Recently I was introduced to Gene Sharp's manifesto on "regime change"
called: FROM DICTATORSHIP TO DEMOCRACY, A conceptual framework for liberation
book - along with U.S. overt and covert "aid" - has brought down
at least three governments to date, including Serbia (Milosevic), Georgia (Shevardnadze),
and the Ukraine (Yanukovych). 
I found the book on a web page, available through Google, if you type in the
title. The book is used by US imperial "soft power" forces such as
the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International Republican Institute
(IRI), and "Freedom House." It was published through the Albert Einstein
George Soros has been responsible for some of these US adventures in non-violent
overthrows of regimes deemed unacceptable to US power brokers.
Still, the book itself is a manual on how to overthrow dictatorships, military
non-democratic despots, the sort of which we are becoming here in the U.S.
Crucial to overthrowing dictatorships, even totalitarian regimes are two concepts:
1) Non-violent struggle
2) Identifying the weaknesses of the regime and exploiting them
It is the second concept that I wish to comment upon today, and to offer a
bold strategy for confronting the US federal military industrial complex.
Because the United States has some limited democratic governance, we must modify
our tactics from those presented in the manual. We must also realize that the
"Democratic Party" of the United States is as complicit in U.S. imperialism, and is as "in bed" with the military industrial complex as is its alleged opponent, the Republican Party. For this reason, we must not ever tie
our opposition to the Democratic Party, and we must remain independent in thought
and in action.
Non-violent struggle is required - argues Sharp - because a critical mass of
population will not join the struggle if it is violent. It will scare off the
great majority, and will ultimately be defeated by the superior firepower and
repression of the central government. The government holds overwhelming superiority of military means, so much so that armed rebellion is doomed to fail from the start. Finally, a violent movement may turn out in the end to be worse than
the dictatorship they will have defeated.
So, taking a non-violent course of resistance, the strategy should focus upon
the needs of the dictatorship. Denying the dictatorship its lifeblood, weakening
it, compromising it, denying it legitimacy will all serve to erode its power
and ability to exercise control over society (and over the world at large).
"A grand strategy which limits its objective to merely destroying
the incumbent dictatorship runs a great risk of producing another tyrant."
Here is the crux of the problem in the United States today. The "anybody
but Bush" concept was garbage, perpetrated by the same forces that installed
Bush in office in the first place. Kerry was not a legitimate alternative. Kerry's
response to an illegal war crime against Iraq was to escalate the conflict.
Both Kerry's and Bush's policies were war crimes, illegal under international
law as well as under our own Constitution, Article 2. Both were unacceptable.
Clearly, if we are to remain a democracy in any way, shape or form, we are
going to have to restore the U.S. Constitution to the "Supreme Law of the
Land." This can be a fundamental goal of the newly forming "pro-democracy"
movement here in the U.S.A.
This leads us to the first of the Bush regime's Achilles' heels:
* Current US foreign policies are unconstitutional, therefore illegal,
therefore a high crime subject to impeachment, removal from office, and criminal
Now, I don't expect the judiciary branch, which holds many of the same views
as the Bush regime to actually do anything about this. Nor the US Congress,
not right away. After all, the Congress is complicit with the war crimes and
with the unconstitutional Patriot Act legislation. The people however can be
educated. And that's a main goal of our movement, of course, which is not news
to most people here.
There are ten other Achilles' heels listed below, great weaknesses of the current
government, which need to be highlighted and exploited as opportunities arise:
#1) September 11th was perpetrated by the Bush regime and its covert proxy
forces. This has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and is reflected
in the omissions in the 9-11 Commission report (produced by white house appointed
functionaries), as well as by the body of evidence on US fighter jet responses
during the attacks, as well as by the multitude of warnings pre-9-11 that
were denied by Bush administration officials, as well as by the actual squashing
of legitimate FBI investigations into known terrorists before the attacks,
the subject of several current lawsuits by FBI agents.
In August of 2004, a Zogby poll determined that 49.3% of New York City residents
and 41% of New York citizens overall believed that some government officials
"knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001,
and that they consciously failed to act."
This is mass murder and treason. This is the best Achilles' heel of the current
regime. For supporting documentation see Michael Ruppert's Crossing the Rubicon,
Daniel Hopsicker's Welcome to Terrorland, and David Ray Griffin's New Pearl
Harbor, among others.
A full 66% polled in New York City called for a new probe of unanswered questions
by Congress or by New York's Attorney General. Two thirds. That's a majority.
#2) Don't send your kids off to be cannon fodder for oil. That's the
message that needs to reach the flag wavers. We have been Bushwhacked by the
oil robber barons. These wars were not about the "weapons of mass destruction"
that sold them. This issue alone should assure the collapse of the Bush regime.
That it hasn't yet is nearly beyond belief. Their lies are exposed in broad
daylight even in all mainstream corporate media.
Denying the warmongers the personnel to oppress Iraq and other nation states
should be a top goal of the anti-war movement, and of a pro-democracy movement.
#3) The national debt / deficits. The people of the United States,
their children and grandchildren now owe a total of .5 Trillion of debt
that has been arranged by the federal government. This total is expected to
continue to grow, indefinitely. That's 0 Billion in just interest payments
this year. The ultimate result - and goal of the Bush team - may be to bankrupt
the United States of America and to usher in a massive and catastrophic depression.
Is anyone out there voting for this? This is a massive Achilles'
Heel which should be mentioned at every political talk. We are on the road to
collapse and ruin, and much of this is directly traceable to the trillions of
dollars that have gone missing from the Pentagon (more than Trillion at last
count), courtesy of Lockheed Martin and DynCorp (privatized) accounting systems.
