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Adapted from http://www.uow.edu.au/~bmartin/pubs/89jpr.html Gene Sharp's Theory of Power, Journal of Peace Research, vol. 26, no. 2, 1989, pp. 213-22 by Brian Martin.
The essence of Sharp's theory of power is quite simple: the power of rulers derives from consent by the subjects; non-violent action is a process of withdrawing consent and thus is a way to challenge the key modern problems of dictatorship, genocide, war and systems of oppression. So in one sentence the idea of color revolutions advocated by Sharp can be stated as "delegitimization of rulers".
Sharp borrows a lot from Marxism in general and Bolshevism in particular, especially Bolsheviks understanding of revolutionary situation although he is too shy to site those influences.
The two key concepts in Sharp's theory of power are:
The focus on obedience then leads Sharp to ask 'Why do men obey?' He suggests that important factors are habit, fear of sanctions, moral obligation, self-interest, psychological identification with the ruler, zones of indifference and absence of self-confidence among subjects (1973, pp. 16-24).
Non-violent action constitutes a refusal by subjects to obey in the presence of external forces which prevent government to use violence against the population. So implicitly in Sharp scheme imply a powerful external country (say USA) interested in particular outcome: the collapse of power of the current government due to the fact that it is delegitimized and non only the consent is withdrawn but action of non-obedience became prominent.
This active non-obedience actions fueled by external financing are vital. The ruler will not be threatened by grumbling, alienation or critical analyses alone. Sharp is interested in regime change.
Sharp's approach can be examined and challenged from many different angles especially from the point of view of structural approaches. The Marxist analysis of capitalism is probably the best example of this (e.g. Althusser, 1977; Baran & Sweezy, 1968; Mandel, 1976; Marcuse, 1964; Poulantzas, 1978). It includes several insight into capitalism behaviour as a social system such as the law of uneven development of international capitalism; international politics as struggles between states and also provides the framework of understanding social struggles (such as conflicts and accommodation between capitalism and labor). Founded on private property, the ownership of the means of production by a small minority of people, and a market on which labor power is purchased and exploited, capitalism appears to behave like a self-regulating system. Whatever the intentions of individual capitalists, if they do not extract surplus value from their workers and thus compete successfully in the market, they will be driven to bankruptcy.
Much Marxist scholarship has shown that vital to the establishment and maintenance of capitalist relationships are struggles between owners and employees, gender and ethnic divisions within the working class, economic intervention from the state to stabilize and protect markets, social intervention from the state to provide services (education, health and welfare) for reproducing the labor power needed by capital, and police and military intervention from the state to control labor revolts.
The resulting complex of economic and political relationships is still usually called capitalism which should be treated as a social system with its own dynamic.
Structural approaches help in analyzing social systems, if the structures which are conceptualized happen to capture key ways of organizing human interactions which tend to reproduce themselves. This is an important point. In principle, there is nothing to stop the employees at a factory from simply leaving their jobs and setting up production on their own in a different location. In practice, if the 'different location' were someone else's private property, police would be called in to evict the workers and there would be little support from anyone else in the community. Furthermore, the original company typically would find little difficulty in recruiting new workers. Thus, the system of private property and the market in labor would continue reproduce itself. It could be said that capitalist social relations are sticky.
It took many decades before the strike, a carefully circumscribed withdrawal of labor power, was accepted as legitimate, and it continues to be attacked by employers. Direct challenges to private property, such as squatting and workers' control, are even more difficult to use.
The existence of numerous internal conflicts within capitalism makes it hard to argue that capitalism is an automatically self-sustaining type of mechanism. Fundamentally involved is the commitment of individuals to the current order. This is where the concept of hegemony enters (Gramsci, 1971). Hegemony refers to the processes by which a given way of organizing social life, in which one class dominates another, becomes accepted as inevitable and desirable by most people. These processes include the mass media, formal education, the family, popular culture, and routines of daily life at work and leisure.
All those methods of achieving hegemony can be attacked, if financing is provided by external party.
One of the major dangers in using such concepts is the reification of categories. Capitalism, for example, is frequently presented as if it operates and evolves independently of the people whose interactions make it up.
The use of a structural analysis does not commit one to a particular method of political action. Historically, Marxist analysis has been linked to parties whose aim is to capture state power in the name of the working class, and for whom tools such as violence and the state are neutral. But others using a Marxist analysis favor more populist methods, involving themselves in mass struggles or working with the 'new social movements' such as the environmental, feminist and peace movements.
The question arise how this simplistic, pseudo-religious doctrine be so successful. It is now widely used as a blue print for color revolution used to export neoliberalism into particular countries, much Trotsky theory of permanent revolution for Marxism.
Sharp's focus on consent is individualistic and voluntaristic in orientation, as shown by his attention to psychological reasons for obedience. It requires external money source and a network of distribution for those money, such as NGO within the country as well as controlled by external power subservient press, ready to praise actions of protesters ("air cover" in cover revolution). It is typical in color revolution to create "opposition for hire" which supplements "natural" protesters making it closer for foreign power organized coup d'état, that a genuine social movement.
