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[liberationtech] Very interesting NYT oped comparing violence vs non violence

Matthias Britsch matthias.britsch at telekom.de
Fri Mar 11 00:40:40 PST 2011


Hi all

If this isn't the appropriate place, my apologies, but I am thinking 
about the specific circumstances of the Libyan revolution and it's 
differences to the others in the region since some time.

I wonder if the impact of Libya's tribal culture is reflected and 
understood correctly here.

In my view, the war in Libya can be seen not only as a classical civil 
war, but rather as a clash of tribes.
I think it makes a huge difference between a scenario were a political 
movement is fighting the government in order to shape the nations future 
according to peoples will and  a scenario were tribes are fighting for 
control over resources (and eventually over competing tribes) within the 
national boundaries.

Is that a thought worth following further?

Regards,    Matt


On 03/10/2011 07:30 PM, miriyam asfar wrote:
> Hello list,
> Yes interesting. The old marxist adagio 'people make [their own] 
> history but not in self-chosen circumastances' immideatly comes to 
> mind, though acknowledging that Mubarak failed also/mainly because the 
> movement in Egypt had some experience [at least a decade since the 
> first big tahrir protest in solidarity with Palestine and against 
> Egypts collaboration right when the initfada broke out in 2000] to 
> build on could help understand the difference in grasping the strategy 
> and tactics. But there is something very inappropriate in discussing 
> non-violence with reference to US State-Department advice, the very 
> people that base their policy on the logic of what is good for US 
> geo-political interests that led to the consolidation of power for 
> lunatics like Mubarak and Ghadaffi.
> Grt
> M
>
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: *Yosem Companys* <companys at stanford.edu 
> <mailto:companys at stanford.edu>>
> Date: Thu, Mar 10, 2011 at 10:47 AM
> Subject: [liberationtech] Very interesting NYT oped comparing violence 
> vs non violence
> To: Liberation Technologies <liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu 
> <mailto:liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu>>
>
>
> March 9, 2011
>
> Give Peaceful Resistance a Chance
>
> By ERICA CHENOWETH
>
> Middletown, Conn.
>
> THE rebellion in Libya stands out among the recent unrest in the
> Middle East for its widespread violence: unlike the protesters in
> Tunisia or Egypt, those in Libya quickly gave up pursuing nonviolent
> change and became an armed rebellion.
>
> And while the fighting in Libya is far from over, it’s not too early
> to ask a critical question: which is more effective as a force for
> change, violent or nonviolent resistance? Unfortunately for the Libyan
> rebels, research shows that nonviolent resistance is much more likely
> to produce results, while violent resistance runs a greater risk of
> backfiring.
>
> Consider the Philippines. Although insurgencies attempted to overthrow
> Ferdinand Marcos during the 1970s and 1980s, they failed to attract
> broad support. When the regime did fall in 1986, it was at the hands
> of the People Power movement, a nonviolent pro-democracy campaign that
> boasted more than two million followers, including laborers, youth
> activists and Catholic clergy.
>
> Indeed, a study I recently conducted with Maria J. Stephan, now a
> strategic planner at the State Department, compared the outcomes of
> hundreds of violent insurgencies with those of major nonviolent
> resistance campaigns from 1900 to 2006; we found that over 50 percent
> of the nonviolent movements succeeded, compared with about 25 percent
> of the violent insurgencies.
>
> Why? For one thing, people don’t have to give up their jobs, leave
> their families or agree to kill anyone to participate in a nonviolent
> campaign. That means such movements tend to draw a wider range of
> participants, which gives them more access to members of the regime,
> including security forces and economic elites, who often sympathize
> with or are even relatives of protesters.
>
> What’s more, oppressive regimes need the loyalty of their personnel to
> carry out their orders. Violent resistance tends to reinforce that
> loyalty, while civil resistance undermines it. When security forces
> refuse orders to, say, fire on peaceful protesters, regimes must
> accommodate the opposition or give up power — precisely what happened
> in Egypt.
>
> This is why the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, took such great
> pains to use armed thugs to try to provoke the Egyptian demonstrators
> into using violence, after which he could have rallied the military
> behind him.
>
> But where Mr. Mubarak failed, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi succeeded: what
> began as peaceful movement became, after a few days of brutal
> crackdown by his corps of foreign militiamen, an armed but
> disorganized rebel fighting force. A widely supported popular
> revolution has been reduced to a smaller group of armed rebels
> attempting to overthrow a brutal dictator. These rebels are at a major
> disadvantage, and are unlikely to succeed without direct foreign
> intervention.
>
> If the other uprisings across the Middle East remain nonviolent,
> however, we should be optimistic about the prospects for democracy
> there. That’s because, with a few exceptions — most notably Iran —
> nonviolent revolutions tend to lead to democracy.
>
> Although the change is not immediate, our data show that from 1900 to
> 2006, 35 percent to 40 percent of authoritarian regimes that faced
> major nonviolent uprisings had become democracies five years after the
> campaign ended, even if the campaigns failed to cause immediate regime
> change. For the nonviolent campaigns that succeeded, the figure
> increases to well over 50 percent.
>
> The good guys don’t always win, but their chances increase greatly
> when they play their cards well. Nonviolent resistance is about
> finding and exploiting points of leverage in one’s own society. Every
> dictatorship has vulnerabilities, and every society can find them.
>
> Erica Chenoweth, an assistant professor of government at Wesleyan
> University, is the co-author of the forthcoming “Why Civil Resistance
> Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict.”
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>
> -- 
> Oxford Internet Institute
> miriyam.aouragh at oii.ox.ac.uk <mailto:miriyam.aouragh at oii.ox.ac.uk>
>
> "Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the 
> world." ...Howard Zinn 1922-2010
>
>
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-- 
  Matthias Britsch
  Deutsche Telekom AG

  GTN - PD 232
  Phone: +49 (0)228 936 31946
  Email: matthias.britsch at telekom.de

  --------------------------------------

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