Prof. Gene Sharp


January 21, 1928 — January 28, 2018


Professor Gene Sharp was an American political scientist and champion of non-violent resistance. Sharp held a professorship at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in addition to founding the Albert Einstein Institution and serving as a researcher for the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard. His ideas, building upon those of Gandhi and others, have influenced nonviolent resistance around the world.


Essential Thoughts


By placing confidence in violent means, one has chosen the very type of struggle with which the oppressors nearly always have superiority. — From Dictatorship to Democracy


Nonviolent action involves opposing the opponent's power, including his police and military capacity, not with the weapons chosen by him but by quite different means. Repression by the opponent is used against his own power position in a kind of political "ju-jitsu" and the very sources of his power thus reduced or removed, with the result that his political and military position is seriously weakened or destroyed. — The Politics of Nonviolent Action


Liberation from dictatorships ultimately depends on the people's ability to liberate themselves. 

— From Dictatorship to Democracy


Resistance, not negotiations, is essential for change in conflicts where fundamental issues are at stake. In nearly all cases, resistance must continue to drive dictators out of power. Success is most often determined not by negotiating a settlement but through the wise use of the most appropriate and powerful means of resistance available. It is our contention, to be explored later in more detail, that political defiance, or nonviolent struggle, is the most powerful means available to those struggling for freedom. — From Dictatorship to Democracy


It's a nonsense assumption that you can get rid of terrorism with war. Terrorism is taking the lives of innocent people to gain your objective. War is basically the same thing on a larger scale. — "What Next for U.S. Foreign Policy"