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Forum Post: UPDATED Why Movements Fail and Why Movements Succeed........Advice From The Master.

Posted 12 years ago on Nov. 6, 2011, 12:53 a.m. EST by puff6962 (4052)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

The following is based upon the principles of Dr. Gene Sharp, the most well unknown leader of most recent nonviolent movements. His record stands for itself. His advice (with my comments added):

* Develop a strategy for winning freedom and a vision of the society you want.......Here, the single most important initiative is the removal of big money, particularly corporate, from our political process. Dylan Ratigan's petition sums it up well. http://www.getmoneyout.com/ There are a million ideas floating out there, but until big money is neutered, nothing really stands a chance.

* Overcome fear by small acts of resistance......OWS and it's sister movements have achieved this aim, but violence must be absolutely avoided. Smaller, focused, demonstrations that attract news coverage should become the moniker this winter. This will maintain the narrative of the movement. It is essential to choose targets where the target, by itself, defines the message of the protest. An example would be a sit in at the offices of Grover Norquist with cameras rolling. Go in dressed like nice young Republican staffers and then do your stuff.

* Use colors and symbols to demonstrate unity of resistance......The "V" for Vedetta mask is a little too macabre. Don't you think? I would stick to something with an American flag.

* Learn from historical examples of the successes of non-violent movements......Many have been discussed on this forum. But realize, that populists movements fail because they can't nail down a message that resonates with the populace. Occupy must focus upon the influence of money, corporations, and lobbyists at this time so that it's aims are known and are supported by increasing numbers of our citizenry.

* Use non-violent “weapons”......There is no better weapon than to be on the side of right with cameras rolling. I will also plug the idea of having a "Get The Money Out Pledge" for submission to every primary candidate running for Congress. Support those who sign, punish those who don't. There is no place in American politics where so much power can be wielded by a single voter than in a primary election. Use you power well.

* Identify the dictatorship’s pillars of support and develop a strategy for undermining each......Here, the pillars are clear. They include corporate contributions to campaigns/527's, the Lobbyist industry, the Republican Right, FOX NEWS, and conservative Talk Radio.

* Use oppressive or brutal acts by the regime as a recruiting tool for your movement......This will only work if you remain nonviolent yourself.

* Isolate or remove from the movement people who use or advocate violence......Dr. Sharp emphasizes this point again and again. Violence, hurting merchants, destruction of property, looking like hoodlums, etc. will destroy sympathy for your movement and will discourage the support you will need if anything is to be accomplished.

Good luck, and always remember:

Where there is the duty to act, and the ability to act, the failure to act is an abuse of power.

Don't abuse the power that God has given you in this life.



Read the Rules
[-] 2 points by Teacher (469) 12 years ago


[-] 2 points by OccupyNews (1220) 12 years ago

One of the points in the article..."Use non-violent “weapons”......Absolutely no violence and, because this is a populist movement, NO ACTIONS THAT HURT "THE LITTLE GUY.""

Lets not forget that it may be more important to HELP the LITTLE GUY. Punishing those on wall street BEFORE helping the little guy may backfire on the occupy movement.

I believe we can immediately help tens of millions of "Little Guys" by changing one banking rule in regards to debt.

Presently, banks have all the power because of one banking rule that states, "Debt Restructuring first requires a default".

Change that one banking rule of law to "Debt Restructuring DOES NOT first require a default", and the 99% gain instant power to renegotiate their debts without first being placed into default or having their credit rating fouled.

[-] 1 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

I will look into that. Banks are dealing with underwater mortgages and foreclosures on a massive scale and they have employed "weapons of mass destruction" in their approach. You would think that banks would already adopt this strategy since they get more money out of a short sale than from an outright foreclosure. But, the manner in which banks are required to value their assets, and to take write downs, is fairly explicit. If bank regulators would allow revaluation to be linked to the offer of refinancing at that level, half the mid sized banks in this country would be shut down tomorrow. There is a lot of underwater debt out there, and banks do not want to offer ANY incentive for restructurings because many people are still making the full payments on the old...full...price of the mortgage. I'm not saying that I agree with it, but that is what it comes down to.

[-] 2 points by OccupyNews (1220) 12 years ago

The most important thing in my opinion is monthly payments that people can afford. The primary reason banks are inflexible is because instead of having their mortgage money backed by the government, the mortgage was backed by all of these wall street securitization schemes, many times unbeknownst to the homeowner. Instead of an interested party involved in the mortgage, it was wall street and their conniving ways and schemes, including betting on homeowners to fail, thereby creating a win either way.

