Summary of From Dictatorship to Democracy

A Conceptual Framework for Liberation

Albert Einstein Institution,
First Edition: 1994 more...

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From Dictatorship to Democracy book summary
How to begin eroding a dictator’s power


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Political scientist Gene Sharp wrote this powerful essay in 1993 to support the resistance movement in Burma, where the government sentenced people who owned this booklet to seven years in jail. Since then, opponents of oppression – most notably in the Arab uprisings of 2011 – have distributed this text widely to political and social activists who want to apply Sharp’s 40 years of research, experience and writing about nonviolent struggles, dictatorships and resistance movements. Sharp distills his work on political theory and sociology into a readable, tight, practical volume. Its appendix lists dozens of specific tactics for organizers who want to mount peaceful campaigns against established oppressive forces. getAbstract recommends this influential pamphlet to everybody interested in understanding how peaceful revolutions work.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What resistance methods work against dictators
  • What makes dictators vulnerable
  • Why strategy is crucial in turning dictatorships to democracies


Destroying Dictatorships
Opponents can “prevent and destroy” dictatorships, which manifest in many forms under the guises of various philosophies. Abhorrent dictatorships are not uncommon; they have existed in Panama, Tibet, Laos, Poland and Burma. Since 1980, dictatorships have fallen...
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About the Author

Gene Sharp is a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts and at Dartmouth. Known for his extensive, influential writings on nonviolent struggle, he is the author of Waging Nonviolent Struggle and Gandhi as a Political Strategist.

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