ¡arlici¡alion
over lime, lhe diclalors vouId become ¡overIess and lhe democralic
defenders vouId, vilhoul vioIence, lrium¡h. The diclalorshi¡ vouId
disinlegrale before lhe de!anl ¡o¡uIalion.
Nol every such efforl viII succeed, es¡eciaIIy nol easiIy, and
rareIy quickIy. Il shouId be remembered lhal as many miIilary vars
are Iosl as are von. Hovever, ¡oIilicaI de!ance offers a reaI ¡ossibiIi-
ly of viclory. As slaled earIier, lhal ¡ossibiIily can be grealIy increased
lhrough lhe deveIo¡menl of a vise grand slralegy, carefuI slralegic
¡Ianning, hard vork, and disci¡Iined courageous slruggIe.
72 Gcnc Sncrp
The disinlegralion of lhe diclalorshi¡ is of course a cause for ma|or
ceIebralion. Ieo¡Ie vho have suffered for so Iong and slruggIed
al greal ¡rice meril a lime of |oy, reIaxalion, and recognilion. They
shouId feeI ¡roud of lhemseIves and of aII vho slruggIed vilh lhem
lo vin ¡oIilicaI freedom. Nol aII viII have Iived lo see lhis day. The
Iiving and lhe dead viII be remembered as heroes vho heI¡ed lo
sha¡e lhe hislory of freedom in lheir counlry.
InforlunaleIy, lhis is nol a lime for a reduclion in vigiIance.
Lven in lhe evenl of a successfuI disinlegralion of lhe diclalorshi¡
by ¡oIilicaI de!ance, carefuI ¡recaulions musl be laken lo ¡revenl
lhe rise of a nev o¡¡ressive regime oul of lhe confusion foIIoving
lhe coIIa¡se of lhe oId one. The Ieaders of lhe ¡ro-democracy forces
shouId have ¡re¡ared in advance for an orderIy lransilion lo a de-
mocracy. The diclaloriaI slruclures viII need lo be dismanlIed. The
conslilulionaI and IegaI bases and slandards of behavior of a durabIe
democracy viII need lo be buiIl.
No one shouId beIieve lhal vilh lhe dovnfaII of lhe diclalorshi¡
an ideaI sociely viII immedialeIy a¡¡ear. The disinlegralion of lhe
diclalorshi¡ sim¡Iy ¡rovides lhe beginning ¡oinl, under condilions
of enhanced freedom, for Iong-lerm efforls lo im¡rove lhe sociely and
meel human needs more adequaleIy. Serious ¡oIilicaI, economic, and
sociaI ¡robIems viII conlinue for years, requiring lhe coo¡eralion of
many ¡eo¡Ie and grou¡s in seeking lheir resoIulion. The nev ¡oIili-
caI syslem shouId ¡rovide lhe o¡¡orlunilies for ¡eo¡Ie vilh varying
oulIooks and favored measures lo conlinue conslruclive vork and
¡oIicy deveIo¡menl lo deaI vilh ¡robIems in lhe fulure.
Thrcats nI a ncw dIctatnrshIp
ArislolIe varned Iong ago lhal ¨. . . lyranny can aIso change inlo
lyranny. . .¨
There is am¡Ie hisloricaI evidence from Irance (lhe
ArislolIe, 1nc Pc|iiics, ßook V, Cha¡ler 12, ¡. 233.
}acobins and Na¡oIeon), Russia (lhe ßoIsheviks), Iran (lhe AyaloI-
Iah), ßurma (SLÒRC), and eIsevhere lhal lhe coIIa¡se of an o¡¡res-
sive regime viII be seen by some ¡ersons and grou¡s as mereIy lhe
o¡¡orlunily for lhem lo sle¡ in as lhe nev maslers. Their molives
may vary, bul lhe resuIls are oflen a¡¡roximaleIy lhe same. The
nev diclalorshi¡ may even be more crueI and lolaI in ils conlroI
lhan lhe oId one.
Lven before lhe coIIa¡se of lhe diclalorshi¡, members of lhe oId
regime may allem¡l lo cul shorl lhe de!ance slruggIe for democracy
by slaging a cou¡ d'ólal designed lo ¡reem¡l viclory by lhe ¡o¡uIar
resislance. Il may cIaim lo ousl lhe diclalorshi¡, bul in facl seek onIy
lo im¡ose a nev refurbished modeI of lhe oId one.
B!nckIng cnups
There are vays in vhich cou¡s againsl nevIy Iiberaled socielies can
be defealed. Advance knovIedge of lhal defense ca¡acily may al
limes be suf!cienl lo deler lhe allem¡l. Ire¡aralion can ¡roduce
ImmedialeIy afler a cou¡ is slarled, lhe ¡ulschisls require Ie-
gilimacy, lhal is, acce¡lance of lheir moraI and ¡oIilicaI righl lo ruIe.
The !rsl basic ¡rinci¡Ie of anli-cou¡ defense is lherefore lo deny
Iegilimacy lo lhe ¡ulschisls.
The ¡ulschisls aIso require lhal lhe civiIian Ieaders and ¡o¡uIa-
lion be su¡¡orlive, confused, or |usl ¡assive. The ¡ulschisls require
lhe coo¡eralion of s¡eciaIisls and advisors, bureaucrals and civiI
servanls, adminislralors and |udges in order lo consoIidale lheir
conlroI over lhe affecled sociely. The ¡ulschisls aIso require lhal lhe
muIlilude of ¡eo¡Ie vho o¡erale lhe ¡oIilicaI syslem, lhe sociely's
inslilulions, lhe economy, lhe ¡oIice, and lhe miIilary forces viII
¡assiveIy submil and carry oul lheir usuaI funclions as modi!ed by
lhe ¡ulschisls' orders and ¡oIicies.
The second basic ¡rinci¡Ie of anli-cou¡ defense is lo resisl lhe
¡ulschisls vilh noncoo¡eralion and de!ance. The needed coo¡era-
lion and assislance musl be denied. LssenliaIIy lhe same means of
slruggIe lhal vas used againsl lhe diclalorshi¡ can be used againsl
74 Gcnc Sncrp
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 75
lhe nev lhreal, bul a¡¡Iied immedialeIy. If bolh Iegilimacy and
coo¡eralion are denied, lhe cou¡ may die of ¡oIilicaI slarvalion and
lhe chance lo buiId a democralic sociely reslored.
CnnstItutInn draItIng
The nev democralic syslem viII require a conslilulion lhal eslab-
Iishes lhe desired framevork of lhe democralic governmenl. The
conslilulion shouId sel lhe ¡ur¡oses of governmenl, Iimils on
governmenlaI ¡overs, lhe means and liming of eIeclions by vhich
governmenlaI of!ciaIs and IegisIalors viII be chosen, lhe inherenl
righls of lhe ¡eo¡Ie, and lhe reIalion of lhe nalionaI governmenl lo
olher Iover IeveIs of governmenl.
Wilhin lhe cenlraI governmenl, if il is lo remain democralic,
a cIear division of aulhorily shouId be eslabIished belveen lhe
IegisIalive, execulive, and |udiciaI branches of governmenl. Slrong
reslriclions shouId be incIuded on aclivilies of lhe ¡oIice, inleIIigence
services, and miIilary forces lo ¡rohibil any IegaI ¡oIilicaI inlerfer-
In lhe inleresls of ¡reserving lhe democralic syslem and im-
¡eding diclaloriaI lrends and measures, lhe conslilulion shouId
¡referabIy be one lhal eslabIishes a federaI syslem vilh signi!canl
¡rerogalives reserved for lhe regionaI, slale, and IocaI IeveIs of gov-
ernmenl. In some silualions lhe Sviss syslem of canlons mighl be
considered in vhich reIaliveIy smaII areas relain ma|or ¡rerogalives,
vhiIe remaining a ¡arl of lhe vhoIe counlry.
If a conslilulion vilh many of lhese fealures exisled earIier in
lhe nevIy Iiberaled counlry's hislory, il may be vise sim¡Iy lo reslore
il lo o¡eralion, amending il as deemed necessary and desirabIe. If
a suilabIe oIder conslilulion is nol ¡resenl, il may be necessary lo
o¡erale vilh an inlerim conslilulion. Òlhervise, a nev conslilu-
lion viII need lo be ¡re¡ared. Ire¡aring a nev conslilulion viII
lake considerabIe lime and lhoughl. Io¡uIar ¡arlici¡alion in lhis
¡rocess is desirabIe and required for rali!calion of a nev lexl or
amendmenls. Òne shouId be very caulious aboul incIuding in lhe
conslilulion ¡romises lhal Ialer mighl ¡rove im¡ossibIe lo im¡Ie-
menl or ¡rovisions lhal vouId require a highIy cenlraIized govern-
menl, for bolh can faciIilale a nev diclalorshi¡.
The vording of lhe conslilulion shouId be easiIy underslood
by lhe ma|orily of lhe ¡o¡uIalion. A conslilulion shouId nol be so
com¡Iex or ambiguous lhal onIy Iavyers or olher eIiles can cIaim
lo undersland il.
A dcmncratIc dcIcnsc pn!Icy
The Iiberaled counlry may aIso face foreign lhreals for vhich a
defense ca¡acily vouId be required. The counlry mighl aIso be
lhrealened by foreign allem¡ls lo eslabIish economic, ¡oIilicaI, or
miIilary dominalion.
In lhe inleresls of mainlaining inlernaI democracy, serious
consideralion shouId be given lo a¡¡Iying lhe basic ¡rinci¡Ies of
¡oIilicaI de!ance lo lhe needs of nalionaI defense.
ßy ¡Iacing resis-
lance ca¡acily direclIy in lhe hands of lhe cilizenry, nevIy Iiberaled
counlries couId avoid lhe need lo eslabIish a slrong miIilary ca¡ac-
ily vhich couId ilseIf lhrealen democracy or require vasl economic
resources much needed for olher ¡ur¡oses.
Il musl be remembered lhal some grou¡s viII ignore any con-
slilulionaI ¡rovision in lheir aim lo eslabIish lhemseIves as nev
diclalors. Therefore, a ¡ermanenl roIe viII exisl for lhe ¡o¡uIalion lo
a¡¡Iy ¡oIilicaI de!ance and noncoo¡eralion againsl vouId-be dicla-
lors and lo ¡reserve democralic slruclures, righls, and ¡rocedures.
A mcrItnrInus rcspnnsIbI!Ity
The effecl of nonvioIenl slruggIe is nol onIy lo veaken and remove
lhe diclalors bul aIso lo em¡over lhe o¡¡ressed. This lechnique
enabIes ¡eo¡Ie vho formerIy feIl lhemseIves lo be onIy ¡avns or
viclims lo vieId ¡over direclIy in order lo gain by lheir ovn efforls
grealer freedom and |uslice. This ex¡erience of slruggIe has im¡or-
76 Gcnc Sncrp
See Gene Shar¡, Citi|icn-Bcsc! Dcjcnsc. A Pcsi-Mi|iicrq Wccpcns Sqsicm (Irinc-
elon, Nev }ersey: Irincelon Iniversily Iress, 199O).
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 77
lanl ¡sychoIogicaI consequences, conlribuling lo increased seIf-es-
leem and seIf-con!dence among lhe formerIy ¡overIess.
Òne im¡orlanl Iong-lerm bene!ciaI consequence of lhe use of
nonvioIenl slruggIe for eslabIishing democralic governmenl is lhal
lhe sociely viII be more ca¡abIe of deaIing vilh conlinuing and
fulure ¡robIems. These mighl incIude fulure governmenlaI abuse
and corru¡lion, maIlrealmenl of any grou¡, economic in|uslices, and
Iimilalions on lhe democralic quaIilies of lhe ¡oIilicaI syslem. The
¡o¡uIalion ex¡erienced in lhe use of ¡oIilicaI de!ance is Iess IikeIy
lo be vuInerabIe lo fulure diclalorshi¡s.
Afler Iiberalion, famiIiarily vilh nonvioIenl slruggIe viII ¡ro-
vide vays lo defend democracy, civiI Iiberlies, minorily righls, and
¡rerogalives of regionaI, slale, and IocaI governmenls and nongov-
ernmenlaI inslilulions. Such means aIso ¡rovide vays by vhich
¡eo¡Ie and grou¡s can ex¡ress exlreme dissenl ¡eacefuIIy on issues
seen as so im¡orlanl lhal o¡¡osilion grou¡s have somelimes resorled
lo lerrorism or guerriIIa varfare.
The lhoughls in lhis examinalion of ¡oIilicaI de!ance or non-
vioIenl slruggIe are inlended lo be heI¡fuI lo aII ¡ersons and grou¡s
vho seek lo Iifl diclaloriaI o¡¡ression from lheir ¡eo¡Ie and lo es-
labIish a durabIe democralic syslem lhal res¡ecls human freedoms
and ¡o¡uIar aclion lo im¡rove lhe sociely.
There are lhree ma|or concIusions lo lhe ideas skelched here:
ª Liberalion from diclalorshi¡s is ¡ossibIe,
ª Very carefuI lhoughl and slralegic ¡Ianning viII be required
lo achieve il, and
ª VigiIance, hard vork, and disci¡Iined slruggIe, oflen al greal
cosl, viII be needed.
The ofl quoled ¡hrase ¨Ireedom is nol free¨ is lrue. No oulside
force is coming lo give o¡¡ressed ¡eo¡Ie lhe freedom lhey so much
vanl. Ieo¡Ie viII have lo Iearn hov lo lake lhal freedom lhemseIves.
Lasy il cannol be.
If ¡eo¡Ie can gras¡ vhal is required for lheir ovn Iiberalion,
lhey can charl courses of aclion vhich, lhrough much lravaiI, can
evenluaIIy bring lhem lheir freedom. Then, vilh diIigence lhey
can conslrucl a nev democralic order and ¡re¡are for ils defense.
Ireedom von by slruggIe of lhis ly¡e can be durabIe. Il can be
mainlained by a lenacious ¡eo¡Ie commilled lo ils ¡reservalion
and enrichmenl.
78 Gcnc Sncrp
Fnrma! statcmcnts
1. IubIic s¡eeches
2. Lellers of o¡¡osilion or su¡¡orl
3. DecIaralions by organizalions and inslilulions
4. Signed ¡ubIic slalemenls
5. DecIaralions of indiclmenl and inlenlion
6. Grou¡ or mass ¡elilions
CnmmunIcatInns wIth a wIdcr audIcncc
7. SIogans, caricalures, and symboIs
8. ßanners, ¡oslers, and dis¡Iayed communicalions
9. Lea"els, ¡am¡hIels, and books
1O. Nevs¡a¡ers and |ournaIs
11. Records, radio, and leIevision
12. Skyvriling and earlhvriling
Grnup rcprcscntatInns
13. De¡ulalions
14. Mock avards
15. Grou¡ Iobbying
16. Iickeling
17. Mock eIeclions
5ymbn!Ic pub!Ic acts
18. Dis¡Iay of "ags and symboIic coIors
19. Wearing of symboIs
This Iisl, vilh de!nilions and hisloricaI exam¡Ies, is laken from Gene Shar¡,
The Politics of Nonviolent Action, Iarl Tvo, The Methods of Nonviolent Action.
2O. Irayer and vorshi¡
21. DeIivering symboIic ob|ecls
22. Irolesl disrobings
23. Deslruclion of ovn ¡ro¡erly
24. SymboIic Iighls
25. Dis¡Iays of ¡orlrails
26. Iainl as ¡rolesl
27. Nev signs and names
28. SymboIic sounds
29. SymboIic recIamalions
3O. Rude geslures
Prcssurcs nn IndIvIdua!s
31. ¨Haunling¨ of!ciaIs
32. Taunling of!ciaIs
33. Iralernizalion
34. VigiIs
Drama and musIc
35. Humorous skils and ¡ranks
36. Ierformance of ¡Iays and music
37. Singing
38. Marches
39. Iarades
4O. ReIigious ¡rocessions
41. IiIgrimages
42. Molorcades
HnnnrIng thc dcad
43. IoIilicaI mourning
44. Mock funeraIs
45. Demonslralive funeraIs
46. Homage al buriaI ¡Iaces
80 Gcnc Sncrp
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 81
Pub!Ic asscmb!Ics
47. AssembIies of ¡rolesl or su¡¡orl
48. Irolesl meelings
49. Camou"aged meelings of ¡rolesl
5O. Teach-ins
WIthdrawa! and rcnuncIatInn
51. WaIk-ouls
52. SiIence
53. Renouncing honors
54. Turning one's back
OstracIsm nI pcrsnns
55. SociaI boycoll
56. SeIeclive sociaI boycoll
57. Lysislralic nonaclion
58. Lxcommunicalion
59. Inlerdicl
NnncnnpcratInn wIth sncIa! cvcnts, custnms, and InstItutInns
6O. Sus¡ension of sociaI and s¡orls aclivilies
61. ßoycoll of sociaI affairs
62. Sludenl slrike
63. SociaI disobedience
64. WilhdravaI from sociaI inslilulions
WIthdrawa! Irnm thc sncIa! systcm
65. Slay-al-home
66. TolaI ¡ersonaI noncoo¡eralion
67. IIighl of vorkers
68. Sancluary
69. CoIIeclive disa¡¡earance
7O. Irolesl emigralion (hijrat)
ActInn by cnnsumcrs
71. Consumers' boycoll
72. Nonconsum¡lion of boycolled goods
73. IoIicy of auslerily
74. Renl vilhhoIding
75. RefusaI lo renl
76. NalionaI consumers' boycoll
77. InlernalionaI consumers' boycoll
ActInn by wnrkcrs and prnduccrs
78. Workmen's boycoll
79. Iroducers' boycoll
ActInn by mIdd!cmcn
8O. Su¡¡Iiers' and handIers' boycoll
ActInn by nwncrs and managcmcnt
81. Traders' boycoll
82. RefusaI lo Iel or seII ¡ro¡erly
83. Lockoul
84. RefusaI of induslriaI assislance
85. Merchanls' ¨generaI slrike¨
ActInn by hn!dcrs nI !nancIa! rcsnurccs
86. WilhdravaI of bank de¡osils
87. RefusaI lo ¡ay fees, dues, and assessmenls
88. RefusaI lo ¡ay debls or inleresl
89. Severance of funds and credil
9O. Revenue refusaI
91. RefusaI of a governmenl's money
ActInn by gnvcrnmcnts
92. Domeslic embargo
93. ßIackIisling of lraders
94. InlernalionaI seIIers' embargo
95. InlernalionaI buyers' embargo
96. InlernalionaI lrade embargo
82 Gcnc Sncrp
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 83
5ymbn!Ic strIkcs
97. Irolesl slrike
98. Quickie vaIkoul (Iighlning slrike)
AgrIcu!tura! strIkcs
99. Ieasanl slrike
1OO. Iarm vorkers' slrike
5trIkcs by spccIa! grnups
1O1. RefusaI of im¡ressed Iabor
1O2. Irisoners' slrike
1O3. Crafl slrike
1O4. IrofessionaI slrike
OrdInary IndustrIa! strIkcs
1O5. LslabIishmenl slrike
1O6. Induslry slrike
1O7. Sym¡alhelic slrike
RcstrIctcd strIkcs
1O8. DelaiIed slrike
1O9. ßum¡er slrike
11O. SIovdovn slrike
111. Working-lo-ruIe slrike
112. Re¡orling ¨sick¨ (sick-in)
113. Slrike by resignalion
114. Limiled slrike
115. SeIeclive slrike
Mu!tI-Industry strIkcs
116. GeneraIized slrike
117. GeneraI slrike
CnmbInatInns nI strIkcs and ccnnnmIc c!nsurcs
118. Hartal
119. Lconomic shuldovn
RcjcctInn nI authnrIty
12O. WilhhoIding or vilhdravaI of aIIegiance
121. RefusaI of ¡ubIic su¡¡orl
122. Lileralure and s¡eeches advocaling resislance
CItIzcns' nnncnnpcratInn wIth gnvcrnmcnt
123. ßoycoll of IegisIalive bodies
124. ßoycoll of eIeclions
125. ßoycoll of governmenl em¡Ioymenl and ¡osilions
126. ßoycoll of governmenl de¡arlmenls, agencies and
olher bodies
127. WilhdravaI from governmenl educalionaI inslilulions
128. ßoycoll of governmenl-su¡¡orled organizalions
129. RefusaI of assislance lo enforcemenl agenls
13O. RemovaI of ovn signs and ¡Iacemarks
131. RefusaI lo acce¡l a¡¡oinled of!ciaIs
132. RefusaI lo dissoIve exisling inslilulions
CItIzcns' a!tcrnatIvcs tn nbcdIcncc
133. ReIuclanl and sIov com¡Iiance
134. Nonobedience in absence of direcl su¡ervision
135. Io¡uIar nonobedience
136. Disguised disobedience
137. RefusaI of an assembIage or meeling lo dis¡erse
138. Sildovn
139. Noncoo¡eralion vilh conscri¡lion and de¡orlalion
14O. Hiding, esca¡e and faIse idenlilies
141. CiviI disobedience of ¨iIIegilimale¨ Iavs
ActInn by gnvcrnmcnt pcrsnnnc!
142. SeIeclive refusaI of assislance by governmenl aides
143. ßIocking of Iines of command and informalion
144. SlaIIing and obslruclion
145. GeneraI adminislralive noncoo¡eralion
84 Gcnc Sncrp
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 85
146. }udiciaI noncoo¡eralion
147. DeIiberale inef!ciency and seIeclive noncoo¡eralion by
enforcemenl agenls
148. Muliny
DnmcstIc gnvcrnmcnta! actInn
149. Quasi-IegaI evasions and deIays
15O. Noncoo¡eralion by consliluenl governmenlaI unils
IntcrnatInna! gnvcrnmcnta! actInn
151. Changes in di¡Iomalic and olher re¡resenlalion
152. DeIay and canceIIalion of di¡Iomalic evenls
153. WilhhoIding of di¡Iomalic recognilion
154. Severance of di¡Iomalic reIalions
155. WilhdravaI from inlernalionaI organizalions
156. RefusaI of membershi¡ in inlernalionaI bodies
157. Lx¡uIsion from inlernalionaI organizalions
Psychn!ngIca! IntcrvcntInn
158. SeIf-ex¡osure lo lhe eIemenls
159. The fasl
(a) Iasl of moraI ¡ressure
(b) Hunger slrike
(c) Salyagrahic fasl
16O. Reverse lriaI
161. NonvioIenl harassmenl
PhysIca! IntcrvcntInn
162. Sil-in
163. Sland-in
164. Ride-in
165. Wade-in
166. MiII-in
167. Iray-in
168. NonvioIenl raids
169. NonvioIenl air raids
17O. NonvioIenl invasion
171. NonvioIenl inler|eclion
172. NonvioIenl obslruclion
173. NonvioIenl occu¡alion
5ncIa! IntcrvcntInn
174. LslabIishing nev sociaI ¡allerns
175. ÒverIoading of faciIilies
176. SlaII-in
177. S¡eak-in
178. GuerriIIa lhealer
179. AIlernalive sociaI inslilulions
18O. AIlernalive communicalion syslem
EcnnnmIc IntcrvcntInn
181. Reverse slrike
182. Slay-in slrike
183. NonvioIenl Iand seizure
184. De!ance of bIockades
185. IoIilicaIIy molivaled counlerfeiling
186. IrecIusive ¡urchasing
187. Seizure of assels
188. Dum¡ing
189. SeIeclive ¡alronage
19O. AIlernalive markels
191. AIlernalive lrans¡orlalion syslems
192. AIlernalive economic inslilulions
Pn!ItIca! IntcrvcntInn
193. ÒverIoading of adminislralive syslems
194. DiscIosing idenlilies of secrel agenls
195. Seeking im¡risonmenl
196. CiviI disobedience of ¨neulraI¨ Iavs
197. Work-on vilhoul coIIaboralion
198. DuaI sovereignly and ¡araIIeI governmenl
86 Gcnc Sncrp
I have incurred severaI debls of gralilude vhiIe vriling lhe
originaI edilion of lhis essay. ßruce }enkins, my S¡eciaI Assislanl
in 1993, made an ineslimabIe conlribulion by his idenli!calion of
¡robIems in conlenl and ¡resenlalion. He aIso made incisive recom-
mendalions for more rigorous and cIearer ¡resenlalions of dif!cuIl
ideas (es¡eciaIIy concerning slralegy), slrucluraI reorganizalion, and
ediloriaI im¡rovemenls.
I am aIso gralefuI for lhe ediloriaI assislance of Sle¡hen Coady.
Dr. Chrislo¡her KruegIer and Roberl HeIvey offered very im¡orlanl
crilicisms and advice. Dr. HazeI McIerson and Dr. Ialricia Iarkman
¡rovided informalion on slruggIes in Africa and Lalin America, re-
s¡ecliveIy. Hovever, lhe anaIysis and concIusions conlained lherein
are soIeIy my res¡onsibiIily.
In recenl years s¡eciaI guideIines for lransIalions have been
deveIo¡ed, ¡rimariIy due lo }amiIa Raqib's guidance and lo lhe
Iessons Iearned from earIier years. This has been necessary in order
lo ensure accuracy in Ianguages in vhich lhere has earIier been no
eslabIished cIear lerminoIogy for lhis !eId.
¨Irom Diclalorshi¡ lo Democracy¨ vas vrillen al lhe requesl
of lhe Iale I Tin Maung Win, a ¡rominenl exiIe ßurmese democral
vho vas lhen edilor of Knii Pqcing (1nc Ncu |rc jcurnc|).
The ¡re¡aralion of lhis lexl vas based over forly years of re-
search and vriling on nonvioIenl slruggIe, diclalorshi¡s, lolaIilarian
syslems, resislance movemenls, ¡oIilicaI lheory, socioIogicaI anaIysis,
and olher !eIds.
I couId nol vrile an anaIysis lhal had a focus onIy on ßurma,
as I did nol knov ßurma veII. Therefore, I had lo vrile a generic
The essay vas originaIIy ¡ubIished in inslaIImenls in Knii Pqcing
in ßurmese and LngIish in ßangkok, ThaiIand in 1993. Aflervards
il vas issued as a bookIel in bolh Ianguages (1994) and in ßurmese
again (1996 and 1997). The originaI bookIel edilions from ßangkok
vere issued vilh lhe assislance of lhe Commillee for lhe Resloralion
of Democracy in ßurma.
Il vas circuIaled bolh surre¡liliousIy inside ßurma and among
exiIes and sym¡alhizers eIsevhere. This anaIysis vas inlended onIy
for use by ßurmese democrals and various elhnic grou¡s in ßurma
lhal vanled inde¡endence from lhe ßurman-dominaled cenlraI
governmenl in Rangoon. (ßurmans are lhe dominanl elhnic grou¡
in ßurma.)
I did nol lhen envisage lhal lhe generic focus vouId make lhe
anaIysis ¡olenliaIIy reIevanl in any counlry vilh an aulhorilarian
or diclaloriaI governmenl. Hovever, lhal a¡¡ears lo have been lhe
¡erce¡lion by ¡eo¡Ie vho in recenl years have soughl lo lransIale
and dislribule il in lheir Ianguages for lheir counlries. SeveraI ¡er-
sons have re¡orled lhal il reads as lhough il vas vrillen for lheir
The SLÒRC miIilary diclalorshi¡ in Rangoon vasled no lime
in denouncing lhis ¡ubIicalion. Heavy allacks vere made in 1995
and 1996, and re¡orledIy conlinued in Ialer years in nevs¡a¡ers,
radio, and leIevision. As Iale as 2OO5, ¡ersons vere senlenced lo
seven-year ¡rison lerms mereIy for being in ¡ossession of lhe banned
AIlhough no efforls vere made lo ¡romole lhe ¡ubIicalion for
use in olher counlries, lransIalions and dislribulion of lhe ¡ubIica-
lion began lo s¡read on lheir ovn. A co¡y of lhe LngIish Ianguage
edilion vas seen on dis¡Iay in lhe vindov of a bookslore in ßangkok
by a sludenl from Indonesia, vas ¡urchased, and laken back home.
There, il vas lransIaled inlo Indonesian, and ¡ubIished in 1997 by a
ma|or Indonesian ¡ubIisher vilh an inlroduclion by Abdurrahman
Wahid. He vas lhen head of NadhIaluI IIama, lhe Iargesl MusIim
organizalion in lhe vorId vilh lhirly-!ve miIIion members, and Ialer
88 Gcnc Sncrp
Iresidenl of Indonesia.
During lhis lime, al my of!ce al lhe AIberl Linslein Inslilulion
ve onIy had a handfuI of ¡holoco¡ies from lhe ßangkok LngIish
Ianguage bookIel. Ior a fev years ve had lo make co¡ies of il vhen
ve had enquiries for vhich il vas reIevanl. Laler, Marek ZeIaskievz,
from CaIifornia, look one of lhose co¡ies lo ßeIgrade during MiIoso-
vic's lime and gave il lo lhe organizalion Civic Inilialives. They
lransIaled il inlo Serbian and ¡ubIished il. When ve visiled Serbia
afler lhe coIIa¡se of lhe MiIosevic regime ve vere loId lhal lhe book-
Iel had been quile in"uenliaI in lhe o¡¡osilion movemenl.
AIso im¡orlanl had been lhe vorksho¡ on nonvioIenl slruggIe
lhal Roberl HeIvey, a relired IS Army coIoneI, had given in ßuda¡esl,
Hungary, for aboul lvenly Serbian young ¡eo¡Ie on lhe nalure and
¡olenliaI of nonvioIenl slruggIe. HeIvey aIso gave lhem co¡ies of
lhe com¡Iele 1nc Pc|iiics cj Ncntic|cni Aciicn. These vere lhe ¡eo¡Ie
vho became lhe Òl¡or organizalion lhal Ied lhe nonvioIenl slruggIe
lhal broughl dovn MiIosevic.
We usuaIIy do nol knov hov avareness of lhis ¡ubIicalion has
s¡read from counlry lo counlry. Ils avaiIabiIily on our veb sile in
recenl years has been im¡orlanl, bul cIearIy lhal is nol lhe onIy faclor.
Tracing lhese conneclions vouId be a ma|or research ¡ro|ecl.
¨Irom Diclalorshi¡ lo Democracy¨ is a heavy anaIysis and is nol
easy reading. Yel il has been deemed lo be im¡orlanl enough for al
Ieasl lvenly-eighl lransIalions (as of }anuary 2OO8) lo be ¡re¡ared,
aIlhough lhey required ma|or vork and ex¡ense.
TransIalions of lhis ¡ubIicalion in ¡rinl or on a veb sile incIude
lhe foIIoving Ianguages: Amharic (Llhio¡ia), Arabic, Azeri (Azerbai-
|an), ßahasa Indonesia, ßeIarusian, ßurmese, Chin (ßurma), Chinese
(sim¡Ii!ed and lradilionaI Mandarin), Dhivehi (MaIdives), Iarsi
(Iran), Irench, Georgian, German, }ing Iav (ßurma), Karen (ßurma),
Khmer (Cambodia), Kurdish, Kyrgyz (Kyrgyzslan), Ne¡aIi, Iashlo
(Afghanislan and Iakislan), Russian, Serbian, S¡anish, Tibelan,
Tigrinya (Lrilrea), Ikrainian, Izbek (Izbekislan), and Vielnamese.
SeveraI olhers are in ¡re¡aralion.
ßelveen 1993 and 2OO2 lhere vere six lransIalions. ßelveen
2OO3 and 2OO8 lhere have been lvenly-lvo.
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 89
The greal diversily of lhe socielies and Ianguages inlo vhich
lransIalions have s¡read su¡¡orl lhe ¡rovisionaI concIusion lhal lhe
¡ersons vho iniliaIIy encounler lhis documenl have seen ils anaIysis
lo be reIevanl lo lheir sociely.
Gene Shar¡
}anuary 2OO8
AIberl Linslein Inslilulion
ßoslon, Massachusells
90 Gcnc Sncrp
A Nntc Abnut Trans!atInns
and RcprIntIng nI thIs Pub!IcatInn
To faciIilale disseminalion of lhis ¡ubIicalion il has been ¡Iaced in
lhe ¡ubIic domain. Thal means lhal anyone is free lo re¡roduce il
or disseminale il.
The aulhor, hovever, does have severaI requesls lhal he vouId
Iike lo make, aIlhough individuaIs are under no IegaI obIigalion lo
foIIov such requesls.
ª The aulhor requesls lhal no changes be made in lhe lexl, eilher
addilions or deIelions, if il is re¡roduced.
ª The aulhor requesls noli!calion from individuaIs vho inlend
lo re¡roduce lhis documenl. Noli!calion can be given lo lhe
AIberl Linslein Inslilulion (conlacl informalion a¡¡ears in lhe
beginning of lhis ¡ubIicalion immedialeIy before lhe TabIe of
ª The aulhor requesls lhal if lhis documenl is going lo be lrans-
Ialed, greal care musl be laken lo ¡reserve lhe originaI meaning
of lhe lexl. Some of lhe lerms in lhis ¡ubIicalion viII nol lrans-
Iale readiIy inlo olher Ianguages, as direcl equivaIenls for ¨non-
vioIenl slruggIe¨ and reIaled lerms may nol be avaiIabIe. Thus,
carefuI consideralion musl be given lo hov lhese lerms and
conce¡ls are lo be lransIaled so as lo be underslood accuraleIy
by nev readers.
Ior individuaIs and grou¡s lhal vish lo lransIale lhis vork,
lhe AIberl Linslein Inslilulion has deveIo¡ed a slandard sel of lrans-
Ialion ¡rocedures lhal may assisl lhem. They are as foIIovs:
ª A seIeclion ¡rocess lakes ¡Iace lo seIecl a lransIalor. Candi-
dales are evaIualed on lheir "uency in bolh LngIish and lhe
Ianguage inlo vhich lhe vork viII be lransIaled. Candidales
are aIso evaIualed on lheir generaI knovIedge surrounding lhe
sub|ecl area and lheir underslanding of lhe lerms and conce¡ls
¡resenl in lhe lexl.
ª An evaIualor is seIecled by a simiIar ¡rocess. The evaIualor's
|ob is lo lhoroughIy reviev lhe lransIalion and lo ¡rovide feed-
back and crilicism lo lhe lransIalor. Il is oflen beller if lhe lrans-
Ialor and evaIualor do nol knov lhe idenlilies of each olher.
ª Ònce lhe lransIalor and evaIualor are seIecled, lhe lransIalor
submils a sam¡Ie lransIalion of lvo or lhree ¡ages of lhe lexl,
as veII as a Iisl of a number of signi!canl key lerms lhal are
¡resenl in lhe lexl.
ª The evaIualor evaIuales lhis sam¡Ie lransIalion and ¡resenls
feedback lo lhe lransIalor.
ª If ma|or ¡robIems exisl belveen lhe lransIalor's sam¡Ie lrans-
Ialion and lhe evaIualor's evaIualion of lhal lransIalion, lhen
eilher lhe lransIalor or lhe evaIualor may be re¡Iaced, de¡end-
ing u¡on lhe |udgemenl of lhe individuaI or grou¡ lhal is s¡on-
soring lhe lransIalion. If minor ¡robIems exisl, lhe lransIa-
lor ¡roceeds vilh lhe fuII lransIalion of lhe lexl, kee¡ing in mind
lhe commenls of lhe evaIualor.
ª Ònce lhe enlire lexl is lransIaled, lhe evaIualor evaIuales lhe
enlire lexl and gives feedback lo lhe lransIalor.
ª Ònce lhe lransIalor has considered lhis feedback and made
any necessary changes, lhe !naI version of lhe lexl is com¡Iele and
lhe lransIaled book is ready lo be ¡rinled and dislribuled.
92 Gcnc Sncrp
Fnr Furthcr RcadIng
1. 1nc Anii-Ccup by Gene Shar¡ and ßruce }enkins. ßoslon: The
AIberl Linslein Inslilulion, 2OO3.
2. Diciicncrq cj Citi|icn Sirugg|c. 1ccnnicc| 1crminc|cgq cj Ncntic-
|cni Aciicn cn! inc Ccnirc| cj Pc|iiicc| Pcucr by Gene Shar¡.
IubIicalion forlhcoming.
3. On Sircicgic Ncntic|cni Ccnj|ici. 1nin|ing A|cui inc |un!c-
mcnic|s by Roberl L. HeIvey. ßoslon: The AIberl Linslein Inslilu-
lion, 2OO2.
4. 1nc Pc|iiics cj Ncntic|cni Aciicn (3 voIs.) by Gene Shar¡. ßoslon:
Lxlending Horizons ßooks, Iorler Sargenl IubIishers, 1973.
5. Sc|j-Ii|crciicn by Gene Shar¡ vilh lhe assislance of }amiIa
Raqib. ßoslon: The AIberl Linslein Inslilulion, 2O1O.
6. Sccic| Pcucr cn! Pc|iiicc| |rcc!cm by Gene Shar¡. ßoslon: Lxlend-
ing Horizons ßooks, Iorler Sargenl IubIishers, 198O.
7. 1ncrc Arc Rcc|isiic A|icrnciitcs by Gene Shar¡. ßoslon: The AIberl
Linslein Inslilulion, 2OO3.
8. Wcging Ncntic|cni Sirugg|c. 20in Ccniurq Prcciicc cn! 21si Ccniurq
Pcicniic| by Gene Shar¡. ßoslon: Lxlending Horizons ßooks, Iorler
Sargenl IubIishers, 2OO5.
Ior order informalion, ¡Iease conlacl:
The AIberl Linslein Inslilulion
I.Ò. ßox 455
Lasl ßoslon, MA O2128, ISA
TeI: ISA +1 617-247-4882
Iax: ISA +1 617-247-4O35
L-maiI: einslein©
|rcm Dicicicrsnip ic Dcmccrccq 93

