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