I think everybody should have their mortgage interest rate slashed to 4%, no questions asked. 3.5% for those that want the red tape special in which they have to jump through endless paperwork hoops.

Then if some homeowners still can't afford their monthly mortgage payment, I would offer credit card interest rate reductions to those who can PAY DOWN their overall credit card debt every month.

If they still can't afford the mortgage, I would rebate 80% of their down payment plus all of the equity they may have built up in the home.

None of these measures are giveaways, even as the banks continue to takeaway from main street on a daily basis with their 5,000 to 10,000 daily foreclosures.

[-] 1 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

I am working on a plan.

[-] 1 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

A large number of people would still be underwater in the homes they bought.....many people can make no payment due to losing their jobs....and many borrowers were NINJA's and have no reason to get help.

Banks struggle to manage these loan issues because there is the question of who....what entity, MBS, CDO, bank....holds the loan.

It is a severe mess and the only way out of it is to keep rates low while juicing the economy to the point of home price stabilization.

You mention the word "equity" in your response and you must realize that, if you put 100k down and now your home is worth 100k less than it was 5 years ago.....you have NO equity in the home.

If you rebate the down payment, or some percentage thereof, where does that money come from? While that might help stabilize home prices, in terms of the economy, it would requiring federal borrowing to inject capital to sources that would likely use it only to pay down debt. Therefore, it really wouldn't be a feasible stimulus.

Inflation is the only answer. It is the quickest way to adjust wages and prices of homes into our current deflationary milieu.

But, the Banks and the rich hate this idea as it would devalue their assets, in nominal dollars, further.

[-] 2 points by OccupyNews (1220) 12 years ago

When you say many people, what percentage of all homes are you talking about that are underwater? I think I read it is around 30%. And being underwater does not necessarily mean the person cannot make their payments.

If the interest rate is dropped to 4% and if credit card interest rates on existing debts are dropped in exchange for lowering their overall debt every month, perhaps 30% of those underwater can pay their debt, which would drop the overall amount of people who can't pay to 20% of the total.

But if 80% are paying their way and have more money to spend from what they make because of the lower interest rates on both their mortgage and credit cards, they can begin to re-circulate their money locally, and those other 20% may begin to find jobs.

Plus, it is also possible that those working two jobs may not need to do so anymore and that could free up employment opportunities as well.

Keep in mind, all of the regulations and such would be a moot point if banks had stuck with using money directly from the fed, or from the government, to fund these mortgages. It's not our problem that our politicians chose to endanger our way of life so that others could bet on us losing our homes.

[-] 1 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

I still don't understand where the money for the rebate comes from. Also, how is this fair to those people next door who are underwater, but making their payments. Wouldn't everyone want this rebate/4% deal?

And, if you are significantly underwater, why would you have any incentive to try to stay in your home? Why pay 300k for a home that is now worth 200k? If you say, "to protect your equity," you are neglecting the fact that this person has no equity.

Remember, a home without equity is a rental with debt. So, why not just rent?

[-] 2 points by OccupyNews (1220) 12 years ago

EVERYBODY would be eligible for the 4% interest rate.

Negative equity can be offset with a new 30 year deal at the lower interest rate. If that interest rate lowers their monthly payment to the point where it is still a better deal than renting, than the person stays.

If the person would rather leave, they should get back a significant portion of their down payment in exchange for peacefully leaving the home. The down payment should have gone to the government or the fed. If the money did not go to either of those two places, why is that the homeowner's problem?

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

Re-read it and it just won't work.

[-] 1 points by OccupyNews (1220) 12 years ago

If "it" won't work, that would be because you support the fraud of the past ten years in which the government and the federal reserve let wall street handle home mortgages.

It's really that simple.

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

It was a system that worked fantastically well until the word "subprime" entered into our lexicon.

[-] 1 points by OccupyNews (1220) 12 years ago

subprime entered our lexicon because wall street figured out that if they simply replicated and resliced home mortgages into more and more securitizations, they could make endless profits.

This would have never happened if the government and the federal reserve had stayed the course and kept control of home mortgages rather than hand it over to wall street and their investors.

[-] 1 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago


[-] 1 points by OccupyNews (1220) 12 years ago

The rebate comes from the original down payment. Chase bank is now offering some of their distressed homeowners 35,000 dollars to leave via a short sale.

