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
First Exposing Misconceptions about Strategic Civil Resistance
(“nonviolent resistance,” “nonviolent action,” “civil disobedience,” “passive resistance,” ” people power,” “political defiance,” “positive action,” “principled nonviolence,” “mass uprising,”…)
1. Nonviolent struggle has nothing to do with passivity, submissiveness, or cowardice. Just as in violent action, these must first be rejected and overcome before the struggle can proceed.
2. Nonviolent struggle is not to be equated with verbal persuasion or purely psychological influences, although this technique may sometimes include action to apply psychological pressures for attitude change. Nonviolent action is a technique of struggle involving the use of psychological, social, economic, and political power in the matching of forces in conflict.
3. In order to use nonviolent struggle effectively, people do not have to be pacifists or saints. Nonviolent action has been predominately and successfully practiced by “ordinary” people.
4. Success with nonviolent struggle does not require (though it may be helped by) shared standards and principles, or a high degree of shared interests or feelings of psychological closeness between the contending sides. If the opponents are emotionally unmoved by nonviolent resistance in face of violent repression, and therefore unwilling to agree to the objectives of the nonviolent struggle group, the resisters may apply coercive nonviolent measures. Difficult enforcement problems, economic losses, and political paralysis do not require the opponents’ agreement to be felt.
5. In nonviolent struggle, there is no assumption that the opponents will refrain from using violence against nonviolent resisters. If fact, the technique is capable of operating against violence.
6. One of the many widely believed myths about conflict is that violence works quickly, and nonviolent struggle takes a long time to bring results. This is not true. Some wars and other violent struggles have been fought for many years, even decades. Some nonviolent struggles have brought victories very quickly, even within days or weeks. The time taken to achieve victory with this technique depends on diverse factors–including the strength and perseverence of the nonviolent resisters and the strategic wisdom of their actions.
To View The Division of Responsibilities for Self-Liberation CLICK: Division of Responsibilities for Self-Liberation