An analysis of social structure provides a better way to understand consent (Moore, 1978) then Shapr views. Also an understanding of the power relationships associated with capitalism would seem essential to developing effective non-violent methods of struggle. While Sharp gives numerous examples of non-violent action by workers - he devotes an entire chapter of The Politics of Nonviolent Action to 23 types of strikes (l973, pp. 257-284) - he essentially position himself as a tool of imperialist, neoliberal powers which use his theory for regime change and as such gives no examination of capitalism as a system of power, and misses out on insights provided by Marxist analysts.
While in principle an oppressive ruler can be opposed by workers walking off the job, in practice there are many factors to be taken into account in mobilizing them to do so. The workers are likely to be divided along lines of status, skill, wages, gender and ethnicity; the mass media may provide little support or active disinformation; certain workers may have been tied to the regime by dispensation of special favours, being involved in corruption, or compromised by participating in repression of minorities; education in nationalism may make it easy for the ruler to raise the specter of foreign enemies, external agitators and hurting the national interest.
Furthermore, the 'system', whatever its oppressiveness, it may still benefit large groups of people which constitute the "critical mass" of supported of regime that is not that easy to silence by using Sharp methods. Many members of the working class, while exploited by capitalists, at the same time receive wages sufficient only to offer a life seen as better than those of their parents. Capitalism as a social system simultaneously oppresses and benefits those who live in it.
Sharp also gives no analysis of the social system of bureaucracy and how its hierarchy, division of labor and regular procedures serve to mesh everyone - including top bureaucrats - into patterns of behaviour which are hard to escape. Political struggles take place within the institutional framework of bureaucracies (Weinstein, 1979).
As these struggles are almost always non-violent, Sharp's approach may offer some insights. But the ruler-subject dichotomy is of very limited value here, since in a typical bureaucracy, nearly everyone has both superiors and subordinates. To be of use, the dynamics of non-violent action would have to be elaborated in light of studies of the dynamics of bureaucracy.
Another key factor in systems of power is technology. Rather than being neutral tools, technologies can be said to embody social relations (Dickson, 1974). In other words, particular artefacts are easier to use for some purposes and by some social groups than others. For example, nuclear weapons can serve the ends of state elites and perhaps some terrorists, but not the ends of environmentalists or even the police. Small-scale solar energy embodies values of self-reliance and decentralization, whereas fossil fuels are more easily linked to dependence on centralized suppliers.
The practical possibilities for 'withdrawing support' depend in part on the technological infrastructure available to protesters. Technologies for person-to-person communication, such as the cell phones, instant messaging and Internet provide a stronger basis for non-violent resistance than one-directional technologies such as television. Sharp does not provide insights here as he wrote his books before Internt became donminant communication media.
Another important factor is the knowledge and experience of individuals and groups. People with a tradition of independence and social struggle, and with practical experience of opposing authority, can easily use of non-violent action. Knowledge and experience of this sort depend on a number of factors, including styles of upbringing, formal education, the prevalence and mode of activity of community groups, and the organization of work. Knowledge and experience are taken into account by Sharp in his discussions of the psychology of obedience and loci of power, but he provides no structural analysis of how people come to have the knowledge and experience that they do. Knowledge is importnat feature of processes of negotiation and the exercise of power. Governments provide funds to research and develop certain kinds of knowledge (including anti-Sharp leaflets ;-). MSM select and construct knowledge in certain ways creating the discourse for the nation. Those factor are missing from Sharp analysys.
Like any moderately adaptable political theory, Sharp's theory of power can be extended or adapted to cover facets that initially seem to be left out. Indeed, a careful reading of Sharp's work reveals an awareness of many of the points raised here. Touching on issues in a general way, however, is quite different from integrating them into the core concepts. The adaptability of the theory does not remove its central focus, and it is this focus which shapes how the theory is used and who is likely to use it.
Sharp understanding of "oppressive regimes" is extremely naive. To fully understand the phenomenon of Stalinism, it is essential to analyze the mobilization of support and suppression of dissent through the Communist Party, the process of industrialization, the reconstitution of the hierarchical army in the 1918-21 war against the Western attack on the revolution, the social inheritance of Tsarism, and the international political scene. Similar comments apply to Nazism. The point is that Stalinism and Nazism were much more than simply systems of ruler and oppressed, and that a full understanding of 'consent' requires a deep social analysis (e.g. Gouldner, 1977-78).
This point is clearer in the context of present-day struggles, where the judgment of history has not yet become conventional wisdom in school history classes and bipartisan political rhetoric. The meaning of nonviolent action is the result of social struggle rather than following immediately from a simple examination of rulers and subjects. Those such as the Berrigans who have taken non-violent direct action against facilities linked to the capacity for nuclear warfare can be interpreted as acting for humanity against evil rulers who are willing to risk mass killing to defend systems of power. But only a minority of people accept this interpretation; in practice, the civil disobedients to the nuclear war machine are engaged in political practice to convince people that their concerns should be the concerns of others. These activists have found that the dynamic of non-violent action does not automatically click into place to generate greater support. Sharp could only agree; he continually stresses that non-violent action is not guaranteed to succeed. The trouble is that his theory of power does not provide the conceptual tools needed to determine whether direct action against nuclear facilities is a particularly effective way to challenge the current systems of power and the current ideologies which mobilize much of the population to support organized violence as 'defense' against an 'enemy'.
