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The Color Revolution Cook Book, Part 1:
Gene Sharp’s From Dictatorship to Democracy

gene-sharp3002,517 words

Color Revolutions have once again returned to the forefront of world politics, in Ukraine and Venezuela. There is a playbook that they are all following, available for free download in dozens of languages. It is called From Dictatorship to Democracy by Gene Sharp.[1]

Gene Sharp is a lifelong Christian pacifist who was jailed by the American authorities during the Korean War for his beliefs. He has dedicated his life to proving that nonviolent means are preferable to violent means for achieving political goals. His works have facilitated political leaders in choosing a path of exclusive nonviolence, particularly since he has teamed up with Special Forces Officer Col. Bob Helvey (ret.). The government that once jailed him has found an alignment of interests.

The Albert Einstein Institution is their townhouse in Boston that exports revolutionary theory through the National Endowment for Democracy and its franchises, such as SOTPOR in Serbia. They promote “Color Revolutions,” or as Hugo Chavez jokingly called them, “The Revolutions of Fruits and Flowers.” The majority of groups who adopt Sharp’s methods have not been successful, but their success rate is clearly better than groups employing terrorist violence.

The following is a review of From Dictatorship to Democracy, and, I hope, the starting point for understanding how Sharp’s method may fit the needs of our movement.

Neither Violence, Nor Negotiation

Sharp’s first two chapters begin with this apparent paradox. Like the youthful revolutionaries in the countries Sharp is focused on, we are outgunned by our rulers. There is simply no way we can storm a building with guns blazing and wake up the next morning with Command and Control over the state bureaucracy. This means that some other way must be found. For Sharp’s audience the ballot box is not an option because elections are fixed and voting cannot change things.

White Nationalism faces a more subtle block to democratic change than those in authoritarian countries. Thanks to Our Enemies’ control of the media, most white nations have not seen White Nationalists anywhere near positions of power, despite general support for some of our propositions. Unfortunately, before these movements reach a critical mass they are infiltrated, subverted, and legally persecuted until their momentum runs out.

Sharp focuses on momentum as a key to success. That is why ending a boycott or general strike as a prerequisite to negotiations usually results in inertia and decline of such movements. If protest movements ease the pressure they put on the regime, the government quickly regains control and the protesters lose all leverage at the negotiating table. (Not to mention that an authoritarian government may simply “disappear” the protest leaders as soon as they arrive at the negotiation table.) Also, marginal supporters who appear at protests can be easily convinced to come out the next day or weekend. However, if the protests stop for a month, and they are called on to return to the streets after unsatisfactory negotiations, the masses are far less likely to show up. Besides, the issues addressed by the protested are systemic of a closed, authoritarian political system, so even successful negotiations are never more than a holding pattern.

Therefore, the way to play by Sharp’s rules is to play through until the end of the regime. So, how can the regimes occupied by Our Enemy be taken down?

Some examples of “Achilles Heels”

If the goal is to collapse a regime without violence and limited means, then economy of force is of foremost concern. There are two rather famous strategic pronouncements regarding the US and its Achilles Heels. The first was made by General Vo Nguyen Giap, who stated that the US would not be defeated on the battlefield but in the living rooms of American TV watchers. The Tet Offensive was a tactical defeat for the North Vietnamese (like every other open battle with the US that followed) but was the first dramatic step in changing US public opinion. The second statement was by Bin Laden, referencing Giap, who stated that public opinion no longer matters in America. Rather, it is economic growth that matters most. That is why he was unconcerned with “waking a sleeping giant.” As long as he could provoke a slowdown in the global economy, he knew that the global economic elite would eventually cut the costs of American hegemony in the Middle East.

Giap found total victory thanks to his insight. The Bin Laden strategy has partially worked. The US has almost completely abandoned Counter-Terrorism for Counter-Intelligence as a strategy against Al Qaeda. CFR President Richard Haass, despite his tribal affiliation, is traveling the world proclaiming that the US should reverse its 80/20 focus on the Middle East/Rest of World.[2] Their final goal of overthrowing the Saudi Monarchy and declaring a Caliphate has not been achieved.

