By Gene sharp
From the late eighteenth century through the twentieth century ,The technique of nonviolent action was widely used in colonial rebelio-ns, international political and economic conflicts, religious conflicts, and anti-slavery resistance. This technique has been aimed to secure worke-rs; right to organize, woman’s rights, universal manhood suffrage , and woman suffrage. This type of struggle has been used to gain national in-dependence , to generate economic gains, to resist genocide,to under-mine dictatorship, and to gain civil rights. To end segregation , and toresist foreign occupations and d’etat .
In the twentieth century , nonviolent action rose tounprecedent-ed political significance throughout the world. People using this techni-que amassed major achievements, and of course , experienced faiture at times. Higher wages and improved working conditions were won . Oppressive traditions and practices were abolished . Both men and women won the right to vote in several countries in part by using thisTechnique. Government policies were changed , laws repealed , new legislation enacted , and governmental reforms instituted . Invaders were frustrated and armies defeated, An empire was paralyzed , coupd’etat thwarted, and dictatorships disintegrated . Nonviolent struggle was used against extreme dictatorships, including both Nazi and Communist systems .
Cases of the use of this technique early in the twentieth century in cluded major elements of the Russian 1905 Revolution. In various coun-tries growing trade unions widely used the strike the economic boycott.
Chinese boycotts of Japanese products occurred in 1908,1915 and 1919.Germans used nonviolent resistance against the Kapp Putsch in 1920 and against the French and Belgian occupation of the Ruhr in 1923. In t-he 1920s and 1930s, Indian nationalists used nonviolent action in their struggles against British rule , under the leadership of Mohandas K Gan-dhi . Likewise, Muslim Pashtuns in what was the north-West Frontier p-rovince of British India (now in Pakistan ) also used nonviolent struggle against British rule under the leadership of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan.
From 1940 to 1945 people in various European countries,especial-ly in Norway, Denmark, and The Netherlands used nonviolent struggles to resist Nazi occupation and rule. Nonviolent action was used to save
Jews from the Holocaust in Berlin, Bulgaria, Denmark, and elsewhere . The military dictators of El Salvador and Guatemala were ousted in bri-ef nonviolent struggle in the spring of 1944.The American civil rights n-onviolent struggle against racial segregation, especially in the 1950s a-nd 1960s changed laws and long-established policies in the US. South i- n April 1961 , noncooperation by French conscript soldiers in the Fren-ch colony of Algeria, combined with popular demonstrations in French and defiance by the Debre-de Gaulle government, defeated the military coup d;etat in Algeria before a relate coup in Paris could be launched.
In 1968 and 1969, following the Warsaw Pact invasion , Czechs a-nd Slovaks held off full Soviets control for eight months with improvised nonviolent struggle and refusal of collaboration. From 1953 to 1991 , dissidents in Communist-ruled countries in Eastern Europe, especially in East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, repe-atedly used nonviolent struggles for increased freedom. The solidarity struggle in Poland began in 1980 with strikes to support the demand of a legal free trade union, and concluded in 1989 with the end of the Pol-ish Communist regime. Nonviolent protests and mass resistance were also highly important in undermining the apartheid policies and Europ-ean domenation in south Africa, especially brtween 1950 and 1990 .The Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines was destroyed by a nonviolent uprising in 1996.
In July and August 1988 , Burmese democrats protested against t-he military dictatorship with marches and defiance and brought down three governments , but this struggle finally succumbed to a new milit-ary coup d’etat and mass slaughter . In 1989 , Chinese students and ot-hers in over three hundred cities (including Tiananmen Square, Beijing ) conducted symbolic protests against government corruption, and oppr-ession , but the protests finally ended following massive killings by the military.
Nonviolent struggle brought about the end of Communist dictato-rships in Poland and Czechoslovakia in 1989 and in East Germany,Latvia and Lituania in 1991. Noncooperation and defiance against the attemp-ted “hard lind” coup d’etat by the KGB, the Communist party, and the Soviet Army in 1991, blocked the attempted seizure of the Soviet State.
In Kosovo, the Albanian population between 1990 and 1999 conducted a widespread noncooperation campaign against repressive Serbian rule. When the de facto Kosovo government lacked a nonviole-nt strategy for gaining de jure independence , a guerrilla Kosovo Libera-tion Army initiated violence . This was followed by extreme Serbian rep-ression and massive slaughter by so-called ethnic cleansing , which led to NATO bombing and intervention.
Starting in November 1996, Serbs conducted daily parades and p-rotests in Belgrade and other cities against the autocratic governmance of president Milosevic and secured correction of electoral fraud in mid-January 1997. At that time, however, Serb democrats lacked a strategy to press the struggle further and failed to launch a campaign to bring down the Milosovic dictatorship . In early October 2000, the Otpor (Re-sistance) movement and other democrats rose up again against Milos-ovic in a carefully planned nonviolent struggle and the dictatorship col-lapsed.
In early 2001, President Estrada, who had been accused of corrup-tion, was ousted by Filipinos in a “People Power Two “ campaign.
There were many other important examples this past century, and the practice of nonviolent struggle continues.