All material appearing in this publication is in the public domain and may be reproduced without permission from Gene Sharp. Citation of the source, and notication to the Albert Einstein Institution for the reproduction, translation, and reprinting of this publication, are appreciated. First Edition, May 2002 Second Edition, June 2003 Third Edition, February 2008 Fourth Edition, May 2010 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. Printed in the United States of America. Printed on Recycled Paper. The Albert Einstein Institution P.O. Box 455 East Boston, MA 02128, USA Tel: USA +1 617-247-4882 Fax: USA +1 617-247-4035 E-mail: Website: ISBN 1-880813-09-2

From Dictatorship to Democracy


TABLE OF CONTENTS PREFACE ONE FACING DICTATORSHIPS REALISTICALLY A continuing problem Freedom through violence? Coups, elections, foreign saviors? Facing the hard truth TWO THE DANGERS OF NEGOTIATIONS Merits and limitations of negotiations Negotiated surrender? Power and justice in negotiations ““Agreeable”” dictators What kind of peace? Reasons for hope THREE WHENCE COMES THE POWER? The ““Monkey Master”” fable Necessary sources of political power Centers of democratic power FOUR DICTATORSHIPS HAVE WEAKNESSES Identifying the Achilles’’ heel Weaknesses of dictatorships Attacking weaknesses of dictatorships FIVE EXERCISING POWER The workings of nonviolent struggle Nonviolent weapons and discipline viii

1 2 4 5 7

9 10 10 12 13 14 14

17 17 18 21

25 25 26 27

29 30 30

and high standards Shifting power relationships Four mechanisms of change Democratizing effects of political deance Complexity of nonviolent struggle SIX THE NEED FOR STRATEGIC PLANNING Realistic planning Hurdles to planning Four important terms in strategic planning SEVEN PLANNING STRATEGY Choice of means Planning for democracy External assistance Formulating a grand strategy Planning campaign strategies Spreading the idea of noncooperation Repression and countermeasures Adhering to the strategic plan EIGHT APPLYING POLITICAL DEFIANCE Selective resistance Symbolic challenge Spreading responsibility Aiming at the dictators’’ power Shifts in strategy NINE DISINTEGRATING THE DICTATORSHIP Escalating freedom Disintegrating the dictatorship Handling success responsibly 33 34 35 37 38 39 39 40 43 47 48 49 50 50 53 55 56 57 59 59 60 61 62 64 67 69 70 71 .vi Gene Sharp Openness. secrecy.


