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I have no interest in Voltaire or in Stevesim's take on this. They're hardly relevant here.
But I don't need to reference them to find clear and unarguable evidence that Sharp is:
Really, anyone who still thinks Sharp is any way a progressive needs to ask themselves why he and Helvey have done nothing for victims of US-sponsored torture gangs and death squads - and apparently have no interest in them, except on those rare occasions when the US decides that its old puppets are a liability and need to be replaced.
Now he's posted this diary which ignores further evidence and tries to imply that any factual criticism of Sharp is equivalent to a wacky conspiracy theory.
And this is "honest inquiry"?
Nice try, but no.
And what difference does this make? Let's say Sharp truly is a CIA toadie who has managed to abet U.S. sponsored regime change from Belgrade to (just maybe) Cairo, haven't the results been worth it?
Serbia, probably. Egypt? Hopefully, but we can't tell for sure until the dust has settled and we know what sort of government emerges. It's not hard to imagine American puppets that could be worse then Mubarak. Fortunately, it seems that the Americans have played only a minor role here, with the main show being the labour unions, with a helping of coup d'etat on the side.
Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
Mikhail Kalashnikov is by most definitions of political ideology, a leftist and a "progressive." That hasn't stopped people from using his invention -- the AK-47 -- in clearly anti-progressive activities. And just the fact of violence taints any claim of Mikhail Kalashnikov to he progressive label in ways that simply aren't there for Sharpe and his promotion of non-violence as a political method.
Nothing in Sharpe's work has anything to do with state support. A fact that some states may have financially supported work using his strategies in no way implies that state support is necessary or even helpful for most ways they might be employed.
Finally, if the US or any other government is financially supporting educational projects to teach non-violent political organizing methods, that's a progressive thing that progressives should support in general, even if we don't support other things that our governments do or the policy objectives which non-violent methods might achieve. For example, we can all support elections as a progressive way of changing governments even if we don't support the election of a certain party to office.
who uses the method determines the consequences, however if it is used unscrupulously, it has a way of tainting the author of the method.
the justice of this is debatable, but it is the big bug in being a methodologist.
the only clear way to ascertain the ethic of the author would be if he came out unequivocally for a political philosophy.
it is interesting how this guy's profile is raising simultaneously with the old partisan at the top of the best sellers book list in france...
'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
"When I ask geezer for a factual rebuttal to some earlier comments, he ignored that request."
That's pretty rich, coming from you; when I put up an extensive rebuttal of your stuff, you blithely ignore it. But then that's your style, why bother with rebuttal yourself when you know you're right - so you just repeat yourself.
Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
As for the usefulness of the methods - a key point in the argument against Sharp is that there's no evidence they actually work as advertised. All of the "success stories" were funded and pushed externally, not created spontaneously.
And you can't take Egypt as evidence if the key planners were personally US-trained, rather than independently Sharp-inspired.
If the narrative is that all you have to do is hand out copies of Sharp's books and wait for freedom after an inevitable low body count - which was the implication of the original NYT piece - clearly, that's nonsense. That has never happened anywhere, and never will.
You can of course take the point that formal study of methods of civil disobedience and resistance with active practice and organisation can be powerful things.
But I don't think Sharp's supporters are going to pretend that he invented an idea that has been around in one form or another for hundreds of years.
So what is actually new here? It seems to me the only formal innovation is a catalogue of methods - which except for the Internet and media elements, wouldn't surprise anyone from the 19th century - and the suggestion that nation states can use these methods to support regime change on their own terms.
As I said in my diary, I think that idea has obvious appeal in Washington, for obvious reasons. What I'm less convinced by is its usefulness for independent dissent.
In fact that the idea that you can use these methods successfully could actually be dangerous, because it's likely to instill false confidence and minimise the messy reality of regime change.
Or information about funding, and personal and corporate relationships collected from AEI's own documents?
You think these are poor sources?
Let us know when you find some better ones.
Actually having read a few more books, I'm tending more to the idea that Sharp's ideas are interesting, but naive, and easily co-opted.
To be fair to him he did suggest in 1975 that a civilan defence of Nicaragua against US military intervention would make an interesting case study - which answers one specific point, even though most of his early writing is still about possible anti-Soviet actions.
But otherwise he seems to trade in generalities and potentials. And since the only attempts at practical applications have been US-funded for expedient aims with the help of Col. Helvey - if you know better, point us to an example - more specific critiques of real-world effectiveness aren't difficult.
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