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

But, that money was only deducted from the original mortgage amount. It is gone.....evaporated.....out into the world of securitization. You act as if the bank is holding that money in a savings deposit box. It doesn't work that way.

And, even with a rebate....say 35k....or 100k....many people will still be underwater or below a threshold where they qualify for refi.

The only system that will work is for a governmental supplemental loan that will be treated similarly to student loans. Interest would be deferred for a period of years if the person agreed to remain in the home. The second loan.....provided through the government.....would allow borrowing a sufficient amount that the homeowner could get within the range of 80% loan to market value for conventional mortgages.

[-] 1 points by OccupyNews (1220) 12 years ago

lol, it's supposed to work that way. The whole securitization thing has been a 10 year scam. I wrote about that here. http://swarmthebanks.blogspot.com/2011/11/why-did-pension-fund-managers-invest.html

Down payments that came from the homeowner and should go back to the homeowner specifically because of the economy tanking as a direct result of the past 10 years worth of shenanigans. http://swarmthebanks.blogspot.com/2011/11/why-did-pension-fund-managers-invest.html

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

Your numbers and logic are your own.

[-] 1 points by OccupyNews (1220) 12 years ago

But their not, if you look at the comments section on the swarm the banks article, NewsMAX, the ultra conservative media outlet, has stated that it's been precisely the past 10 years that saw the fall in wealth for the middle class.

This coincides perfectly with the government and the federal reserve abdicating their own overseeing of home mortgages and instead letting wall street and investors take over.

However, because of this abdication, the federal reserve kept printing money and the U.S government focused on wars instead.

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

It is what it is.

But, what will happen next depends upon a lot more than blame.

[-] 1 points by OccupyNews (1220) 12 years ago

Very little has to actually change, that is what is so amazing. Simply change the debt restructure law to the following...

Justifiable debt restructure DOES NOT require a credit default. Just make that the new banking law and everything would pretty much right itself right away.

[-] 1 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 12 years ago

Step 1: "develop a strategy". Occupy went off the rails before it even got to Step 1, by adopting a strategy of not adopting a strategy.

[-] 1 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago
  • Develop a strategy for winning freedom and a vision of the society you want.......Here, the single most important initiative is the removal of big money, particularly corporate, from our political process. Dylan Ratigan's petition sums it up well. http://www.getmoneyout.com/ There are a million ideas floating out there, but until big money is neutered, nothing really stands a chance.
[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 12 years ago

What movement did Gene Sharp ever succeed in building? He's an academic, not an organizer. He's a Quaker who copped most of his ideas from centuries old Quaker practice. His influence is way, way inflated.

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

Probably. But good ideas.

[-] 1 points by Marlow (1141) 12 years ago

Needs a Re- Post attention, Very good Data, and VERY Important: .."..They could not loan it to the little people because the little people already had too much debt that was created by over 50% loss in their total wealth even as their debts remained the same.

The consumer wealth to debt ratio took such a huge hit the banks had few people who could qualify for more loans.

However, there are tens of millions of people who right now qualify for the precipice loan, as I call it. The precipice loan is a loan that instantly puts a person in the positive every month by simply reducing the interest rate they pay on their debt and extending the time to pay back their loan, in exchange the loanee agrees to not increase their debt, but instead pay it down.

That's what the banks needed to be doing, precipice loans, not standard loans..." #owsNews

.Thank you , Great response on this Thread... Marlow

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 12 years ago

that is a brilliant summation - I'm going to book mark it.

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

I put a few new items on here....please email your suggestions.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 12 years ago

I don't see what's different - and I haven't read the book, but I can see I should.

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

I updated the original forum post.....can't remember now what I wrote.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 12 years ago

I looked and can't see it. It must have been a small emendation to a point or two.

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

I need to update the tactics since most of the occupations are ending.

It's time for stage 2.

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 12 years ago

I'm not sure what you have planned for stage 2 - but I'm sure this summer is going to be crazy . . . .

[-] 1 points by OccupyNews (1220) 12 years ago

Article quote..."NO ACTIONS THAT HURT "THE LITTLE GUY"." endquote.

Evidently, there may not be enough Occupy actions that actually help the little guy either, and I see that as a problem.

If the banking rule of law that states "Debt restructure requires a default first" is not changed to "Justifiable debt restructure DOES NOT require a default first", there isn't going to be that much left to save.

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

I will post a solution here and will make this a thread tomorrow. The key is for the government to offer a direct loan program for borrowers to pick up a secondary mortgage for the negative equity they are now carrying. This would allow the borrower to tap the conventional mortgage market for the appraised value of the home and lower their mortgage rate.