during both the festive demonstration of freedom and while the viii . Tiananmen Square. Russians who had defeated the August 1991 hard-line coup. such as Panama. Beijing. That belief has been strengthened by readings on the importance of human freedom. including some who survived concentration camps. These included Panama under Noriega. Poland. along with admiration of the calm heroism of unbelievably brave men and women.PREFACE One of my major concerns for many years has been how people could prevent and destroy dictatorships. and Burma. and histories of dictatorships (especially the Nazi and Stalinist systems). From Tibetans who had fought against Chinese Communist aggression. In Norway I met people who had resisted fascist rule and survived. under continued Soviet repression. I talked with Jews who had escaped the Nazi clutches and with persons who had helped to save them. and Thais who had nonviolently blocked a return to military rule. I have gained often troubling perspectives on the insidious nature of dictatorships. Tibet. Lithuania. The sense of pathos and outrage against the brutalities. and heard of those who perished. and yet deance by brave people continued. were sometimes strengthened by visits to places where the dangers were still great. Over the years I have had occasion to get to know people who lived and suffered under Nazi rule. the realities of today’’s dictatorships became more real. Chile. In more recent decades through visits of persons from dictatorially ruled countries. on the nature of dictatorships (from Aristotle to analysts of totalitarianism). Knowledge of the terror of Communist rule in various countries has been learned more from books than personal contacts. This has been nurtured in part because of a belief that human beings should not be dominated and destroyed by such regimes. The terror of these systems appeared to me to be especially poignant for these dictatorships were imposed in the name of liberation from oppression and exploitation. Vilnius.

that successful struggles against dictatorships could be waged without mass mutual slaughters. perhaps. revolutions. the public park in Riga where people had been gunned down. it offers some guidelines to assist thought and planning to produce movements of liberation that are more powerful and effective than might otherwise be the case. I am not competent to produce a detailed analysis and prescription for a particular country. It is a sad realization that every dictatorship leaves such death and destruction in its wake. unfortunately. and the jungle headquarters of the democratic opposition at Manerplaw in ““liberated Burma. as the television tower and the cemetery in Vilnius. and a simple cemetery in Manerplaw lled with bodies of men who had died much too young. All forms of struggle have complica- . too many countries who now face the realities of dictatorial rule. Of necessity. political thought. They will need to examine the validity of this analysis for their situations and the extent to which its major recommendations are. that dictatorships could be destroyed and new ones prevented from rising out of the ashes. But. Nowhere in this analysis do I assume that defying dictators will be an easy or cost-free endeavor.ix Gene Sharp rst armored personnel carriers entered that fateful night. In this I have drawn on my studies over many years of dictatorships. resistance movements. However. the center of Ferrara in northern Italy where the fascists lined up and shot resisters. and of deliberate choice. Out of these concerns and experiences grew a determined hope that prevention of tyranny might be possible. I have tried to think carefully about the most effective ways in which dictatorships could be successfully disintegrated with the least possible cost in suffering and lives. it is my hope that this generic analysis may be useful to people in. This publication is the result. applicable for their liberation struggles.”” Sometimes I visited the sites of the fallen. and especially realistic nonviolent struggle. or can be made to be. governmental systems. I am certain it is far from perfect. the focus of this essay is on the generic problem of how to destroy a dictatorship and to prevent the rise of a new one.

and political relationships and the eradication of other forms of injustices and oppression. The fall of one regime does not bring in a utopia. It is my hope. Massachusetts . economic. It is my hope that this brief examination of how a dictatorship can be disintegrated may be found useful wherever people live under domination and desire to be free. Nor should this analysis be interpreted to mean that when a specic dictatorship is ended. of course. however. all other problems will also disappear. bring casualties. Fighting dictators will. that this analysis will spur resistance leaders to consider strategies that may increase their effective power while reducing the relative level of casualties. it opens the way for hard work and long efforts to build more just social. Gene Sharp 6 October 1993 Albert Einstein Institution Boston.From Dictatorship to Democracy x tions and costs. Rather.

and nonviolent struggle will be used interchangeably. Hungary. Bulgaria.”” ““Deance”” denotes a deliberate challenge to authority by disobedience. Mali. 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. and intervention) applied deantly and actively for political purposes. mobilized people. Latvia. Bolivia. and the Philippines. South Korea. Malawi. and social deance of the people. Often seen as rmly entrenched and impregnable. and Tibet in recent years. The term is used principally to describe action by populations to regain from dictatorships control over governmental institutions by relentlessly attacking their sources of power and deliberately using strategic planning and operations to do so. although the latter two terms generally refer to struggles with a broader range of objectives (social. Nigeria. Haiti. Madagascar. Uruguay. Poland. In this paper. The term originated in response to the confusion and distortion created by equating nonviolent struggle with pacism and moral or religious ““nonviolence. 1 . 1 The term used in this context was introduced by Robert Helvey. Nonviolent resistance has furthered the movement toward democratization in Nepal. Czechoslovakia and Slovenia. Although those struggles have not brought an end to the ruling dictatorships or occupations.ONE FACING DICTATORSHIPS REALISTICALLY In recent years various dictatorships —— of both internal and external origin —— have collapsed or stumbled when confronted by deant. Brazil. Burma. Since 1980 dictatorships have collapsed before the predominantly nonviolent deance of people in Estonia. Zambia. economic. etc. noncooperation. nonviolent resistance. mass political deance1 has occurred in China. some of these dictatorships proved unable to withstand the concerted political. Chile. Thailand. ““Political deance”” is nonviolent struggle (protest. In addition. ““Political deance”” describes the environment in which the action is employed (political) as well as the objective (political power). allowing no room for submission. Argentina. and Lithuania.). and various parts of the former Soviet Union (playing a signicant role in the defeat of the August 1991 attempted hard-line coup d’’état). political deance. East Germany. economic. psychological.

this positive trend is tempered by the large numbers of people still living under conditions of tyranny. foreign occupiers (as in Tibet and Western Sahara).2 Gene Sharp The collapse of dictatorships in the above named countries certainly has not erased all other problems in those societies: poverty. Freedom in the World. or are in a state of transition. A continuing problem There has indeed been a trend towards greater democratization and freedom in the world in the past decades. and environmental destruction are often the legacy of brutal regimes.””3 that is. 34% of the world’’s 6. personal liberties. As of 2008. . areas with extremely restricted political rights and civil liberties. crime. The 42 countries in the ““Not Free”” category are ruled by a range of military dictatorships (as in Burma). the downfall of these dictatorships has minimally lifted much of the suffering of the victims of oppression. traditional repressive monarchies (as in Saudi Arabia and Bhutan). bureaucratic inefciency. http://www. which compiles a yearly international survey of the status of political rights and civil liberties. and social justice. the number of countries around the world classied as ““Free”” has grown signicantly in recent years:2 Free 54 75 89 89 Partly Free 47 73 55 62 Not Free 64 38 48 42 1983 1993 2003 2009 However. 2 3 Freedom House. and has opened the way for the rebuilding of these societies with greater political democracy. According to Freedom House. However. dominant political parties (as in China and North Korea).68 billion population lived in countries designated as ““Not Free.freedomhouse.

Unfortunately. they face suffering without purpose and a future without hope. At other times. Perhaps spirits soared temporarily. ambitious individuals. People in many countries have experienced decades or even centuries of oppression. People are often too frightened to share their hatred of the dictatorship and their hunger for freedom even with family and friends. asserting some principle or simply their deance. In extreme cases. economic. individuals and small groups may have conducted brave but impotent gestures. The problem of dictatorships is deep. a necessary . However noble the motives. elected ofcials. Short-lived mass protests and demonstrations may have occurred. will move in the opposite direction and experience new forms of dictatorship. political. unquestioning submission to authority gures and rulers has been long inculcated. the past is still with us. political. and social change. Military cliques. the social. some people may have attempted resistance. lacks self-condence. what would be the use? Instead.From Dictatorship to Democracy 3 Many countries today are in a state of rapid economic. Current conditions in today’’s dictatorships may be much worse than earlier. whether of domestic or foreign origin. The result is predictable: the population becomes weak. Although the number of ““Free”” countries has increased in recent years. or even replaced by new regimented institutions used by the state or ruling party to control the society. Frequently. and doctrinal political parties will repeatedly seek to impose their will. Coups d’’état are and will remain a common occurrence. to conde in each other. or even to do much of anything at their own initiative. In the past. such past acts of resistance have often been insufcient to overcome the people’’s fear and habit of obedience. there is a great risk that many nations. Basic human and political rights will continue to be denied to vast numbers of peoples. and even religious institutions of the society —— outside of state control —— have been deliberately weakened. subordinated. In any case. People are often too terried to think seriously of public resistance. and is incapable of resistance. The population has often been atomized (turned into a mass of isolated individuals) unable to work together to achieve freedom. in the face of such rapid fundamental changes.

4 Gene Sharp prerequisite to destroy the dictatorship. Understandably. one has chosen the very type of struggle with which the oppressors nearly always have superiority. Angry victims have sometimes organized to ght the brutal dictators with whatever violent and military capacity they could muster. Despite bravery. transportation. These people have often fought bravely. Guerrilla struggles often last a very long time. When conventional military rebellion is recognized as unrealistic. but they rarely have won freedom. despite the odds being against them. Violent rebellions can trigger brutal repression that frequently leaves the populace more helpless than before. Guerrilla warfare is no obvious solution. if ever. Freedom through violence? What is to be done in such circumstances? The obvious possibilities seem useless. the democrats are (almost always) no match. benets the oppressed population or ushers in a democracy. not victories or even hope. particularly given the very strong tendency toward immense casualties among one’’s own people. however. one point is clear. at great cost in suffering and lives. The dictators are equipped to apply violence overwhelmingly. reacting to the brutalities. ammunition. The technique is no guarantor against failure. However long or briey these democrats can continue. disappearances. Civilian populations are often displaced by the ruling gov- . despite supporting theory and strategic analyses. and sometimes international backing. The dictators almost always have superiority in military hardware. Constitutional and legal barriers. eventually the harsh military realities usually become inescapable. and the size of military forces. those acts may have brought instead only increased suffering and death. and public opinion are normally ignored by dictators. judicial decisions. By placing condence in violent means. Whatever the merits of the violent option. Their accomplishments have sometimes been remarkable. guerrilla warfare rarely. torture. people often have concluded that only violence can end a dictatorship. However. Sadly. and killings. some dissidents then favor guerrilla warfare.

there are very serious problems with that technique. however. Even when successful. such as those of the former Soviet-dominated Eastern bloc. However. The removal of particular persons and cliques from the governing positions most likely will merely make it possible for another group to take their place. That is not an acceptable answer to the problem of dictatorship. Coups. the new clique may turn out to be more ruthless and more ambitious than the old one. Those elections. the new clique —— in which hopes may have been placed —— will be able to do whatever it wants without concern for democracy or human rights. elections. Consequently. with immense human suffering and social dislocation. However. the attacked regime becomes more dictatorial as a result of its countermeasures. Immediately. Theoretically. it leaves in place the existing maldistribution of power between the population and the elite in control of the government and its military forces. foreign saviors? A military coup d’’état against a dictatorship might appear to be relatively one of the easiest and quickest ways to remove a particularly repugnant regime. Some dictatorial regimes. Most importantly. the resulting new regime is often more dictatorial than its predecessor due to the centralizing impact of the expanded military forces and the weakening or destruction of the society’’s independent groups and institutions during the struggle —— bodies that are vital in establishing and maintaining a democratic society. this group might be milder in its behavior and be open in limited ways to democratic reforms. guerrilla struggles often have signicant long-term negative structural consequences. After consolidating its position.From Dictatorship to Democracy 5 ernment. were merely rigidly controlled plebiscites to get public . If the guerrillas should nally succeed. went through the motions in order to appear democratic. the opposite is as likely to be the case. Elections are not available under dictatorships as an instrument of signicant political change. Persons hostile to dictatorships should look for another option.

but then rig them to place civilian puppets in government ofces. arrest. a particular country. Many people now suffering under a brutal dictatorship. . They expect that their people can only be saved by the actions of others. but there are grave problems with this reliance on an outside savior. Such a scenario may sound comforting.”” the United Nations. and if a foreign state does intervene. They believe that only international help can be strong enough to bring down the dictators. •• Foreign states also may be willing to sell out an oppressed people instead of keeping pledges to assist their liberation at the cost of another objective. These people place their condence in external forces. or even positively assist. Dictators are not in the business of allowing elections that could remove them from their thrones.6 Gene Sharp endorsement of candidates already hand picked by the dictators. often oppressed people are unwilling and temporarily unable to struggle because they have no condence in their ability to face the ruthless dictatorship. and no known way to save themselves. If opposition candidates have been allowed to run and were actually elected. This outside force may be ““public opinion. or even execution. or who have gone into exile to escape its immediate grasp. Such condence may be totally misplaced. As noted. or international economic and political sanctions. do not believe that the oppressed can liberate themselves. results may simply be ignored and the ““victors”” subjected to intimidation. a dictatorship in order to advance their own economic or political interests. The view that the oppressed are unable to act effectively is sometimes accurate for a certain time period. it probably should not be trusted. as occurred in Burma in 1990 and Nigeria in 1993. It is therefore understandable that many people place their hope for liberation in others. A few harsh realities concerning reliance on foreign intervention need to be emphasized here: •• Frequently foreign states will tolerate. Usually no foreign saviors are coming. Dictators under pressure may at times agree to new elections.

From Dictatorship to Democracy


•• Some foreign states will act against a dictatorship only to gain their own economic, political, or military control over the country. •• The foreign states may become actively involved for positive purposes only if and when the internal resistance movement has already begun shaking the dictatorship, having thereby focused international attention on the brutal nature of the regime. Dictatorships usually exist primarily because of the internal power distribution in the home country. The population and society are too weak to cause the dictatorship serious problems, wealth and power are concentrated in too few hands. Although dictatorships may benet from or be somewhat weakened by international actions, their continuation is dependent primarily on internal factors. International pressures can be very useful, however, when they are supporting a powerful internal resistance movement. Then, for example, international economic boycotts, embargoes, the breaking of diplomatic relations, expulsion from international organizations, condemnation by United Nations bodies, and the like can assist greatly. However, in the absence of a strong internal resistance movement such actions by others are unlikely to happen. Facing the hard truth The conclusion is a hard one. When one wants to bring down a dictatorship most effectively and with the least cost then one has four immediate tasks: •• One must strengthen the oppressed population themselves in their determination, self-condence, and resistance skills; •• One must strengthen the independent social groups and institutions of the oppressed people; •• One must create a powerful internal resistance force; and


Gene Sharp

•• One must develop a wise grand strategic plan for liberation and implement it skillfully. A liberation struggle is a time for self-reliance and internal strengthening of the struggle group. As Charles Stewart Parnell called out during the Irish rent strike campaign in 1879 and 1880: It is no use relying on the Government . . . . You must only rely upon your own determination . . . . [H]elp yourselves by standing together . . . strengthen those amongst yourselves who are weak . . . , band yourselves together, organize yourselves . . . and you must win . . . When you have made this question ripe for settlement, then and not till then will it be settled.4 Against a strong self-reliant force, given wise strategy, disciplined and courageous action, and genuine strength, the dictatorship will eventually crumble. Minimally, however, the above four requirements must be fullled. As the above discussion indicates, liberation from dictatorships ultimately depends on the people’’s ability to liberate themselves. The cases of successful political deance —— or nonviolent struggle for political ends —— cited above indicate that the means do exist for populations to free themselves, but that option has remained undeveloped. We will examine this option in detail in the following chapters. However, we should rst look at the issue of negotiations as a means of dismantling dictatorships.

4 Patrick Sarseld O’’Hegarty, A History of Ireland Under the Union, 1880-1922 (London: Methuen, 1952), pp. 490-491.

When faced with the severe problems of confronting a dictatorship (as surveyed in Chapter One), some people may lapse back into passive submission. Others, seeing no prospect of achieving democracy, may conclude they must come to terms with the apparently permanent dictatorship, hoping that through ““conciliation,”” ““compromise,”” and ““negotiations”” they might be able to salvage some positive elements and to end the brutalities. On the surface, lacking realistic options, there is appeal in that line of thinking. Serious struggle against brutal dictatorships is not a pleasant prospect. Why is it necessary to go that route? Can’’t everyone just be reasonable and nd ways to talk, to negotiate the way to a gradual end to the dictatorship? Can’’t the democrats appeal to the dictators’’ sense of common humanity and convince them to reduce their domination bit by bit, and perhaps nally to give way completely to the establishment of a democracy? It is sometimes argued that the truth is not all on one side. Perhaps the democrats have misunderstood the dictators, who may have acted from good motives in difcult circumstances? Or perhaps some may think, the dictators would gladly remove themselves from the difcult situation facing the country if only given some encouragement and enticements. It may be argued that the dictators could be offered a ““win-win”” solution, in which everyone gains something. The risks and pain of further struggle could be unnecessary, it may be argued, if the democratic opposition is only willing to settle the conict peacefully by negotiations (which may even perhaps be assisted by some skilled individuals or even another government). Would that not be preferable to a difcult struggle, even if it is one conducted by nonviolent struggle rather than by military war?


Firmly entrenched dictators who feel secure in their position may refuse to negotiate with their democratic opponents. The point here is that negotiations are not a realistic way to remove a strong dictatorship in the absence of a powerful democratic opposition. When the issues at stake are fundamental. affecting religious principles. Such a shift will occur through struggle. however. negotiations can be an important means to settle a conict. Labor conicts with legal trade unions are.10 Gene Sharp Merits and limitations of negotiations Negotiations are a very useful tool in resolving certain types of issues in conicts and should not be neglected or rejected when they are appropriate. when negotiations have been initiated. On some basic issues there should be no compromise. and therefore a compromise is acceptable. or the whole future development of the society. This is not to say that negotiations ought never to be used. Especially when a military struggle has continued for years against a brutal dictatorship without nal victory. In some situations where no fundamental issues are at stake. A labor strike for higher wages is a good example of the appropriate role of negotiations in a conict: a negotiated settlement may provide an increase somewhere between the sums originally proposed by each of the contending sides. of course. Only a shift in power relations in favor of the democrats can adequately safeguard the basic issues at stake. issues of human freedom. Or. not negotiations. negotiations do not provide a way of reaching a mutually satisfactory solution. may not be an option at all. quite different than the conicts in which the continued existence of a cruel dictatorship or the establishment of political freedom are at stake. Negotiated surrender? Individuals and groups who oppose dictatorship and favor negotiations will often have good motives. the democratic negotiators may disappear and never be heard from again. Negotiations. it is understandable that all the people of whatever .

the dictators may seek negotiations in order to salvage as much of their control or wealth as possible.”” The call to negotiate can sound appealing. The call for negotiations when basic issues of political liberties are involved may be an effort by the dictators to induce the democrats to surrender peacefully while the violence of the dictatorship continues. On the other hand. . In those types of conicts the only proper role of negotiations may occur at the end of a decisive struggle in which the power of the dictators has been effectively destroyed and they seek personal safe passage to an international airport. free political prisoners. In neither case should the democrats help the dictators achieve their goals. end torture. The offer by a dictatorship of ““peace”” through negotiations with the democratic opposition is. withdraw from the government. halt military operations. Democrats should be wary of the traps that may be deliberately built into a negotiation process by the dictators.From Dictatorship to Democracy 11 political persuasion would want peace. Negotiations are especially likely to become an issue among democrats where the dictators have clear military superiority and the destruction and casualties among one’’s own people are no longer bearable. if only they would stop waging war on their own people. when the opposition is exceptionally strong and the dictatorship is genuinely threatened. The violence could be ended immediately by the dictators themselves. rather disingenuous. but grave dangers can be lurking within the negotiating room. the dictators may wish to negotiate the opposition into surrender under the guise of making ““peace. and apologize to the people. There will then be a strong temptation to explore any other route that might salvage some of the democrats’’ objectives while bringing an end to the cycle of violence and counter-violence. They could at their own initiative without any bargaining restore respect for human dignity and rights. of course. When the dictatorship is strong but an irritating resistance exists.

a splitting of differences.12 Gene Sharp Power and justice in negotiations If this judgment sounds too harsh a commentary on negotiations. Second. While those may be much discussed. In successful negotiations there is compromise. ““Negotiation”” does not mean that the two sides sit down together on a basis of equality and talk through and resolve the differences that produced the conict between them. the real results in negotiations come from an assessment of the absolute and relative power situations of the contending groups. What can the democrats do to ensure that their minimum claims cannot be denied? What can the dictators do to stay in control and neutralize the democrats? In other words. and then calculating how an open struggle might end. perhaps some of the romanticism associated with them needs to be moderated. First. the content of a negotiated agreement is largely determined by the power capacity of each side. Clear thinking is required as to how negotiations operate. In the case of extreme dictatorships what are the pro-democracy forces to give up to the dictators? What objectives of the dictators are the pro-democracy forces to accept? Are the . Two facts must be remembered. in negotiations it is not the relative justice of the conicting views and objectives that determines the content of a negotiated agreement. if an agreement comes. Several difcult questions must be considered. Each side gets part of what it wants and gives up part of its objectives. Attention must also be given to what each side is willing to give up in order to reach agreement. What can each side do at a later date to gain its objectives if the other side fails to come to an agreement at the negotiating table? What can each side do after an agreement is reached if the other side breaks its word and uses its available forces to seize its objectives despite the agreement? A settlement is not reached in negotiations through an assessment of the rights and wrongs of the issues at stake. it is more likely the result of each side estimating how the power capacities of the two sides compare.

no one should ever forget that the dictators may promise anything to secure submission from their democratic opponents. reshaping the society. it is necessary to ask: What kind of peace will be the result? Will life then be better or worse than it would be if the democrats began or continued to struggle? ““Agreeable”” dictators Dictators may have a variety of motives and objectives underlying their domination: power. and then brazenly violate those same agreements. and the like. Success is most often 5 Krishnalal Shridharani. War Without Violence: A Study of Gandhi’’s Method and Its Accomplishments (New York: Harcourt. Once the restraining force of internal and international opposition has been removed. Brace.”” wrote Krishnalal Shridharani. 1972). position. they may be very disappointed. . The tyrants can then move ahead against whomever they wish.5 Resistance. The collapse of popular resistance often removes the countervailing force that has limited the control and brutality of the dictatorship.From Dictatorship to Democracy 13 democrats to give to the dictators (whether a political party or a military cabal) a constitutionally-established permanent role in the future government? Where is the democracy in that? Even assuming that all goes well in negotiations. wealth. resistance must continue to drive dictators out of power. ““For the tyrant has the power to inict only that which we lack the strength to resist. One should remember that none of these will be served if they abandon their control positions. is essential for change in conicts where fundamental issues are at stake. 1939. Whatever promises offered by dictators in any negotiated settlement. A halt to resistance rarely brings reduced repression. In nearly all cases. If the democrats agree to halt resistance in order to gain a reprieve from repression. not negotiations. In the event of negotiations dictators will try to preserve their goals. and reprint New York and London: Garland Publishing. p. dictators may even make their oppression and violence more brutal than before. 260.

