Thursday, February 2, 2012

A contribution to all of us: Gene Sharp’s “From Dictatorship to Democracy”

Unfortunately, the past is still with us. The problem of dictatorships is deep. People in many countries have experienced decades or even centuries of oppression, whether of domestic or foreign origin. Frequently, unquestioning submission to authority figures and rulers has been long inculcated. In extreme cases, the social, political, economic, and even religious institutions of the society – outside of state control — have been deliberately weakened, subordinated, or even replaced by new regimented institutions used by the state or ruling party to control the society. The population has often been atomized (turned into a mass of isolated individuals) unable to work together to achieve freedom, to confide in each other, or even to do much of anything at their own initiative.
These are, mostly, some of the first’s lines in Gene Sharp’s book: “From Dictatorship to Democracy”; and those are pretty much one of the best approaches at what it is my native country today: Cuba.

I don’t want to overwhelm with data, or even with descriptions of what Cuba is, I just want to give you a hint about the book, recommend it to all of you and share the eye-opening experience of what it is, from my point of view, one of the cleverest writings for countries where Democracy has to be built... yet !!!

For me, it has been a joy to find that there is a light at the end of the tunnel even when everything could look unattainable.

There is a part that for me that it had said everything, that is when Sharp writes: 
When conventional military rebellion is recognized as unrealistic, some dissidents then favor guerrilla warfare. However, guerrilla warfare rarely, if ever, benefits the oppressed population or ushers in a democracy. Guerrilla warfare is no obvious solution, particularly given the very strong tendency toward immense casualties among one’s own people. The technique is no guarantor against failure, despite supporting theory and strategic analyses, and sometimes international backing. Guerrilla struggles often last a very long time. Civilian populations are often displaced by the ruling government, with immense human suffering and social dislocation. Even when successful, guerrilla struggles often have significant long-term negative structural consequences. Immediately, the attacked regime becomes more dictatorial as a result of its countermeasures. If the guerrillas should finally succeed, the resulting new regime is often more dictatorial than its predecessor due to the centralizing impact of the expanded military forces and the weakening or destruction of the society’s independent groups and institutions during the struggle — bodies that are vital in establishing and maintaining a democratic society. Persons hostile to dictatorships should look for another option.
That is what happened in Cuba in 1959: pictured perfect by Gene Sharp in the book.

I am recommending to you as one of the most revealing and important reads. Please, download it here and enjoy: