A couple of New York Times articles give an overview of “people power” in light of what’s been going on in the Ukraine. Youth Movement Underlies the Opposition in Ukraine discusses the similarities between the techniques and demographics of the opposition movement in the Ukraine and other recent “people power” movements (though the article doesn’t mention Serbia’s Otpor, that’s the comparison that jumped to my mind first).
Heeding the Roar of the Street gives a run-down of some of the instances of “people power” uprisings over , and the elements that make for success or failure.
The U.S. government is providing assistance to the nonviolent resistance organizers in the Ukraine, as are some other organizations, for instance George Soros’s Open Society Institute. The Albert Einstein Institution has made available a Ukrainian translation of Gene Sharp’s nonviolent uprising manual From Dictatorship to Democracy.
Reason comments on the situation in the Ukraine and notes that while the demonstrators are certainly being assisted by some deep-pocketed realpolitikers,
Still, the very experience of overthrowing a government this way — of building independent institutions, diffusing power through civil society, and learning first-hand that it’s possible to say no to authority — unleashes something that’s hard for any politician to control. Those tent cities aren’t merely a demand for freedom. They’re acts of freedom themselves: of men and women voluntarily assembled both to defy the old order and to build something new.
Deutsche Welle reports that tax resistance is being used in the Ukraine’s power struggle:
With some powerhouse eastern regions halting payment of taxes to the federal coffers and trade disrupted, [President Leonid] Kuchma said the more than week-long dispute over contested presidential elections was paralyzing the ex-Soviet country.
“Another few days and the financial system could fall down like a house of cards,” Kuchma said in a meeting with [Prime Minister] Yanukovych.
“It is clear today that unremitted taxes have reached a billion hryvnas (€150 million, $200 million). Customs duties have fallen by a quarter,” said Kuchma, according to a statement from the president’s office.