#4) Oil / Fossil Fuels. This structural reality gives the current
regime its power. All that we can do to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels
and other centralized energy (ie. nuclear power) will serve to strengthen
the people and to weaken the oligarchs. Solar panels and solar water heating
(which is the most efficient form of solar energy), geothermal air heating,
and wind turbines offer reasonable alternatives to burning fossil fuel to
heat, cool and energize our homes. Solar energy is within reach of nearly
everyone. Wind is usable in many locations and represents free 24 hour per
day energy production. Other approaches like tide generation and hydro river
power are proven, reliable technologies that take power away from the oil
oligarchs and put it back into the hands of the people.
#5) Food. Plant a garden, and grow a part of your own food supply.
The U.S. is a wonderfully arable land, and this opportunity is available to
most people. Again, everything that takes power away from centralized forces,
such as agribusiness corporations and returns it to regular citizens will
weaken them and help us.
#6) Barter. By trading goods and services for other goods and services,
no taxes are sent to Washington. Barter is an underground economy based upon
fair trade practices, and unencumbered by federal or state bureaucracy. If
the goal is to weaken the war machine, then new ways of denying the fed its
gold must be explored. Federal taxes are deducted automatically from payrolls,
which is a strength that is hard to challenge directly.
#7) Legitimacy. To declare the current regime in Washington illegitimate
is crucial. The world should know that Bush and Cheney stole not one, but
two consecutive elections. The American people as a whole have not given them
any kind of "mandate." Far from it. America is divided, and great
opposition exists to the policies of the current government. This division
is our strength, and their weakness.
It must be a part of any democratic movement that the current government is
illegitimate and has stolen power like any third world banana republic dictatorship.
# 8) Corporate media is the problem, not the solution. In 2004, more
than 900,000 citizens voiced their opposition to the FCC plan to allow more
broadcaster consolidation of bandwith resources. This level of opposition
was unprecedented. It may not have completely quashed their plans for total
control of the airwaves. It did however expose the mindset of the American
people regarding this issue. After numerous lies broadcast over public airwaves,
likening the broadcasters to a "ministry of information" arm of
the regime, people have woken up and are not happy at what they are seeing
We must pursue true independent media as much as possible. Print, internet,
radio, TV, there are a world of possibilities that we must compete in if we
are to remain relevant.
#9) Boycotts. Vote with your wallet and encourage others to do likewise.
For example, WALMART Corporation is openly hostile to worker's rights, and
it contributes greatly to the Republican Party. Stop giving them your money.
Local shops need your support, and are highly unlikely to send their profits
off to imperialist institutions. A list of top political party donors can
be found here.
#10) Religion. The right wing in the US has maintained power largely
through lip service to Christian organizations. If the Republican Party has
any similarities to the policies of Jesus Christ, I have yet to find any hint
of it. "Blessed are the peacemakers" said Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, in the Book of Matthew. How "blessed" are the anti-war
movement in the eyes of the national Republican Party?
Jesus' own philosophy and life are a testament to nonviolent resistance. Jesus
killed no one. He willingly gave up his life for a higher cause, allegedly to
save mankind. How diametrically opposed are the actions of Bush/Cheney, who
order mass murder for profit on a daily basis?
"Love thy enemy," said Jesus. If someone strikes your face, "Turn the other cheek." Can anyone on earth imagine George W. Bush saying or believing the same?
The prerequisite for making peace is to respect your enemies, their legitimate
grievances, and to reach a compromise solution. This approach is openly disdained
by the Bush white house. Their Project for a New American Century doctrine calls
for American supremacy, dominance, military empire. This has nothing whatsoever
to do with the gospels of Jesus Christ. Even the Pope has said so: America's
wars of aggression are not "just wars." They are not the product of
legitimate self-defense but of imperial ambitions and of immoral greed run amok.
From Dictatorship to Democracy includes a section about contacting
military officers, troops and police officials and communicating the message
of non-violent struggle in defiance of the dictatorship:
"Early in the liberation struggle a special strategy should be developed
to communicate with the dictators' troops and functionaries. By words, symbols,
and actions, the democratic forces can inform the troops that the liberation
struggle will be vigorous, determined, and persistent. Troops should learn
that the struggle will be of a special character, designed to undermine the
dictatorship but not to threaten their lives. Such efforts would aim ultimately
to undermine the morale of the dictators' troops and finally to subvert their
loyalty and obedience in favor of the democratic movement."
Luckily for the U.S., we already have clear laws and guidelines for the conduct
of the military. It is the duty of every soldier to "defend the Constitution,"
an oath they swear to, and not the particular thieves in charge. It is also
the duty of every soldier to "disobey" any "illegal order,"
including violations of the Geneva Conventions, the U.N. Charter, the Torture
Convention, and the U.S. Constitution. This is the basis of the philosophy of
military justice. All military personnel are bound by these codes, and none
are immune from prosecution.
United States soldiers are not mercenaries. The realization that they are being
treated as killers for hire has not been lost on many of them currently stationed
in combat zones. As this struggle progresses, keep in mind that many returning
soldiers will be awake and aware of the injustices of these conflicts. They
will be ready for a change.
"Defiance strategists should remember that it will be exceptionally
difficult, or impossible, to disintegrate the dictatorship if the police,
bureaucrats, and military forces remain fully supportive of the dictatorship
and obedient in carrying out its commands. Strategies aimed at subverting
the loyalty of the dictators' forces should therefore be given a high priority
by democratic strategists."
High priority is also given to creating symbols and slogans. Easily communicated
logos and meaningful phrases should be widely disseminated.
From Dictatorship to Democracy ends with 198 specific methods
of nonviolent action in its appendix.
This book is required reading for anyone seeking peace and justice today.