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Yes - who *is* Gene Sharp?

by ThatBritGuy Tue Feb 22nd, 2011 at 05:38:45 AM EST

Since we were having rather more silliness than content in the other diary, here's a spin off.

Let's start from the original claim in the NYT that Sharp is a meek, humble intellectual living in modest circumstances - whose books have nonetheless sparked revolutions all over the world.

I described this as "any old nonsense" because that's exactly what it is.

To understand why, some background is needed.

Firstly, the concept while NYT piece painted Sharp as an 'humble unassuming follower of Gandhi and Einstein, dedicated to something oxymoronic called "non-violent conflict", living a modest existence in a cheap part of town - etc, etc.

Not even the basic facts are true. Sharp certainly isn't lacking cash or connections. He may not choose to spend the money on bling, but even if he earns "only" $100k a year - plus expenses - that's more than US workers earn. And the annual reports of the Albert Einstein Institution show that it has received multi-million dollar donations. (Conveniently, the sources aren't named, but Sourcewatch has some of them.)

It's also used as a funding conduit, as happened with OTPOR. And here's another terminological inexactitude - even though the NYT implies that Sharp's methods are elegant and can be decisively successful, the reality is that it still cost the US more than $40 million dollars, funnelled through various sources and fronts, to fund and organise a supposedly bottom-up campaign against an unpopular dictator in charge of a relatively mild security police state with a working electoral system.

The U.S. democracy-building effort in Serbia was a curious mixture of secrecy and openness. In principle, it was an overt operation, funded by congressional appropriations of around $10 million for fiscal 1999 and $31 million for 2000.

Some Americans involved in the anti-Milosevic effort said they were aware of CIA activity at the fringes of the campaign, but had trouble finding out what the agency was up to. Whatever it was, they concluded it was not particularly effective. The lead role was taken by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the government's foreign assistance agency, which channeled the funds through commercial contractors and nonprofit groups such as NDI and its Republican counterpart, the International Republican Institute (IRI).

While NDI worked closely with Serbian opposition parties, IRI focused its attention on Otpor, which served as the revolution's ideological and organizational backbone. In March, IRI paid for two dozen Otpor leaders to attend a seminar on nonviolent resistance at the Hilton Hotel in Budapest, a few hundreds yards along the Danube from the NDI-favored Marriott.

During the seminar, the Serbian students received training in such matters as how to organize a strike, how to communicate with symbols, how to overcome fear and how to undermine the authority of a dictatorial regime. The principal lecturer was retired U.S. Army Col. Robert Helvey...


So Helvey was shipped over to "educate" the leaders of OTPOR and promote regime change. This is interesting because it reveals two things.

Firstly the goal of "non-violent conflict" as defined by the Institution is - simply - regime change.

Secondly, it's regime change sponsored, funded, and directed by outsiders.

So "non-violent conflict" - which is amusingly like "war is peace" - actually means "manipulating civilians for para-military aims."

Sharp may indeed be the Clausewitz of "non-violent conflict", because this is a doctrine which encourages colonial powers to use local unarmed civilians as a substitute for direct armed warfare.

It's cheap, it's low-risk, it can be very effective, and it plays well on TV. What's not to like?

Well - it's not necessarily democratic. It might even, at a bit of a stretch, be seen as top-down and manipulative.

Since the US has final say on whether or not revolution happens - because it supplies the essential funding, training, consultancy and support materials without which any effort is unlikely to succeed - we're a long way from the ideal of heroic bottom-up self-organising revolution that the NYT gushed over so wetly.

The reality is that these revolutions don't happen because of Sharp's books, but because of the tactical support and cash handouts that support them. And it's the US that choses when and where these revolutions happen. Not the people who die and are injured in the course of them.

Sharp's techniques may be worth studying, but it's clear that in practice implementing them successfully requires external funding, expert training, material support, and consultancy.

In fact, Sharp is pure Cold War - and it's the Cold War thinking that shaped his initial ideas.