. Submission to cruel oppression and passive acquiescence to ruthless dictators who have perpetrated atrocities on hundreds of thousands of people is no real peace. . opposition leaders may feel forced to pursue negotiations out of a sense of hopelessness of the democratic struggle. and brutalities.14 Gene Sharp determined not by negotiating a settlement but through the wise use of the most appropriate and powerful means of resistance available. Aristotle noted long ago. Further. tyran- . human rights violations. Reasons for hope As stated earlier. is the most powerful means available to those struggling for freedom. There are other dangers. . that political deance. may in a single stroke provide the dictators with the domestic and international legitimacy that they had been previously denied because of their seizure of the state. Without that desperately needed legitimacy. the dictators cannot continue to rule indenitely. Well-intended negotiators sometimes confuse the objectives of the negotiations and the negotiation process itself. It is our contention. extremely clear thinking is needed because of the dangers involved. A dictators’’ peace is often no more than the peace of the prison or of the grave. or nonviolent struggle. by which he meant submission to his will. that sense of powerlessness can be changed. Hitler often called for peace. What kind of peace? If dictators and democrats are to talk about peace at all. or foreign negotiation specialists accepted to assist in the negotiations. and dictators need not be allowed to remain powerful indenitely. Exponents of peace should not provide them legitimacy. Dictatorships are not permanent. ““. [A]ll round. democratic negotiators. to be explored later in more detail. . People living under dictatorships need not remain weak. However. [O]ligarchy and tyranny are shorter-lived than any other constitution. Not everyone who uses the word ““peace”” wants peace with freedom and justice. .

Sinclair (Harmondsworth. in East Germany and Czechoslovakia in 1989 it occurred within weeks. as well as those listed in Chapter One. The Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines fell before people power within weeks in 1986: the United States government quickly abandoned President Marcos when the strength of the opposition became apparent. The attempted hard-line coup in the Soviet Union in August 1991 was blocked in days by political deance. Negotiations are not the only alternative to a continuing war of annihilation on the one hand and capitulation on the other. Aristotle. weeks. Chapter 12. Thereafter. 6 . by T. and reveals that they can crumble in a relatively short time span: whereas ten years —— 1980-1990 —— were required to bring down the Communist dictatorship in Poland.From Dictatorship to Democracy 15 nies have not lasted long. Middlesex. illustrate that another option exists for those who want both peace and freedom: political deance. Maryland: Penguin Books 1976 [1962]). The examples just cited. many of its long dominated constituent nations in only days. England and Baltimore. The militarily powerful regime of the Shah in Iran was undermined in a few months. (In Chapter Four we will examine these weaknesses in more detail. A. transl. The old preconception that violent means always work quickly and nonviolent means always require vast time is clearly not valid. the actual ght against a dictatorship sometimes occurs relatively quickly by nonviolent struggle.””6 Modern dictatorships are also vulnerable. and months regained their independence. In El Salvador and Guatemala in 1944 the struggles against the entrenched brutal military dictators required approximately two weeks each. Their weaknesses can be aggravated and the dictators’’ power can be disintegrated. pp. Book V. Although much time may be required for changes in the underlying situation and society.) Recent history shows the vulnerability of dictatorships. 231 and 232. The Politics.


the old man would assemble the monkeys in his courtyard. The translation was originally published in Nonviolent Sanctions: News from the Albert Einstein Institution (Cambridge. The ““Monkey Master”” fable A Fourteenth Century Chinese parable by Liu-Ji. It was the rule that each monkey had to give one-tenth of his collection to the old man. 3 (Winter 1992-1993). and order the eldest one to lead the others to the mountains to gather fruits from bushes and trees. all rights reserved. 3. Each morning. It will require great strategic skill. Those who failed to do so would be ruthlessly ogged. Mass.). All the monkeys suffered bitterly. 7 This story. But how is this possible? What kind of power can the democratic opposition mobilize that will be sufcient to destroy the dictatorship and its vast military and police networks? The answers lie in an oft ignored understanding of political power. for example. 17 . Vol. Democrats cannot hope to bring down a dictatorship and establish political freedom without the ability to apply their own power effectively. Learning this insight is not really so difcult a task. p. and planning. The people of Chu called him ““ju gong”” (monkey master). organization. IV. Above all. Yu-li-zi is also the pseudonym of Liu Ji. outlines this neglected understanding of political power quite well:7 In the feudal state of Chu an old man survived by keeping monkeys in his service.THREE WHENCE COMES THE POWER? Achieving a society with both freedom and peace is of course no simple task. but dared not complain. originally titled ““Rule by Tricks”” is from Yu-li-zi by Liu Ji (1311-1375) and has been translated by Sidney Tai. Some basic truths are quite simple. No. it will require power.

”” The small monkey continued: ““Then. why should we depend on the old man. the belief among the people that the regime is legitimate. . They also took the fruits the old man had in storage. or providing assistance to the rulers. Dictators require the assistance of the people they rule. As soon as their people become enlightened. cooperating.”” Necessary sources of political power The principle is simple. •• Human resources. their tricks no longer work. Aren’’t they just like the monkey master? They are not aware of their muddleheadedness. brought all with them to the woods.18 Gene Sharp One day. The old man nally died of starvation.”” The small monkey further asked: ““Can’’t we take the fruits without the old man’’s permission?”” The others replied: ““Yes. without which they cannot secure and maintain the sources of political power. and never returned. the number and importance of the persons and groups which are obeying. why must we all serve him?”” Before the small monkey was able to nish his statement. ““Some men in the world rule their people by tricks and not by righteous principles. they grew naturally. These sources of political power include: •• Authority. watching that the old man had fallen asleep. all the monkeys suddenly became enlightened and awakened. and that they have a moral duty to obey it. and destroyed the stockade entirely. we all can. On the same night. a small monkey asked the other monkeys: ““Did the old man plant all the fruit trees and bushes?”” The others said: ““No. the monkeys tore down all the barricades of the stockade in which they were conned. Yu-li-zi says.

Dictators are therefore likely to threaten and punish those who disobey. natural resources. obedience. Without availability of those sources. and •• Sanctions. Repression. however. that is not the end of the story. needed by the regime to perform specic actions and supplied by the cooperating persons and groups. the availability of the sources of power on which all rulers depend. On the other hand. and may sever. the degree to which the rulers control or have access to property.From Dictatorship to Democracy 19 •• Skills and knowledge. consequently. psychological and ideological factors that may induce people to obey and assist the rulers. Naturally. and support will increase the availability of the needed sources of power and. expand the power capacity of any government. and means of communication and transportation. against the disobedient and noncooperative to ensure the submission and cooperation that are needed for the regime to exist and carry out its policies. However. even brutalities. do not always produce a resumption of the necessary degree of submission and cooperation for the regime to function. punishments. the economic system. depend on acceptance of the regime. All of these sources. threatened or applied. strike. or fail to cooperate. . withdrawal of popular and institutional cooperation with aggressors and dictators diminishes. the rulers’’ power weakens and nally dissolves. dictators are sensitive to actions and ideas that threaten their capacity to do as they like. Full cooperation. •• Intangible factors. nancial resources. and on the cooperation of innumerable people and the many institutions of the society. •• Material resources. on the submission and obedience of the population. These are not guaranteed.

Mass. 313-314. Over time. Totalitarianism (Cambridge. even if 8 Karl W. ed. the sources of power can be restricted or severed for enough time. Since totalitarian regimes require more power for dealing with their subjects than do other types of government.”” in Carl J. it is unlikely to remain powerful for long. Austin argued that if most of the population were determined to destroy the government and were willing to endure repression to do so. Contrary to popular opinion.8 The English Nineteenth Century legal theorist John Austin described the situation of a dictatorship confronting a disaffected people. then the might of the government. even totalitarian dictatorships are dependent on the population and the societies they rule. slowly or rapidly. Friedrich. . the initial results may be uncertainty and confusion within the dictatorship. The degree of liberty or tyranny in any government is. ““Cracks in the Monolith. it follows. and in severe cases. If totalitarian power must be used at all times against the entire population. from political starvation. despite repression. its disintegration. Deutsch. could not preserve the hated government. in large degree a reection of the relative determination of the subjects to be free and their willingness and ability to resist efforts to enslave them. more than that they have to be able to count on the active support of at least signicant parts of the population in case of need. the withholding of the sources of power can produce the paralysis and impotence of the regime.: Harvard University Press.. pp. As the political scientist Karl W. That is likely to be followed by a clear weakening of the power of the dictatorship. 1954). Deutsch noted in 1953: Totalitarian power is strong only if it does not have to be used too often.20 Gene Sharp If. including those who supported it. The dictators’’ power will die. such regimes stand in greater need of widespread and dependable compliance habits among their people.

Austin concluded. 296. is no new phenomenon: cases of nonviolent resistance go back at least to 494 B.9 Niccolo Machiavelli had much earlier argued that the prince ““. 1911 [1861]). the weaker does his regime become. and the greater his cruelty. 75 and passim for other historical examples.11 Nonviolent struggle has been employed at various times by peoples throughout Asia. (2) the relative strength of the subjects’’ independent organizations and institutions to withdraw collectively the sources of power. and nally helped produce the collapse of Communist rule in Europe. Australasia. as well as Europe. p. and (3) the population’’s relative ability to withhold their consent and assistance. . The Politics of Nonviolent Action (Boston: Porter Sargent. of course. Lectures on Jurisprudence or the Philosophy of Positive Law (Fifth edition. 10 Niccolo Machiavelli. Africa. 254. Three of the most important factors in determining to what degree a government’’s power will be controlled or uncontrolled therefore are: (1) the relative desire of the populace to impose limits on the government’’s power. the Americas. revised and edited by Robert Campbell. when plebeians withdrew cooperation from their Roman patrician masters.”” in The Discourses of Niccolo Machiavelli (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. and as cited in Chapter One. 9 . I.C. The deant people could not be forced back into permanent obedience and subjection. . and many others who resisted Communist aggression and dictatorship. by the brave Poles. 1950)..From Dictatorship to Democracy 21 it received foreign assistance. London: John Murray. Centers of democratic power One characteristic of a democratic society is that there exist independent of the state a multitude of nongovernmental groups and John Austin. ““The Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy. This. Vol. who has the public as a whole for his enemy can never make himself secure. Czechs. p. Germans. I. 11 See Gene Sharp. and the Pacic islands. 2 vol. Slovaks. Vol.””10 The practical political application of these insights was demonstrated by the heroic Norwegian resisters against the Nazi occupation. p. 1973).

economic institutions. or purposes. these bodies have great political signicance. they can be used to dominate both the individual members and also those areas of the society. religious organizations. However. and others. sports clubs. trade unions. cultural associations. if the autonomy and freedom of such bodies can be taken away by the dictators. political parties. it will be important for . the population will be relatively helpless. If the dictatorship has been largely successful in destroying or controlling the society’’s independent bodies. for example. The common feature of the cited examples in which dictatorships have been disintegrated or weakened has been the courageous mass application of political deance by the population and its institutions. musical groups. Consequently. much less a government. As stated. Also. villages. These include. they will be part of the indispensable structural base for a free society. These bodies are important in serving their own objectives and also in helping to meet social needs. literary societies. if these institutions can themselves be dictatorially controlled by the central regime or replaced by new controlled ones. and certainly not a dictatorship. usually are unable to make a signicant impact on the rest of the society. if the autonomy and freedom of these independent civil institutions (outside of government control) can be maintained or regained they are highly important for the application of political deance. student associations. gardening clubs. Their continued independence and growth therefore is often a prerequisite for the success of the liberation struggle. Additionally. human rights organizations. not members of such groups. activities. neighborhood associations. Isolated individuals. They provide group and institutional bases by which people can exert inuence over the direction of their society and resist other groups or the government when they are seen to impinge unjustly on their interests.22 Gene Sharp institutions. these centers of power provide the institutional bases from which the population can exert pressure or can resist dictatorial controls. families. In the future.

Such institutional developments can have very important political consequences. in some cases. Dictatorships in particular have specic characteristics that render them highly vulnerable to skillfully implemented political deance. Communist-dominated. even joining together to establish for some weeks a whole federated system of institutions and governance. that the deliberate disintegration of dictatorships is possible. took over control of the ofcial. nor that every attempt will succeed. none of this means that weakening and destroying dictatorships is easy. for those still serving the dictators are likely to ght back in an effort to force the populace to resume cooperation and obedience. Of course. Let us examine these characteristics in more detail. The above insight into power does mean. however.From Dictatorship to Democracy 23 the resisters to create new independent social groups and institutions. trade unions. During the Hungarian Revolution of 1956-1957 a multitude of direct democracy councils emerged. . It certainly does not mean that the struggle will be free of casualties. or to reassert democratic control over surviving or partially controlled bodies. In Poland during the late 1980s workers maintained illegal Solidarity unions and.


That perception of invulnerability against powerlessness makes effective opposition unlikely. There was. democratic opposition forces often appear extremely weak. prisons. no blow would injure and no sword would penetrate his skin. too. That is not the whole story. concentration camps. the one spot where he could be injured. ineffective. a plan. In comparison. in the battle against Troy. When Achilles was a grown man he appeared to all to be invulnerable to the enemies’’ weapons. Intelligence agencies. can be conquered. The same principle applies to ruthless dictatorships. an enemy soldier aimed his arrow at Achilles’’ unprotected heel. however. Identifying the Achilles’’ heel A myth from Classical Greece illustrates well the vulnerability of the supposedly invulnerable. A country’’s nances. The strike proved fatal. police. a problem. natural resources. and execution squads are controlled by a powerful few. military forces. resulting in the protection of his body from all dangers. but most quickly and with least cost if their weaknesses can be identied and the attack concentrated on them. However. They. and production capacities are often arbitrarily plundered by dictators and used to support the dictators’’ will. the phrase ““Achilles’’ heel”” refers to the vulnerable part of a person. or an institution at which if attacked there is no protection. instructed by one who knew the weakness. Since the baby was held by his heel so that he would not be washed away. Achilles’’ mother had supposedly dipped him into the waters of the magical river Styx.FOUR DICTATORSHIPS HAVE WEAKNESSES Dictatorships often appear invulnerable. and powerless. When still a baby. Against the warrior Achilles. 25 . however. Still today. the magical water had not covered that small part of his body.

Internal institutional conicts and personal rivalries and hostilities may harm. If a strong ideology is present that inuences one’’s view of reality. and institutions needed to operate the system may be restricted or withdrawn. 4. and myths and symbols of the system may become unstable. Deteriorating efciency and competency of the bureaucracy. 8. and even disrupt. 3. 5. less able to adjust quickly to new situations. The system may become routine in its operation. 9. The ideology may erode. groups. . 2. 7. the operation of the dictatorship.26 Gene Sharp Weaknesses of dictatorships Among the weaknesses of dictatorships are the following: 1. may make the system’’s policies and operation ineffective. rm adherence to it may cause inattention to actual conditions and needs. Subordinates fearful of displeasing their superiors may not report accurate or complete information needed by the dictators to make decisions. The requirements and effects of the regime’’s past policies will somewhat limit its present ability to adopt and implement conicting policies. Personnel and resources already allocated for existing tasks will not be easily available for new needs. or excessive controls and regulations. 6. The cooperation of a multitude of people.

and at times extremely so. Intellectuals and students may become restless in response to conditions. 14. . If the regime seeks to avoid these dangers and decentralizes controls and decision making. or national differences may become acute. 16. Sections of the police or military forces may act to achieve their own objectives. 11. even against the will of established dictators. mistakes of judgment. and even hostile to the regime. and action are likely to occur.From Dictatorship to Democracy 27 10. the democratic opposition can seek to aggravate these ““Achilles’’ heels”” deliberately in order to alter the system drastically or to disintegrate it. policy. Regional. skeptical. With so many decisions made by so few people in the dictatorship. If the dictatorship is new. time is required for it to become well established. cultural. its control over the central levers of power may be further eroded. but may rise or fall to other ranks or be removed entirely and replaced by new persons. 17. class. doctrinalism. Attacking weaknesses of dictatorships With knowledge of such inherent weaknesses. The power hierarchy of the dictatorship is always unstable to some degree. 13. The general public may over time become apathetic. The conclusion is then clear: despite the appearances of strength. Individuals do not only remain in the same position in the ranking. 12. 15. including by coup d’’état. and repression. restrictions.

However. Not everything the regime sets out to accomplish will get completed. and conicts between organizations and departments. institutional inefciencies.28 Gene Sharp all dictatorships have weaknesses. At times. The question is how this struggle is to be waged. And. types of struggle that target the dictatorship’’s identiable weaknesses have greater chance of success than those that seek to ght the dictatorship where it is clearly strongest. of course. The dictatorial regime may at times even fall apart quickly. for example. Every possible course of action for liberation will involve risks and potential suffering. no means of action can ensure rapid success in every situation. These weaknesses. personal rivalries. over time. even Hitler’’s direct orders were never implemented because those beneath him in the hierarchy refused to carry them out. tend to make the regime less effective and more vulnerable to changing conditions and deliberate resistance. This does not mean dictatorships can be destroyed without risks and casualties. internal inefciencies. and will take time to operate. as we have already observed. .

