Gene Sharp: a dictator's Worst Nightmare



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ARTICLE 41, Page 166
"Gene Sharp: A Dictator's Worst Nightmare"
summarized by Matthew Martinez

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Article is a character bio of Gene Sharp and is itself a summary of his ideas around nonviolent conflict as they relate to revolutions and rebellions worldwide, including Arab Spring.

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"198 methods of nonviolent action"(no regime can survive without the support of its people)

#18 Displays of flags and symbolic colors

#7 Slogans, caricatures, and symbols

#20 Prayer and Worship

#37 Singing

#47 Assembling to protest

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Life facts from article:


  • 84 yrs old as of June 25th, 2012

  • Graduated college in 1951

  • Arrested by FBI in 1953 for draft evasion during Korean War

  • Approx 1953: wrote book on Gandhi with forward by Albert Einstein

  • Joined Institute of Social Research in Oslo, where he studied Non-Violent Conflict, rather than Peace Studies

  • Studied Political Science at The University of Oxford under Alan Bullock

  • Wrote "The Politics of Non-Violence" in 1973

  • Runs "Albert Einstein Institution", founded in 1983, out of home in Boston, with intent to spread non-violence as a means to democracy

  • Wrote "From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework from Liberation" in the 80's

  • Director of Program for Nonviolent Sanctions at Center for International Affairs at Harvard, 1987

  • Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2009

  • Has written 30 books and has 900-page guide to "self-liberation: on his website

  • Gives speeches and lectures and workshops dedicated to his mission

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World Events:
Ukraine: 2004 Orange Revolution propelled opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko to triumph, then flooded Kiev's Independence Square with orange flags
Serbia: 2000 presidential elections. "Gotov Je!" "He's Finished!" stickers/t-shirts/posters ousted President Slobodan Milosevic

Egypt: 2011 Thousands sing, dance, pray at Tahrir Square, Cairo


Myanmar: Burmese stunned that there were alternatives to 20 yrs of killing, requested book
"From Dictatorship to Democracy" spread from Myanmar, to Indonesia, to Serbia. Translated into over 30 languages.

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Important Names:
The Frontline Club- London's journalism hub
Albert Einstein- in addition to being a leading figure in science, was a strong proponent of Non-violence and wrote to Gene Sharp. Strong influence on Sharp.
Arne Næss- philosopher who invited Sharp to join Institute of Social Research in Oslo
Alan Bullock- Taught Sharp Political Science at Oxford. First biographer of Adolf Hitler
Ruaridh Arrow- Journalist/filmmaker who made documentary "How to Start a Revolution" about Sharp's work. In Egypt during Arab Spring.
Robert Helvey- Met sharp in 1987, Korean War Vet, sympathetic to rebel groups in Myanmar, helped connect Sharp to Burmese rebels.
Jamila Raqib- Executive Director of Albert Einstein Institute, "organizing influence, watchdog, second brain when Sharp's memory fails him."

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Discuss:
1. How have his ideas changed world, helped various uprisings?
2. Is non-violent conflict better than violent?
3. Is there a real distinction between research on non-violent conflict and peace research?
4. Why is a bio included in this collection? is it to inspire? Or just for background info?


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