These are of course big picture Achilles Heels. A more tactical level assessment can be made by reviewing Soviet efforts at gaining leverage in case of a crisis in France and the US.

In France, the Communist Union, CGT, dominates the regional mass transit systems of Paris. When they go on strike (even if more moderate unions don’t join them) productivity takes a very serious hit. In the 2007 strikes, which lasted for 10 days in Paris, the economy took a 20 billion euro hit.[3] This was considered low by the standard of strikes in the time before telecommuting and ecommerce. Apart from the train conductors extorting the best pay package in the country and getting a Communist Minister of Transport under Mitterrand, this strategy accomplished nothing.

In the US, the Communists focused on the Steelworkers and Longshoremen. The Truman government responded by passing the Taft-Hartley Act, which he utilized to break strikes 12 times, including the temporary nationalization of the steel industry in the 1952 strike.[4] Organized Labor regularly conducted Red Purges at the AFL out of fear of the federal government.

While the train conductors remain somewhat relevant in France, the same cannot be said of American Steelworkers or Longshoremen. The ILWU, west coast longshoremen, have tried to strike for broader political effect, but to no avail.

So the question remains, what are the Achilles Heels of our system?

Sharp’s Method for Finding Achilles Heels

With even the strongest dictatorship there are weaknesses. “Despite the appearances of strength, all dictatorships have weaknesses, internal inefficiencies, personal rivalries, institutional inefficiencies, and conflicts between organizations and departments. These weaknesses, over time, tend to make the regime less effective and more vulnerable to changing conditions and deliberate resistance.”[5]

There are some among us believe Our Enemies are omnipotent and omniscient. We won’t begin to take back our own destiny until we realize that is not the case and find their Achilles Heels. Below are Sharp’s 17 tips with my own commentary:

1. The cooperation of a multitude of people, groups, and institutions needed to operate the system may be restricted or withdrawn.

We are well aware that the elite that run on our society need the foolish and the greedy to maintain their system. There are wedge issues that can weaken their Command & Control.

2. The requirements and effects of the regime’s past policies will somewhat limit its present ability to adopt and implement conflicting policies.

This may not be so applicable. Our Enemies are chameleons.

3.  The system may become routine in its operation, less able to adjust quickly to new situations.

This is certainly the case. They are confident that the same boogeymen and insults will work forever. Only brain-dead baby boomers don’t know their smear campaign playbook by heart.

4. Personnel and resources already allocated for existing tasks will not be easily available for new needs.

Not clear. To take one example of resources, the SPLC, which is currently targeting Greg Johnson and Counter-Currents, has a war chest of $250 million. If all their funding were cut off, they could continue for over a decade at the same spending rate. On the other hand, in terms of personnel, with only 15 million Sons and Daughters of Abraham in the world, they are totally dependent on outsourcing tasks to subservient goyim.

5. Subordinates fearful of displeasing their superiors may not report accurate or complete information needed by the dictators to make decisions.

This I have seen with my own eyes, as I am sure anyone else has who worked in government, a large corporation, or a university. Subordinates know what thoughts are verboten. In politics, there is willful blindness of apparatchiks regarding points that back the other side. They underreport incidences and explanations of phenomena that White Nationalists address forthrightly.

6. The ideology may erode, and myths and symbols of the system may become unstable.

This is well underway, but there are still many sacred cows of the bourgeois conservatives that have yet to be subverted. For example, the US military has the highest approval ratings of any American institution. For most people, they imagine the military of their fathers and grandfathers that fought in WWII, not the multi-racial, politically correct imperial force seeking full spectrum dominance by teaming up with mercenaries. If martial law of the kind used in Boston last fall is ever deployed against nonviolent White Nationalists, will the military be assumed to be in the right?

7. If a strong ideology is present that influences one’s view of reality, firm adherence to it may cause inattention to actual conditions and needs.

While we may be tempted to think that all of Our Enemies and the whites at the top of the corporate pyramid believe the ideology they shove down our throats, this is not always the case. Those who are JQ-wise usually understand this. Their subordinates will be shocked, but there is a strong will to survive, particularly among the whites at the top.

8. Deteriorating efficiency and competency of the bureaucracy, or excessive controls and regulations, may make the system’s policies and operation ineffective.

