The Occupy Movement Needs a Grand Strategy

As the Occupy movement matures, it will need to clarify its overall objectives and develop a grand strategy for achieving them. It will perhaps find guidance in the work of Dr. Gene Sharp.

Gene Sharp is widely regard as “the world’s foremost expert on non-violent revolution,” but few people have ever heard of him. His book, From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation (1993), has reportedly been translated into more than 30 languages, and can be freely downloaded from the web. He has recently been written up by Thom Hartman (Gene Sharp’s Peaceful Revolution Techniques) and the BBC (Gene Sharp: Author of the nonviolent revolution rulebook).

Sharp’s book provides a large arsenal of “non-violent weapons.” Here is some of his advice:

  • Develop a strategy for winning freedom and a vision of the society you want
  • Overcome fear by small acts of resistance
  • Use colours and symbols to demonstrate unity of resistance
  • Learn from historical examples of the successes of non-violent movements
  • Use non-violent “weapons”
  • Identify the dictatorship’s pillars of support and develop a strategy for undermining each
  • Use oppressive or brutal acts by the regime as a recruiting tool for your movement
  • Isolate or remove from the movement people who use or advocate violence


4 responses to “The Occupy Movement Needs a Grand Strategy

  1. Occupy Strategy proposal!


  2. In Gene Sharp’s “The Methods Of Nonviolent Action, Methods of Nonviolent Protest and Persuasion” he mentions:
    Action by holders of financial resources –
    86. Withdrawal of bank deposits
    87. Refusal to pay fees, dues, and assessments
    88. Refusal to pay debts or interest
    89. Severance of funds and credit
    91. Refusal of a government’s money
    Economic intervention –
    185. Politically motivated counterfeiting
    190. Alternative markets
    192. Alternative economic institutions

    The End of Money certainly contains some information that is relevant to these points.

    Gene Sharp also makes the questionable suggestion that “Destruction of own property” is a “Symbolic public act”.

    Hopefully a revolution doesn’t just take us right back to where we started.


    • If everyone could magically create an actual Fed Res $100 bill and spent it, it wouldn’t be counterfeit if they promised to earn back a $100 bill and tear it up before the retire. Expand the cash supply enough to bring the economy back. Of course, the bank would go out of business.


  3. There are revolutions all the time, and the bankers always win.


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