What means are then available that will offer the democratic resistance distinct advantages and will tend to aggravate the identied weaknesses of dictatorships? What technique of action will capitalize on the theory of political power discussed in Chapter Three? The alternative of choice is political deance. 29 . Dictatorships will almost always be able to muster superior resources in these areas. •• It is difcult for the regime to combat. •• It leads to errors of judgment and action by the dictators. By choosing to compete in the areas of military forces. weapons technology. In Chapter Two we examined the problems of relying on negotiations as a means to remove dictatorships. resistance movements tend to put themselves at a distinct disadvantage.FIVE EXERCISING POWER In Chapter One we noted that military resistance against dictatorships does not strike them where they are weakest. supplies of ammunition. The dangers of relying on foreign powers for salvation were also outlined. •• It can in action be widely dispersed but can also be concentrated on a specic objective. Political deance has the following characteristics: •• It does not accept that the outcome will be decided by the means of ghting chosen by the dictatorship. but rather where they are strongest. and the like. •• It can uniquely aggravate weaknesses of the dictatorship and can sever its sources of power.

social. submission. and destroy. and obedience of the population and the institutions of the society. a multitude of methods exist that allow . disaffection. injure. •• It helps to spread the distribution of effective power in the society. to create conditions for a peaceful resolution of conict. they do so with very different means and with different consequences.30 Gene Sharp •• It can effectively utilize the population as a whole and the society’’s groups and institutions in the struggle to end the brutal domination of the few. all governments can rule only as long as they receive replenishment of the needed sources of their power from the cooperation. As noted earlier. However. unlike violence. Instead. political deance operates in quite different ways from violence. economic. such as strikes and mass demonstrations. These have been known under various names of protests. and political weapons applied by the population and the institutions of the society. Political deance. The workings of nonviolent struggle Like military capabilities. is uniquely suited to severing those sources of power. and people power. Physical weapons are used to intimidate. political deance can be employed for a variety of purposes. Although both techniques are means to wage struggle. The ways and results of violent conict are well known. boycotts. Nonviolent struggle is a much more complex and varied means of struggle than is violence. In fact. Nonviolent weapons and discipline The common error of past improvised political deance campaigns is the reliance on only one or two methods. the struggle is fought by psychological. ranging from efforts to inuence the opponents to take different actions. making the establishment and maintenance of a democratic society more possible. noncooperation. or to disintegrate the opponents’’ regime. kill. strikes.

and parallel government (41 methods). Nonviolent intervention. may be appropriate resistance methods. and vigils (54 methods). About two hundred specic methods of nonviolent action have been identied.From Dictatorship to Democracy 31 resistance strategists to concentrate and disperse resistance as required. Methods of nonviolent protest and persuasion are largely symbolic demonstrations. while at other times open disobedience and deant public demonstrations and strikes may be visible to all. A list of 198 of these methods is included as the Appendix to this publication. Noncooperation is divided into three sub-categories: (a) social noncooperation (16 methods). This applies to all dictatorships. by psychological. social. such as the fast. wielded in the context of a wise strategy and appropriate tactics. economic. For example. Noncooperation would also be applied against specic policies. slowdowns. then political forms of nonviolent struggle would be crucial. These methods are classied under three broad categories: protest and persuasion. These would include denial of legitimacy to the dictators and noncooperation with their regime. noncooperation. and intervention. such as boycotts or strikes. including boycotts (26 methods) and strikes (23 methods). is the nal group. since the issue of dictatorship is primarily political. and there are certainly scores more. marches. and (c) political noncooperation (38 methods). On the other hand. In contrast to military means. if the dictatorship is vulnerable to economic pressures or if many of the popular grievances against it are economic. The use of a considerable number of these methods —— carefully chosen. the methods of nonviolent struggle can be focused directly on the issues at stake. The dictators’’ efforts to exploit the economic system might be met with limited general strikes. and refusal of assistance by (or disappearance of) indispens- . nonviolent occupation. physical. then economic action. or political means. At times stalling and procrastination may be quietly and even secretly practiced. by trained civilians —— is likely to cause any illegitimate regime severe problems. including parades. applied persistently and on a large scale. (b) economic noncooperation.

In this process the stark brutality of the regime against the clearly nonviolent actionists politically rebounds against the dictators’’ position. For example. One might refuse to join certain ““recommended”” or required organizations that one would not have joined freely in earlier times. but then deliberately work more slowly or inefciently than usual. ““Mistakes”” may be consciously made more frequently. instead of striking. One may become ““sick”” and ““unable”” to work at certain times. Or. Since nonviolent struggle and violence operate in fundamentally different ways. Nonviolent discipline is a key to success and must be maintained despite provocations and brutalities by the dictators and their agents. for it will shift the struggle to one in which the dictators have an overwhelming advantage (military warfare). . Selective use of various types of strikes may be conducted at key points in manufacturing. one may simply refuse to work. Other methods of nonviolent struggle instead require people to continue approximately their normal lives. or sitting down in the streets. in transport. though in somewhat different ways. and in the distribution of products. in the supply of raw materials. The similarity of such types of action to people’’s usual activities and the limited degree of departure from their normal lives may make participation in the national liberation struggle much easier for many people. operating an underground press. even limited resistance violence during a political deance campaign will be counterproductive. One may act to protect children from the attackers’’ propaganda by education at home or in illegal classes.32 Gene Sharp able experts. such as distributing leaets. The maintenance of nonviolent discipline against violent opponents facilitates the workings of the four mechanisms of change in nonviolent struggle (discussed below). One might go to religious services when the act expresses not only religious but also political convictions. people may report for work. These methods may be difcult for some people to undertake except in very extreme situations. Some methods of nonviolent struggle require people to perform acts unrelated to their normal lives. going on hunger strike. Nonviolent discipline is also extremely important in the process of political jiu-jitsu.

Openness. Or. This should be done in terms of geography. certain groups may be unwilling to abandon violent means even though they recognize the important role of nonviolent struggle. The historical record indicates that while casualties in dead and wounded must be expected in political deance. From the perspective of the movement. and issues. limited violence against the dictatorship may be inevitable. In some cases. It also can contribute to suspicions and accusations. within the movement. often unjustied. political deance does not need to be abandoned.From Dictatorship to Democracy 33 causing dissention in their own ranks as well as fomenting support for the resisters among the general population. the regime’’s usual supporters. population groups. Otherwise the violence could have a disastrous effect on the potentially much more powerful and successful use of political deance. this type of struggle does not contribute to the endless cycle of killing and brutality. concerning who is an informer or agent for the opponents. timing. Secrecy may also affect the ability of a movement to remain nonvio- . That abandonment or control of fear is a key element in destroying the power of the dictators over the general population. and high standards Secrecy. which dampens the spirit of resistance and reduces the number of people who can participate in a given action. However. Nonviolent struggle both requires and tends to produce a loss (or greater control) of fear of the government and its violent repression. however. Frustration and hatred of the regime may explode into violence. Furthermore. secrecy. It is often impossible to keep the political police and intelligence agents from learning about intentions and plans. and underground conspiracy pose very difcult problems for a movement using nonviolent action. and third parties. they will be far fewer than the casualties in military warfare. it will be necessary to separate the violent action as far as possible from the nonviolent action. secrecy is not only rooted in fear but contributes to fear. deception. In these cases.

Due to these variations. The editing. The variations in the respective power of the contending sides in this type of conict situation are likely to be more extreme than in violent conicts. These effects will rebound to strengthen or weaken one group or another. openness regarding intentions and plans will not only have the opposite effects. The problem is of course more complex than this suggests. to take place more quickly. However. Shifting power relationships Strategists need to remember that the conict in which political deance is applied is a constantly changing eld of struggle with continuing interplay of moves and countermoves. In contrast. and the gathering of intelligence about the operations of the dictatorship are among the special limited types of activities where a high degree of secrecy will be required. and there are signicant aspects of resistance activities that may require secrecy. the use of illegal radio broadcasts from within the country. are subject to constant and rapid changes. and distribution of underground publications. . This is made possible by the resisters continuing their nonviolent persistence despite repression. Such factors as fearlessness and maintaining nonviolent discipline are always required. but will contribute to an image that the resistance movement is in fact extremely powerful. A wellinformed assessment will be required by those knowledgeable about both the dynamics of nonviolent struggle and also the dictatorship’’s means of surveillance in the specic situation. Power relationships. Nothing is static. printing. both absolute and relative.34 Gene Sharp lent. such numbers can be obtained as reliable participants only by maintaining the high standards of the movement. It is important to remember that large numbers of people may frequently be necessary to effect particular changes. and to have more diverse and politically signicant consequences. The maintenance of high standards of behavior in nonviolent action is necessary at all stages of the conict. specic actions by the resisters are likely to have consequences far beyond the particular time and place in which they occur.

and persistent use of political deance may result in more and more participation in the resistance by people who normally would give their tacit support to the dictators or generally remain neutral in the conict. and in most conicts this does not occur at all or at least not on a signicant scale. and in extreme situations even mutiny among the dictators’’ own soldiers and population. skillful. the nonviolent group may. disciplined courageous nonviolent resistance in face of the dictators’’ brutalities may induce unease. In addition. It is this change that produces the other three mechanisms: accommodation. nonviolent struggle operates by changing the conict situation and the society so that the opponents simply cannot do as they like. nonviolent coercion. When members of the opponent group are emotionally moved by the suffering of repression imposed on courageous nonviolent resisters or are rationally persuaded that the resisters’’ cause is just. This resistance may also result in increased international condemnation of the dictatorship. disaffection. If the issues are not fundamental ones. unreliability. This mechanism is called conversion. a splitting of differences or compromise. the demands of the opposition in a limited campaign are not considered threatening. Which of these occurs depends on the degree to which the relative and absolute power relations are shifted in favor of the democrats. by its actions exert inuence over the increase or decrease in the relative strength of the opponent group to a great extent. they are rare. This mechanism is . The rst mechanism is the least likely. Far more often. Four mechanisms of change Nonviolent struggle produces change in four ways. though it has occurred. Though cases of conversion in nonviolent action do sometimes happen. and the contest of forces has altered the power relationships to some degree. the immediate conict may be ended by reaching an agreement. they may come to accept the resisters’’ aims.From Dictatorship to Democracy 35 In addition. disciplined. For example. and disintegration.

The opponents’’ troops and police mutiny. Nonviolent struggle can be much more powerful than indicated by the mechanisms of conversion or accommodation. these four mechanisms should be kept in mind. The resisters’’ self-direction. In planning liberation strategies. The regime simply falls to pieces. and political processes of government and the society is in fact taken away. A government may perceive such a settlement to have some positive benets. such as defusing tension. The opponents’’ usual supporters or population repudiate their former leadership. However. The opponents’’ bureaucracy refuses to obey its own leadership. Mass noncooperation and deance can so change social and political situations. In some extreme situations. for example. that the dictators’’ ability to control the economic. Hence. It is important. their former assistance and obedience falls away. The opponents’’ leadership in fact loses all ability to act and their own structure of power collapses. The fourth mechanism of change. is so complete that they do not even have sufcient power to surrender. and deance become so complete that the opponents now lack even a semblance of control over them. They sometimes operate essentially by chance. with both sides attaining some of their objectives but neither achieving all it wanted. therefore. A struggle to bring down a dictatorship is not one of these. denying that they have any right to rule at all. disintegration of the opponents’’ system. especially power relationships. creating an impression of ““fairness. That is called nonviolent coercion. Many strikes are settled in this manner. that great care be exercised in selecting the issues on which a settlement by accommodation is acceptable. and adhere to their original goals. Although the opponents’’ leaders remain in their positions.36 Gene Sharp called accommodation. the selection of one or more of these as the intended mecha- . social. the conditions producing nonviolent coercion are carried still further.”” or polishing the international image of the regime. noncooperation. The opponents’’ military forces may become so unreliable that they no longer simply obey orders to repress resisters. their ability to act effectively has been taken away from them.

Democratizing effects of political deance In contrast to the centralizing effects of violent sanctions. independent organizations. in contrast to military means. use of the technique of nonviolent struggle contributes to democratizing the political society in several ways. but they cannot imprison or execute them when they dissent or choose other leaders. Which mechanism (or mechanisms) to select will depend on numerous factors. That is. Leaders of a political deance movement can exert inuence and apply pressures on their followers. One part of the democratizing effect is negative. That is.From Dictatorship to Democracy 37 nism of change in a conict will make it possible to formulate specic and mutually reinforcing strategies. including the absolute and relative power of the contending groups and the attitudes and objectives of the nonviolent struggle group. and free assembly. Another part of the democratizing effect is positive. in face of repressive controls. . •• Nonviolent struggle provides the means of noncooperation and deance by which the population can resist undemocratic controls over them by any dictatorial group. free press. •• Nonviolent struggle can be used to assert the practice of democratic freedoms. such as free speech. nonviolent struggle provides the population with means of resistance that can be used to achieve and defend their liberties against existing or would-be dictators. Below are several of the positive democratizing effects nonviolent struggle may have: •• Experience in applying nonviolent struggle may result in the population being more self-condent in challenging the regime’’s threats and capacity for violent repression. this technique does not provide a means of repression under command of a ruling elite which can be turned against the population to establish or maintain a dictatorship.

a range of mechanisms of change. •• Nonviolent struggle provides methods by which the population and the independent institutions can in the interests of democracy restrict or sever the sources of power for the ruling elite. •• Nonviolent struggle provides means by which the population can wield power against repressive police and military action by a dictatorial government. To be effective. and specic behavioral requirements. And strategists will need to have analyzed how nonviolent struggle can be most effectively applied. Complexity of nonviolent struggle As we have seen from this discussion. and strengthening of the independent groups and institutions of the society. thereby threatening its capacity to continue its domination. especially against a dictatorship. rebirth. These are important for democracy because of their capacity to mobilize the power capacity of the population and to impose limits on the effective power of any would-be dictators. We now turn our attention to this latter crucial element: the need for strategic planning.38 Gene Sharp •• Nonviolent struggle contributes strongly to the survival. nonviolent struggle is a complex technique of social action. . involving a multitude of methods. Prospective participants will need to understand what is required of them. as previously discussed. political deance requires careful planning and preparation. Resources will need to have been made available.

it is now possible to calculate the most effective ways to bring down a dictatorship. While spontaneity has some positive qualities. the democratic resisters have not anticipated the brutalities of the dictatorship. may thus join the struggle. a particular act by the dictatorship has so enraged the populace that they have launched into action without having any idea how the rising might end.SIX THE NEED FOR STRATEGIC PLANNING Political deance campaigns against dictatorships may begin in a variety of ways. Realistic planning In the future. At other times a courageous individual or a small group may have taken action which aroused support. Frequently. with disastrous results. Very careful thought based on a realistic assessment of the situation and the capabilities of 39 . A specic grievance may be recognized by others as similar to wrongs they had experienced and they. and to choose how to initiate a campaign. lack of planning on how to handle the transition to a democratic system has contributed to the emergence of a new dictatorship. the arrest or killing of a highly regarded person. disrespect toward religious beliefs. Even when the oppressive system was brought down. In the past these struggles have almost always been unplanned and essentially accidental. to assess when the political situation and popular mood are ripe. unplanned popular action will undoubtedly play signicant roles in risings against dictatorships. However. Sometimes. a specic call for resistance from a small group or individual may meet an unexpectedly large response. so that they suffered gravely and the resistance has collapsed. food shortages. but often included new brutalities. it has often had disadvantages. At times the lack of planning by democrats has left crucial decisions to chance. Specic grievances that have triggered past initial actions have varied widely. Sometimes. a new repressive policy or order. too. or an anniversary of an important related event.

the dictatorship usually will have access to vast material resources. it means from a dictatorship to a future democratic system. The more important the goal. Why is it that the people who have the vision of bringing political freedom to their people should so rarely prepare a comprehensive strategic plan to achieve that goal? Unfortunately. If one wishes to accomplish something. organizational strength. often most people in democratic opposition groups do not understand the need for strategic planning or are not accustomed or trained to . and ability to perpetrate brutalities. the more important planning becomes. A plan to achieve that objective will usually consist of a phased series of campaigns and other organized activities designed to strengthen the oppressed population and society and to weaken the dictatorship. it is wise to plan how to do it. Note here that the objective is not simply to destroy the current dictatorship but to emplace a democratic system. In contrast. In terms of this discussion. Consequently. this is almost never done. or the graver the consequences of failure. ““To plan a strategy”” here means to calculate a course of action that will make it more likely to get from the present to the desired future situation. Only rarely do these advocates fully recognize the extreme importance of careful strategic planning before they act. This is especially true for a democratic movement –– which has limited material resources and whose supporters will be in danger –– that is trying to bring down a powerful dictatorship. Hurdles to planning Some exponents of freedom in various parts of the world do not bring their full capacities to bear on the problem of how to achieve liberation. Strategic planning increases the likelihood that all available resources will be mobilized and employed most effectively. A grand strategy that limits its objective to merely destroying the incumbent dictatorship runs a great risk of producing another tyrant.40 Gene Sharp the populace is required in order to select effective ways to achieve freedom under such circumstances.

Constantly harassed by the dictatorship. they are doing all they can to implement them. This is a difcult task. it can lead to defeat. These approaches are. Creativity and bright ideas are very important. or both. favor the democrats. . What is needed instead is action based on careful calculation of the ““next steps”” required to topple the dictatorship. at best slowing the advance of the dictatorial controls or causing certain problems for the regime’’s new policies. and overwhelmed by immediate responsibilities. freedom will come. it is a common pattern simply to react to the initiatives of the dictatorship. they may naïvely think that if they simply espouse their goal strongly. But. resistance leaders often do not have the safety or time to develop strategic thinking skills. violence is no guarantor of success. seeking to maintain limited liberties or bastions of freedom. massive tragedy. but are grossly inadequate to end a dictatorship and to achieve freedom. There are also activists who base their actions on what they ““feel”” they should do.From Dictatorship to Democracy 41 think strategically. if ever. The espousal of humane goals and loyalty to ideals are admirable. of course. resistance leaders will often not know what that ““next step”” should be. it will somehow come to pass. however. Instead of liberation. and long enough. not only egocentric but they offer no guidance for developing a grand strategy of liberation. but they need to be utilized in order to advance the strategic situation of the democratic forces. Instead. Without strategic analysis. as noted earlier. In most situations the dictatorship is best equipped for violent struggle and the military realities rarely. Others assume that if they simply live and witness according to their principles and ideals in face of difculties. Some individuals and groups. for they have not thought carefully about the successive specic steps required to achieve victory. rmly. Action based on a ““bright idea”” that someone has had is also limited. Instead. may not see the need for broad long-term planning of a liberation movement. The opposition is then always on the defensive. Other opponents of dictatorship may naïvely think that if only they use enough violence.

