Sunday, 17 March 2019

What we can learn from Gene Sharp.

I have mentioned recently, on more than one occasion, that to get our six demands enacted will take a mass movement employing some of the strategy and tactics and methods of Gene Sharp from his book ‘ From dictatorship to democracy’ - I therefore decided to re-read his 135 page book this weekend and write this post. A key point to make is that his book is dealing with getting rid of a dictator ( I know the likes of Blair acted as if they were!)  where as THA’s aim is revolutionary reform of our democracy. Even so there are important lessons form his book we can learn and I list below his main points and my own observations applicable to THA:-

  1. In his Preface he makes two points very clearly. First, his publication is far from perfect. Second, that nowhere does he suggest the struggle will be quick, easy or cost free. There will be casualties. I believe if our strategy and tactics are ‘Smart’ and peaceful and given we are not facing a real dictator we should avoid the loss of life so long as no individual goes off on his own initiative and attempts to take the law into their own hands.    

  1. Protests must be coordinated and planned which requires leadership and one must develop a Grand Strategy, Strategy, Tactics and Methods which should then be broadcast far and wide. Our plans should not be kept as a secret

  1. The authorities will always beat violent protests as they play to their strengths as they control the police and army. Protest should play to the dictators weaknesses. This is a very important point.

  1. If people want change the solutions are in THEIR hands. If they sit on them nowt will happen!

  1. Non-violent struggle is a much more complex and varied means of struggle than using violence. We should take note.

  1. In his Appendix he lists 198 methods of non-violent struggle. Only some of these will apply to THA after careful analysis and debate.

  1. Large demonstrations while dramatic usually lead to trouble which could be caused by ill disciplined protesters or even agent provocateurs.  Non-violent protest will be safer,  

  1. Non-violent action works in four ways – conversion, accommodation, non-violent coercion and disintegration – for details read his book!

  1. Stick to the ‘Plan’ and never expect instant results – THA’s demands will take at least a generation to come about.

  1. Peaceful actions avoid conflict like withdrawal of support and non-cooperation  - always fight smart.

  1. One must know one’s goal – we have our six demands.

  1. The changes sought will require a new constitution which will take time and require the participation of the public to form it and monitor it – Our six demands cover all this.

He concludes ‘Freedom is not Free’ and we will ALL have to do our bit or nothing will happen.

Finally, let me repeat that, when reading the book, which I recommend, you need to register that our fight is not with a dictator but with our politicians to accept, approve and enact our six demands to reform our system of governance.    


  1. These items are all very sensible but I am not sure that a new constitution would be required for THA demands. I don't know enough about this:

    "Unlike most modern states, Britain does not have a codified constitution but an unwritten one formed of Acts of Parliament, court judgments and conventions. Professor Robert Blackburn explains this system, including Magna Carta's place within it, and asks whether the UK should now have a written constitution."

    I don't think a written one would help, in fact it could be a big negative when trying to encompass fully all the detailed required; mistakes and omissions are bound to occur.

    At present then it would appear that an act of parliament would cover THA demands?

  2. After much initial debate in 2012 we came to the conclusion our constitution needed to be codified to bring it up to date for the C21st. One of the key ingredients will be to clearly define the limits of parliament and the new powers the sovereign people have.

  3. Hi Niall - you suggested contacting you here.


    1. Not here but off the 'contact' link at the top of the website.