What I’m Reading – From Dictatorship to Democracy

From Didtatorship to Democracy book coverGene Sharp has written several how-to books on the non-violent over-throw of dictators.
From Dictatorship To Democracy is being used in the middle east today.

My favorite quotes:

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-confidence, and resistance skills;


• One must strengthen the independent social groups and institutions 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.

If the dictatorship has been largely successful in destroying or controlling the society’s independent  bodies, it will be important for the resisters to create new independent social groups and institutions, or to reassert democratic control over surviving or partially controlled bodies.


The conclusion is then clear: despite the appearances of strength, all dictatorships have weaknesses,  internal inefficiencies, personal rivalries, institutional inefficiencies, and conflicts between organizations and departments. These weaknesses, over time, tend to make the regime less effective and more vulnerable to changing conditions and deliberate resistance.


Words to the wise <IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

One Response to “What I’m Reading – From Dictatorship to Democracy”

  1. There’s also a free audiobook version, courtesy of Assistive Media. See my review at Free Listens

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