It is also just possible that some democratic movements do not plan a comprehensive strategy to bring down the dictatorship. for them. some people counsel ““Do everything simultaneously. The result of such failures to plan strategically is often drastic: one’’s strength is dissipated. Hence.42 Gene Sharp Acutely aware of the multitude of actions that could be taken against the dictatorship and unable to determine where to begin. of course. especially for relatively weak movements. these leaders often fail to explore several alternative courses of action which could guide the overall efforts so that the goal is constantly approached. advantages are not utilized. perhaps never consciously recognize it. allowing themselves to be repeatedly distracted by relatively small issues. Inside themselves. is impossible. for another reason. If democrats do not plan strategically they are likely to fail to achieve their objectives. but are only able to think about it on a short-term or tactical basis. A poorly planned. Therefore. They may not see that longer-term planning is necessary or possible. these people will. such an approach provides no guidance on where to begin. Other persons and groups may see the need for some planning. Furthermore.”” That might be helpful but. long-term comprehensive strategic planning has no merit. and sacrices are for naught. concentrating instead only on immediate issues. and how to use often limited resources. often responding to the opponents’’ actions rather than seizing the initiative for the democratic resistance. Lacking real hope. defy the dictatorship for reasons of integrity and perhaps history. on where to concentrate efforts. They may at times be unable to think and analyze in strategic terms. they do not really believe that the dictatorship can be ended by their own efforts. odd mixture of . Devoting so much energy to short-term activities. Though they will never admit it. their actions appear to themselves as hopeless. one’’s actions are ineffective. planning how to do so is considered to be a romantic waste of time or an exercise in futility. nevertheless. People struggling for freedom against established brutal dictatorships are often confronted by such immense military and police power that it appears the dictators can accomplish whatever they will. energy is wasted on minor issues.

and how to ght. organizational. Grand strategy sets the basic framework for the selection of more limited strategies for waging the struggle. Four important terms in strategic planning In order to help us to think strategically. because comprehensive strategic plans for liberation are rarely. Grand strategy is the conception that serves to coordinate and direct the use of all appropriate and available resources (economic.) of a group seeking to attain its objectives in a conict. etc. political. Further.From Dictatorship to Democracy 43 activities will not move a major resistance effort forward. A strategy has been compared to the artist’’s concept. developed. it will more likely allow the dictatorship to increase its controls and power. In planning a grand strategy resistance leaders must evaluate and plan which pressures and inuences are to be brought to bear upon the opponents. determines the most appropriate technique of action (such as conventional military warfare or nonviolent struggle) to be employed in the conict. Grand strategy also determines the allocation of general tasks to particular groups and the distribution of resources to them for use in the struggle. while a strategic plan is the architect’’s blueprint. clarity about the meanings of four basic terms is important. They survive for years or decades longer than need be the case. Instead. Grand strategy. dictatorships appear much more durable than they in fact are. . personal communication.12 12 Robert Helvey. human. operating within the scope of the chosen grand strategy. Strategy is concerned with whether. Strategy is the conception of how best to achieve particular objectives in a conict. 15 August 1993. Unfortunately. by focusing primary attention on the group’’s objectives and resources in the conict. if ever. as well as how to achieve maximum effectiveness in struggling for certain ends. moral. grand strategy will include decisions on the appropriate conditions and timing under which initial and subsequent resistance campaigns will be launched. when.

whereas strat- . The choice of tactics is governed by the conception of how best in a restricted phase of a conict to utilize the available means of ghting to implement the strategy.44 Gene Sharp Strategy may also include efforts to develop a strategic situation that is so advantageous that the opponents are able to foresee that open conict is likely to bring their certain defeat. A tactic is thus concerned with a limited course of action that ts within the broad strategy. Additional factors may also be needed. To be most effective. just as a strategy ts within the grand strategy. and how its separate components shall be tted together to contribute most advantageously to achieve its objectives. Of course. Tactics and methods of action are used to implement the strategy. the democrats must clearly dene their objectives and determine how to measure the effectiveness of efforts to achieve them. the improved strategic situation will make success of the challengers certain in struggle. the strategic plan is the basic idea of how a campaign shall develop. Or. just fullling ““requirements”” is not sufcient to ensure success. A tactic is a limited action. tactics and methods must be chosen and applied with constant attention to the achievement of strategic objectives. This denition and analysis permits the strategist to identify the precise requirements for securing each selected objective. In devising strategies. employed to achieve a restricted objective. Tactics are always concerned with ghting. Tactical gains that do not reinforce the attainment of strategic objectives may in the end turn out to be wasted energy. if not. Applied to the course of the struggle itself. Planning for a wise strategy must take into consideration the requirements for success in the operation of the chosen technique of struggle. This need for clarity and denition applies equally to tactical planning. Different techniques will have different requirements. It involves the skillful deployment of particular action groups in smaller operations. Strategy also involves how to act to make good use of successes when gained. and therefore capitulate without an open struggle. Tactics relate to the skillful use of one’’s forces to the best advantage in a limited situation.

and methods. The main lesson of this discussion is that a calculated use of one’’s intellect is required in careful strategic planning for liberation from a dictatorship. boycotts.From Dictatorship to Democracy 45 egy includes wider considerations. strategies. therefore. these include the dozens of particular forms of action (such as the many kinds of strikes. It is most important. (See also Appendix. or for more limited objectives. or in smaller areas (geographical. tactics. A particular tactic can only be understood as part of the overall strategy of a battle or a campaign. In nonviolent action the distinction between a tactical objective and a strategic objective may be partly indicated by whether the chosen objective of the action is minor or major. etc. Method refers to the specic weapons or means of action. Those expected to participate must be trained in the use of the chosen technique and the specic methods.). while the effective use of one’’s intellectual capacities can chart a strategic course that will judiciously utilize one’’s available resources to move the society toward the goal of liberty and democracy. .) The development of a responsible and effective strategic plan for a nonviolent struggle depends upon the careful formulation and selection of the grand strategy. Tactics are applied for shorter periods of time than strategies. institutional. Tactical engagements are the tools of the strategist in creating conditions favorable for delivering decisive attacks against an opponent. Within the technique of nonviolent struggle. and selecting the most appropriate methods for it. and the like) cited in Chapter Five. political noncooperation. that those given responsibility for planning and executing tactical operations be skilled in assessing the situation. or by a more limited number of people. Failure to plan intelligently can contribute to disasters. Offensive tactical engagements are selected to support attainment of strategic objectives.


including attention to physical. Strategies can only be developed in the context of the particular struggle and its background. both at the grand strategic level and the level of campaign strategy. Of primary importance. historical. however. social. the development of grand strategy and campaign strategies are two separate processes. 47 . We have argued here that overthrow of the dictatorship or removal of the present dictators is not enough. All strategic planning. political. and building a durable democracy. Out of such a careful analysis both a grand strategy and the specic campaign strategies for achieving freedom can be developed. a careful assessment of the situation and of the options for effective action is needed. requires that the resistance planners have a profound understanding of the entire conict situation. The development of resistance strategy requires attention to many questions and tasks. weakening and then destroying the dictatorship. cultural. Campaign strategies will need to be designed to achieve and reinforce the grand strategic objectives. Only after the grand strategy has been developed can the specic campaign strategies be fully developed. economic. psychological. Clarity on this point will inuence the development of a grand strategy and of the ensuing specic strategies. Here we shall identify some of the important factors that need to be considered. Are the objectives worth a major struggle. democratic leaders and strategic planners will want to assess the objectives and importance of the cause. governmental. military. The objective in these conicts needs to be the establishment of a free society with a democratic system of government. To achieve such a plan of action. resistance leaders will need to formulate a comprehensive plan of action capable of strengthening the suffering people. Though related. and why? It is critical to determine the real objective of the struggle. and international factors.SEVEN PLANNING STRATEGY In order to increase the chances for success.

who already assist or might assist. such as these: •• What are the main obstacles to achieving freedom? •• What factors will facilitate achieving freedom? •• What are the main strengths of the dictatorship? •• What are the various weaknesses of the dictatorship? •• To what degree are the sources of power for the dictatorship vulnerable? •• What are the strengths of the democratic forces and the general population? •• What are the weaknesses of the democratic forces and how can they be corrected? •• What is the status of third parties. In making this choice the strategists will need to consider such questions as the following: Is the chosen type of struggle within the capacities of the democrats? Does the chosen technique utilize strengths of the dominated population? Does this technique target . planners will need to choose the main means of struggle to be employed in the coming conict. such as conventional military warfare. strategists will need to answer many fundamental questions. not immediately involved in the conict. and if so in what ways? Choice of means At the grand strategic level.48 Gene Sharp Particularly. either the dictatorship or the democratic movement. political deance. The merits and limitations of several alternative techniques of struggle will need to be evaluated. guerrilla warfare. and others.

Planning for democracy It should be remembered that against a dictatorship the objective of the grand strategy is not simply to bring down the dictators but to install a democratic system and make the rise of a new dictatorship impossible.From Dictatorship to Democracy 49 the weaknesses of the dictatorship. The development of a nonviolent struggle capacity means that the dictatorship’’s capacity for violent repression no longer as easily produces intimidation and submission among the population. Political deance contributes to a more equitable distribution of effective power through the mobilization of the society against the dictatorship. Under the dictatorship the population and civil institutions of the society have been too weak. and the government too strong. Strategists will need to examine their particular conict situation and determine whether political deance provides afrmative answers to the above questions. be just as dictatorial as the old ones. In previous chapters we have argued that political deance offers signicant comparative advantages to other techniques of struggle. if they wish. the chosen means of struggle will need to contribute to a change in the distribution of effective power in the society. or do they require dependency on third parties or external suppliers? What is the record of the use of the chosen means in bringing down dictatorships? Do they increase or limit the casualties and destruction that may be incurred in the coming conict? Assuming success in ending the dictatorship. This process occurs in several ways. A ““palace revolution”” or a coup d’’état therefore is not welcome. Without a change in this imbalance. what effect would the selected means have on the type of government that would arise from the struggle? The types of action determined to be counterproductive will need to be excluded in the developed grand strategy. or does it strike at its strongest points? Do the means help the democrats become more self-reliant. The population will have at its disposal powerful means to counter and at times block the exertion of the dicta- . To accomplish these objectives. a new set of rulers can. as was discussed in Chapter Five.

political. In this analysis we have argued that the main force of the struggle must be borne from inside the country itself. To the degree that international assistance comes at all. reduction in levels of diplomatic recognition or the breaking of diplomatic ties. As a modest supplement. The knowledge and skill gained in struggle will make the population less likely to be easily dominated by would-be dictators. it will be stimulated by the internal struggle. and a determination of the role of external assistance. can also be provided directly to the democratic forces. . such as the provision of nancial and communications support. planners of the grand strategy will need to sketch in broad strokes how the conict might best be conducted. the choice of means. Formulating a grand strategy Following an assessment of the situation. the mobilization of popular power through political deance will strengthen the independent institutions of the society. Further. These may take the forms of economic and military weapons embargoes. expulsion of the dictatorial government from various international organizations and from United Nations bodies. moral.50 Gene Sharp tors’’ power. international assistance. External assistance As part of the preparation of a grand strategy it is necessary to assess what will be the relative roles of internal resistance and external pressures for disintegrating the dictatorship. and economic sanctions by governments and international organizations against the dictatorship. efforts can be made to mobilize world public opinion against the dictatorship. The experience of once exercising effective power is not quickly forgot. This shift in power relationships would ultimately make establishment of a durable democratic society much more likely. Efforts can be taken to obtain diplomatic. and religious grounds. This broad plan would stretch from the present to the future liberation and the institution of a democratic system. banning of economic assistance and prohibition of investments in the dictatorial country. Further. on humanitarian.

etc. even initially in a limited way? How could the population’’s capacity to apply noncooperation and deance be increased with time and experience? What might be the objectives of a series of limited campaigns to regain democratic control over the society and limit the dictatorship? Are there independent institutions that have survived the dictatorship which might be used in the struggle to establish freedom? What institutions of the society can be regained from the dictators’’ control. or what institutions need to be newly created by the democrats to meet their needs and establish spheres of democracy even while the dictatorship continues? How can organizational strength in the resistance be developed? How can participants be trained? What resources (nances. how can the democratic resistance continue to build the institutional base of the post-dictatorship society to make the transition as smooth as possible? It must be remembered that no single blueprint exists or can be created to plan strategy for every liberation movement against dictatorships. equipment.) will be required throughout the struggle? What types of symbolism can be most effective in mobilizing the population? By what kinds of action and in what stages could the sources of power of the dictators be incrementally weakened and severed? How can the resisting population simultaneously persist in its deance and also maintain the necessary nonviolent discipline? How can the society continue to meet its basic needs during the course of the struggle? How can social order be maintained in the midst of the conict? As victory approaches. each dictatorship will have some individual characteristics. Each struggle to bring down a dictatorship and establish a democratic system will be somewhat different. The following questions pose (in a more specic way than earlier) the types of considerations required in devising a grand strategy for a political deance struggle: How might the long-term struggle best begin? How can the oppressed population muster sufcient self-condence and strength to act to challenge the dictatorship.From Dictatorship to Democracy 51 In formulating a grand strategy these planners will need to ask themselves a variety of questions. No two situations will be exactly alike. and the capacities of the freedom-seeking population .

(Westport. 1994). as well as specic instructions. Planners of grand strategy for a political deance struggle will require a profound understanding not only of their specic conict situation. Boston: Porter Sargent. 2005. This knowledge could potentially have a very positive effect on their morale. it is important for the pro-democracy groups to persist in applying it. knowing that it could rebound politically against themselves. Once a grand strategic plan for bringing down the dictatorship and establishing a democratic system has been adopted. Even then. Massachusetts: Porter Sargent. When there is abundant evidence that the chosen grand strategy was misconceived. planners may need to alter the grand strategy. Recommended full length studies are Gene Sharp. 1973) and Peter Ackerman and Christopher Kruegler. Connecticut: Praeger.52 Gene Sharp will vary. or that the circumstances of the struggle have fundamentally changed. The general outlines of the grand strategy would become known to the dictators in any case and knowledge of its features potentially could lead them to be less brutal in their repression. but of their chosen means of struggle as well. The large numbers of people required to participate may be more willing and able to act if they understand the general conception. Only in very rare circumstances should the struggle depart from the initial grand strategy. their willingness to participate. Awareness of the special characteristics of the grand strategy could potentially also contribute to dissension and defections from the dictators’’ own camp.13 When the grand strategy of the struggle has been carefully planned there are sound reasons for making it widely known. 13 . Strategic Nonviolent Conict. Waging Nonviolent Stuggle: Twentieth Century Practice and Twenty-First Century Potential. and to act appropriately. Also see Gene Sharp. this should be done only after a basic reassessment has been made and a new more adequate grand strategic plan has been developed and adopted. The Politics of Nonviolent Action of Nonviolent Action. (Boston.

require a thorough understanding of the nature and modes of operation of their chosen technique of struggle. and answers to the questions posed here will not themselves produce strategies. a grand strategy does not implement itself. •• Consideration of the specic methods. The discussion here focuses exclusively on the level of strategy. the political deance strategists will need to consider various issues and problems. In planning the strategies for the specic selective resistance campaigns and for the longer term development of the liberation struggle. will incorporate and guide a range of tactical engagements that will aim to strike decisive blows against the dictators’’ regime. political deance planners must understand the nature and strategic principles of nonviolent struggle. that can best be used to implement the chosen strategies. and the like in order to plot military strategy. The formulation of strategies for the struggle still requires an informed creativity. attention to recommendations in this essay.From Dictatorship to Democracy 53 Planning campaign strategies However wise and promising the developed grand strategy to end the dictatorship and to institute democracy may be. tactical plans and which specic methods of action should be used to im- . The following are among these: •• Determination of the specic objectives of the campaign and their contributions to implementing the grand strategy. Even then. knowledge of nonviolent struggle. Strategists planning the major campaigns will. like those who planned the grand strategy. in turn. the effects of geography. or political weapons. logistics. Particular strategies will need to be developed to guide the major campaigns aimed at undermining the dictators’’ power. Just as military ofcers must understand force structures. Within each overall plan for a particular strategic campaign it will be necessary to determine what smaller. tactics. The tactics and the specic methods of action must be chosen carefully so that they contribute to achieving the goals of each particular strategy. however. These strategies. munitions.

What means of decision-making and communication will be possible during the course of the struggle to give continuing guidance to the resisters and the general population? •• Communication of the resistance news to the general population. care will be needed that the economic grievances can actually be remedied after the dictatorship is ended. educational. economic issues should be related to the overall essentially political struggle. and political activities to meet the needs of one’’s own people during the coming conict. or how. •• Determination whether. economic. to the dictators’’ forces. It should be remembered that the achievement of major objectives will come as a result of carefully chosen and implemented specic smaller steps. Such projects can be conducted by persons not directly involved in the resistance activities. How can external help be best mobilized . If economic issues are to be prominent in the struggle. Claims and reporting should always be strictly factual. •• Plans for self-reliant constructive social. •• Determination of what kind of external assistance is desirable in support of the specic campaign or the general liberation struggle. Otherwise. disillusionment and disaffection may set in if quick solutions are not provided during the transition period to a democratic society. •• Determination in advance of what kind of leadership structure and communications system will work best for initiating the resistance struggle. and the international press. Such disillusionment could facilitate the rise of dictatorial forces promising an end to economic woes.54 Gene Sharp pose pressures and restrictions against the dictatorship’’s sources of power. Exaggerations and unfounded claims will undermine the credibility of the resistance.

the resistance planners will need to take measures to preserve order and to meet social needs by one’’s own forces during mass resistance against dictatorial controls. This will not only create alternative independent democratic structures and meet genuine needs. and most appropriate. democrats have frequently proved this to be possible. it is essential that the population grasp the idea of noncooperation. Spreading the idea of noncooperation For successful political deance against a dictatorship. etc. the basic idea is simple: if enough of the subordinates refuse to continue their cooperation long enough despite repression. The ““Monkey Master”” story. . They will also be able on their own to improvise a myriad of specic forms of noncooperation in new situations. Such a story could be easily understood. and/or the United Nations and its various bodies.). Once the general concept of noncooperation is grasped. the democratic forces should deliberately spread and popularize the idea of noncooperation. such as non-governmental organizations (social movements. the oppressive system will be weakened and nally collapse. labor unions. Despite the difculties and dangers in attempts to communicate ideas. As illustrated by the ““Monkey Master”” story (see Chapter Three). people will be able to understand the relevance of future calls to practice noncooperation with the dictatorship. Even so. or a similar one. Furthermore. but also will reduce credibility for any claims that ruthless repression is required to halt disorder and lawlessness. religious or political groups. news. governments. to assist. People living under the dictatorship may be already familiar with this concept from a variety of sources. could be disseminated throughout the society. and resistance instructions while living under dictatorships.From Dictatorship to Democracy 55 and used without making the internal struggle dependent on uncertain external factors? Attention will need to be given to which external groups are most likely.

The high cost to the demonstrators may not. the population will know how to act on certain important issues. If repression may be serious. but that will make brutal repression less likely or less possible. street demonstrations and parades against extreme dictatorships may be dramatic. especially the threshold of violence. Repression and countermeasures Strategic planners will need to assess the likely responses and repression. or liberation. for specic occasions. books. and how this might be done. general guidelines for resistance can be prepared and disseminated. leaets. counteract. . These can indicate the issues and circumstances under which the population should protest and withhold cooperation. It will be necessary to determine how to withstand. but they may also risk thousands of dead demonstrators. Tactically. or massive acts of noncooperation from the civil servants. or avoid this possible increased repression without submission. the strategists will do well to consider in advance the use of tactics and methods that will contribute to achieving the specic goal of a campaign. and specic instructions have not been issued or received. For example. a strike. of the dictatorship to the actions of the democratic resistance.56 Gene Sharp Even under Nazi and Communist rule it was possible for resisters to communicate not only with other individuals but even with large public audiences through the production of illegal newspapers. and in later years with audio and video cassettes. actually apply more pressure on the dictatorship than would occur through everyone staying home. Then. however. preparations for medical assistance for wounded resisters should be made. With the advantage of prior strategic planning. appropriate warnings to the population and the resisters about expected repression would be in order. Anticipating repression. even if communications from the democratic leadership are severed. so that they will know the risks of participation. Such guidelines would also provide a test to identify counterfeit ““resistance instructions”” issued by the political police designed to provoke discrediting action.

causing them to focus major activities on unimportant issues. . the task of the pro-democracy forces is to press forward stage by stage. policy statements. As long as the basic analysis is judged to be sound. The brutalities may have been perpetrated precisely in order to provoke the democratic forces to abandon their well-laid plan and even to commit violent acts in order that the dictators could more easily defeat them. Of course. and boycotts of pro-violence persons and groups be possible and effective? Leaders should always be alert for the presence of agents provocateurs whose mission will be to incite the demonstrators to violence. Careful implementation of the chosen grand strategy and of strategies for particular campaigns will greatly contribute to success. These adjustments should not be confused with objectives of the grand strategy or the objectives of the specic campaign. discipline leaets. changes in tactics and intermediate objectives will occur and good leaders will always be ready to exploit opportunities. Nor should the emotions of the moment —— perhaps in response to new brutalities by the dictatorship —— be allowed to divert the democratic resistance from its grand strategy or the campaign strategy. then one should very carefully consider the proposal’’s costs and possible gains. Will such measures as pledges. Will the population and the resisters be likely to behave in a disciplined and nonviolent manner during the course of the struggle? Can they resist provocations to violence? Planners must consider what measures may be taken to keep nonviolent discipline and maintain the resistance despite brutalities. the democratic forces should not be distracted by minor moves of the dictators that may tempt them to depart from the grand strategy and the strategy for a particular campaign. marshals for demonstrations. Adhering to the strategic plan Once a sound strategic plan is in place.From Dictatorship to Democracy 57 If it has been proposed that provocative resistance action risking high casualties will be required for a strategic purpose.