Reflecting Albert Einstein's patronage, one of its first books was Dr. Sharp's "Making Europe Unconquerable: The Potential of Civilian-Based Deterrence and Defense," published in 1985 with a forward by George Kennan, the famous "Mr. X" 1940's architect of the Cold War who was also a founder of the CIA's Operations division. There, Sharp reports that "civilian-based defense" could counter the Soviet threat through its ability "to deter and defeat attacks by making a society ungovernable by would be oppressors" and "by maintaining a capacity for orderly self-rule even in the face of extreme threats and actual aggression." He illustrates its feasibility by discussing the examples of the Algerian independence in 1961 and the Czechoslovakian resistance to Soviet invasion in 1968-9. In his forward, Kennan praises Sharp for showing the "possibilities of deterrence and resistance by civilians" as a "partial alternative to the traditional, purely military concepts of national defense."

In some of the Einstein documents, before "guided interference" was turned into "non-violent conflict", it was called "civilian defense."

(More awake readers will recognise elements of Operation Gladio in this - the strategy that did more to damage Italy's democracy than any other post-war event.)

As for Helvey, here are his own words:

So, I got selected to be a senior fellow at the Harvard Center for International Affairs. [As one does - Ed.] So when I was up at Cambridge one day, I saw a little poster saying "Program for Nonviolent Sanctions," you know, room such and such. I didn't have anything to do that afternoon so I went up to the seminar on nonviolent sanctions. Primarily, I guess, being an army officer I was going to find out who these people are, you know, these pacifists and things like that -- troublemakers. Just trying to get an understanding of it.

And Dr. Gene Sharp happened to be there. And he started out the seminar by saying, "Strategic nonviolent struggle is all about political power. How to seize political power and how to deny it to others." And I thought, "Boy, this guy's talking my language." And, you know, that's what armed struggle is about.

...

What I did initially was, I had sort of a side session with five or six of the Otpor leaders of this leaderless organization and asked them some questions to get a feel for what they were looking for. And then I started into my seminar.

I think they were looking for something to keep the momentum going. You know, they had done very, very effective work in mobilizing individual groups. But there was something missing to take them beyond protest into actually mobilizing to overthrow the regime. I just felt that something was lacking. They were doing something very, very well, but there seemed to be an invisible wall here that they needed to get over.

...

And then we talked a little bit about propaganda. Propaganda today is not a very good word. We like to use the word media or information.

...

Now, any time you have a mass movement, there's going to be some isolated acts of violence. And there's not a whole lot you can do about that. But once violence becomes a policy or accepted, then it becomes a major contaminant -- so major that you're going to lose the moral high ground. And a lot of people that have joined in your movement because it was nonviolent are going to start backing away.

The international community from which you've received not only moral and political support, but sometimes financial support, will start to get very nervous about providing that support to an organization that condones violent action.

This is eccentric for two reasons. The first is that the US has never been bothered about violent regimes run by useful individuals. But clearly, it's far more nervous about populist revolutions.

I'll leave the apparent contradiction there as an exercise for the reader.

The second is that to understand how remarkable this story is, you have to consider what would happen if a hypothetical progressive international movement began running similar campaigns in the West, supplying:

  • Published and freely distributed copies of material about practical civil disobedience and revolution
  • Formal military consultancy and training
  • Cash funding
  • Practical support in the form of books, t-shirts, stickers, and so on. (Which might seem trivial, but these items turn out to be game changers.)

How many governments in the West would be happy with this kind of interference? How many would consider it democratic?

Of course, we live in proper democracies, so the rules are different.

Of course.

So that's who Gene Sharp is; yet another US establishment figure who promotes democracy by... other means.

Display:
Just a drive-by remark : I presumed that there must be something problematic about the donors to the Albert Einstein outfit. So I visited the Sourcewatch links, and find them completely unobjectionable.  Perhaps you could clarify why you find the institute's funding objectionable? (leaving aside the question of co-operation with US government agencies, which I haven't looked at yet)

Donors 200-2004 :

Another remark :

you have to consider what would happen if a hypothetical progressive international movement began running similar campaigns in the West, supplying:

    * Published and freely distributed copies of material about practical civil disobedience and revolution
    * Formal military consultancy and training
    * Cash funding
    * Practical support in the form of books, t-shirts, stickers, and so on. (Which might seem trivial, but these items turn out to be game changers.)

How many governments in the West would be happy with this kind of interference? How many would consider it democratic?

An interesting illustration of your state of mind. Certainly, "formal military consultancy and training" is objectionable. I'd be interested to know what your objection is to the other three. Perhaps we could illustrate the question with concrete examples.

