Our Global Issues & Ethics Book Group is devoted to discussing books that cover the most relevant topics of our everyday lives. For February, we discuss From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation by Gene Sharp. Twenty-one years ago, at a friend's request, scholar Gene Sharp wrote a blueprint for nonviolent resistance to repressive regimes. It was translated, photocopied, and handed from one rebel to another, traveling from country to country across the globe: from Iran to Venezuela (both countries consider Sharp to be an enemy of the state) to Serbia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan; from Tibet, Vietnam, and the former Soviet Union to China and Nepal; and, more recently and notably, in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Syria, where leaders of the Arab Spring view Sharp's ideas as the guiding light of their movement.
This short, pithy, and extraordinarily clear guide to overthrowing a dictatorship by nonviolent means lists 198 specific methods, including sit-ins, popular non-obedience, selective strikes, withdrawal of bank deposits, revenue refusal, walkouts, silence, and hunger strikes. For anyone seeking to understand the political change that is sweeping the globeand for those seeking to make change at homehere is the essential guide for our times.