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From Dictatorship to Democracy

From Dictatorship to Democracy

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Published by Jacob George
Source: http://aeinstein.org/

Read NYT article Shy U.S. Intellectual Created Playbook Used in a Revolution: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/world/middleeast/17sharp.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&hp
Source: http://aeinstein.org/

Read NYT article Shy U.S. Intellectual Created Playbook Used in a Revolution: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/world/middleeast/17sharp.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&hp

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Published by: Jacob George on Feb 18, 2011
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07/18/2014

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The conclusion is a hard one. When one wants to bring down a
dictatorship most effectively and with the least cost then one has
four immediate tasks:

• One must strengthen the oppressed population themselves
in their determination, self-confdence, and resistance skills;
• One must strengthen the independent social groups and in-

stitutions of the oppressed people;

• One must create a powerful internal resistance force; and

• One must develop a wise grand strategic plan for liberation

and implement it skillfully.

A liberation struggle is a time for self-reliance and internal
strengthening of the struggle group. As Charles Stewart Parnell
called out during the Irish rent strike campaign in 1879 and 1880:

It is no use relying on the Government . . . . You must only
rely upon your own determination . . . . [H]elp yourselves
by standing together . . . strengthen those amongst your-
selves who are weak . . . , band yourselves together, orga-
nize yourselves . . . and you must win . . .

When you have made this question ripe for settlement,
then and not till then will it be settled.4

Against a strong self-reliant force, given wise strategy, disci-
plined and courageous action, and genuine strength, the dictator-
ship will eventually crumble. Minimally, however, the above four

requirements must be fulflled.

As the above discussion indicates, liberation from dictatorships
ultimately depends on the people’s ability to liberate themselves.

The cases of successful political defance — or nonviolent struggle

for political ends — cited above indicate that the means do exist
for populations to free themselves, but that option has remained
undeveloped. We will examine this option in detail in the following

chapters. However, we should frst look at the issue of negotiations

as a means of dismantling dictatorships.

4

Patrick Sarsfeld O’Hegarty, A History of Ireland Under the Union, 1880-1922 (London:
Methuen, 1952), pp. 490-491.

8 Gene Sharp

TWO

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