My favorite fictional example of this is the inability of the post-affirmative action FBI to catch up with the revolutionaries in The Turner Diaries. Hopefully this will one day be the case. There are many examples of Al Qaeda or Egyptian Islamic Jihad terrorists and supporters living under the noses of  western governments, but I am not sure the professed ignorance of these governments is always genuine. Countering white revolution will be assigned to the best and brightest remaining in the regime. For example, MI5 still spends more in money and personnel on Northern Ireland than on countering jihad.[6]

9. Internal institutional conflicts and personal rivalries and hostilities may harm, and even disrupt, the operation of the dictatorship.

Once again, I think we have a tendency to see Our Enemy as a monolith. Perhaps because they are running out of goyim to fleece, but we regularly see pillars of organized Jewry taking each other to court or trying to destroy the good name of a rival. The Eliot Spitzer-Maurice Greenberg rivalry is one of the most high-level and public feuds in recent memory.[7] There seems to be a growing factionalism in their Gen Y and Millennial Generation that was not there in the post-War Generations.[8]

10. Intellectuals and students may become restless in response to conditions, restrictions, doctrinalism, and repression.

This is an interesting one. I believe that momentum is on our side in almost every European country (excluding the UK and Germany). Perhaps there is momentum in the US as well, but it is starting from zero. One challenge for us is that White Nationalism is divisive. Unlike democracy movements against autocratic regimes, there will be a large number of students who can never get on board with White Nationalism. This is a built-in weakness we must face in building a mass movement, and each day the demographics get worse.

11.  The general public may over time become apathetic, skeptical, and even hostile to the regime.

As long as the masses are stuck in the Left-Right false paradigm this has not been achieved. We must help them advance to a Globalization-Identity paradigm. In my previous article I pointed out that in a longitudinal, in-depth study 73% of French now believe the old paradigm is meaningless.[9]

12. Regional, class, cultural, or national differences may become acute.

This could be a day-long discussion in itself, and certainly applicable in a country as large as the US with a disappearing middle class. We White Nationalists all share a deep concern about race-mixing, and with good reason. It is interesting to ponder that in Yugoslavia, when civil war arrived, atrocities were worst around cities and towns with the highest intermarriage rates.

13.  The power hierarchy of the dictatorship is always unstable to some degree, and at times extremely so. Individuals do not only remain in the same position in the ranking, but may rise or fall to other ranks or be removed entirely and replaced by new persons.

This won’t be meaningful until a mass movement begins attacking a regime.

14. Sections of the police or military forces may act to achieve their own objectives, even against the will of established dictators, including by coup d’état.

This is incredibly important. In all of the successful revolutions either the forces of order laid down their arms or more often conducted a coup. Their officers don’t always end up running the new regime, but when they do, they are incentivized to pretend that people power won the day alone.

15. If the dictatorship is new, time is required for it to become well-established.

Not the case for us.

16. With so many decisions made by so few people in the dictatorship, mistakes of judgment, policy, and action are likely to occur.

As pointed out in #4, Our Enemies are pursuing centralization of the levers of power so frantically, that the masses are feeling whiplash, and the leaders are losing touch with the people. The decision making system (OODA loop) of their propaganda machine will inevitably grow, and as our movement grows we will be able to build a tempo that works within that loop, thus outmaneuvering them.

17. If the regime seeks to avoid these dangers and decentralizes controls and decision-making, its control over the central levers of power may be further eroded.

It is doubtful this will be tried, unless we push a permanent wedge the White global elite and those who wish for our destruction as a people. If we get to this point we will have already won the propaganda war and this will be our victory, since we are seeking White Republics and not 19th-century style colonialism and supremacy.

This is by no means the last word on Achilles Heels of those clever tyrants ruling our nations. It is up to our activists to decide what is best in their own area. If we were sponsored by the CIA, they would invite us to a conference to brainstorm as a group and wargame the idea.

In Part 2, I will summarize some of Gene Sharp’s ideas on exercising power from a position of weakness and strategic planning . . .

