The Promise of Nonviolent “People Power” Revolutions

Soj at Flogging the Simian brings us the latest news on “People Power” in Eastern Europe. It seems that the Ukrainian group Pora, which was instrumental in unstealing the election there this winter, is hoping to open some franchises elsewhere — Belarus and Moldova to start with.

This campaign is being encouraged by Dubya and probably underwritten by U.S. intelligence. Would that more of Dubya’s alleged democratization agenda was pursued in an empower-the-people fashion rather than in the blow-them-up style.

The geniuses in the Dubya Squad seem to think that the best path to democracy for Eastern Europeans is to rise up and overthrow their governments nonviolently, while the best path for those in the Middle East is to be bombed into rubble and then to submit to the quasi-democratic constitution we airlift in after the attack (or to forget about the whole democracy thing and patiently submit to those dictators we arm to the teeth).

With the way People Power forced the U.S. to allow for popular elections in Iraq, and with the recent People Powered collapse of the occupation government in Lebanon, there’s a possibility of a democratic renaissance in the Middle East that has no resemblance to democratization via shock-and-awe.

The Albert Einstein Institution, Gene Sharp’s nonviolent resistance think-tank, has been busily translating its how-to guides for nonviolent revolution into dozens of languages. Some of the readers of these booklets will be in the running for covert U.S. aid; others will face soldiers armed with “Made in the U.S.A.” weaponry.