The New Press Remembers Gene Sharp

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

GENE SHARP (1928 - 2018)

The New Press notes with sadness the passing of Gene Sharp, whose commitment to nonviolence and peaceful resistance inspired generations of activists around the world. As an adviser to both governments and resistance movements, Sharp was one of the most influential and effective promoters of nonviolent resistance to autocratic governments. 

Sharp was the author of various books about nonviolence and power that have been translated and published all over the world, including From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation, which served as a guiding light of the Arab Spring and which we were proud to publish.

From Dictatorship to Democracy offers 198 specific methods to consider when planning resistance, depending on the circumstances: sit-ins, popular nonobedience, selective strikes, withdrawal of bank deposits, revenue refusal, walkouts, silence, and hunger strikes. According to Sharp the most important lesson for activists is overcoming fear. As he once told NPR, “Once a regime is no longer able to frighten people, and people then act wisely and keep nonviolent discipline . . . then that regime is in big trouble.”

As long as there are repressive and autocratic governments and leaders, wherever they may be, there will be resistance, and Sharp’s legacy will live on. 

Read the obituaries in the New York Times and the Washington Post.