7.4 – Let’s Get Real and Conduct Strategic Struggle

July 4th, 2012

This is Ethiopian Review Policy Research Center’s series on From Dictatorship to Democracy extracted from books published by Albert Einstein Institution.

Without UNITY There is no Mass Disobedience.
Without STRATEGY There is no Effective Action.
Action without Nonviolent DISCIPLINE Leads to Chaos and Vandalism.

Activists who fail to plan, plan to fail

The Need for Strategic Planning to Remove Tyrants

Participants in nonviolent movements sometimes, because of a particular act by the dictatorship has so enraged the populace that they have launched into action without having any idea how the rising might end.
While spontaneity has some positive qualities, it has often had disadvantages. Frequently, the democratic resisters have not anticipated the brutalities of the dictatorship, so that they suffered gravely and the resistance has collapsed.

At times the lack of planning by democrats has left crucial decisions to chance, with disastrous results. Even when the oppressive system was brought down, lack of planning on how to handle the transition to a democratic system has contributed to the emergence of a new dictatorship.

Participants in nonviolent movements must also make complex decisions about the course their movements should take.
Strategic planning is of central importance in doing this. Regardless of the merit of one’s cause or the morally indefensible acts of one’s opponent, oppression is usually not overcome solely through spontaneous and improvised acts of resistance, even if such acts are well-executed. Instead, movements gain traction when they plan how civil resistance can be systematically organized and adopted by people in society to achieve targeted and focused goals.

Deciding what tactics to use and how they should be sequenced; planning what individuals and groups to target with what tactics and what short-, medium-, and long-term objectives to pursue; and building lines of non destructible communication so that coalitions can be negotiated and built are just some of the issues around which nonviolent movements must creatively strategize.

Doing so requires a holistic analysis of the situation in which the nonviolent struggle takes place. As part of their planning process, effective movements formally or informally gather information, listen to people at the grassroots, and analyze themselves, their adversaries, and uncommitted third parties constantly through the course of a conflict.

TO VIEW THE FIVE KEY STRATEGIC STRUGGLE AREAS TO REMOVE THE TYRANT CLICK:Five Key Strategic Struggle Areas to Remove a Tyrant

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