For my part, I'm in favour of an open and transparent society where national governments do not have the means or the right to interdict civil society organising on a transnational basis. What about you?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 22nd, 2011 at 07:33:59 AM EST
Well yes, apart from IRI, NED and the others in the funding history, and also in Helvey's own testimony that he was sponsored by IRI for his work in Kosovo, there's no problem with the funding at all. Nor with the fact that a former investment shark on the Advisory Board of Cato is a Principal and also involved in funding.

As for "my state of mind" - considering that the UK and US authorities have a proven track record of infiltrating "dangerous" groups, including deadly and lethal climate protestors who dress up as clowns, one can only wonder the reaction would be if protestors suddenly found a funding source worth a few million dollars, staffed by PR experts, consultants with military experience, and academics promoting civil disobedience techniques.

They might shrug and say "meh" - but I think it's reasonable to doubt that.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 22nd, 2011 at 08:05:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another point, along this line of thought, is that If the objective is to reduce the amount of blood shed around the world (without necessarily eliminating it), I see no reason why it would be a bad thing for the DOD to adopt tactics a bit more along the lines advocated by Sharp, as opposed to the usual squad of assassins. Literal or literary.

State of mind:
As one travels across an 83-year long arc of life, the view probably changed. Time might disperse the communal fog of a national obsession with anticommunism, and perhaps reveal the need for another focus, another objective less bloody, more in tune with human needs, human compassion.

Just speculating.

In my case, I listened in rapt attention to the broadcasts of "I Led Three Lives". It took Viet Nam, and a bit of tear gas to clear my vision.
 It was, in fact, not until I began reading ET and such as Naomi Kline that the relationships among the Chicago School, Ayn Rand, Cheney and Rummy, and the rouges' gallery began to clarify a bit.

Change is good.
Certainty is death. Like taxes.
-- Unless you're a major campaign contributor corporation    

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 12:54:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by contributing to the Devil's political funding?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 10:25:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Another point, along this line of thought, is that If the objective is to reduce the amount of blood shed around the world (without necessarily eliminating it), I see no reason why it would be a bad thing for the DOD to adopt tactics a bit more along the lines advocated by Sharp, as opposed to the usual squad of assassins. Literal or literary.

I know of no better co-option than the First Earth Battalion.


THE NEW EARTH ARMY VISION
The legends of lifeforce living

The New Earth Army heralds the coming of the soldiers of the biosphere, the warriors of wilderness, and the champions of life force living. As national security gives way to Natural Security and the global webocracy serves all people more democratically than ever before the soldiers of the rainbow come forward as servants of the BIOSPHERE from their newly created global villages where they eat fresh from the land and care for all the sources of clean water.

Founder, Lt Col. Jim Alexander hung around the new agers and came up with this program for the US Army. Warrior monks indeed.

These are the people who were "lampooned?" in Men Who Stare At Goats, which i haven't seen, though i know some of the people it's about.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 12:57:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you have to consider what would happen if a hypothetical international movement began running similar campaigns in the West, supplying:

  • Published and freely distributed copies of material about practical civil disobedience and revolution
  • Formal military consultancy and training
  • Cash funding
  • Practical support in the form of books, t-shirts, stickers, and so on. (Which might seem trivial, but these items turn out to be game changers.)

How many governments in the West would be happy with this kind of interference?

Take away the progressive from the first paragraph and the formal from the "military consultancy and support" and you have a loose definition of the support several exposes have shown Saudi Arabia to have been providing to Wahabinist mosques in the UK and elsewhere. Of course, when they are found out, they deny it and the accused person disappears into the mist like a Catholic paedophile cleric. But there is little interest from a UK Foreign Office that is far more interested in oil and arms contracts than considering the long term consequences of islamist radicalisation.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Feb 22nd, 2011 at 07:57:53 AM EST
The paranoid view would be to take the three African revolutions as one, The  American Intelegence community causes the failure of the Tunisian and Egyptian government, which precipitates the Collapse of Libya between them as the revolutionary ripples spread. The writings of Sharp and his institute essentially being a front/distraction from the funding etc. that is being pushed into the two countries.

Why might it be  organised this way? because the last one that may have been pushed was the Iranian Green revolution, and that hasn't been a notable success yet.

