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Nonviolent Action Potential Achieved Through Effective Strategy

Excerpt from the book Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential by Gene Sharp.
Chapter 35 Introduction to Strategic Planning, subsection "Dismissing simplistic explanations" page 436


"In considering how to make nonviolent struggle more effective, it is essential to dismiss simplistic explanations and apologies for failure. These sometimes include the assertion that the avowed goal is not nearly as important as the resisters feeling good about their actions, that simple abstention from violence is sufficient, or that willingness of the resisters to die, when you have not achieved the goals of your struggle, does not change the fact that you have failed.

Many of the popular conceptions of what is required to make nonviolent action succeed are also not valid. Such misconceptions include the belief that success requires democratic, or even nonviolent, opponents. Some people have argued that success requires world support, the aid of the media, a much longer timespan to succeed than does violence, or a "climate of nonviolence." All of these views are inaccurate.

The opinion has been expressed that if a group is using nonviolent action, the opponents should be expected to respond nonviolently also. If the response is instead violent repression there is something wrong, it is thought. This view is also incorrect. The opponent group or regime often depends on violence to maintain itself and its practices. When the opponents are challenged nonviolently, subsequent violent repression is usually a sign that the nonviolent movement is threatening the status quo. Nonviolent action is a technique for combating violent opponents."

end bookquote-

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