Sharp comes closest to a structural approach in his discussion of loci of power. For example, he describes how the distributed power of the nobility under feudalism constrained the monarch, who in principle had unlimited authority (1980, pp. 33-35). But Sharp does not introduce any concepts convenient for analysing these structures. The major purpose of his examples is to argue for his thesis that constitutions are not sufficient to control rulers, that replacing rulers does not lead to control over rulers, and that devolution and diffusion of power among many groups is necessary to control the ruler's power (1980, p. 47). In short, his discussion of structures is used to support his basic ruler-subject picture. Once established, the structures tend to be dropped out of the picture. It is perhaps significant that when Sharp does discuss structures of power it is usually using historical examples such as feudalism or Fascism rather than examples also quite relevant today such as capitalism or patriarchy.
Even Sharp's discussion of loci of power gives a very simplified picture. Sharp argues that 'In order for effective control over the ruler's power to be possible in the long run, power must be effectively devolved and diffused among various social groups and institutions throughout the society' (1980, p. 47). This ignores the possible supportive relationships between the loci ('various social groups') and dominant social groups, and conflicts between the loci themselves. For example, trade unions arose out of workers' struggles against oppressive working conditions under capitalism, and were only set up in the face of vigorous opposition by capitalists and governments. Therefore, trade unions seem to be a perfect example of loci of power. Yet, once established, many trade unions have been incorporated into the 'system' and act to control the workers, for example in opposing grassroots worker initiatives and wildcat strikes. The existence of hierarchy and bureaucracy in trade union structures belies the image of a straightforward process of devolution of power.
Trade unions, too, have been key agencies for maintaining the gender division of labour, often in the face of the acceptance or preference of employers for women at a lower wage (Walby, 1986). Women's groups in their struggle against discrimination in employment have gained some leverage from state power, for example in the form of equal employment legislation. This seems to be a process of one locus of power, the women's movement, drawing on state power (the 'ruler') to challenge features of another locus of power, namely patriarchal work practices supported by trade unions. A similar analysis could be made of the dual role of other organizations, such as political parties or environmental lobbies, which act both to gain concessions and coopt radical ferment. The message from such examples is that Sharp's idea of strengthening the loci of power is not nearly as straightforward as it might seem, while the complexities are hard to grasp using Sharp's conceptual framework.
Sharp argues that the use of non-violent action tends to diffuse power: 'Changes achieved by nonviolent action are therefore likely to be more lasting' (1980, p. 62). Sharp's lack of structural analysis makes it difficult to say anything more than this vague claim. The practical results of non-violent action depend on the political context, and a detailed analysis needs to be made to determine the role of nonviolent action (e.g. Zielonka, 1986).
For example, the Iranian Revolution in 1978-1979 was won largely through the mass use of non-violent methods mobilized through the decentralized loci of the bazaars. Furthermore, in the early stages of the revolution there were some important social initiatives, for example towards equality for women (Albert, 1980). Yet the revolution quickly turned into a system of centralized repression. Factors involved in this transformation include the availability of the state bureaucracy and military forces from the Shah's regime, the hierarchical structure and ideology of Shiite Islam, and the global political configuration. The point here is that a simple analysis of the 'dynamics of nonviolent action' leaves out much of the social complexity needed to understand the Iranian events. Structural analysis has much to offer in understanding the process of revolution (Skocpol, 1979, 1982).
From the point of view of structural approaches to social analysis, Sharp's theory of power is much too simple to capture the full dynamics of society, if it is not misconceived entirely. But this critique has been made using a tacit assumption, associated with structural approaches, about what a theory of power is supposed to achieve. To unearth this assumption, it is useful to start with a basic question: what is the point of having a theory of power in the first place?
The usual answer to this question in social science would appeal to some unexamined notion of achieving a better 'understanding' of social reality. But, to pursue the point, what is the purpose of better understanding? Whose ends does this understanding serve? If the aim to advance the careers of intellectuals who stand by the side observing society but preferring to avoid interaction with it, then a complex, erudite theory serves admirably. On the other hand, if the aim is to provide some insights which can be used by activists, then a simple, straightforward, easy-to-apply theory is far superior, so long as it grasps certain basic insights. By this criterion, Sharp's theory is highly successful.
While his jargon-free accessibility is important, however, his picture is essentially voluntarist and simplistic: people, by deciding to withdraw consent, can topple even the most repressive dictatorship. Sharp provides not only a host of examples of non-violent action, but also describes a simple dynamics which shows how seeming weakness - nonviolence - can lead to increasing support.
Sharp has been taken up as the patron theorist of color revolutions around the world. His ideas about power are regularly presented in color revolution activists training sessions, endlessly re-used in talks and leaflets, and his authority is routinely invoked in support of non-violence.
Ironically, while Sharp's analysis is most applicable to at least semi-democratic then to pure authoritarian regimes. As soon as regime decide to cut West monetary and political support of neoliberal forces within the country color revolution comes to a screeching halt as happened in Russia. The other aspect of color revolutions is that can be tremendously successful if the country is already divided (Orange Revolution in Ukraine). Sharp method would be ineffective under Stalin's rule: gulags have enough capacity to host all the participants of non-violent actions and secret police would infiltrate any attempt to organize protests in no time.
