• Ruaridh Arrow commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: How to Start a Revolution

    2012-04-30 17:59:05View | Delete

    To be absolutely clear, I did not say anywhere at all that Chavez was a dictator or that Sharp’s work should be used against him.

  • Ruaridh Arrow commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: How to Start a Revolution

    2012-04-30 17:39:21View | Delete

    The answer to this one would be that it should not be necessary for an outside power to be exerting pressure on a government to make it fall. The citizens of a state should with careful planning and good use of nonviolent strategy be able to disintegrate a regime self-reliantly.
    This is another irony of the NED allegations in the thread above. One of the most recent Sharp publications is called Self Liberation. Its a guide for movements to help liberate themselves without the assistance of a foreign power.

  • Ruaridh Arrow commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: How to Start a Revolution

    2012-04-30 17:36:14View | Delete

    Thank you for inviting me Lisa

  • Ruaridh Arrow commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: How to Start a Revolution

    2012-04-30 17:34:56View | Delete

    Ok, that’s fine but what I’m arguing is that you have to separate the NED from Gene Sharp. Gene Sharp is an author and thinker on nonviolent struggle. He is absolutely not under the direction of any government agency.

    It is possible that government agencies promote his work abroad but if that’s the case isn’t it better that they’re using his nonviolent strategies as opposed to violent ones like Bay of Pigs or the invasion of Iraq.

  • Ruaridh Arrow commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: How to Start a Revolution

    2012-04-30 17:24:58View | Delete

    I think we all want to see out own democracies held to a higher standard

  • Ruaridh Arrow commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: How to Start a Revolution

    2012-04-30 17:23:01View | Delete

    I’m not an expert on Venezuela and have never been there so it would be wrong of me to comment on the situation. I can only report what I have been told by people on both sides of the political spectrum there. Yes journalists should be investigating the story and there are very many good ones there doing just that.

  • Ruaridh Arrow commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: How to Start a Revolution

    2012-04-30 17:18:16View | Delete

    I’m happy to answer these type of questions Lisa. It’s very important that these views are aired and countered properly

  • Ruaridh Arrow commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: How to Start a Revolution

    2012-04-30 17:17:01View | Delete

    But why would Gene Sharp be telling people NOT to take money from the CIA if that was the case. He also spent 9months in prison for objecting to the Korean war in 1953. That’s hardly the MO of a future neo-con CIA agent.
    This work needs funding. People living under dictatorships from all over the world come to him for help. He doesn’t seek them out, the resources are not there to do that.

    The fundamental question here is should the US be promoting democracy abroad?

  • Ruaridh Arrow commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: How to Start a Revolution

    2012-04-30 17:13:10View | Delete

    When I talked to these various revolutionary leaders, their most perilous point during the Orange Revolution or the Serbian revolution was when people came to the table and said, “We’ve had enough of this now, we want a violent option.” Non-violent struggle groups are very similar in their organizational structure to terrorist groups in many ways. They have the same capabilities, are jammed with very smart people with great international contacts, and they can go different ways. At each stage of these movements, the leaders who used Gene’s work were able to go to the table and say, “We’ve got something else, this is peaceful protest but it’s more powerful than that, and it’s not terrorist action, so let’s try this first.” And it was a really important stage in diffusing what could have become a civil-war type situation.

  • Ruaridh Arrow commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: How to Start a Revolution

    2012-04-30 17:09:11View | Delete

    thanks i’ll check these out. Whatever the results I think these types of practical actions are better than sitting in street for months on end.

  • Ruaridh Arrow commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: How to Start a Revolution

    2012-04-30 17:07:44View | Delete

    I was in Serbia for 3 days

  • Ruaridh Arrow commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: How to Start a Revolution

    2012-04-30 17:07:02View | Delete

    I’m about as far from neo-con as you can get so that made me laugh a lot. I do not hate Chavez, I’ve spoken to many people who love him but also Venezuelans who feel he is eroding their basic liberties. I’m a journalist not a politician, I have no investment whatsoever in the political system of Venezuela. The film is neutral on this point. Chavez is only featured because he alleged that Gene Sharp was part of a neo con plot to destabilise the country

  • Ruaridh Arrow commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: How to Start a Revolution

    2012-04-30 17:02:54View | Delete

    I think people have to accept that the political situation is not going to become perfect overnight but huge gains HAVE been made and they’ve been made nonviolently.

  • Ruaridh Arrow commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: How to Start a Revolution

    2012-04-30 16:59:02View | Delete

    I would agree that it’s actions like Move your Money which really make a difference. The Spanish who have been huge fans of the film also instigated a no pay on public transport which was very effective. These groups have to move beyond just protesting. That is only one of 198 methods.

