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Gene Sharp, Author of From Dictatorship to Democracy

Recently I read Gene Sharp’s From Dictatorship to Democracy. I also re-watched Ridley Scott’s and Russell Crowe’s Robin Hood. If you’ve seen the film and read the book, you know why I mention the two together.

If you haven’t seen the film, use the comments to ask me or another reader to write a short review. The same goes for the book. Both of these works deserve some discussion of their political themes.

My ambition for Gene Sharp’s book extends beyond a review. I would like to write a handbook for revolution that applies Sharp’s ideas to our situation in the United States. That’s not such an easy task, so I’d like to ask for your help. If you have read From Dictatorship to Democracy, or other books by Sharp on the same theme, please contribute to this project. Think about what we might do to restore democracy to our country, starting now.

We don’t have much time to act. The United States right now is not a dictatorship, but neither is it a constitutional democracy. It is recognizably in transition from democracy to a state that is not a democracy. Given the history of our country, I don’t actually have a good name for the kind of state that lies at the end of our current path. Dictatorship is not so accurate; corporate state is more so. Corporate state is a somewhat specialized term, though, and probably needs more definition in another post.

We have turned sharply away from our democratic roots since 9/11. No situation is so bad it cannot be rescued, but the longer we wait to act, the more difficult the rescue becomes. We also know the business of rescue requires the work of many hands. No one citizen or one leader can accomplish these tasks, for democratic revolution at its heart is participatory and collaborative. Big changes require many contributions.

So here’s what I would like to suggest. If you have not read Gene Sharp’s book, you should have a look at it. You can download it here. If you have read From Dictatorship to Democracy, you know that it’s a practical guide to non-violent revolution, written so it applies to many times and places. How would you apply Sharp’s guidance to the United States right now? How would you use the methods outlined there to replace the United States government? How would you use techniques of civil resistance to restore democratic governance to our country?

Again, use the comments block below to enter your ideas. Time to sign off for tonight. I hope to hear from you.