Feb 23, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Hoarsewhisperer , Feb 22, 2019 1:14:21 PM | linkI've just been reviewing the 2011 UK doco How To Start A Revolution starring Nobel Peace Prize nominee Gene Sharp, his cute and sincere female sidekick Jamil Raqib, and a retired Military type Robert Helvey in the Pat Lang mould (swashbuckling).
It's 52 mins and is an Advertorial for Sharp's book 'From Dictatorship To Democracy' which lists 198 non-violent tactics, stunts and ploys intended to 'unsettle' a ruling Regime, the most unsurprising of which is to have the Protest Placards printed in English (for the benefit of NYT readers?).
It was made when the Syria 'uprising' was beginning. It covers EVERY color revolution and uprising with AmeriKKKa's fingerprints on them including the Gene Sharp fan who attempted to 'help' the Tienanmen Square protestors.
It devotes some time to Venezuela with a drive-by smearing of Maduro. But there's something quite fruitcake-ish about Sharp. Near the end of the doco he reels off a list of countries which have benefited from Gene's wisdom - one of which was AUSTRALIA (FFS)!
Well worth a look with Venezuela Showdown 1.1 imminent.
(There are numerous links on the www)
Feb 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Jen, Feb 14, 2019 5:09:06 PM | 24Kiza @ 19:
Far more likely that Brazil and Colombia refuse to commit any troops or other support for a US-led coalition to invade Venezuela. These countries have long borders going through thinly populated tropical forest or mountain areas with Venezuela.
They don't want the prospect of fighting continuous border wars with militias that would sap their own military strength and which could go deep into their own territories. Imagine how unpopular that would make their current governments with their publics.
It's likely that the Brazilian and Colombian governments don't command the loyalty of their armed forces (especially the foot soldiers who would have shoulder the burden of invasion) to the extent that the Venezuelan government under Maduro does of its own. Especially if money allocated to the armed forces in Brazil and Colombia has gone to a few favored individuals in the officer hierarchies while the grunts have seen no increased pay or support, or have even seen their pay levels dwindle as their responsibilities grow.
That's a possible scenario in Brazil given that since Dilma Rousseff's impeachment as President in 2016 it has been governed by corrupt neoliberal politicians.
Kiza , Feb 14, 2019 6:37:07 PM | link
@ Jen 24
Thanks for providing further detail into the inner workings of the US appointed Columbian and Brazilian military. I do not think that those two militaries do not want to get involved in Venezuela, but they are not volunteering forward to be the thieve's fools on an officer's salary.
Any military which would leave its border is a mercenary, which means that the pay/benefits must be more proportional to the loot than even to the risk (i.e. they want a huge cut).
In Venezuela's situation, the crux is in how prepared are the Venezuelan officers to defend their own country on an officer's salary and on promises of future rewards by Maduro and his team. Therefore, nationalism and patriotism of the military may be that little straw which tips the balance in favour of keeping Venezuela free. At least we hope.
The second important factor is that the Gene Sharp's "non-violent action" regime change system (revolution in a box) has been busted somewhat. The new potential victims are not as naive and as unprepared as the initial victims of the "branded revolutions" were.
Therefore, the resistance to thievery is increasing. In case of Venezuela, the "revolutionaries", including the Random Guy, have been trained by the late Gene's best apostles, organisation Otpor, but it still has not worked out yet. The last two places where Gene's revolutions have worked out were Macedonia and Armenia, but there is not much there to steal (rather profitless victories).
I like to view Gene Sharp as the Lenin of the end of the 20th century. It is just so sad how much of human history is all about thieving on the back of highbrow principles and pretend-humanitarian ideologies . I pity people who argue about communism versus capitalism and any other ideologies. C'est tout la meme chose, someone is always taking someone else's women and cattle, only packaged in (MSM) verbal bullshit.
Feb 19, 2017 | theinternationalreporter.orgApril 6, 2016
IS YOUR COUNTRY MARKED FOR A COLOR REVOLUTION? Democratic change has been demanded across the Middle East. But was what seems like a spontaneous revolution actually a strategically planned event, fabricated by 'revolution consultants' long in advance?
from Journeyman Pictures, Global Research:
Revolution consultants are the worst nightmare of every regime. Srdja Popovic was a founder of the organisation 'Otpor', a revolution training school. It was instrumental in the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic in the 1990s and has now inspired a new generation of activists.
Political commentators like William Engdahl are convinced Otpor is being financed by the USA.
"The people from Otpor gave us a book in which they described all their strategies", says Ezzedine Zaatour of the Tunisian uprising. That book was written by an American, Gene Sharp, and is now considered the "revolution guide book", being used by opposition movements worldwide.
As Optor release their latest gadget, a resistance training computer game sponsored by American organisations, world leaders are voicing their concerns. "This is called a gentle coup!", insists Hugo Chavez.
Script: Revolution 00:01
Democracy awakens In the Middle East. But what seems like a spontaneous revolution was actually a strategically planned event, fabricated by professional consultants long in advance.