Success in such limited campaigns could not only correct specic grievances but also convince the population that it indeed has power potential. Most of the strategies of campaigns in the long-term struggle should not aim for the immediate complete downfall of the dictatorship.EIGHT APPLYING POLITICAL DEFIANCE In situations in which the population feels powerless and frightened. In planning a strategy for ““selective resistance”” it is necessary to identify specic limited issues or grievances that symbolize the general oppression of the dictatorship. Strategists should choose an issue the merits of which will be widely recognized and difcult to reject. Selective resistance In the initial stages of the struggle. condencebuilding actions. Nor does every campaign require the participation of all sections of the population. and near the conclusion of the long-term struggle will differ from each other. Occasionally. Such selective campaigns may follow one after the other. In contemplating a series of specic campaigns to implement the grand strategy. the deance strategists need to consider how the campaigns at the beginning. Such issues may be the appropriate targets for conducting campaigns to gain intermediary strategic objectives within the overall grand strategy. it is important that initial tasks for the public be low-risk. the middle. two or three might overlap in time. separate campaigns with different specic objectives can be very useful. In other cases a relatively minor (on the surface) nonpolitical issue (such as securing a safe water supply) might be made the focus for group action. 59 . These types of actions —— such as wearing one’’s clothes in an unusual way —— may publicly register a dissenting opinion and provide an opportunity for the public to participate signicantly in acts of dissent. but instead for gaining limited objectives.

Very early the strategists need to plan at least the strategy for the rst campaign. involve placing owers at a place of symbolic importance. They should be designed in part to test and inuence the mood of the population. if the number of persons willing to act is very large. If the number of persons willing to act is small. then a ve minute halt to all activities or several minutes of silence might be used. to regain control of some part currently controlled by the dictators. democrats can make the greatest possible impact with their available power capacity. a few indi- . as already discussed. or political issues. and also contribute to advantageous incremental shifts in power relations for the long-term struggle. the campaign of selective resistance should also strike at one weakness or more of the dictatorship. The initial action is likely to take the form of symbolic protest or may be a symbolic act of limited or temporary noncooperation. What are to be its limited objectives? How will it help fulll the chosen grand strategy? If possible. Symbolic challenge At the beginning of a new campaign to undermine the dictatorship. In other situations. Selective resistance strategies should concentrate primarily on specic social. then the initial act might. for example. If possible. it is wise to formulate at least the general outlines of strategies for a second and possibly a third campaign. Thereby. On the other hand. All such strategies will need to implement the chosen grand strategy and operate within its general guidelines.60 Gene Sharp These intermediary strategic objectives need to be attainable by the current or projected power capacity of the democratic forces. which are good for morale. or to deny the dictators a particular objective. This helps to ensure a series of victories. These may be chosen in order to keep some part of the social and political system out of the dictators’’ control. economic. and to prepare them for continuing struggle through noncooperation and political deance. the rst more specically political actions may be limited in scope.

That has not yet occurred and would be most difcult to achieve.From Dictatorship to Democracy 61 viduals might undertake a hunger strike. a brief student boycott of classes. such actions by themselves are unlikely to bring down a dictatorship. the burden of the struggle would be shifted to other population groups. The high casualties of demonstrators in both of these cases points to the great care strategists must exercise in planning campaigns. or a temporary sit-in at an important ofce. therefore. for they remain largely symbolic and do not alter the power position of the dictatorship. Under a dictatorship these more aggressive actions would most likely be met with harsh repression. religious leaders and believers might concentrate on a freedom of religion issue. Spreading responsibility During a selective resistance campaign the brunt of the struggle is for a time usually borne by one section or more of the population. For example. It usually is not possible to sever the availability of the sources of power to the dictators completely and rapidly at the beginning of a struggle. Initial symbolic protest actions have at times aroused major national and international attention —— as the mass street demonstrations in Burma in 1988 or the student occupation and hunger strike in Tiananman Square in Beijing in 1989. journalists might challenge . Although having a tremendous moral and psychological impact. Certain symbolic acts. a quick campaign of full noncooperation and deance is an unrealistic strategy for an early campaign against the dictatorship. That would require virtually the whole population and almost all the institutions of the society —— which had previously been largely submissive —— to reject absolutely the regime and suddenly defy it by massive and strong noncooperation. such as a physical occupation in front of the dictator’’s palace or political police headquarters may involve high risk and are therefore not advisable for initiating a campaign. In a later campaign with a different objective. In most cases. rail workers might meticulously obey safety regulations so as to slow down the rail transport system. students might conduct strikes on an educational issue. a vigil at a place of symbolic importance.

Will their support be weakened by revelations of the brutalities perpetrated by the regime. These centers of power provide the institutional bases from which the population can exert pressure or can resist dictatorial controls. by exposure of the disastrous economic consequences of the dictators’’ policies. It will be necessary to plan carefully how the democratic forces can weaken the support that people and groups have previously offered to the dictatorship. The aim would be to use popular noncooperation to create a new more advantageous strategic situation for the democratic forces. or by a new understanding that the dictatorship can be ended? The dictators’’ supporters should at least be induced to become ““neutral”” in their activities (““fence sitters””) or preferably to become active supporters of the movement for democracy. Selective resistance is especially important to defend the existence and autonomy of independent social.62 Gene Sharp censorship by publishing papers with blank spaces in which prohibited articles would have appeared. which were briey discussed earlier. with the goal of producing increasing political paralysis. or police might repeatedly fail to locate and arrest wanted members of the democratic opposition. In the struggle. As the democratic resistance forces gained strength. economic. and political groups and institutions outside the control of the dictatorship. strategists would plot more ambitious noncooperation and deance to sever the dictatorships’’ sources of power. the strategists will need to calculate how the dictators’’ sources of power can be further restricted. they are likely to be among the rst targets of the dictatorship. Phasing resistance campaigns by issue and population group will allow certain segments of the population to rest while resistance continues. Aiming at the dictators’’ power As the long-term struggle develops beyond the initial strategies into more ambitious and advanced phases. and in the end the disintegration of the dictatorship itself. During the planning and implementation of political deance .

The degree of loyalty of the military forces. Sympathetic ofcers can play vital roles in the democratic struggle. both soldiers and ofcers. designed to undermine the dictatorship but not to threaten their lives. to the dictatorship needs to be carefully assessed and a determination should be made as to whether the military is open to inuence by the democratic forces. it will be necessary to plan how sympathetic military ofcers can be brought to understand that neither a military coup nor a civil war against the dictatorship is required or desirable. eventually. however. family. and bureaucrats. The attempt to garner sympathy from and. police. Such efforts would aim ultimately to undermine the morale of the dictators’’ troops and nally to subvert their loyalty and obedience in favor of the democratic movement. Troops should learn that the struggle will be of a special character. Such a scenario is not likely to install a working democracy. and persistent. such as spreading disaffection and noncooperation in the military forces. it is highly important to pay close attention to all of the dictators’’ main supporters and aides. and supporting the refusal to carry out repres- . for (as we have discussed) a coup d’’état does little to redress the imbalance of power relations between the populace and the rulers. to mean encouragement of the military forces to make a quick end to the current dictatorship through military action. and actions. Similar strategies could be aimed at the police and civil servants. but especially their army. the democratic forces can inform the troops that the liberation struggle will be vigorous. Therefore. symbols. By words.From Dictatorship to Democracy 63 and noncooperation. Might many of the ordinary soldiers be unhappy and frightened conscripts? Might many of the soldiers and ofcers be alienated from the regime for personal. determined. or political reasons? What other factors might make soldiers and ofcers vulnerable to democratic subversion? Early in the liberation struggle a special strategy should be developed to communicate with the dictators’’ troops and functionaries. political party. including their inner clique. encouraging deliberate inefciencies and the quiet ignoring of orders. induce disobedience among the dictators’’ forces ought not to be interpreted.

Instead. and military forces remain fully supportive of the dictatorship and obedient in carrying out its commands.”” Shifts in strategy The political deance strategists will need constantly to assess how the grand strategy and the specic campaign strategies are being implemented. The democratic forces should not ask the soldiers and ofcers that they immediately mutiny. Soldiers and police could expect severe penalties for any act of disobedience and execution for acts of mutiny. food. Military personnel may also offer various modes of positive nonviolent assistance to the democracy movement. for example. The democratic forces should remember that disaffection and disobedience among the military forces and police can be highly dangerous for the members of those groups. For example. In that case it will be necessary to calculate . or deportations. to disintegrate the dictatorship if the police. medical supplies. warn resisters of impending repression. work inefciently. Strategies aimed at subverting the loyalty of the dictators’’ forces should therefore be given a high priority by democratic strategists. where communication is possible. or impossible. police and troops can carry out instructions for repression inefciently. Deance strategists should remember that it will be exceptionally difcult. arrests. fail to locate wanted persons. Soldiers may shoot over the heads of demonstrators. civil servants can lose les and instructions. information. that the struggle may not go as well as expected. including safe passage. The army is one of the most important sources of the power of dictators because it can use its disciplined military units and weaponry directly to attack and to punish the disobedient population. Disaffected ofcers in turn can neglect to relay commands for repression down the chain of command. for their part. it should be made clear that there are a multitude of relatively safe forms of ““disguised disobedience”” that they can take initially. bureaucrats. and fail to report important information to their superior ofcers. Similarly. It is possible. and the like.64 Gene Sharp sion. and become ““ill”” so that they need to stay home until they ““recover.

When that is done. it will be necessary to identify the problem. mobilize additional sources of power. possibly shift struggle responsibilities to a different population group. and develop alternative courses of action. how can the democratic forces capitalize on unexpected gains and move toward paralyzing the dictatorship? We will explore this question in the following chapter. What can be done to increase the movement’’s strength and regain the initiative? In such a situation. the new plan should be implemented immediately.From Dictatorship to Democracy 65 what shifts in strategy might be required. if the struggle has gone much better than expected and the dictatorship is collapsing earlier than previously calculated. Conversely. make a strategic reassessment. .


if the civil servants no longer function with their normal efciency or even stay at home. It may be useful to review how the sources of power can be affected by political deance. The greater the regime’’s authority.NINE DISINTEGRATING THE DICTATORSHIP The cumulative effect of well-conducted and successful political deance campaigns is to strengthen the resistance and to establish and expand areas of the society where the dictatorship faces limits on its effective control. As was discussed in Chapter Three. Withdrawal of support is therefore the major required action to disintegrate a dictatorship. or assist the rulers. cooperation. and submission are essential if dictators are to be powerful. the dictators’’ power weakens and nally dissolves. Without access to the sources of political power. Moral disapproval needs to be expressed in action in order to seriously threaten the existence of the dictatorship. Withdrawal of cooperation and obedience are needed to sever the availability of other sources of the regime’’s power. the greater and more reliable is the obedience and cooperation which it will receive. These campaigns also provide important experience in how to refuse cooperation and how to offer political deance. If noncooperation is practiced by large parts of the population. the regime will be in serious trouble. then the dictators will see their capacity to implement their 67 . if the noncooperating persons and groups include those that have previously supplied specialized skills and knowledge. For example. the administrative apparatus will be gravely affected. cooperate with. obedience. Similarly. That experience will be of great assistance when the time comes for noncooperation and deance on a mass scale. Acts of symbolic repudiation and deance are among the available means to undermine the regime’’s moral and political authority —— its legitimacy. A second important such source of power is human resources. the number and importance of the persons and groups that obey.

Even their ability to make well-informed decisions and develop effective policies may be seriously reduced. disobedient. boycotts. The dictators’’ access to material resources also directly affects their power.68 Gene Sharp will gravely weakened. In summary. Strikes. as in a war. As previously discussed. and means of communication in the hands of actual or potential opponents of the regime. natural resources. the population will be more inclined to disobey and to noncooperate. Second. the economic system. . If psychological and ideological inuences —— called intangible factors —— that usually induce people to obey and assist the rulers are weakened or reversed. and transportation will weaken the regime. the dictatorship is gravely threatened. and noncooperative sections of the population —— is a central source of the power of dictators. transportation. they may on an individual or mass basis evade or outright defy orders to arrest. or shoot resisters. Without constant replenishment of the necessary sources of power the dictatorship will weaken and nally disintegrate. This source of power can be weakened in two ways. if the police and the military forces themselves become disaffected. With control of nancial resources. the dictators’’ repression will not secure the desired submission). and increasing autonomy in the economy. success against an entrenched dictatorship requires that noncooperation and deance reduce and remove the sources of the regime’’s power. Competent strategic planning of political deance against dictatorships therefore needs to target the dictators’’ most important sources of power. the effectiveness of the available sanctions will be drastically reduced (that is. communications. property. beat. the dictators’’ ability to threaten or apply sanctions —— punishments against the restive. another major source of their power is vulnerable or removed. if the population is prepared. to risk serious consequences as the price of deance. First. If the dictators can no longer rely on the police and military forces to carry out repression.

In time. If and when the dictatorship intervenes to halt this ““escalating freedom. Even under martial law. Poland in the 1970s and 1980s provides a clear example of the progressive reclaiming of a society’’s functions and institutions by the resistance. Peasants. The organization of the Solidarity trade union with its power to wield effective strikes forced its own legalization in 1980. Illegal publishing houses annually issued hundreds of books. The Catholic church had been persecuted but never brought under full Communist control. cultural. As the civil institutions of the society become stronger vis-à-vis the dictatorship.”” nonviolent struggle can be applied in defense of this newly won space and the dictatorship will be faced with yet another ““front”” in the struggle. . the new independent institutions of the society continued to function.O. the growth of autonomous social. making the collapse of the dictatorship and the formal installation of a democratic system undeniable because the power relationships within the society have been fundamentally altered. Solidarity was again banned and the Communists resorted to military rule. the population is incrementally building an independent society outside of their control. economic. students. with many imprisonments and harsh persecution. For example. (Workers Defense Committee) to advance their political ideas. whatever the dictators may wish. When the Communists realized that these groups had changed the power realities. In 1976 certain intellectuals and workers formed small groups such as K.R. dozens of illegal newspapers and magazines continued to be published. while well-known writers boycotted Communist publications and government publishing houses. and political institutions progressively expands the ““democratic space”” of the society and shrinks the control of the dictatorship. and many other groups also formed their own independent organizations. this combination of resistance and institution building can lead to de facto freedom.From Dictatorship to Democracy 69 Escalating freedom Combined with political deance during the phase of selective resistance. then.

time will be required for creating. Larger parts of the population at all levels of the society should become involved. compliance. imprisonment. In most cases. and the like. During this interim period campaigns of selective resistance should be launched with increasingly important political objectives.70 Gene Sharp Similar activities continued in other parts of the society. however. In due course then a constitution would be adopted and elections held as part of the transition. building. Eventually.”” This would increasingly operate as a rival government to which loyalty. Under the Jaruselski military regime. with punishments. on an increasing basis. Strategists of the democratic forces should contemplate early that there will come a time when the democratic forces can move beyond selective resistance and launch mass deance. and the development of mass deance may occur only after several years. it was only a matter of time until the society was able to bring down the regime completely. or expanding resistance capacities. and cooperation are given by the population and the society’’s institutions. . arrests. The ofcials still occupied government ofces and buildings. the deance and noncooperation movement may escalate. Disintegrating the dictatorship While the institutional transformation of the society is taking place. The dictatorship would then consequently. Even while a dictatorship still occupies government positions it is sometimes possible to organize a democratic ““parallel government. The regime could still strike down into the society. The dictatorship. the military-Communist government was at one point described as bouncing around on the top of the society. the internal weaknesses of the dictatorship are likely to become increasingly obvious. the democratic parallel government may fully replace the dictatorial regime as part of the transition to a democratic system. be deprived of these characteristics of government. Given determined and disciplined political deance during this escalation of activities. From that point. could not control the society. seizure of printing presses.

This pattern is not usual. even on limited issues. Those who have earned the victory should be recognized. During the course of the liberation struggle.From Dictatorship to Democracy 71 The combination of strong political deance and the building of independent institutions is likely in time to produce widespread international attention favorable to the democratic forces. A complete governmental void could open the way to chaos or a new dictatorship. should be celebrated. Celebrations with vigilance should also help to keep up the morale needed for future stages of the struggle. However. Strategists should be aware that in some situations the collapse of the dictatorship may occur extremely rapidly. however. Handling success responsibly Planners of the grand strategy should calculate in advance the possible and preferred ways in which a successful struggle might best be concluded in order to prevent the rise of a new dictatorship and to ensure the gradual establishment of a durable democratic system. It is necessary to calculate what sections of the old governmental structure (as the political police) are to be completely abolished because of their inherent anti-democratic character and which sections retained to be subjected to later democratization efforts. This can happen when the sources of power are massively severed as a result of the whole population’’s revulsion against the dictatorship. and embargoes in support of the democratic forces (as it did for Poland). It may also produce international diplomatic condemnations. It is desirable at that time to establish quickly a new functioning government. it must not be merely the old one with new personnel. Thought should be given in advance to determine what is to be the policy toward high ofcials of the dictatorship when its power . victories. boycotts. The democrats should calculate how the transition from the dictatorship to the interim government shall be handled at the end of the struggle. as in East Germany in 1989. and it is better to plan for a long-term struggle (but to be prepared for a short one).

and disciplined courageous struggle. For example. are the dictators to be brought to trial in a court? Are they to be permitted to leave the country permanently? What other options may there be that are consistent with political deance. The dictatorship would disintegrate before the deant population. the need for reconstructing the country. However. especially not easily. mass stay-at-homes. hard work. the dictators would become powerless and the democratic defenders would. When confronted with the increasingly empowered population and the growth of independent democratic groups and institutions —— both of which the dictatorship is unable to control —— the dictators will nd that their whole venture is unravelling. executed wisely and with mass participation over time. Not every such effort will succeed. triumph. and rarely quickly. Plans for the institution of democratic constitutional government with full political and personal liberties will also be required. Such plans will help to prevent another group from seizing state power through a coup d’’état. political deance offers a real possibility of victory. deant marches.72 Gene Sharp disintegrates. that possibility can be greatly increased through the development of a wise grand strategy. The changes won at a great price should not be lost through lack of planning. Specic plans for the transition to democracy should be ready for application when the dictatorship is weakening or collapses. It should be remembered that as many military wars are lost as are won. or other activities will increasingly undermine the dictators’’ own organization and related institutions. general strikes. Massive shut-downs of the society. careful strategic planning. As a consequence of such deance and noncooperation. . without violence. As stated earlier. and building a democracy following the victory? A blood bath must be avoided which could have drastic consequences on the possibility of a future democratic system.

The new political system should provide the opportunities for people with varying outlooks and favored measures to continue constructive work and policy development to deal with problems in the future. economic.TEN GROUNDWORK FOR DURABLE DEMOCRACY The disintegration of the dictatorship is of course a cause for major celebration. People who have suffered for so long and struggled at great price merit a time of joy. . Unfortunately. Not all will have lived to see this day. The dictatorial structures will need to be dismantled. 73 . . 233. . Book V. Chapter 12. No one should believe that with the downfall of the dictatorship an ideal society will immediately appear. . Serious political. The constitutional and legal bases and standards of behavior of a durable democracy will need to be built. Threats of a new dictatorship Aristotle warned long ago that ““. Even in the event of a successful disintegration of the dictatorship by political deance. careful precautions must be taken to prevent the rise of a new oppressive regime out of the confusion following the collapse of the old one. under conditions of enhanced freedom. this is not a time for a reduction in vigilance. The living and the dead will be remembered as heroes who helped to shape the history of freedom in their country. The disintegration of the dictatorship simply provides the beginning point.””14 There is ample historical evidence from France (the 14 Aristotle. The leaders of the pro-democracy forces should have prepared in advance for an orderly transition to a democracy. and recognition. tyranny can also change into tyranny. and social problems will continue for years. They should feel proud of themselves and of all who struggled with them to win political freedom. relaxation. for long-term efforts to improve the society and meet human needs more adequately. p. requiring the cooperation of many people and groups in seeking their resolution. The Politics.

Iran (the Ayatollah). but in fact seek only to impose a new refurbished model of the old one. Even before the collapse of the dictatorship. The second basic principle of anti-coup defense is to resist the putschists with noncooperation and deance. The needed cooperation and assistance must be denied. It may claim to oust the dictatorship.74 Gene Sharp Jacobins and Napoleon). Their motives may vary. and elsewhere that the collapse of an oppressive regime will be seen by some persons and groups as merely the opportunity for them to step in as the new masters. Burma (SLORC). The rst basic principle of anti-coup defense is therefore to deny legitimacy to the putschists. The putschists require the cooperation of specialists and advisors. and the military forces will passively submit and carry out their usual functions as modied by the putschists’’ orders and policies. Immediately after a coup is started. Preparation can produce prevention. The new dictatorship may even be more cruel and total in its control than the old one. administrators and judges in order to consolidate their control over the affected society. Advance knowledge of that defense capacity may at times be sufcient to deter the attempt. Essentially the same means of struggle that was used against the dictatorship can be used against . members of the old regime may attempt to cut short the deance struggle for democracy by staging a coup d’’état designed to preempt victory by the popular resistance. confused. acceptance of their moral and political right to rule. but the results are often approximately the same. the society’’s institutions. The putschists also require that the multitude of people who operate the political system. that is. or just passive. the police. The putschists also require that the civilian leaders and population be supportive. Blocking coups There are ways in which coups against newly liberated societies can be defeated. the economy. bureaucrats and civil servants. Russia (the Bolsheviks). the putschists require legitimacy.

