- Pamphlet: 93 pages
- Publisher: The Albert Einstein Institution; 4th edition (2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1880813092
- ISBN-13: 978-1880813096
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.5 x 5.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #580,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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From dictatorship to democracy: A conceptual framework for liberation Pamphlet – Student Calendar, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
It is also a good introduction to study of nonviolent movements, before diving into all 902 pages of "Politics of Nonviolent Action"
Excerpts below are from an excellent article in the Wall Street Journal, 9/13/2008:
Mr. Sharp's writings on nonviolent resistance have been studied by opposition activists in Zimbabwe, Burma, Russia, Venezuela and Iran, among others. His 1993 guide to unseating despots, "From Dictatorship to Democracy," has been translated into at least 28 languages and was used by movements that toppled governments in Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan.
Although nonviolent struggle has played a major role throughout history, Mr. Sharp was among the first modern scholars to take a comprehensive look at all the various movements, from the civil-rights struggle in the U.S. to uprisings in Eastern Europe.
In his writings, Mr. Sharp teased out common principles that make nonviolent resistance successful, creating a broad road map for activists looking to destabilize authoritarian regimes. Mr. Sharp's magnum opus, the 902-page "Politics of Nonviolent Action," was published in 1973. But the main source of his success is his 90-page "From Dictatorship to Democracy."
This slim volume offers concise advice on how to plan a successful opposition campaign, along with a list of historically tested tactics for rattling a dictatorial regime. Aimed at no particular country, and easily downloadable from the Internet, the booklet has found universal appeal among opposition activists around the globe.
Though he warns readers that resistance may provoke violent crackdowns and will take careful planning to succeed, Mr. Sharp writes that any dictatorship will eventually collapse if its subjects refuse to obey.
After weighing the pros and cons of options such as violence, guerrilla warfare, military coups, foreign intervention, elections, negotiations, legal/judicial challenges, and public opinion, Mr. Sharp comes to the conclusion that political defiance is the best option for those who want peace and freedom. As the descendant of political prisoners of Nazi Germany, I cannot subscribe blindly to this recommendation. It depends on how ruthlessly the target dictatorship deals with its opponents. To his credit, Mr. Sharp acknowledges that a high priority for democratic strategists is to subvert the loyalty and obedience of military forces and police to their dictators.
To weaken and then destroy dictatorships, democratic resisters have to be cognizant of the dictators' constantly replenished sources of power. Contrary to popular wisdom, even totalitarian dictatorships rely on the population and the societies they rule. Mr. Sharp explores the important sources of power such as moral and political authority, human and material resources, access to specialized skills and knowledge, psychological and ideological influences, and last but not least, punishment. The author observes on this subject that abandonment or control of fear is critical to ending the power of the dictators over their subjects.Read more ›
It comes as a free download from [...] but is currently still unavailable in print. Yet many would prefer the option, surely, of a bound volume rather than 88 loose sheets.
Its own author calls it "a heavy analysis and not easy reading". Too self-deprecating: his analysis is searching and comprehensive, certainly, but his language is direct, matter-of-fact and unambiguous. He addresses every issue head-on. Nothing is glossed over. Every sentence matters.
His ten chapter titles reveal the ground he covers: Facing dictatorships realistically; The dangers of negotiation; Whence comes the power?; Dictatorships have weaknesses; Exercising power; The need for strategic planning; Planning strategy; Applying political defiance; Disintegrating the dictatorship; Groundwork for a durable democracy.
Above all, his approach is pragmatic: "Military resistance against dictatorships does not strike them where they are weakest, but rather where they are strongest", so the more effective way is through non-violence. The attitude of the state's armed forces towards the protesters is often crucial and non-violence is likely to win more hearts and save more lives.
He quotes an ancient Chinese parable - the "Monkey Master" fable - in which a group of monkeys gather fruits every day for their cruel and tyrannical master, without ever daring to question or complain. One day, a young monkey asks why they should all depend upon and serve the old man.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Should be required reading in every High School Political Science course and for every member of Congress too.Published 7 months ago by J J Zavada
Anything about preserving Democracy and Freedom is all right in my book.Published on July 28, 2014 by Eric Marchewka
Very interesting read for history buffs and anyone trying to grasp it all. Compelling especially with all that's going with our pal Putin.Published on May 7, 2014 by Buzzinabout - T.O.
very easy to read and loaded with lots of information for a small book. I would recommend to anyone who likes non violent measures to get something done. Read morePublished on February 26, 2014 by Shane
It is inspiring to read something that you know has been used by people all over the world to better their lives.Published on October 1, 2013 by Lee Glanton
I purchased this book for myself and have since purchased extra copies as gifts. I LOVE this book and the message that it delivers.Published on March 14, 2013 by Monica Alvarez
This is the blueprint for popular uprising; and supposedly studied by the organizers of the Arab Spring. Good time to reflect on whether that was really so great.... Read morePublished on December 26, 2012 by Shannon O'Toole
Apparently Mr Sharp wants to help people transition from dictatorship to democracy, unless of course they are Cubans. Read morePublished on December 19, 2012 by Antunez Perez-Abreu