00:11 IV William Engdahl (Sound bite English)
These revolution consultants are the worst nightmare of every regime.
00:21 IV Hugo Chavez
Here you can see the symbol of the resistance!
These revolution consultants are funded and supported by American organisations.
00:28 IV Srdja Popovic (Sound bite English)
These revolution consultants mainly operate in countries in which the western world has a clear interest. Hardly a coincidence it seems.
00:42 IV Gene Sharp (sound bite English)
Cairo in early February: The sudden appearance of the wild horseman at this demonstration shocked the world over. These aggressors on their horses stormed into the crowd and split the peaceful demonstration apart. What seemed like a brutal attack by representative of the old Mubarak regime was actually a staged affair. It was intended for the national and international Media. The Message: Egypt is in a state of Chaos.
Provoked by these false attacks, demonstrators reacted with violence and so the situation escalated. Always at the forefront: the members of �The Movement of the 6th of April. These men have been carefully trained for tenuous situations like this.
Right from the start the revolution consultants follow a specific strategy. A strategy developed by the Serbian Otpor organisation. The Organisation responsible for the downfall of Serbian leader, Slobodan Milosevic. This strategy, successful in Serbia in the 90s, became a blueprint. It proved successful once again when used for the revolution in Egypt.
IV OT Mohamed Adel, Activist, �the movement of the 6th of April�
Otpor organised workshops in the outskirts of Cairo. In these workshops we were trained in the art of peaceful resistance. We had to learn that the police are not our enemy and that we must try to get them on our side. We had to impress people with the idea of non-violent resistance.
Opposition movements from all over the world come to the Serbian Capital of Belgrade to be educated in the art of overthrowing a dictatorship. The Serbs succeeded with their own revolution 12 years ago. They now use their experience for their revolution training school �the centre of strategy for non violent resistance� or for short Canvas.
Chief instructor Srdja Popovic is one of the few Canvas members who would show his face publicly in front of the camera. It was in his office where the Egyptian revolution was planned.
03:14 IV Srdja Popovic , Revolution Trainer (Soubite English)
It wasn�t just Egyptians that trained here. Revolution training is high in demand these days.
03:31 IV Srdja Popovic (English sound bite)
In the 90�s, Srdja Popovic organised street demonstrations against Milosevic. He started Otpor as a youth movement with some of his fellow students.
From these beginnings, he was able to mobilise millions of people with his impressive enterprises. The financial support is coming from the USA.
Film: �Bringing down a Dictator�
Add: I had already tried everything to get rid of him. Now I found something that does the trick.
Here, in front of the Belgrade parliament was the trial run for Otpor with many other Revolutions to follow.
04:49 question Reporter (in English)
04:52 IV, Srdja Popovic Democracy Activist (sound bite English)
After Milosevic�s downfall, Otpor became an international phenomenon. The symbol of the fist reappears all over the world as the signature of the revolution makers.
Established in Serbia, the fist re-emerged in Kumara, Georgia, followed by Oborona in Russia, then in Venezuela and Iran, and at last it was used by the opposition groups in Egypt.
The American author and Princeton University Lecturer, William Engdahl, has written for over 30 years about Washington�s secret geo-politics. He has established a widespread information network that extends deep into America�s secret service. He is convinced – Otpor is not acting alone.
05:59 IV William Engdahl, Author (Soundbite English)
In New York we are meeting again with Srdja Popovic. We want to find out if the Otpor organisation is actually following a secret agenda of the United States.
But to our disappointment Popovic is reluctant to talk about his arrangements with American organisations.
The Otpor movement was indeed financed by American tax money during the Serbian revolution. A fact that only became public knowledge after Milosevic�s downfall. This chapter however is one that Otpor is keen to close.
07:13 IV Srdja Popovic, revolution �trainer (soundbite English)
Columbia University invited Popovic as a guest lecturer.
08;15 Srdja Popovic (Sound bite English)
The guest from Serbia enlightens the students on the truth behind the changes in the Middle East. Who was actually behind it all? Popovic himself knew for years, but only now can he talk about it publicly.
08:39 IV Srdja Popovic (Soundbite English)
The old city of Tunis. The Tunisians were the first in the Arab world to overthrown their government. Yet the euphoria about their dictators downfall was hardly noticeable. The uncertainty of the political future leaves the Tunisian population anxious.
For decades the people of Tunisia were oppressed by Ben Ali�s totalitarian ruling. These days the capital seems to be dominated by a loud and harsh atmosphere. Its people agitated yet overwhelmed by their freedom. The centre of the town appears like a Roman forum: everywhere heated discussions about politics.
The new generation wants change. Most of the young people are well educated; they see themselves as westerners.
Until recently scenes like this were thought impossible. Suddenly the fear is gone � at least during the moment of revolt. The people are standing up; finally the world recognises the desperate political situation of their State.
Amine Ghali has been an activist from the start. He shows us the photographs of a meeting in Morocco which was the beginning of a long hoped for change in Tunisian history.
10`16 IV Amine Ghali, Freedom House, Kawakibi Democracy Transition Center, Tunis (Soundbite English)
The time was ripe for a �revolution test run�. Discontentment with the political situation had been growing amongst the population for years. Life in the slums had become desperate. Lack of food and medical care left the people without any perspective for a better future. With living conditions going from bad to worse, the Tunisians could hide their anger no more The activists saw their opportunity, they used this anger to achieve their goal: the overthrowing of Ben Alis regime.
