This is Ethiopian Review Policy Research Center’s series on From Dictatorship to Democracy extracted/quoted from books and articles published by Albert Einstein Institution and similar sources.
The true rhythm of effective nonviolent action is less spontaneous than it is intentional, less theatrical than technical. It has little to do with shouting slogans and putting flowers in gun barrels. It has everything to do with separating governments from their means of control…their Oppresive Apparatus.
Nonviolent action is like violent combat in at least two ways: it does not succeed automatically, and it does not operate mysteriously — it works by identifying an opponent’s vulnerabilities and taking away his ability to maintain control…. Doing so requires strategy for action, without which movements rarely prevail… the skill with which those choices were made shaped the outcome
“What are the three key elements of waging a successful civil resistance movement?”
“The first thing is UNITY. A civil resistance movement must unify the widest possible spectrum of society: young, old, all ethnic groups, all religious groups, all economic strata, around a limited set of achievable goals, and designate for the moment a leadership that has legitimacy to mobilize all these groups in service of those goals. So, unity
The second thing that’s required is PLANNING. (Strategy) There has to be capacity to, for that leadership to look objectively at what its capabilities are, how it can mobilize, what tactics are at its disposal, how to sequence those tactics in a way that has the biggest negative impact on the opponent, where the cost is greater to the opponent than it is to your selves.
That planning needs to go on at an offensive and defensive level. Defensive level means there are some things you should anticipate are going to happen to you. For example, you might have an oppression that might end up killing some of the leadership. There needs to be planning for redundancy of leadership. And then there’s offensive things that can be done, which are all in the tactics of nonviolent resistance that are strikes, boycotts and mass protests.
So you have unity and then you have the capacity for continuous planning.
And then the last of the three is NONVIOLENT DISCIPLINE. Now, nonviolent discipline, uh, the reason I use the term discipline is to emphasize it’s a strategic choice, not a moral one. Because civil resistance can’t succeed unless you induce loyalty shifts and multiple defections from the other side, that basically weakens the other side’s power base. And two problems with injecting violent tactics to a civil resistance movement. The first is, once for sure the violent tactics will be responded to by the party that has a monopoly or predominance of armed power. And so once that response comes, it’s highly likely that the wide majority of the population will go indoors, because not everybody’s willing to take the same risks for a civil resistance movement. The general population that you worked so hard to get involved, they’re the group that’s most likely to take the least risk. And when violence is afoot, they’ll go indoors. And the second reason is that you’re specifically trying to create loyalty shifts amongst the opposition, and it’s very hard to create those loyalty shifts when you’re threatening to kill them or maim them. It just, you know, the two don’t go together.
So unity, planning, and nonviolent discipline are the ingredients that are sort of the necessary conditions for a successful civil resistance movement.
To VIEW the Strategy for United, Planned and Disciplined Struggle for SELF-Liberation CLICK: United, Planned and Disciplined Struggle for SELF-Liberation
To LISTEN about the three KEY ELEMENTS of Civil Resistance CLICK the Utube below: