From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation

Front Cover
The New Press, 2012 - Political Science - 138 pages
?What Sun Tzu and Clausewitz were to war, Sharp. . . was to nonviolent struggle'strategist, philosopher, guru.'--The New York Times

The revolutionary word-of-mouth phenomenon, available for the first time as a trade book

Twenty-one years ago, at a friend's request, a Massachusetts professor sketched out a blueprint for nonviolent resistance to repressive regimes. It would go on to be translated, photocopied, and handed from one activist to another, traveling from country to country across the globe: from Iran to Venezuela--where both countries consider Gene Sharp to be an enemy of the state--to Serbia; Afghanistan; Vietnam; the former Soviet Union; China; Nepal; and, more recently and notably, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Syria, where it has served as a guiding light of the Arab Spring.

This short, pithy, inspiring, and extraordinarily clear guide to overthrowing a dictatorship by nonviolent means lists 198 specific methods to consider, depending on the circumstances: sit-ins, popular nonobedience, selective strikes, withdrawal of bank deposits, revenue refusal, walkouts, silence, and hunger strikes. From Dictatorship to Democracy is the remarkable work that has made the little-known Sharp into the world's most effective and sought-after analyst of resistance to authoritarian regimes.


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FROM DICTATORSHIP TO DEMOCRACY: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation

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First U.S. publication of a handbook on fighting dictators, first published in the early 1990s at the request of an exiled Burmese diplomat.In this slim book, which has been translated into at least ... Read full review

Selected pages


Preface xvi
A continuing problem
Facing the hard truth
Power and justice in negotiations
Dictatorships Have Weaknesses
Exercising Power
Four important terms in strategic
Formulating a grand strategy
Spreading the idea of noncooperation
Selective resistance
Shifts in strategy
Handling success responsibly

Openness secrecy and high standards
Complexity of nonviolent struggle

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About the author (2012)

Gene Sharp advised governments and resistance movements around the world and was considered the most influential living promoter of nonviolent resistance to autocratic governments. He was a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and the founder of the Albert Einstein Institution, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the study of nonviolent action. Sharp was the author of From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation (The New Press).

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