OT Ezzedine Zaatour, U.G.E.T. Student Union, Tunis
In a way we have done the same that they did In Belgrade in the 90s. Non-violent resistance, the ridicule of the regime. There was no violence on the street even when the police intervened, we did not fight. The people from Otpor gave us a book in which they described all their strategies, how you have to proceed when you want to overthrow a regime.
That book, which is used by opposition movements worldwide, was actually written in Boston USA. Here is one of the intellectual centres of democracy activists.
The book �From Dictatorship to Democracy� is considered the Bible of the non-violent resistance.
The author of this �revolution guide book� lives in one of the working class neighbourhoods in the outskirts of Boston.
83 year old Gene Sharp wrote this masterpiece. It contains 198 methods of non-violent action.
12:26 IV Gene Sharp, Author (Soundbite English)
Gene Sharp taught many years at Harvard University. His work describes various strategies from Hunger Strike to the unmasking of intelligence officials.
His assistant, Jamila Rqip, has the main duty to distribute Sharpe's work. His Book �From Dictatorship to Democracy� has been translated into 34 languages.
13:13 IV Jamila Raqip, Albert � Einstein -Institute. (Soundbite English)
Sharpe�s ?guide to Revolution� is feared by Dictators around the world. Venezuela�s president Chavez called Sharp a rabble rouser in the service of the CIA In Russia the possession of the Book is considered a hostile act against the government.
13:52 IV Gene Sharp, Albert �Einstein-Institute (Soundbite English)
14:27 With Internet anybody has access to Sharps revolution strategies.
14:34 IV William Engdahl, Author (Soundbite English)
Are all these revolutions actually initiated by the Americans?
We can look back at what happened during the �Orange Revolution� in the Ukraine for evidence. One has to acknowledge that the events that took place in Kiev in 2005 appear to endorse this assumption. Traditionally Ukraine was part of Russia, but by the end of 2004 the tide turned. The United Stated pumped millions of dollars into the countries opposition movements in the favour of regime change.
We are meeting with the two former leaders of the Ukraine revolution. Just by being a member of the opposition movement �PORA� they received significant sums of money, together with training in civil disobedience. Finally they were given a book.
IV Mychailo Swystowitsch, former ukraine activist
Oh yes, the book by Gene Sharp. We all used it. And it connected us with everybody, with Otpor in Serbia, the opposition movement in Belarus and Kmara in Georgia.
It was in November 2004 when hundreds of thousands of people flooded Independence Square in Kiev and demanding Viktor Yushchenko for their president. 16:10 At the end of the Revolution the crowd got what they demanded. Yushchenko become president due to the massive support he received from the western world.
16:19 Soundbite Dmytro Poteschin, political consultant (Soundbite English)
The Revolution as a happening, a celebration, this is the spirit of Gene Sharp. Every movement becomes a brand with its own symbolism: oranges in Ukraine, the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Tulip revolution Kyrgyzstan in, the Denim Revolution in Belarus, all different symbols but the same concept and the same sponsor: The United States of America.
16:51 IV Dmytro Potechin, Political Consultant (soundbite English)
16;58 Question reporter (English)
16:59 IV Dmytro Potechin , (Soundbite English)
After the Revolution in Ukraine, Dmytro Potechin made a career from being a former activist; he works now as well as a revolution trainer. From his flat he instructs the opposition movements in Iran, Russian, Belarus, and Egypt. Via Skype he is able to stay in touch with all his clients.
17:44 IV Dmytro Potechin , trainer for nonviolent resistance (Soundbite English)
An Activist of the opposition movement in Belarus is online. Dmytro is planning a work shop over there, which is not without difficulties as he is labelled Persona non grata by the Belarus government
18:11 IV Dmytro Potechin , trainer for nonviolent resistance (Soundbite English)
Back in Belgrade, Otpor Trainer Ivan Marvic proudly presents his new gadget for the resistance training. It�s a computer game that simulates the fight against the power of state. Ivan is sure with that game will make his training much more effective.
Sponsorship for the development of the game came from American organisations.
19:04 Soundbite Ivan Marovic, Co-founder of Otpor (Soundbite English)
Marovic declares, the new generation doesn�t want to read books, they would prefer to play video games, and it�s far more effective.
19:58 Soundbite Ivan Marovic, (Soundbite English)
20:03 Soundbite Ivan Marovic, (Soundbite English)
20:08 Soundbite Ivan Marovic, (Soundbite English)
20:14 Soundbite Ivan Marovic, Otpor trainer (Soundbite English)
Despite the Internet the Revolution trainers spend most of their time travelling to countries in need of a well organised resistance. Just In the past year Srdja Popovic alone flew over 100.000 miles. His inside knowledge and experience is his capital.
20:49 Soundbite Srdja Popovic, Otpor-founder Soundbite English
The Egyptians followed Srdja's rules exactly and succeeded.
The whole world was watching as the people celebrated on Tahrir Square. The regime was powerless; if it had reacted with violence it would have lost its face in front of the whole international media.
