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Blueprint for Revolution: How to Use Rice Pudding, Lego Men, and Other Nonviolent Techniques to Galvanize Communities, Overthrow Dictators, or Simply Change the World Paperback – February 3, 2015
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“The title is no exaggeration. Otpor’s methods . . . have been adopted by democracy movements around the world. The Egyptian opposition used them to topple Hosni Mubarak. In Lebanon, the Serbs helped the Cedar Revolution extricate the country from Syrian control. In Maldives, their methods were the key to overthrowing a dictator who had held power for thirty years. In many other countries, people have used what Canvas teaches to accomplish other political goals, such as fighting corruption or protecting the environment.”—The New York Times
“A clear, well-constructed, and easily applicable set of principles for any David facing any Goliath (sans slingshot, of course) . . . By the end of Blueprint, the idea that a punch is no match for a punch line feels like anything but a joke.”—The Boston Globe
“An entertaining primer on the theory and practice of peaceful protest.”—The Guardian
“With this wonderful book, Srdja Popovic is inspiring ordinary people facing injustice and oppression to use this tool kit to challenge their oppressors and create something much better. When I was growing up, we dreamed that young people could bring down those who misused their power and create a more just and democratic society. For Srdja Popovic, living in Belgrade in 1998, this same dream was potentially a much more dangerous idea. But with an extraordinarily courageous group of students that formed Otpor!, Srdja used imagination, invention, cunning, and lots of humor to create a movement that not only succeeded in toppling the brutal dictator Slobodan Milošević but has become a blueprint for nonviolent revolution around the world. Srdja rules!”—Peter Gabriel
“Blueprint for Revolution is not only a spirited guide to changing the world but a breakthrough in the annals of advice for those who seek justice and democracy. It asks (and not heavy-handedly): As long as you want to change the world, why not do it joyfully? It’s not just funny. It’s seriously funny. No joke.”—Todd Gitlin, author of The Sixties and Occupy Nation
About the Author
Srdja Popovic is a Serbian political activist and executive director of the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS). He was a leader of the student movement Otpor!, which helped topple Serbian president Slobodan Milošević. He has taught at the Harvard Kennedy School, NYU, and the University of Colorado, among others. He lives in Belgrade.
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If the above sounds dull, it's the reviewer's fault. In fact this is one of those books that, once started, you can't put down...
Though the author does not say so, the fact is that these same non-violent stratgegies and tactics can also help win elections,
Comedy works -- you can't laugh and be afraid at the same time, and oppressive regimes mostly want you to be afraid so they can control you. So create street theater that ridicules your adversary while being totally legal. Violence doesn't work. You're trying to hit a much bigger opponent at his strongest point. Also, all that dying makes it kinda unsustainable.
Popovic conveys his hard-earned wisdom with hilarity & great storytelling, making the daunting endeavor of revolution seem wholly accessible to ordinary folks. Adhere to the holy trinity of nonviolent discipline, unity and planning, he says, and you will go far. Some choice quotes: "...ordinary people don't take to the barricades because things are bad. In order for your average citizen to really get engaged with an issue, he needs to think that it's unfair or wrong." "When you think of power, remember that exercising it comes at a cost, and that your job as an activist is to make that cost rise ever upward until your opponent is no longer able to afford the charges."
This is brilliant stuff, folks -- a manual for both the suburban mom trying to stop the megamall next door, and the activists aiming to topple a ruthless dictator. Read it, live it, and make good stuff happen.
-- Ali Binazir, M.D., M.Phil., author of The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman's Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible, the highest-rated dating book on Amazon for 4+ years
Nonviolent techniques are always superior to violence, if democracy is your goal - not just morally, but strategically and tactically as well. The book explains why, if you have any doubts (I never have).
But as Popovic explains, it's not enough to commit to nonviolence. You need a goal (pick ONE - and choose wisely!), a strategy to achieve that goal, and tactics that are aligned with that strategy. Oh, and a brand, too.
In this framework the failures of the Occupy movement, the movement for Egyptian democracy, and other democracy movements that didn't quite work out are thoroughly explained.
And it's a great filter to apply as you watch the movements being formed now.
Useful quote: "A mass demonstration,as anyone who has ever organized any successful campaign will tell you, is the last step you take, not the first... The big rally isn't the spark that launches your movement. It's actually the victory lap..."
Most recent customer reviews
literally it goes from 160 and the very next page is 193!