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  1. #1
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Threat or Opportunity: non-violent protest?

    An intriguing FP post, which opens with:
    As nonviolent revolutions have swept long-ruling regimes from power in Tunisia and Egypt and threaten the rulers of nearby Algeria, Bahrain, and Yemen, the world's attention has been drawn to the causes -- generations of repressive rule -- and tools -- social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter -- animating the wave of revolt....

    The answer, for democratic activists in an ever-growing list of countries, is to turn to CANVAS. Better than other democracy groups, CANVAS has built a durable blueprint for nonviolent revolution: what to do to grow from a vanload of people into a mass movement and then use those masses to topple a dictator. CANVAS has figured out how to turn a cynical, passive, and fearful public into activists.
    Curiously the group hails from Serbia.

    Link:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...ion_u?page=0,1

    We have touched upon the state's responses in other threads, looked at the media, speculated on the motivation of the protesters, but not the methods used by them.

    I would expect some security analysts in the Middle East - at least - are studying a lot more.

    How will those who would seek power, maybe hiding their intentions and methods, respond to this model? In particular those who preach violence.

    I tried to locate CANVAS website and each visit hit a barrier. So I used the cached edition of:http://www.canvasopedia.org/

    Meantime this link is to an Egyptian protest manual (with translation), although some steps on meeting the police I expect were revised: http://www.theatlantic.com/internati...nslated/70388/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-18-2011 at 02:46 PM. Reason: Add weblink
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    Default Threat or opportunity ...

    It depends - political "METT-T"

    The SWJ Blog has picked up this theme, Callwell, Mao, Galula, Sharp?, with a good comment by Dave Maxwell:

    I remember when the book linked in the article above about the author Gene Sharp came out. I remember discussions with people who say that Unconventional Warfare in the classic sense of overthrowing a government, particularly a despotic or totalitarian regime, was a romantic notion of the past and no longer relevant, particularly in the post Cold War and post 9-11 world. Just like COIN after Vietnam, classic UW was no longer of value. Add this book to Hoffer's and Gurr's works and I think you have the basis for an Unconventional Warfare curriculum that has stood and will stand the test of time.
    and also Sharp as a Modern Jomini? (with links).

    Sharp's publications (and other links) are found at Albert Einstein Institute.

    Maria J. Stephan and Erica Chenoweth, Why Civil Resistance Works - The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict (2008), is extensively footnoted.

    Centre for Applied NonViolent Action & Strategies - CANVAS comes up fine on this computer.

    Have to run now to see "MAJ MIKE, the Flight Surgeon" (quarterly checkup) - maybe later with more stuff.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Default CANVAS Doctrinal Manual

    is Nonviolent Struggle - 50 Crucial Points A Strategic Approach to Everyday Tactics; Authors: (CANVAS) Srdja Popovic, Andrej Milivojevic and Slobodan Djinovic (direct download for English pdf):

    Abstract

    This book is a field guide for waging a strategic nonviolent struggle – it offers a rich and diverse array of practical information that nonviolent activists need to know. The user-friendly format of the book complements the presentation of the content in thematic chapters, which are organized around answering key questions that range from techniques of daily management to strategic planning. Written by those who successfully fought against repressive regimes using strategic nonviolent action, the book is designed as a ready-to-use tool for front-line practitioners who work in nondemocratic, and sometimes violent environments, as well as those who work in established democracies. It is based on firsthand experience from the struggles in Serbia and Georgia, and the lessons learned in Ukraine, Belarus, Zimbabwe and other countries.

    The book fills the gap between the tremendous theoretical insights about strategic nonviolent conflict developed by scholars over the past several decades and the accumulated experience of front-line practitioners. This is achieved by creating a synergy between, on the one hand, academic knowledge and the expertise of authors and of outside participants in the project, and, on the other hand, the lived experience of successful activists and leaders. Likewise, the book's content and format build a bridge between the strategic level and the often "heavy" book design of theoretical works, and the "cook-book" approach of existing manuals for political and public-interest campaigns, which mostly focus on tactical issues.

    The focus is firmly on practical questions. Crucial points about waging strategic nonviolent struggle appear as "how to" questions:

    How do you plan symbolic public actions successfully with just a few supports?

    How do you recruit, train, and retain pro-reform activists?

    How do you manage scarce assets, such as volunteers and material resources?

    How do you plan your campaign and run it with constant feedback-loop management?

    How do you prepare to overcome the powerful influence of fear?

    How do you minimize the effectiveness of repressive mechanisms, including contaminants, surveillance and police repression?