21:52 Soundbite William Egdahl, Author (Soundbite English)
22:23 George W. Bush former US – President 20th January 2004 (Soundbite English)
22:28 Hillary Clinton US foreign �Minister 13th April 2011 (Soundbite English)
22:32 George W. Bush former US � President 19th September 2006 (Soundbite English)
22:36 William Hague, foreign secretary 8th February 2011 (Soundbite English)
22:47 George W. Bush former US � President (Soundbite English)
Guido Westerwelle, German foreign Minister 6th February 2011
You must not get the impression that what happens in the Streets of Cairo at the moment is initiated by the Western world or other foreign states.
23:07 The Iranian government produced this propaganda video.
The video is apparently unmasking a US conspiracy group. Part of this secret gathering is Gene Sharp; author of the guide book �From Dictatorship to Democracy�. The video shows Iran is acutely aware of just how much of a threat Gene Sharp and his strategies are to their rule.
23:33 Venezuela�s President Hugo Chavez also voices his concerns.
Soundbite Hugo Chavez
Mr Cameraman come close, here the Symbol from Serbia and here the same in Venezuela in 2007.
23:50 This is called a gentle coup!
Cairo after the Revolution. The City seems quiet, apart from some religious upheaval. Remarkably few police or military forces are present. But everyday life is hard for the Egyptians. The constant fear of a counter-revolution is always at the forefront of their minds. Anyone and everyone is a suspect – a potential counter-revolutionary, who wants to bring back the old regime.
The old city is as vibrant as ever, only the tourist are missing. The people thoughts revolve around their immediate future � the upcoming elections. What will democracy bring for them? The established political parties? The military? Or the Islamic brotherhood? And then, what will be left from the spirit of the revolution � the hopes and dreams of the people of Egypt?
The people that suggest that there was a big master plan behind this revolution; they don�t know what was going on in the streets of Egypt. We have witnessed what our country had become. We wanted the changes, and we wanted them to come from our midst. We want to be the creators of our own destinies, to fight for our rights. I cannot believe that the Americans can influence millions of people.
The people of Tunisian still enjoy the new freedom. For the first time they are able discuss publicly what has troubled them for decades � their former leader�s lies, the corruption, the unfair distribution of wealth. They are unsettled however, by the recent arrests of civilians and the curfews. Also the economy is a major concern for them. Tourism is slow and foreign investors see Tunisia as a risky endeavour.
26:08 Soundbite Ghali (Soundbite English)
We are scared, especially if we are looking at the example of Romania. There was a revolt against their regime, but then the old potentate�s came back into power. We fear that something similar could happen over here. There have been talks about a counter revolution. We therefore request that everybody from the old regime who had been involved in criminal activities must now be brought to justice.
The revolutionary road to democracy is one filled with many obstacles. Once the overthrowing of a government is accomplished the hard work starts for these revolution activists. Civil liberties must be established and defended. For the revolution consultants this has become a very lucrative business.
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Feb 19, 2017 | off-guardian.orgvia The Duran
Long thought of as being the 'godfather' of Color Revolutions, elderly Gene Sharp is stepping aside in favor of a much younger spiritual successor, John Carlarne.
Color Revolutions are the epitome of post-modern warfare, and they've been successfully applied to devastating effect everywhere from Serbia to Syria. Whether as stand-alone regime change operations such as the one in 2003 Georgia or the catalyst to a Hybrid War like in 2011 Libya, Color Revolutions have arguably emerged as one of the US' preferred strategies of choice in destabilizing targeted states.
The architect behind this new method of warfare is Gene Sharp, an expert in "non-violent resistance" strategies and the founder of the " Albert Einstein Institution ". He's published such works as " From Dictatorship To Democracy " and " There Are Realistic Alternatives ", both of which have been instrumental in honing Color Revolution organizational strategies and applied tactics. Largely credited with sparking the "Arab Spring" theater-wide Color Revolutions, Sharp is a 'god among men' when it comes to asymmetrical warfare methods, but his elderly age means that someone else must pick up the torch and continue his work once he inevitably passes away.
A New Leader Rises
Enter John Carlarne, an up-and-coming Color Revolution strategist from The Ohio State University's Mershon Center for International Security Studies . His publicly available CV indicates that he has a wealth of experience that's particularly relevant for this field. From serving around the world as a Commissioned Officer in the British Army from 1990-1995 to being the Vice-President of the Peace Brigades International (PBI) from 1997 to the present, Carlarne has been able to combine his military training with broad NGO activity in spearheading the new tactic of "protective accompaniment".
PBI describes this concept as "send[ing] teams of volunteers backed up by an international support network to accompany human rights defenders and communities in areas of conflict", which basically boils down to using Western "volunteers" as literal human shields in protecting "democracy" and "human rights" (Color Revolution) activists during their provocations. Undoubtedly, Carlarne's military experience helped to optimize this strategy while his leadership role as the organization's Vice-President ensured that it would be rolled out, tested, and perfected in all of the countries where the group is active.
