The Sharpest Gene, Part 1

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by Kathie MM

It is not surprising that several previous engaging peace posts have made references to Gene Sharp—e.g., here and here .  What is surprising, even to me, is that I have not yet devoted the kind of space to him he deserves—which I will do, starting today.

Gene Sharp  is one of the premier leaders of the nonviolent resistance movement not only in the United States but around the world.

Although the activities of the nonviolent resistance movement are often shunned by the mainstream media, propaganda machines of the military-industrial complex (which prefer to focus on wars, violence, “terrorist threats,”
and various other horrors purported to demand violent responses), Sharp’s revolutionary (nonviolently revolutionary) work has been well-recognized and appreciated internationally.

He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, 2012, 2013  and 2015, and for the U.S. Peace Memorial Peace Prize in 2012 and has received numerous awards for his work, including the Peace Abbey’s International Courage of Conscience Award .

Here are some samples of his position:

“I think you get rid of violence only if people see that you have a different way of acting, a different way of struggle.”

“It’s a nonsense assumption that you can get rid of terrorism with war. Terrorism is taking the lives of innocent people to gain your objective. War is basically the same thing on a larger scale.”

“Nonviolent action is just what it says: action which is nonviolent, not inaction.   This technique consists, not simply of words, but of active protest, noncooperation, and intervention.   Overwhelmingly, it is a group or mass action.”

These are not empty words. Don’t let anyone convince you that violence can only be dealt with by violence.  The greater truth is that violence begets violence.

Stay tuned for future posts on Gene Sharp.

This entry was posted in Armed conflict, Champions of peace, culture of violence, Media, Military-industrial complex, Nonviolence, politics, Propaganda. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Sharpest Gene, Part 1

  1. Ed Agro says:

    Gene Sharp’s prescriptions for nonviolent resistance are of great, if sometimes obvious, help to people wanting to overthrow dictatorships. Unfortunately, they have not proven so useful for people trying to reform corrupt democracies.

    In either case the prescriptions are of little help in the next step: once the struggle is “over” – when the dictators is deposed, or the social malaise is evident to everyone – how do we actually form a government or social order that builds upon the struggle?

    As often than not, people’s revolutions are followed by counterrevolution, usually lead by the worst elements of the “people’s” struggle. Sharp’s “strategic nonviolence” has a lot to offer, but to take it as evidence of the power of reflexive pacifism is to misunderstand & work within the limits of his analysis and of pacifism itself.

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