    From this book, those considering launching a strategic nonviolent struggle in any environment will find enough information to steer away from making the most common mistakes and refocus towards selecting realistic objectives, structuring an organization efficiently, and effectively influencing public attitudes to the point where ordinary citizens are willing to participate in the struggle.

    The topics covered include the theory of political power, fundamentals of strategic and detailed tactical planning, message development and management of nonviolent actions and campaigns.

    The book is compatible with already existing and readily available resources for use in this field, such as the writings from the Albert Einstein Institution and the new computer game, "A Force More Powerful".

    In short, this book takes a strategic approach to the problems of day-to-day implementation of nonviolent struggle encountered by pro-reform movements in all environments, from those working for justice in established democracies to those working to end repression or occupation.
    Besides this monograph, you can download The CANVAS Core Curriculum - Students Book (direct download for English pdf):

    The content of the curriculum is divided into three parts:

    I. Theory and its applications: The goal of these lessons is to provide a concrete framework for people to understand how nonviolent action works. First, all movements start with the desire for change, so we offer a methodology to help groups develop their vision for what they want to achieve (Lesson 1). We then address how nonviolent movements can gain the power to achieve that vision. By emphasizing that political power comes from people’s ongoing consent and obedience to their society’s political, economic, and social systems, it becomes clear that nonviolent movements can gain power and create change by shifting people’s consent and obedience patterns (Lesson 2). In order to do this, nonviolent resisters must understand the roles that key organizations and institutions (which we call “pillars of support”) play in their society (Lesson 3), what people’s motivations are for consent and obedience (Lesson 4), how nonviolent movements produce change in society (Lesson 5), and the tactics and methods that nonviolent movements have at their disposal (Lesson 6).

    II. Planning considerations: There is rarely victory for nonviolent movements without a strategic plan. Therefore, an understanding of basic strategic principles (Lesson 7) as well as tools and techniques to analyze their past and current situation (Lesson 8 and Lesson A1) is important as movements develop their strategic plans. An essential part of those plans will be communications. How do movements effectively communicate what they stand for? Developing effective messages and analyzing audience segments (Lesson 9) and understanding the tools and types of targeted communications (Lesson 10) are essential. Targeted communication is one of the most important parts of any movement’s strategic plan.

    III. Organizational and operational considerations: Nonviolent movements are faced every day with stresses in the areas of leadership (Lesson 11), fear-management (Lesson 13), and avoiding contamination (Lesson 14), so they need to be prepared. They also need to be tactically innovative and choose issues and actions that put their opponents in dilemmas (Lesson 12). Finally, management of key resources (material resources, human resources, time, and knowledge) are critical to operating a nonviolent movement or campaign. The advanced campaign management package (Lessons A2, A3, A4, and A5) addresses these issues.
    As to the computer game, A Force More Powerful:

    A Force More Powerful – the Game of Nonviolent Strategy is no longer for sale. However, we do have a limited quantity left . If you want 10 or more copies of the game, are sure it will work on your computers (see below), and will pay for the UPS shipping & handling costs, we will give you copies free of charge. This offer is NOT for RESALE. Click here to send us your request.
    Upgraded game is People Power ($10).

    Regards

    Mike

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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Ever since Gandhi, non-violent protest seems to be an especially powerful tool for the erosion of a state's force's loyalty and morale IF the regime is already overdue.

    It's probably neither a threat nor an opportunity, for it's merely the final push over the edge for regimes which are bound to fail soon anyway.


    (This was of course focusing on the special case of non-violent protests for revolution. Non-violent protests for less ambitious objectives have a very different nature.)

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    Let's not glorify non-violence. It relies on the enthusiasm of the people, but is not necessarily democratic. Non-violence is a defeat mechanism in its own right. The Iranian revolution of 1979 was largely non-violent. For many a movement, the art of non-violence is to arouse the masses, start a revolution and take control the day after the revolution.

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    It works also against democratic governments. LBJ gave up the idea of running again for presidency because of the anti-war protest movement et cetera.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    It works also against democratic governments. LBJ gave up the idea of running again for presidency because of the anti-war protest movement et cetera.
    Actually, he didn't run because of the heat he was taking for his stance in support of civil rights.

    He took heat for Vietnam (Colonial Intervention), sure. But he had to give up on running for a second term due to the heat he was taking from both sides of the aisle for his true counterinsurgency efforts in passing three landmark civil rights bills to quell the growing insurgency at home.

    Violence or non-violence are a tactical choice. They do not define the nature of the operation. If the nature is illegal challenge to government for political purpose, it is insurgency. The fact that our doctrine is so heavily derived from the experience of colonial powers in their efforts to suppress popular challenges to the puppet regimes they established, and to their own presence and control, shapes our thinking. Also the fact that this doctrine is written by the military, as these situations do tend to go violent at some point and are typically tossed to the military to resolve.

