The RBN Philosophy

Of Mice and Orange Revolutions

Orange Revolution, but no Blue Revolution

We're less than a month away from Bush's second inauguration and nowhere near where we need to be in terms of adequate protest and nonviolent resistance. Protests throughout the last four years, as well as protests in Ohio, have floundered and very little has been achieved -- which is, let's face it, pathetic considering how Bush was somehow re-elected despite a massive opposition effort and a litany of mistakes on which we simply didn't capitalize.

There's a series of actions set for the January 20 inauguration and reports are already coming down that -- imagine what Gandhi would say to this -- permits are being denied to activist groups and planners are placing grandstands at locations where permits were issued. Permits? So far, our cause is plagued by poor strategy, casual leadership, and lackluster execution.

What's the disconnect?

In the Ukraine, our government has transparently used the Albert Einstein Institution for Peace and its founder Gene Sharp, a Boston political scientist and Gandhi-proxy for the modern nonviolent action movement, to help rally the supporters of regime change and opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko. The students, the mass protests, the orange ribbons. All from Sharp's theories and all prime illustrations of how to do it right.It's not like this is classified information. Sharp's opus "The Politics of Nonviolent Action" has been around for 30 years. Clearly, his methods work. Ask Slobodan Milosevic, who fell due to nonviolent action inspired by Sharp. The "Rose Revolution" in Georgia was textbook Sharp.Anti-Bush protest organizers can no longer rely on weekend warrior actions in which expression is abundant, but winning is rare. How do the orange flags in the Ukraine gain worldwide attention and OUR protests in Ohio are laughed off with tinfoil hat jokes? It’s not simply because Americans are cynical. It's because we’re just not doing it right.We need to begin with Sharp's 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action.If our opposition forces can't make significant headway against this current administration -- hell, they hand us great material almost hourly -- then clearly there's some major problems with our methods.There's an old Quaker axiom: "Shit or get off the pot." If we're going to stumble our way through the next four years using the same ham-fisted routines, we might as well give up now.Ukraine: Part Homegrown Uprising, Part Imported Production?Albert Einstein Institution for PeaceCommon Dreams: A Letter to the US Peace MovementInterview with Gene Sharp