Why might this all be hot air? well you'd expect the US government to be much more on the ball and pushing for security council/etc action by now if this was the case, no fly zones being pushed really hard,

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 22nd, 2011 at 08:33:26 AM EST
As I see it, any direct relationship between Sharp and actual organisers remains to be shown. Would be a bit ironical if strategies were just picked up from OTPOR veterans or read online. Typical though, as the US has since the end of the Cold War mostly been fighting its former creations.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Feb 22nd, 2011 at 10:21:05 AM EST
Sharp's techniques may be worth studying, but it's clear that in practice implementing them successfully requires external funding, expert training, material support, and consultancy.

Is that what happened in Egypt?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 22nd, 2011 at 10:27:57 AM EST

Let's start from the original claim in the NYT that Sharp is a meek, humble intellectual living in modest circumstances - whose books have nonetheless sparked revolutions all over the world.
I described this as "any old nonsense" because that's exactly what it is.


The first part is indeed true as someone else who looked into the issue after earlier attacks on Sharp noted:

Finally, there's the awkward matter of Sharp's humble current circumstances. Working from home has its advantages, of course. But Sharp says he's moved from Harvard Square to Newbury Street to Maverick Square for one simple reason: money, or the lack thereof. Finding funders for the AEI isn't easy, he tells me mournfully.

Chalk it up to bad timing. During the 1970s and 1980s, Sharp's most professionally fertile period, his own work wasn't really in step with the academic or foreign-policy Zeitgeist. Things are different now. Peace studies is now considered a legitimate academic discipline. And the (largely nonviolent) fall of the Soviet Union launched countless nonprofits dedicated to democracy building, with George Soros's Open Society Institute the best-known of the bunch.


This article, unlike TBG's incompetent would-be hatchet job, is a fair examination of accusations against Sharp and concludes:

This brings us to the heart of the matter. If you're on the far left -- or, for that matter, on the isolationist far right -- you'd find cause for great concern in the shared financial ties and political goals on the part of Helvey and the AEI on the one hand, and the US government and its surrogates on the other. The Clinton administration wanted to oust Milošević, and Sharp's ideas helped this happen; the Bush administration wanted to oust Saddam Hussein, and Helvey worked toward the same goal, albeit unsuccessfully. So the whole bunch must be in cahoots.

If your politics fall somewhere between these extremes, though, this convergence of goals isn't nearly as troubling. Milošević was a bad guy; Hussein was worse. Serbia is better off now than it was 10 years ago. And Iraq might have been, if Hussein had been overthrown nonviolently and by Iraqis. From this vantage point, the trouble isn't that the government and various organizations in the foreign-policy firmament have started to heed Sharp's wisdom. It's that they still don't heed it enough.

Ibid

And still don't - the US was wrong-footed by the recent revolutions.

whose books have nonetheless sparked revolutions all over the world.

This is just your usual caricature - do try to be reasonably accurate. Nobody has claimed that his books "sparked" revolutions "all over the world"  -  just that some people involved in various revolutions have found some of his ideas useful. Oh, but that doesn't fit your grand conspiracy theory so well does it ? So build yet another straw man.


To understand why, some background is needed.

Firstly, the concept while NYT piece painted Sharp as an 'humble unassuming follower of Gandhi and Einstein, dedicated to something oxymoronic called "non-violent conflict", living a modest existence in a cheap part of town - etc, etc.


Only a moron would think it is "oxymoronic" cf. "conflict: 2. A state of disharmony between incompatible or antithetical persons, ideas, or interests; a clash."


Not even the basic facts are true. Sharp certainly isn't lacking cash or connections. He may not choose to spend the money on bling, but even if he earns "only" $100k a year - plus expenses - that's more than US workers earn. And the annual reports of the Albert Einstein Institution show that it has received multi-million dollar donations. (Conveniently, the sources aren't named, but Sourcewatch has some of them.)

Where is the evidence of "multi-million dollar donations" ? And why does he live so modestly with all that loot ? Could it be that the smaller sums involved are spent on promoting his ideas in fairly modest ways, lectures, publications, translations  and funding some research ?


It's also used as a funding conduit, as happened with OTPOR.


Where's the evidence that the AEI funded OTPOR in any significant way ?

Cf.


Also contrary to the slew of recent charges posted on the Internet, the Albert Einstein Institution has never funded activist groups to subvert foreign governments, nor would it have had the financial means to do so. Furthermore, AEI does not initiate contact with any individual or organizations; those interested in the group's educational materials come to them first.