From Dictatorship to Democracy 75 the new threat. Otherwise. intelligence services. state. it may be necessary to operate with an interim constitution. a new constitution will need to be prepared. If a constitution with many of these features existed earlier in the newly liberated country’’s history. Constitution drafting The new democratic system will require a constitution that establishes the desired framework of the democratic government. The constitution should set the purposes of government. In the interests of preserving the democratic system and impeding dictatorial trends and measures. and judicial branches of government. Strong restrictions should be included on activities of the police. the coup may die of political starvation and the chance to build a democratic society restored. executive. but applied immediately. Preparing a new constitution will take considerable time and thought. while remaining a part of the whole country. amending it as deemed necessary and desirable. and the relation of the national government to other lower levels of government. a clear division of authority should be established between the legislative. the constitution should preferably be one that establishes a federal system with signicant prerogatives reserved for the regional. it may be wise simply to restore it to operation. and local levels of government. Popular participation in this process is desirable and required for ratication of a new text or amendments. the inherent rights of the people. and military forces to prohibit any legal political interference. Within the central government. limits on governmental powers. One should be very cautious about including in the constitution promises that later might prove impossible to imple- . If a suitable older constitution is not present. In some situations the Swiss system of cantons might be considered in which relatively small areas retain major prerogatives. If both legitimacy and cooperation are denied. the means and timing of elections by which governmental ofcials and legislators will be chosen. if it is to remain democratic.

1990). or military domination. In the interests of maintaining internal democracy.76 Gene Sharp ment or provisions that would require a highly centralized government. This experience of struggle has imporSee Gene Sharp. serious consideration should be given to applying the basic principles of political deance to the needs of national defense. rights. newly liberated countries could avoid the need to establish a strong military capacity which could itself threaten democracy or require vast economic resources much needed for other purposes. The country might also be threatened by foreign attempts to establish economic. and procedures. It must be remembered that some groups will ignore any constitutional provision in their aim to establish themselves as new dictators.15 By placing resistance capacity directly in the hands of the citizenry. This technique enables people who formerly felt themselves to be only pawns or victims to wield power directly in order to gain by their own efforts greater freedom and justice. 15 . A democratic defense policy The liberated country may also face foreign threats for which a defense capacity would be required. Civilian-Based Defense: A Post-Military Weapons System (Princeton. Therefore. political. A constitution should not be so complex or ambiguous that only lawyers or other elites can claim to understand it. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. a permanent role will exist for the population to apply political deance and noncooperation against would-be dictators and to preserve democratic structures. for both can facilitate a new dictatorship. The wording of the constitution should be easily understood by the majority of the population. A meritorious responsibility The effect of nonviolent struggle is not only to weaken and remove the dictators but also to empower the oppressed.

From Dictatorship to Democracy


tant psychological consequences, contributing to increased self-esteem and self-condence among the formerly powerless. One important long-term benecial consequence of the use of nonviolent struggle for establishing democratic government is that the society will be more capable of dealing with continuing and future problems. These might include future governmental abuse and corruption, maltreatment of any group, economic injustices, and limitations on the democratic qualities of the political system. The population experienced in the use of political deance is less likely to be vulnerable to future dictatorships. After liberation, familiarity with nonviolent struggle will provide ways to defend democracy, civil liberties, minority rights, and prerogatives of regional, state, and local governments and nongovernmental institutions. Such means also provide ways by which people and groups can express extreme dissent peacefully on issues seen as so important that opposition groups have sometimes resorted to terrorism or guerrilla warfare. The thoughts in this examination of political deance or nonviolent struggle are intended to be helpful to all persons and groups who seek to lift dictatorial oppression from their people and to establish a durable democratic system that respects human freedoms and popular action to improve the society. There are three major conclusions to the ideas sketched here: •• Liberation from dictatorships is possible; •• Very careful thought and strategic planning will be required to achieve it; and •• Vigilance, hard work, and disciplined struggle, often at great cost, will be needed.


Gene Sharp

The oft quoted phrase ““Freedom is not free”” is true. No outside force is coming to give oppressed people the freedom they so much want. People will have to learn how to take that freedom themselves. Easy it cannot be. If people can grasp what is required for their own liberation, they can chart courses of action which, through much travail, can eventually bring them their freedom. Then, with diligence they can construct a new democratic order and prepare for its defense. Freedom won by struggle of this type can be durable. It can be maintained by a tenacious people committed to its preservation and enrichment.

THE METHODS OF NONVIOLENT PROTEST AND PERSUASION 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. Leaets, 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. Display of ags and symbolic colors 19. Wearing of symbols
This list, with denitions and historical examples, is taken from Gene Sharp, The Politics of Nonviolent Action, Part Two, The Methods of Nonviolent Action.


Pilgrimages 42. Performance of plays and music 37. Humorous skits and pranks 36. Homage at burial places . Protest disrobings 23. Displays of portraits 26. Taunting ofcials 33. Singing Processions 38. Political mourning 44. Motorcades Honoring the dead 43. Symbolic sounds 29. ““Haunting”” ofcials 32. Demonstrative funerals 46. Delivering symbolic objects 22. New signs and names 28. Destruction of own property 24. Parades 40. Paint as protest 27. Symbolic lights 25. Rude gestures Pressures on individuals 31. Fraternization 34. Religious processions 41. Marches 39.80 Gene Sharp 20. Symbolic reclamations 30. Mock funerals 45. Prayer and worship 21. Vigils Drama and music 35.

and institutions 60. Collective disappearance 70.From Dictatorship to Democracy 81 Public assemblies 47. Interdict Noncooperation with social events. Assemblies of protest or support 48. Walk-outs 52. Suspension of social and sports activities 61. Social disobedience 64. Turning one’’s back THE METHODS OF SOCIAL NONCOOPERATION Ostracism of persons 55. Excommunication 59. Boycott of social affairs 62. Lysistratic nonaction 58. Renouncing honors 54. Social boycott 56. Sanctuary 69. Protest emigration (hijrat) . Protest meetings 49. Camouaged meetings of protest 50. Stay-at-home 66. Withdrawal from social institutions Withdrawal from the social system 65. Total personal noncooperation 67. Flight of workers 68. Student strike 63. Teach-ins Withdrawal and renunciation 51. Silence 53. customs. Selective social boycott 57.

Refusal to let or sell property 83. Severance of funds and credit 90. Consumers’’ boycott 72. Workmen’’s boycott 79. Producers’’ boycott Action by middlemen 80.82 Gene Sharp THE METHODS OF ECONOMIC NONCOOPERATION: (1) ECONOMIC BOYCOTTS Action by consumers 71. Nonconsumption of boycotted goods 73. and assessments 88. Suppliers’’ and handlers’’ boycott Action by owners and management 81. National consumers’’ boycott 77. Merchants’’ ““general strike”” Action by holders of nancial resources 86. Refusal to pay fees. International sellers’’ embargo 95. International trade embargo . Withdrawal of bank deposits 87. International buyers’’ embargo 96. Revenue refusal 91. Refusal of a government’’s money Action by governments 92. Refusal of industrial assistance 85. Refusal to pay debts or interest 89. Traders’’ boycott 82. Blacklisting of traders 94. International consumers’’ boycott Action by workers and producers 78. dues. Policy of austerity 74. Refusal to rent 76. Domestic embargo 93. Rent withholding 75. Lockout 84.

Quickie walkout (lightning strike) Agricultural strikes 99. Economic shutdown . General strike Combinations of strikes and economic closures 118. Refusal of impressed labor 102. Farm workers’’ strike Strikes by special groups 101. Peasant strike 100. Protest strike 98. Industry strike 107. Prisoners’’ strike 103. Generalized strike 117. Reporting ““sick”” (sick-in) 113. Slowdown strike 111. Professional strike Ordinary industrial strikes 105. Establishment strike 106. Bumper strike 110. Selective strike Multi-industry strikes 116. Strike by resignation 114. Craft strike 104. Hartal 119. Working-to-rule strike 112.From Dictatorship to Democracy 83 THE METHODS OF ECONOMIC NONCOOPERATION: (2) THE STRIKE Symbolic strikes 97. Detailed strike 109. Limited strike 115. Sympathetic strike Restricted strikes 108.

Refusal to accept appointed ofcials 132. Selective refusal of assistance by government aides 143. Stalling and obstruction 145. escape and false identities 141. Nonobedience in absence of direct supervision 135. Civil disobedience of ““illegitimate”” laws Action by government personnel 142. Disguised disobedience 137. Literature and speeches advocating resistance Citizens’’ noncooperation with government 123. Hiding. Boycott of legislative bodies 124. Removal of own signs and placemarks 131. Withdrawal from government educational institutions 128. agencies and other bodies 127. Noncooperation with conscription and deportation 140. Refusal of an assemblage or meeting to disperse 138. Reluctant and slow compliance 134. Sitdown 139. Blocking of lines of command and information 144. General administrative noncooperation . Boycott of elections 125. Popular nonobedience 136. Refusal of public support 122. Refusal of assistance to enforcement agents 130. Boycott of government-supported organizations 129. Withholding or withdrawal of allegiance 121. Boycott of government departments.84 Gene Sharp THE METHODS OF POLITICAL NONCOOPERATION Rejection of authority 120. Boycott of government employment and positions 126. Refusal to dissolve existing institutions Citizens’’ alternatives to obedience 133.

Reverse trial 161.From Dictatorship to Democracy 85 146. Withholding of diplomatic recognition 154. Expulsion from international organizations THE METHODS OF NONVIOLENT INTERVENTION Psychological intervention 158. Nonviolent raids . The fast (a) Fast of moral pressure (b) Hunger strike (c) Satyagrahic fast 160. Refusal of membership in international bodies 157. Nonviolent harassment Physical intervention 162. Quasi-legal evasions and delays 150. Self-exposure to the elements 159. Stand-in 164. Severance of diplomatic relations 155. Delay and cancellation of diplomatic events 153. Sit-in 163. Changes in diplomatic and other representation 152. Mill-in 167. Noncooperation by constituent governmental units International governmental action 151. Pray-in 168. Ride-in 165. Mutiny Domestic governmental action 149. Deliberate inefciency and selective noncooperation by enforcement agents 148. Withdrawal from international organizations 156. Wade-in 166. Judicial noncooperation 147.

Civil disobedience of ““neutral”” laws 197. Nonviolent interjection 172. Alternative markets 191.86 Gene Sharp 169. Dual sovereignty and parallel government . Overloading of facilities 176. Reverse strike 182. Alternative communication system Economic intervention 181. Nonviolent invasion 171. Politically motivated counterfeiting 186. Alternative transportation systems 192. Deance of blockades 185. Seeking imprisonment 196. Nonviolent obstruction 173. Nonviolent air raids 170. Stall-in 177. Work-on without collaboration 198. Preclusive purchasing 187. Selective patronage 190. Guerrilla theater 179. Speak-in 178. Stay-in strike 183. Disclosing identities of secret agents 195. Dumping 189. Establishing new social patterns 175. Alternative economic institutions Political intervention 193. Nonviolent land seizure 184. Nonviolent occupation Social intervention 174. Seizure of assets 188. Overloading of administrative systems 194. Alternative social institutions 180.

However. Hazel McFerson and Dr. sociological analysis. 87 . He also made incisive recommendations for more rigorous and clearer presentations of difcult ideas (especially concerning strategy). Dr.APPENDIX TWO ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND NOTES ON THE HISTORY OF FROM DICTATORSHIP TO DEMOCRACY I have incurred several debts of gratitude while writing the original edition of this essay. dictatorships. I could not write an analysis that had a focus only on Burma. The preparation of this text was based over forty years of research and writing on nonviolent struggle. the analysis and conclusions contained therein are solely my responsibility. a prominent exile Burmese democrat who was then editor of Khit Pyaing (The New Era Journal). my Special Assistant in 1993. made an inestimable contribution by his identication of problems in content and presentation. ““From Dictatorship to Democracy”” was written at the request of the late U Tin Maung Win. I am also grateful for the editorial assistance of Stephen Coady. and other elds. and editorial improvements. totalitarian systems. Bruce Jenkins. Christopher Kruegler and Robert Helvey offered very important criticisms and advice. Dr. resistance movements. This has been necessary in order to ensure accuracy in languages in which there has earlier been no established clear terminology for this eld. respectively. primarily due to Jamila Raqib’’s guidance and to the lessons learned from earlier years. Patricia Parkman provided information on struggles in Africa and Latin America. In recent years special guidelines for translations have been developed. structural reorganization. political theory.

was purchased. translations and distribution of the publication began to spread on their own. and television.88 Gene Sharp as I did not know Burma well. The essay was originally published in installments in Khit Pyaing in Burmese and English in Bangkok. This analysis was intended only for use by Burmese democrats and various ethnic groups in Burma that wanted independence from the Burman-dominated central government in Rangoon. and later .) I did not then envisage that the generic focus would make the analysis potentially relevant in any country with an authoritarian or dictatorial government. that appears to have been the perception by people who in recent years have sought to translate and distribute it in their languages for their countries. and published in 1997 by a major Indonesian publisher with an introduction by Abdurrahman Wahid. However. As late as 2005. There. Afterwards it was issued as a booklet in both languages (1994) and in Burmese again (1996 and 1997). it was translated into Indonesian. Although no efforts were made to promote the publication for use in other countries. He was then head of Nadhlatul Ulama. Therefore. (Burmans are the dominant ethnic group in Burma. A copy of the English language edition was seen on display in the window of a bookstore in Bangkok by a student from Indonesia. It was circulated both surreptitiously inside Burma and among exiles and sympathizers elsewhere. Several persons have reported that it reads as though it was written for their country. I had to write a generic analysis. the largest Muslim organization in the world with thirty-ve million members. The SLORC military dictatorship in Rangoon wasted no time in denouncing this publication. radio. Thailand in 1993. and reportedly continued in later years in newspapers. and taken back home. The original booklet editions from Bangkok were issued with the assistance of the Committee for the Restoration of Democracy in Burma. persons were sentenced to seven-year prison terms merely for being in possession of the banned publication. Heavy attacks were made in 1995 and 1996.

Arabic. Bahasa Indonesia. Karen (Burma). For a few years we had to make copies of it when we had enquiries for which it was relevant. Khmer (Cambodia). German. These were the people who became the Otpor organization that led the nonviolent struggle that brought down Milosevic. Azeri (Azerbaijan). Yet it has been deemed to be important enough for at least twenty-eight translations (as of January 2008) to be prepared. Chin (Burma). Uzbek (Uzbekistan). took one of those copies to Belgrade during Milosovic’’s time and gave it to the organization Civic Initiatives. Translations of this publication in print or on a web site include the following languages: Amharic (Ethiopia). Belarusian. ““From Dictatorship to Democracy”” is a heavy analysis and is not easy reading. We usually do not know how awareness of this publication has spread from country to country. Helvey also gave them copies of the complete The Politics of Nonviolent Action. Tibetan. and Vietnamese. Kurdish. Tracing these connections would be a major research project. When we visited Serbia after the collapse of the Milosevic regime we were told that the booklet had been quite inuential in the opposition movement. Spanish. at my ofce at the Albert Einstein Institution we only had a handful of photocopies from the Bangkok English language booklet. Between 1993 and 2002 there were six translations. from California. Nepali. Burmese. . Several others are in preparation. Also important had been the workshop on nonviolent struggle that Robert Helvey. had given in Budapest. Its availability on our web site in recent years has been important. Kyrgyz (Kyrgyzstan). a retired US Army colonel. Between 2003 and 2008 there have been twenty-two. French. Pashto (Afghanistan and Pakistan). for about twenty Serbian young people on the nature and potential of nonviolent struggle. although they required major work and expense. Serbian. Marek Zelaskiewz. Georgian. Hungary. Tigrinya (Eritrea). During this time.From Dictatorship to Democracy 89 President of Indonesia. but clearly that is not the only factor. Chinese (simplied and traditional Mandarin). Farsi (Iran). Dhivehi (Maldives). Jing Paw (Burma). Later. Russian. They translated it into Serbian and published it. Ukrainian.

90 Gene Sharp The great diversity of the societies and languages into which translations have spread support the provisional conclusion that the persons who initially encounter this document have seen its analysis to be relevant to their society. Massachusetts . Gene Sharp January 2008 Albert Einstein Institution Boston.

Some of the terms in this publication will not translate readily into other languages. Candi91 . great care must be taken to preserve the original meaning of the text. however. •• The author requests notication from individuals who intend to reproduce this document. •• The author requests that if this document is going to be translated. as direct equivalents for ““nonviolent struggle”” and related terms may not be available. Thus. That means that anyone is free to reproduce it or disseminate it. although individuals are under no legal obligation to follow such requests. The author. They are as follows: •• A selection process takes place to select a translator. the Albert Einstein Institution has developed a standard set of translation procedures that may assist them. careful consideration must be given to how these terms and concepts are to be translated so as to be understood accurately by new readers. if it is reproduced. For individuals and groups that wish to translate this work. either additions or deletions. does have several requests that he would like to make. Notication can be given to the Albert Einstein Institution (contact information appears in the beginning of this publication immediately before the Table of Contents). •• The author requests that no changes be made in the text.APPENDIX THREE A Note About Translations and Reprinting of this Publication To facilitate dissemination of this publication it has been placed in the public domain.

•• Once the translator has considered this feedback and made any necessary changes. •• An evaluator is selected by a similar process. Candidates are also evaluated on their general knowledge surrounding the subject area and their understanding of the terms and concepts present in the text. It is often better if the translator and evaluator do not know the identities of each other. •• Once the entire text is translated. The evaluator’’s job is to thoroughly review the translation and to provide feedback and criticism to the translator. keeping in mind the comments of the evaluator.92 Gene Sharp dates are evaluated on their uency in both English and the language into which the work will be translated. the evaluator evaluates the entire text and gives feedback to the translator. If minor problems exist. as well as a list of a number of signicant key terms that are present in the text. the translator submits a sample translation of two or three pages of the text. the nal version of the text is complete and the translated book is ready to be printed and distributed. •• Once the translator and evaluator are selected. depending upon the judgement of the individual or group that is sponsoring the translation. . the translator proceeds with the full translation of the text. •• The evaluator evaluates this sample translation and presents feedback to the translator. •• If major problems exist between the translator’’s sample translation and the evaluator’’s evaluation of that translation. then either the translator or the evaluator may be replaced.

Helvey. The Anti-Coup by Gene Sharp and Bruce Jenkins. 2. Box 455 East Boston. Dictionary of Civilian Struggle: Technical Terminology of Nonviolent Action and the Control of Political Power by Gene Sharp. Porter Sargent Publishers. Social Power and Political Freedom by Gene Website: www. Porter Sargent Publishers. Boston: The Albert Einstein Institution. 2003. please contact: The Albert Einstein Institution P. 1980. Boston: Extending Horizons Books. For order information. 2010. 6. On Strategic Nonviolent Conflict: Thinking About the Fundamentals by Robert L. 2005. Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential by Gene Sharp. Boston: Extending Horizons Books. 1973.aeinstein. Publication forthcoming. MA 02128. 2002.) by Gene Sharp.From Dictatorship to Democracy 93 For Further Reading 1. USA Tel: USA +1 617-247-4882 Fax: USA +1 617-247-4035 E-mail: einstein@igc. 7. Boston: The Albert Einstein Institution. Self-Liberation by Gene Sharp with the assistance of Jamila Raqib. Boston: Extending Horizons . 3. The Politics of Nonviolent Action (3 vols. There Are Realistic Alternatives by Gene Sharp.O. 8. 5. Porter Sargent Publishers. 2003. Boston: The Albert Einstein Institution. 4. Boston: The Albert Einstein Institution.

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