  • Ruaridh Arrow commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: How to Start a Revolution

    2012-04-30 16:57:31View | Delete

    Well I think if you’re talking about Egypt as it stands tonight, we’re in a situation where most Egyptians would say that the revolution is not complete. However gains have been made by predominantly nonviolent action – that has empowered the population and made them a more potent force to be reckoned with. The opposition groups are active and a force to be reckoned with so they know what to do if they feel like their rights are being infringed again.

  • Ruaridh Arrow commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: How to Start a Revolution

    2012-04-30 16:51:43View | Delete

    Obviously sex strike is one of the 198 methods that people remember – particularly men!

  • Ruaridh Arrow commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: How to Start a Revolution

    2012-04-30 16:50:05View | Delete

    Yes I absolutely know that these techniques can work in the US. Occupy is evolving using these techniques. What Occupy has failed to do so far is come up with interesting ways for news media to cover them so that they get widespread coverage and can draw in the general population. They’re not doing the sorts of interesting and humorous skits and pranks and things, peaceful, non-violent ways of getting into the media, big publicity stunts, really innovative things that catch the public imagination. Therefore they were getting frustrated and breaking things. It’s a big danger that Occupy was falling into because Occupy needs to spread their message, they need to get more people on the streets — young people, old people, the grannies, the military veterans, everyone out onto the streets.

    I was in Tahrir Square. As soon as violence broke out, the only people who stayed were the young men. The kids, the old people, they all left. Then it became very easy for the police and military to brand the people still there as agitators, as young thugs, because it was just young men throwing rocks. It was easier for them to then clamp down on the protests. As soon as someone in a black bloc at Occupy comes out and start breaking windows, the kids and the old people run away and go home and what Occupy is left with, at least on the news that night, are loads of young men breaking windows. And the next time they have a big march or demonstration the old people and the very young people don’t come out because they’re scared of violence, and therefore you don’t see on the news a picture of the whole of society working to counter the system, but what just looks like a small, fringe minority. So I think that’s a very clear example of how these sorts of things clearly make your movement weaker. If the whole of society can’t get behind you because physically they’re threatened by the actions of a few, than clearly that is going to dim your movement, because the movement relies on numbers.

  • Ruaridh Arrow commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: How to Start a Revolution

    2012-04-30 16:47:02View | Delete

    Obviously nonviolent movements fail for a variety of reasons in different countries. Achieving nonviolent discipline in a population and a strategic approach to a struggle is challenging. There will always be those who believe violence is a more effective option or that people are too weak to confront a dictatorship. However what Gene’s work does is show real examples from history of where this technique has worked against some of the toughest regimes in history including the Soviet Union and Hitler in Norway for example. The Arab Spring has shown that there are not cultural or religious boundaries to this technique. What he emphasises again and again is study. Study your opponent, where is he strong where is he weak? And study yourself, what are your resources what can you do to break the fear, how can you withdraw economic and political support from a regime so that it is weakened.

  • Ruaridh Arrow commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: How to Start a Revolution

    2012-04-30 16:41:07View | Delete

    Yes that’s right, the 198 methods contain tactics like symbolic colours that have been used in nonviolent and sometimes violent conflict throughout history. What Gene Sharp has done is codify these tactics in one document and tied them together with a planned nonviolent strategy. The methods do not work by themselves. They have to be combined carefully and wisely in an overall plan directed towards your ultimate aim whatever that is. It’s the strategy that’s important.

    If we put an army of 100,000 soldiers on a battlefield without a plan their guns, mortars, artillery would be much less effective or entirely useless. The same is true of a protest of 100,000 people in the street. What Gene’s work does is make nonviolent struggle more effective.

  • Ruaridh Arrow commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: How to Start a Revolution

    2012-04-30 16:36:18View | Delete

    Ok so the CIA question is a big one. I actually came from this perspective when I first became interested. I’m an investigative journalist by training and if I had found anything to suggest that Gene Sharp was funded or carrying out work on behalf of the CIA I would have put it in the film. Here is a good youtube video of Gene answering this question at the Frontline Club in London this year http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNv-Hfww2jo He actually tells people NOT to use CIA money or help because if policy changes in Langley your movement could be left high and dry. Most of the accusations against him are guilt by association – he once received money from NED, NED sometimes receives money from the CIA therefore he must be taking direction from the CIA. It just doesn’t work like that.

    Could the CIA pay for his work to be translated and distributed to further a policy in a certain country. Of course, like any country or organisation could. But he is absolutely not working for the CIA.

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