George Lakey writes for Occupy Washington DC:
...Movements have sometimes produced regime change with no real democracy and the same 1 percent still in charge. The American Revolution did that: King George was booted out and the resulting government, to its credit highly innovative, was still not a democracy for women, the enslaved, and working class people. A couple of centuries later, the 1 percent are still running the United States. A number of other anti-colonial struggles had a similar result.
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The good news is that regimes can be overthrown, even though dictators bring out the police and army to try to stay in power. The bad news is that the people didn’t always win; when they used violence they won only one time in four. They did, however, double their chances of success when they used a nonviolent strategy.
In our research for the Global Nonviolent Action Database, my students and I found a number of cases in which movements first tried violence, found it didn’t work, and then switched over to nonviolent struggle and won.
Researcher Anthony Phalen tells us, for example, that the Latvians tried guerrilla war against domination by the Soviet Union for years without success, then switched to a nonviolent strategy and succeeded...