The secondary mortgage would be backed by the government and would not accrue interest for the first four years of the term of the loan. The government would have the ability to garnish future wages and to impose assessments if future loan payments were not received.

Any program helping underwater borrowers will be seen as helping the irresponsible. But, this is a simplistic reaction and it is not a productive one. If your neighbor liquidates, then your home value gets creamed as well. If people just walk away from loans, then we all lose.

Sometimes, a pint of prevention is worth a gallon or cure. We must prevent further deflation of home prices, but it will cost us all.

However, that cost will be minimal compared to the deflationary spiral we could see if foreclosures continue to accelerate.

[-] 1 points by OccupyNews (1220) 12 years ago

Sounds somewhat complicated and still a bit punitive. Focus on interest rate reductions and longer length of time so that people can actually REDUCE what they owe, rather than tread water, default, or just go deeper and deeper into debt,

Excessive Interest rate profits are how the 1% has sucked the equity out of the 99%.

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

Rates are driven by the bond market and extending terms would not help if the person has negative equity at this point.

You have to find a way for a person who owes 300k on a previous loan to refinance a home that is now worth 250k.

To get a conforming loan, you will have to overcome the negative 50k. That amount would represent the government's direct secondary loan. It would not be considered debt by the conventional lender as the amount would be backed by the government.

A similar program was proposed in the early 30's but never adopted. Home prices plunged and plunged......deflation is not a pretty thing.

[-] 1 points by OccupyNews (1220) 12 years ago

Rates may be driven by the bond market, but WHY are they driven by the bond market? There are too many overeducated people that simply have learned how to constrain themselves until they drive us over a cliff.

But the map said......will be their excuse.

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

They are driven by the bond market because that is what mortgage securities compete with.

If you can get 7% for 10 yr. treasuries, you're not going to buy a mortgage backed security paying 3%.

The Fed has expanded it's balance sheet by buying gov't treasuries and has done so in order to drive down rates on these bonds. Their goal is to keep mortgage rates so artificially low that eligible homeowners can refinance and excess cash flows might be spent and home prices may stabilize.

The current Fed has done more in this crisis than in the past 50 years combined. It has been the only federal entity that has grasped the magnitude of our plight and has acted without restraint.

I would love to bash the Fed, but I've studied the 1930's for 20 years and it is clear that, from the onset, Bernanke has been determined to avoid all of the mistakes made between 1928 and 1933. He has recognized that erring on the side of excessive intervention is much preferable to inaction.

[-] 2 points by OccupyNews (1220) 12 years ago

Somebody buys land, then invests in putting up a house. Realtors try and find a qualified buyer.

The bank then puts up the money to pay the person who bought the land and put up the house with money provided from either the federal reserve or our own government.

Neither the government nor the fed should care whether they themselves charge 3% or 7% interest on that home. Explain to me why either the fed or the government should care.

[-] 1 points by Marlow (1141) 12 years ago

Depends.. Who's paying the Interest, and who is collecting it's profits!?

( just saying...)

[-] 2 points by OccupyNews (1220) 12 years ago

It seems to me that the government is making the profits, as is the city, by having a tax paying homeowner in the house. Would this not explain why the government is happily giving out ZERO PERCENT INTEREST to the banks?

[-] 1 points by Marlow (1141) 12 years ago

and.... the TARP came with a Zero % int. which was Supposed to be an incentive for the Banks to loan out to the 'Little People'... But, they never Did loan the money.. not for an entire Year.. Why Are the Feds Still doing it?.... 'Relationship Incentive' for one. The Government is inot just Under the WING of the Big Ten Banks, but all the Way inside Their Pockets Too! GS and The Carlyle Group say "UP", and the Government says " How High?".........

[-] 2 points by OccupyNews (1220) 12 years ago

They could not loan it to the little people because the little people already had too much debt that was created by over 50% loss in their total wealth even as their debts remained the same.

The consumer wealth to debt ratio took such a huge hit the banks had few people who could qualify for more loans.

However, there are tens of millions of people who right now qualify for the precipice loan, as I call it. The precipice loan is a loan that instantly puts a person in the positive every month by simply reducing the interest rate they pay on their debt and extending the time to pay back their loan, in exchange the loanee agrees to not increase their debt, but instead pay it down.

That's what the banks needed to be doing, precipice loans, not standard loans.

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

Read about mortgages and how they are funded.