PBI's activity in identity-diverse countries such as Kenya and Nepal dovetails nicely with Carlarne's educational interest in Anthropology, in which he received both a master's degree (1996) and a Ph.D. (2008). During his two-year time as the Associate Director of the University of South Carolina's Rule of Law Collaborative from 2009-2011, some of his self-declared responsibilities included "liaising with government, academic, practitioner and policy maker communities – both in the US and in Europe" and "advising government officials on working with nongovernmental organizations in post-conflict settings", both of which clearly gave him an impressive list of professional contacts that he would later leverage.
Crafting The Color Revolution
Right after serving at the Rule of Law Collaborative, Carlarne became the Peace Studies Coordinator at The Ohio State University in 2011, a position that he retains to this day alongside his Vice-Presidential one with the PBI. The Mershon Center describes a research project that Carlarne is leading called " Training To Talk Peace: Experimental Analysis Of Non-Violent Communication Workshops ", which utilizes local diaspora communities to "act as a proxy for populations in their countries of origin" in assessing the effect that an extensive six-week "non-violent communication curriculum" has on the participants' "identity structure, interpersonal reactivity, and views on the use of coercive or punitive methods in a divisive political dispute."
The purpose of the experiment is to gauge the effectiveness of Color Revolution information campaigns in recruiting regime change cells inside of the targeted country and in magnifying the sense of identity-separateness that varied demographics feel towards the said diverse state. To put it in a simpler way, Carlarne tests the applicability of fomenting identity conflict all across the world, likely in accordance with " The Law Of Hybrid War " which states that "the grand objective behind every Hybrid War is to disrupt multipolar transnational connective projects through externally provoked identity conflicts (ethnic, religious, regional, political, etc.) within a targeted transit state."
His anthropological expertise is then harnessed in judging whether the experiment's results indicate that a given strategy should move forward, and if such a determination is made, then the PBI begins in-field testing against the target. Although the PBI's front page says that it only has "current field projects in Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico and Nepal", its section about Country Groups notes that "many countries do not have an official PBI Country Group but have small networks of individuals that may be able to help." To elaborate, one of the key functions of a Country Group "is developing and activating support networks that provide a vital lifeline if the human rights defenders PBI accompanies are threatened", which "consists of high-level contacts such as diplomats, members of government, and officials, and well-known personalities."
If the Country Group's responsibilities make it sound an awful lot like an intelligence agency, it's because it essentially is, and it's reasonable to conclude that the PBI might actually be a CIA front organization. Carlarne's extensive contacts "with government, academic, practitioner and policy maker communities – both in the US and in Europe" and the government officials that he has formerly advised enable him to provide a wide range of relevant policy influencers and decision makers with the results of his field data, thus establishing a valuable Color Revolution feedback mechanism that seamlessly integrates theoreticians, practitioners, and policy makers. Carlarne's multi-layered regime change platform surpasses the precedent that was set by Gene Sharp and demonstrates how academia, private sector "volunteers", and government agencies can all be fused together in an effective operational mix.
Training The Next Generation
Carlarne's activities are also very forward-looking, not just in the sense of fomenting Color Revolutions and Hybrid Wars in targeted states, but in training a new generation of strategists to join his PBI organization and/or the American Intelligence Community. He presently teaches a class at The Ohio State University called " Applied Nonviolence ", where he writes that students "will select candidate countries for nonviolent transition" and "then apply the principles, concepts and practices of nonviolence within a notional setting in order to explore the strengths and limitations of nonviolence as a method for effecting long-term change within specific regimes."
This program amounts to a series of targeted simulations in which Carlarne uses students as unwitting research assistants for his work while simultaneously seeking to indoctrinate future recruits with his Color Revolution ideology. He's currently building the " Peace Education And Training Repository " (PETR), "an online data portal designed to document peace education training curricula and materials from around the world" and which "combines information about global research, education, and peace-building programs that affect community, national and international peace and security."
The end vision is that "the repository will form the core resource for lifelong peace leadership education", with one of the key objectives being to "attract participation from practitioners, researchers and policy makers alike". In other words, Carlarne is constructing a Color Revolution factory that aims to continually produce strategists, activists, and policy facilitators in order to dish out a never-ending stream of "democratic" and "human rights" destabilization anywhere in the world. Needless to say, PETR is on track to become the new-and-improved version of the "Albert Einstein Institute", and John Carlarne is already a lot more successful than Gene Sharp ever was in directly cultivating Color Revolution networks, fielding experimental techniques in practice, and coordinating his activities with the military-intelligence community.
You ought to believe in something in life, believe that thing so fervently
that you will stand up with it till the end of your days.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Class of Nonviolence is an eight session class developed by Colman McCarthy, founder of the Center for Teaching Peace in Washington, D.C. It uses classics in peace and justice literature to teach peacemaking. This course can change your life and you can change the world.
The entire eight-session / 48 essay class can be downloaded as a PDF file - it's free!
The Class of Nonviolence
"Human beings are used to thinking about violence and war as problems to be controlled rather than thinking positively about peace as an achievement, as a state of being within their control. Peace education rests on an active vision of peace where skilled individuals, who have been trained in the ways of nonviolence, intervene in conflict situations to manage them without using (violent) force." Ian Harris
The Class of Nonviolence was developed by Colman McCarthy of the Center for Teaching Peace, 4501 Van Ness Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20016 202/537-1372
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