Nor have these critics ever presented any evidence that Sharp or the Albert Einstein Institution has ever been requested, encouraged, advised, or received suggestions by any branch of the US government to do or not do any research, analysis, policy studies, or educational activity, much less engage in active subversion of foreign governments. And, given the lack of respect the U.S. government has traditionally had for nonviolence or for the power of popular movements to create change, it is not surprising that these critics haven't found any.

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-zunes/attacks-on-gene-sharp-and_b_109526.html


And here's another terminological inexactitude - even though the NYT implies that Sharp's methods are elegant and can be decisively successful, the reality is that it still cost the US more than $40 million dollars, funnelled through various sources and fronts, to fund and organise a supposedly bottom-up campaign against an unpopular dictator in charge of a relatively mild security police state with a working electoral system.

Smear - of course AEI didn't "funnel" those funds and it seems that the Egyptian revolution, some of whose organisers found Sharp's ideas useful, was organised in a pretty cost-effective way.


So "non-violent conflict" - which is amusingly like "war is peace" -

You're so happy with your mistaken "oxymoronic" point we get it again - again wrong.


The reality is that these revolutions don't happen because of Sharp's books, but because of the tactical support and cash handouts that support them. And it's the US that choses when and where these revolutions happen. Not the people who die and are injured in the course of them.

The reality is that nobody claimed these revolutions did take place "BECAUSE" of Sharp's book - all you do is pull down your own straw man.

Also this is utter tosh in relation to the recent revolutions - they weren't decided by the US which did not supply "tactical support and cash", the US was taken by surprise, misguidedly supportive of Mubarak, France misguidedly supportive of the Tunisian regime.

Sharp's techniques may be worth studying, but it's clear that in practice implementing them successfully requires external funding, expert training, material support, and consultancy.

Shown to be "any old nonsense" as far as recent revolutions are concerned.

In fact, Sharp is pure Cold War

Oh, then he should be purely redundant, but of course he's not, his ideas are general and clearly relevant to the recent non Cold War revolutions.

 As usual TBG thinks he knows better than even those who might be expected to be very wary of anything like the picture of Sharp painted by TBG, e.g. long-time opponents of US imperialism such as Chomsky and Zinn and all the others who signed the letter defending him against such smears. TBG also knows better than those on the board of AEI:


Progressive Connections

A look at the five members of the Albert Einstein Institution's board shows that none of them is a supporter or apologist for U.S. imperialism. In addition to Sharp himself, the board consists of: human rights lawyer Elizabeth Defeis; disability rights and environmental activist Cornelia Sargent; senior deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA Curt Goering; and, veteran civil rights and anti-war activist Mary King, author of a recent highly acclaimed book that gives a sympathetic portrayal of the first - and largely nonviolent - Palestinian Intifada.

During the 1980s, Gene Sharp's staff included radical sociologist Bob Irwin and Greg Bates, who went on to become the co-founder and publisher of the progressive Common Courage Press.

Some years ago, when the institute had a larger budget, one of their principal activities was to support research projects in strategic nonviolent action. Recipients included such left-leaning scholars and activists as Palestinian feminist Souad Dajani, Rutgers sociologist Kurt Schock, Israeli human rights activist Edy Kaufman, Kent State Peace Studies professor Patrick Coy, Nigerian human rights activist Uche Ewelukwa, and Peace Studies professor Paul Routledge of the University of Glasgow, all of whom have been outspoken critics of U.S. foreign policy.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-zunes/attacks-on-gene-sharp-and_b_109526.html

The view of Amitabh Pal, managing editor of  The Progressive magazine (probably a CIA front - yeah right):


A charge made against Sharp by the Iranian government and Hugo Chavez--and echoed by some in this country--is that he acts in cahoots with U.S. officialdom in subverting anti-American governments. This is absurd, since Sharp's work has played a significant role in movements against Israel and Mubarak's Egypt, the two most pro-American countries in the Middle East.

"Rather than being a tool of imperialism, Dr. Sharp's research and writings have inspired generations of progressive peace, labor, feminist, human rights, environmental, and social justice activists in the United States and around the world," stated a 2008 open lettersigned by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky, among many others.