[-] 1 points by OccupyNews (1220) 12 years ago

I can read it, but that doesn't make it ok. I see the word "security" and I cringe, because that is crap if the security is based on some rich scum bag with too much money already "investing" after the fact.

The after the fact "investor" hasn't done anything, the HOUSE ALREADY EXISTS. This is what is driving me nuts. The media equates an after the fact investor as being on par or more important than the REAL INVESTOR, the person who actually owned the land and built the home and then sold it via federal reserve and government backed monies.

Why the f do we want to have our homes backed by some scum bag wall street "investor" who didn't risk anything in the building of the home and isn't even from the community?

If the home loan is done through the auspices of the federal reserve and or the U.S. government, THERE IS NO NEED for a wall street investor to securitize the loan, it's just a big shill among the rich, at the expense of main street.

GO AWAY YOU STUPID RICH GREEDY PEOPLE, you are destroying the economy.

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

Home loans are not funded by the government or by the federal reserve.

[-] 1 points by OccupyNews (1220) 12 years ago

They used to be, and they were up until 10 years ago. It was in the government's best interest to do so.

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

No, that is not true. Fannie and Freddy had a sheer monopoly upon the securitization market until the early 90's when Wall Street was able to begin developing the subprime market. Fannie and Freddy were able to keep their monopoly for so long because they had an implied backstop provided by our government. Their cost of funds were lower and nobody could therefore undercut their margins.

But, Fannie and Freddie were not government agencies and, perhaps, that is a shame. They were a very simple business to run as long as you didn't blow up the world.

[-] 1 points by OccupyNews (1220) 12 years ago

The point is they had a very close relationship with the government and that also means they had a close relationship via the government with the federal reserve.

Things went pretty smoothly back then.

I don't recall customers who may have forgetten to add 14 cents on a payment would eventually lose their house because they could never catch up on the fees and fines that occurred, all over 14 cents.


[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

There are always these anecdotes. You have to securitize these vast sums because otherwise these obligations are on the books of our government.....and our government really would not qualify for such a loan itself.

[-] 1 points by OccupyNews (1220) 12 years ago

The government and the fed should be handling this. By handing securitization responsibility over to wall street, not only did our government literally have the fox guarding the hen house, it also freed up our government to go to war. Seriously.

[-] 1 points by sunshower (80) 12 years ago

Yes, our behavior is essential in promulgating OWS's principles by our example. But we can also learn from other, current examples of populists movements whose message has resonated with the populace, and successfully accomplished changes their gov't.

FOR EXAMPLE: The people of Iceland created a successful revolution, changed their gov’t, their banking system, and established a new constitution. I think much can be learned from their example. It would be good if OWS were to communicate and meet with them. Let me know what you think.

Below are some informative links

Why the banks actually do fear OWS: They witnessed Iceland. Why Iceland Should Be in the News, But Is Not

An Italian radio program's story about Iceland’s on-going revolution is a stunning example of how little our media tells us about the rest of the world. Americans may remember that at the start of the 2008 financial crisis, Iceland literally went bankrupt. The reasons were mentioned only in passing, and since then, this little-known member of the European Union fell back into oblivion.

As one European country after another fails or risks failing, imperiling the Euro, with repercussions for the entire world, the last thing the powers that be want is for Iceland to become an example. Here's why:


Iceland Used Social Media to Write New Constitution


[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

Also, Iceland is bankrupt in a way that you could not fathom. They are a society that lived on fish and ice for a thousand years. Suddenly, they discovered finance and this little group of very intelligent people did some crazy things.

OWS may be composed of very intelligent people. But, without some clear objective, support will fragment rather than solidify.

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

Iceland hasn't had a revolution, they've just gone back to fishing.

[-] 1 points by BizEducatedSociallyConscious (68) from New York, NY 12 years ago

Thank you for posting this! Many have criticized certain tactics so I have wondered what would be effective. Thank you for your effort and suggestions. I hope many read this and especially heed the warnings to remain nonviolent.

At the amazing rally in Times square, after police started arresting peaceful protestors for no apparent reason, a small group of young guys started chanting "F* the police!". A large number of us immediately said "NO, NONE OF THAT, PLEASE!" and they quickly complied and said sorry. The crowd then started chanting "The police are the 99%!" It was very assuring. Please please keep up that kind of self-policing and ANTICPATE being unfairly attacked and remaining peaceful and protect yourself but do not retaliate. If you remain peaceful, many people like us will rush to your support and demand justice. I promise you that. Keep it up guys!!! I so appreciate what you are doing for this country.

