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Monday, January 20, 2014

From Dictatorship to Democracy

My latest reading venture is the title of this post, From Dictatorship to Democracy by Gene Sharp.

The book was recommended to me by my friend Anna, and it is the ultimate handbook for nonviolent protest.

The book summarizes the mechanics of a dictatorship: how it comes to power, how it functions, how it gains power and how it continues to thrive. It then breaks down the basic steps to overturn and dictatorship and take the power back.

Gene Sharp, author of this book, founded the Albert Einstein Institution for the study and use of nonviolent tactics in combat. He was a researcher in the Center of International Affairs at Harvard, and he was imprisoned for nine months because he refused to serve in the Korean War (being a pacifist).

According to these biographical summaries I am skimming, he has inspired multiple revolutions around the world. He is presently 85 years old.

This book is only 138 pages, but it is packed with information in a very readable fashion and is arranged so your mind takes the journey from repression to freedom.

The main message I got from reading this book is, “take action.”

As my readers know, I’ve been developing this theory of massive conformity, a plague that I believe has set in among U.S. citizens. 

Pessimism and hopelessness supported by a general contentedness with material gain and flashy entertainment leads to a pack of zombies who hurt themselves and one another by moaning and groaning but not doing anything to tackle the problems of society.

Yes, I know this does not apply to everyone, but I do think we need some more social justice workers out there than we have now. We’re getting pretty messed up in the states.

This book also lists 198 ways to protest non-violently and I love them all. The list covers everything from economic, to social, and also artistic protest.

Read this book. It’s great.

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