The Checklist to End Tyranny: How Dissidents will Win 21st Century Civil Resistance Campaigns
It is generally assumed that tyrannies persist because they possess a monopoly on the use of force. While violence against their citizens can be decisive for a time, there is a better explanation: Tyrannies persist as long as citizens fail to understand how—without needing to resort to violence—they can undermine the tyrant’s base of support and force him from power. Oppressed populations using nonviolent tactics—such as strikes, boycotts, mass protests, and other forms of disrupting societal order—are often the most powerful drivers of their own liberation.
Increasingly this good news has been embraced by dissidents and others concerned with the advancement of human rights and democratic governance free from corruption. Yet the potential of
civil resistance remains widely underrecognized because its premises sharply challenge conventional assumptions about the nature of power. Policymakers, scholars, journalists, and other interested observers consistently overestimate the extent to which tyrants can rely on violence to manipulate a population they assume they control. At the same time, they underestimate the capacity of ordinary people to undermine tyranny and achieve rights through the strategic use of nonviolent tactics.
First edition: September 2021