[-] 2 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

The most effective tactics of nonviolence are those which shame your opponent. That is why I think it is VITAL to protest FOX news. Absolutely Vital. The more those guys try to defame you, the more vitriol they build in their remarks, then the more likely they are to go over the top and be seen as hatemongerers and propagandists. Make them confront you. Make them show their colors. Shame them with your righteous confrontation of their lies.

[-] 1 points by BizEducatedSociallyConscious (68) from New York, NY 12 years ago

WOW, I was thinking along these lines this morning! I have noticed that political discussions with some conservative friends who often listen to right wing news, just how amazingly uninformed they are. My friends are very good people, very kind, very well-meaning, older than me-- but I have been amazed how they repeat and believe certain conservative dogmas. This made me realize what HUGE disservice and damage "entertaining" profit-driven news is having on America's ability to have a meaningful conversation and be able to see both sides and make bold, reasonable decisions as a society.

Thank you, I will add this endeavor to my list of things I can do to make a positive difference :) And hopefully many others who may come across this post as well.

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

The protest of FOX NEWS continues tomorrow.

[-] 1 points by freedomtoast (1) 12 years ago

I like it... More on getting your money out, which is the quickest way to remove Wall Street from power and empower YOU http://www.raphaelprotti.com/2011/10/how-to-leave-your-bank-and-protect-your-money/

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

Yes. If you get money out, then you're half way towards the rest of the to do list (if it ever appears) for OWS.



[-] 1 points by lisa (425) 12 years ago

Wrong thread, I'm sorry.

[-] 1 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

Gene Sharp: Author of the nonviolent revolution rulebook By Ruaridh Arrow Director of Gene Sharp - How to Start a Revolution

Gene Sharp is the world's foremost expert on non-violent revolution. His work has been translated into more than 30 languages, his books slipped across borders and hidden from secret policemen all over the world.

As Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia and Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine fell to the colour revolutions which swept across Eastern Europe, each of the democratic movements paid tribute to Sharp's contribution, yet he remained largely unknown to the public.

Despite these successes and a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 2009 he has faced almost constant financial hardship and wild accusations of being a CIA front organisation. The Albert Einstein Institution based on the ground floor of his home is kept running by sheer force of personality and his fiercely loyal Executive Director, Jamila Raqib.

In 2009 I began filming a documentary following the impact of Sharp's work from his tranquil rooftop orchid house, across four continents and eventually to Tahrir square where I slept alongside protesters who read his work by torchlight in the shadow of tanks.

Gene Sharp is no Che Guevara but he may have had more influence than any other political theorist of his generation.

His central message is that the power of dictatorships comes from the willing obedience of the people they govern - and that if the people can develop techniques of withholding their consent, a regime will crumble.

For decades now, people living under authoritarian regimes have made a pilgrimage to Gene Sharp for advice. His writing has helped millions of people around the world achieve their freedom without violence. "As soon as you choose to fight with violence you're choosing to fight against your opponents best weapons and you have to be smarter than that," he insists.

"People might be a little surprised when they come here, I don't tell them what to do. They've got to learn how this non-violent struggle works so they can do it for themselves."

[-] 1 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

Catching fire

To do this Sharp provides in his books a list of 198 "non-violent weapons", ranging from the use of colours and symbols to mock funerals and boycotts.

Designed to be the direct equivalent of military weapons, they are techniques collated from a forensic study of defiance to tyranny throughout history.

"These non-violent weapons are very important because they give people an alternative," he says. "If people don't have these, if they can't see that they are very powerful, they will go back to violence and war every time."

After the Green uprising in Iran in 2009 many of the protesters were accused at their trials of using more than 100 of Sharp's 198 methods.

His most translated and distributed work, From Dictatorship to Democracy was written for the Burmese democratic movement in 1993, after the imprisonment of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Because he had no specialist knowledge of the country he wrote a guide to toppling a dictatorship which was entirely generic. But Sharp's weakness became the strength of the book allowing it to be easily translated and applicable in any country of the world across cultural and religious boundaries.

The book caught fire figuratively and literally.

From Burma word of mouth spread through Thailand to Indonesia where it was used against the military dictatorship there. Its success in helping to bring down Milosevic in Serbia in 2000 propelled it into use across Eastern Europe, South America and the Middle East.

When it reached Russia the intelligence services raided the print shop and the shops selling it mysteriously burned to the ground.