    This is a major flaw, the major flaw, in FM 3-24. It declares right up front that COIN and insurgency are complex forms of warfare, and in fact, it is neither complex, nor warfare.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Default Gene Sharp, 'Clausewitz Of Nonviolent Warfare,' Amazed By Egypt's Youth

    He's been called "the man who changed the world," by the editorial board of the Boston Globe, and the Karl Von Clausewitz of nonviolent warfare" by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

    As Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep notes, former Harvard reseacher Gene Sharp has been an inspiration to young revolutionaries in countries such as Serbia and Egypt, where they used his manual From Dictatorship to Democracy and his book The Politics of Nonviolent Action to help guide them through what turned out to be successful — and peaceful — revolts against oppressive regimes.
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/...-youth?ps=cprs
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


    http://i.imgur.com/IPT1uLH.jpg

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    Default Links to Gene Sharp and Albert Einstein Institute

    in this thread Threat or Opportunity: non-violent protest? (links to Gene Sharp and Albert Einstein Institute publications, here & here).

    Regards

    Mike

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Social Movement Leadership

    Certainly not new IMO social movements taking on the state / government, modern IT is clearly an enabler and a vulnerability. Communication is simply faster.

    So I spotted this comment on ICSR's blog, entitled 'No matter what he says, Wael Ghonim is a leader: Social Movement Leadership...'

    It open with:
    There has been a steady stream of thought-provoking remarks about the role of leadership (or lack thereof) in the activist movements that coordinated via social network sites to overthrow the Mubarak regime in Egypt. Most recently, Clint Watts wrote a thoughtful post on the subject at his blog, Selected Wisdom. His comments were sparked by a Steve Inskeep interview with Wael Ghonim, the Egyptian activist and Google executive who played a significant role in the uprising. The occasion of the interview was the release of Ghonim’s new book, Revolution 2.0, which I blogged briefly about the other day.
    Link:http://icsr.info/blog/No-matter-what...ian-Revolution
    davidbfpo

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    Certainly not new IMO social movements taking on the state / government, modern IT is clearly an enabler and a vulnerability. Communication is simply faster.
    There is more to it than that, information not only moves faster, it penetrates more deeply. States have less capability to control information, and as Bob Jones would tell you if you don't control the information you don't control the people. I think the Arab Spring and other events around the world have validated that.

    North Korea is terrified of South Korean citizens sending information into North Korea via ballons and have threatened to go to war over it. Attaching a message to a ballon isn't exactly modern information technology, but it still works. Once the paradigm is challenged it begins to rust, in some cases that corrosion is quicker than others.

    In locations where cell phones, computers, blackberries, Ipads, etc. it does enable "smarter" and more effective protest efforts. It allows identity groups to form that would have difficult or impossible previously. Where did the protest movements start prior to the advent of online communities? Union meetings, Mosques, Churches, Colleges, etc. Now groups can be formed outside of these institutions.

    In the end it isn't new, just different.

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    A lot of gist here...

    1. Control. Either the populace feels they have control over the government, or the government must exercise control over the populace. The wide range of forms of governance are in large part defined by where that control rests.

    2. Information. Control of information is critical to control of a populace. More so than security forces, but as one loses control of information, if your goal is to cling to a system with control vested in the government, then you better start ramping up your internal security. You are going to need it.

    3. It seems to me that as access to information increases, so does transparency, and transparency leads to familiarity, and "familiarity breeds contempt." Populaces begin to evolve toward wanting more control over government as they become more informed, they also become less fearful of the state. If the state is unwilling to evolve along with the populace friction is inevitable, and conflict is likely.

    4. I was at a meeting with several senior business executives, and one gentleman who engages in several overseas ventures made the comment that "corruption is how taxation takes place where no formal system exists." There is a lot of truth to that (though the State Department rep came out of her chair in protest, as the State Department has determined that all corruption is evil and has a zero-tolerance policy. A policy that is well-intended, but to me seems illogical and is, I suspect, a tremendous obstacle to diplomatic conversations). I think a similar observation could be accurately made regarding revolution. "Revolution is voting where no formal system exists." A logical take away is that the development of formal systems of taxation and payment of government officials could go a long way toward reducing low-level corruption; and similarly development of legal, trusted and certain ways for the populace to "control" government could go a long way toward warding off most revolutions. All must be homegrown solutions designed by and for the cultures they are to operate within; and all must be flexible to allow continued evolution as ever increasing information continues to drive social evolution.
    Last edited by Bob's World; 01-24-2012 at 12:58 PM.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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