5. FDTD, pp. 27-28.

9. La Barometre de la Confiance Politique, Vague 5–Janvier 2014; CEVIPOF.

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8 Comments

  1. R_Moreland
    Posted March 14, 2014 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    One more comment:

    I’d like to see Counter Currents publish its own manual for activism. Some things which could be in it:

    * Tactics for agitprop and guerrilla theater
    * Networking with nationalists and allies globally
    * Lessons learned from various movements
    * A directory of legal, media, fundraising, etc., groups on the Alternative Right
    * “Best of” articles on political philosophy (i.e., what is being fought for)

    This would be really useful.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted March 14, 2014 at 6:09 am | Permalink

      All good suggestions. Thank you

    • Stronza
      Posted March 14, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      And one more thing: how to recognize infiltrators.

  2. R_Moreland
    Posted March 14, 2014 at 4:48 am | Permalink

    Good article, and it’s something I’d like to see more of: tactics for activists. T

    There are plenty of other manuals which can be gotten online or cheaply via Amazon:

    “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinsky. OK, Alinsky was a big leftie, but since his “rules” worked they are worth studying.

    “Networks and Netwars:” by the RAND Corporation. This book’s principles have been used by much of the political spectrum to organize via the Internet.

    The CIA manual for psychological warfare: this got smeared by the left when it came out during the Contra war in Nicaragua, but it was a pretty much standard work on agitprop and guerrilla theater (tactics which the left itself used successfully all over the place–though I’ll give the usual caveat about staying within the law!).

    It would also be worthwhile to invite European nationalists/rightists to do analyses of what has worked for them, and what North Americans can do to gain some victories.

  3. rhondda
    Posted March 12, 2014 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    The Pew report link is fascinating as is Sharpe’s book which I am reading now. He calls it political defiance, but it seems to me it is very close to Gandhi’s passive resistance.

  4. Jim
    Posted March 12, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    “The power hierarchy of the dictatorship is always unstable to some degree, and at times extremely so. Individuals do not only remain in the same position in the ranking, but may rise or fall to other ranks or be removed entirely and replaced by new persons.”

    Here is one of our biggest problems in the US. Our power hierarchy is extremely stable, due to its having two heads- Democrat and Republican. The 1960’s saw an entire region, the US Southern States, shift primary “voting” allegiance from Democrat to Republican, because of the Democratic embrace of “Civil Rights”. The symbolic satisfaction American voters get from “voting out” a disliked public figure acts as a safety valve on tensions.

    Actually, the difficulty here is convincing fellow Whites that we live under a dictatorship. Most think we live in a democracy, and never quite realize nothing fundamental changes no matter who they vote for. WNs know we live in a dictatorship, but our dictators take turns at the wheel, and fool almost everybody into thinking we have a say in matters. There may have never been a better sytem devised for keeping people in the dark, than controlling them by convincing them that they are in control.

    • Greg P.
      Posted March 14, 2014 at 1:47 am | Permalink

      There may have never been a better sy[m]tem devised for keeping people in the dark, than controlling them by convincing them that they are in control.”

      That reminds me of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s famous quote, “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”

      It’s still one of my favorite quotes, however, it is little help when you’re focused on solutions. It’s a nasty system and it will take creativity, concentrated effort and repetition to defeat, but we can do it.

      Hopelessness and despair are our greatest enemies. I truly believe that. Our biggest obstacles to overcome are inside of us. That is partly why I am so interested in psychology and self-mastery, and, ironically, why I am so hard on myself. I love reading posts in our community with practical advice on how to better oneself, increase efficiency, etc. because I think it strengthens our overall position, it helps people feel that our identity is healthy and improving their life, and it resonates so much with Millennials like myself.

      I think our keys to success are creating a community that offers value and benefits to members who share our identity and stresses activism that simultaneously targets the system where it’s weak and increases our power/legitimacy (it’s vital to hit our talking points).

  5. An actual Australian
    Posted March 12, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I read this in ‘From Dictatorship to Democracy’:

    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. The result is predictable: the population becomes weak, lacks self-confidence, and is incapable of resistance. People are often too frightened to share their hatred of the dictatorship and their hunger for freedom even with family and friends. People are often too terrified to think seriously of public resistance. In any case, what would be the use? Instead, they face suffering without purpose and a future without hope.

    Gee, does that sound familiar?

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