The Iranians became so worried they broadcast an animated propaganda film on state TV - of Gene Sharp plotting the overthrow of Iran from The White House.

President Hugo Chavez used his weekly television address to warn the country that Sharp was a threat to the national security of Venezuela.

[-] 1 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

Serbian connection

After recent allegations of vote rigging in her home country of Gabon, supermodel and activist Gloria Mika travelled to Boston to meet Sharp.

"I felt like I was going to meet the main man in terms of non-violent resistance in the world," she says. "It was important because some of the Gabonese were talking about a violent option. They were saying, let's go and kill some people and I was able to say: 'Hang on guys there's another option here.'"

The Serbs who had used his books as a theoretical base for their activities founded their own organisation called the Centre for Applied Non Violence (CANVAS), and alongside their own materials have carried out workshops using Sharp's work in dozens of other countries.

When I met Srdja Popovic the director of CANVAS in Belgrade in November he confirmed that they had been working with Egyptians. "That's the power of Sharp's work and this non-violent struggle," he says. "It doesn't matter who you are - black, white, Muslim, Christian, gay, straight or oppressed minority - it's useable. If they study it, anybody can do this."

[-] 1 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

Photocopies in Arabic

By the time I arrived in Tahrir square on 2 February many of those trained in Sharp's work were in detention. Others were under close observation by the intelligence services and journalists who visited them were detained for hours by the secret police. My own camera equipment was seized as soon as I landed.

When I finally reached one of the organisers he refused to talk about Sharp on camera. He feared that wider knowledge of a US influence would destabilise the movement but confirmed that the work had been widely distributed in Arabic.

"One of the main points which we used was Sharp's idea of identifying a regime's pillars of support," he said. "If we could build a relationship with the army, Mubarak's biggest pillar of support, to get them on our side, then we knew he would quickly be finished."

That night as I settled down to sleep in a corner of Tahrir square some of the protesters came to show me text messages they said were from the army telling them that they wouldn't shoot. "We know them and we know they are on our side now," they said.

One of the protesters, Mahmoud, had been given photocopies of a handout containing the list of 198 methods but he was unaware of their origins. He proudly described how many of them had been used in Egypt but he had never heard of Gene Sharp.

When I pointed out that these non-violent weapons were the writings of an American academic he protested strongly. "This is an Egyptian revolution", he said. "We are not being told what to do by the Americans."

And of course that is exactly what Sharp would want.

Ruaridh Arrow's film, Gene Sharp: How to Start a Revolution, will be released in spring 2011

[-] 0 points by ChristopherABrownART5 (46) from Santa Barbara, CA 12 years ago

puff6962 wrote: To do this Sharp provides in his books a list of 198 "non-violent weapons", ranging from the use of colours and symbols to mock funerals and boycotts.

Designed to be the direct equivalent of military weapons, they are techniques collated from a forensic study of defiance to tyranny throughout history. END----

Since he doesn't advocate using the US constitution he basically defines methods of doing something else. Not sure what, he just kind of leaves it up to the protestors that don't know about article 5 and how they do not have to oppose the US government, they can simply just restructure it by using the due process defined in Article V through the states. OR

Demanding that congress obey the constitution and call an article 5 right now because the states have submitted adequate applications while congress has been misinterpreting the constitution intentionally.

Article 5 of the constitution has authority through the states legislatures to amend without congress having a voice when 3/4 are ratifying.

Accordingly there is a sequence of demand, but it could fork also. First to Congress with an occupation there that has the purpose of notifying them that the 99% consider them to be in violation of the constitutio and their oaths. Each person of a state should address their representative in congress with this list of violations of law.

Federal law regulating oath of office by government officials is divided into four parts along with an executive order which further defines the law for purposes of enforcement. 5 U.S.C. 3331, provides the text of the actual oath of office congressional members were required to take before assuming office.

5 U.S.C. 3333 required you to sign an affidavit that you took the oath of office required by 5 U.S.C. 3331 and have not nor will violate that oath during your tenure of office as defined by the third part of the law,

5 U.S.C. 7311, which explicitly makes it a federal criminal offense for anyone employed in the United States Government to “advocate the overthrow of our constitutional form of government.”,

18 U.S.C. 1918 provides penalties for violation of oath office described in 5 U.S.C. 7311 which include: removal from office, imprisonment, and a fine.

The definition of “advocate” is further specified in Executive Order 10450 which for purposes of enforcement supplements 5 U.S.C. 7311.