Gene Sharp is a global treasure who deserves much more recognition here at home.

 http://www.progressive.org/ap021711.html




Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Tue Feb 22nd, 2011 at 11:10:46 AM EST
A lot of work, a lot of patience, Ted. Thanks.

Hope brings obligation to the honorable man, in my view.
Good men deserve to not only be praised, but emulated.

If my few heroes- Erin Watada, Noam Chomsky, Gene Sharp, etc. are revealed as puppets, dupes, cynical pretenders, ineffective dabblers, then I'm off the hook. I need not ever get off my butt and inconvenience myself, let alone risk the flesh.

It has been said that if you scratch a cynic, you find a wounded romantic. Of course, this may just be another example of common low wisdom, "more honored in the breach than in the observance" by the illuminati.

TBG, who do you admire?

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 01:21:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Geas. That's the word I was searching for.

Geas.
A spell or curse put upon someone to make sure they fulfill their task and don't betray their master. For instance a Geas could be put upon a servant...

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 01:29:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems you have little knowledge of the labour and socialists movements history.

Progressive international movements have been running similar campaigns since the XIXth century, including:

  • Publishing and freely distributing copies of material about practical civil disobedience and revolution
  • Cash funding
  • Practical support in the form of books, t-shirts, stickers, and so on. (Which might seem trivial, but these items turn out to be game changers.)
  • And, some times, even formal and informal military consultancy and training

Ever heard of the International Workingmen's Association?, the Second International?... (the list is quite long)


"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet
by Melanchthon on Tue Feb 22nd, 2011 at 06:35:29 PM EST
Way to miss the point. (And my knowledge of historical movements happens to be fine - but thanks for asking.)

I'm not saying that international organisation has never existed, or that it was never effective.

I'm saying that Sharp's organisation dresses up in progressive clothes in order to fool progressives that it has a progressive agenda - when in reality it's another an agent of expedient realpolitik for the US, and the people Sharp is associated with would literally do anything to kill genuine independent progressive movements. Just as they've been doing for the past fifty years in the Middle East, South America, and in the West.

If you can find evidence that Sharp, Einstein Inc Inst etc have been sponsoring and supporting (e.g.) anti-globalisation efforts, climate change protest, or promoters of economic democracy with the same funded enthusiasm that made them the patron saints of revolutionary Egyptians everywhere, you might have a case.

But that's really not very likely, is it?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 22nd, 2011 at 07:07:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great link, Melancthon. Stirred the pot of long-disused memory.
I'm struck once again by the incredibly rich array of ideas it represented.
"At its founding, the International Workingmen's Association was an alliance of people from diverse groups, including French Mutualists, Blanquists, English Owenites, Italian republicans, such American proponents of individualist anarchism as Stephen Pearl Andrews and William B. Greene, followers of Mazzini, and other socialists of various persuasions. Over its short life it grew into a major movement, with local federations in many countries developing strong bases of working class activism. Karl Marx was a constant, and leading, figure from the start--he was elected to every succeeding General Council of the association."

I wonder if it's the influence of homogenized thought that major media tend to represent that makes the current array of thought-paths seem pallid by comparison.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 01:37:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't there a Serbian NGO/consultancy that now goes around the world to teach how to do revolutions/uprisings? Read somewhere they had a hand in the Ukraine and the recent upheavals.

The techniques of symbolism / branding e.g. colors and t-shirts though effective are a bit comical in my [slightly cynical] view. Look to Thailand where it has become ersatz-democracy. Red against yellow, it's a roundabout revolution.

No judgment implied about Mr. Sharp - there are worse things than spreading the 'know-how'. But the self-centeredness of the NYT narrative again betrays the soft delusional thinking of brains high on CNN.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Tue Feb 22nd, 2011 at 11:12:09 PM EST
epochepoque:
Isn't there a Serbian NGO/consultancy that now goes around the world to teach how to do revolutions/uprisings? Read somewhere they had a hand in the Ukraine and the recent upheavals.

This does sound familiar. And if they are a consultancy, we have an actor that has reason to claim the revolution in Egypt as one of theirs (true or false). Got to bring in the business.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 07:05:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Since the US has final say on whether or not revolution happens - because it supplies the essential funding, training, consultancy and support materials without which any effort is unlikely to succeed..."

Sounds to me like you're willing to give up before even trying. Attacking those who just might be on your side doesn't seem like it would help either.

by Jace on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 01:05:46 PM EST


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