Executive Order 10450 specifies a violation of 5 U.S.C. 7311 for any person taking the oath of office to advocate “the alteration…of the form of the government of the United States by unconstitutional means"

According to Executive Order 10450 (and therefore 5 U.S. 7311) any act taken by government officials who have taken the oath of office prescribed by 5 U.S.C. 3331 which alters the form of government other than by amendment, is a criminal violation of the 5 U.S.C. 7311. Such alteration without amendment is criminal violation of 5 U.S.C. 7311 and 18 U.S.C. 1918.

In 1939 the supreme court violated Executive Order 10450 specifiing a violation of 5 U.S.C. 7311


Acts relating to campaign finance are also unconstitutional and comprise “the alteration…of the form of the government of the United States by unconstitutional means"

A different fork of protest can go to the states capitols. Find who understands that protests need to be organized upon states legislatures. Understand some legal aspects too. Here is a letter template, resolution form that can be sent to state legislatures asking them to work for an article V convention.


Article 5 is our first and last constitutional right. If we don't use it now, we will not have any rights. Freedom is not free. Unity is cheap compared to the demise of the nwo default with confused sheep, not free.

Educate yourselves about article V.

Lessig power point on article V http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gpbfY-atMk

Lots of facts here about Article V. http://algoxy.com/poly/article_v_convention.html

Article V conference, Lawrence Lessig at harvard 9/25/11-other attendee video comments http://vimeo.com/31464745 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-7ikbvu0Y8

A method to show unconditional support for article 5.


[-] 0 points by turak (-812) 12 years ago

your master is full of shit Until you lose your SLAVE mentality: you will continue to be a sheep following your master

the only thing worse than sheep following a master is a mob of sheep who don't have a master and don't know what to do

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

That one only warrants a blah.

[-] 0 points by turak (-812) 12 years ago

you ARE a blah. You're a mediocre sheep. A slave looking for a master; following your masters orders and your master's plan. You're a fucking idiot. Thank the lord the people Ive spoken too who are active in the Occupy movement are not like you are.

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

You can speak?

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

FIRST Power, Then Change.

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

First Power, Then Change.

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

Dr. Sharp does not define how to work within a system in order to change it tangibly. That is the drawback to this course of action.

The most effective means for OWS to effect change may be to be the best American citizens they can be a participate forcefully in our electoral process.

[-] 0 points by puff6962 (4052) 12 years ago

Occupy Wall Street should not put forth any demands, only sentiments. Demands will lessen sympathy for your movement and you will be pounced upon as "radicals." Instead, circumscribe a dialogue of issues that require addressing in our country. You should highlight the excessive influence of corporations and the rich in our political process and outrages such as counterparties to AIG were bailed out at 100 cents on the dollar, yet Americans needing flexibility in refinancing a mortgage are robosigned and left on the street. Bailing out the rich at the expense of the poor has been a staple of societies dominated by the wealth going back to the Roman Empire. It should not happen in a democracy, but it has happened here. I would recommend that you maintain themes of meritocracy, opportunity for all, the instabilities that extremes of income produce in societies, the plight of students seeking college loans, the exportation of jobs to countries with the cheapest labor (and most lax labor and environmental laws), offshore tax havens for corporations and the wealthy, and--most importantly--the necessity of shared sacrifice as we try to work our way out of this mess and build a better future for our children. You will be countered by very powerful media and lobbying forces with unlimited (Koch brothers) resources. You must be prepared to counter the crap phrase "class warfare." The right cannot allow any discussion of economic inequality in this country because it will highlight numbers and trends they don’t want most people to know, particularly when their policies have produced them. If you .........have any free time, everyone of you should read "The Big Con," by Jonathan Chait and commit it to memory. There has been class warfare in America since the 1980's and it has been waged by the wealthy at the expense of the middle class and the poor. The right has pushed the debate to such extremes that any mention of raising taxes, even during times of war and exploding deficits, is vehemently attacked. The money, think tanks, media, lobbyists, and power behind these attacks are coordinated and, again, are backed by almost unlimited resources. .

Your mission is therefore a longshot and I think your best hope is to avoid overreach. You are not demonstrating to supply the answer, you are occupying Wall Street because nobody seems to be asking the right questions. I live in Kansas and groups of settlers moving westward from here were often told to "pull their own weight" yet everyone was “in this together." The juxtaposition of individual responsibility and collective regard has always defined American greatness and progress. The right, blinded by greed and fear, has never learned to live within this paradox. It is time for us all to begin giving them lessons.