Gene Sharp

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Gene Sharp (born January 21, 1928 in North Baltimore , Ohio , † January 28, 2018 in Boston ) was an American political scientist and founder of the Albert Einstein Institution , which deals with studies on and the spread of nonviolent actions .


Gene Sharp studied at Ohio State University , where he obtained a bachelor's degree in social sciences in 1949 with Magna cum Laude and in 1951 a Master of Arts with the subject "Nonviolence - a sociological study". During the Korean War , he was sentenced to two years in prison for civil resistance to conscription and spent nine months in prison, aided by Albert Einstein . At times he served as secretary to AJ Muste , a leading American pacifist . Between 1955 and 1958 he worked as a senior journalist for Peace News, the London pacifist weekly. He then studied and researched in Oslo with Arne Naess , who, together with Johan Galtung, filtered the Satyagraha norms from Gandhi's writings . In 1968 he received his doctorate in philosophy at Oxford .

Since 1965 he was a researcher at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University . From 1972 he held a chair in political science at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth . In 1983 he founded the Albert Einstein Institution, which promotes the study of nonviolent actions. For the Einstein Institute he traveled legally and illegally to countries where resistance movements arose from below. He was in Beijing in May / June 1989 during the Tian'anmen protests .

In 2009 and 2012 he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2011 a documentary film "How to start a revolution" was made about its global influence, which won several awards.

Scientific importance

His best known book The Politics of Nonviolent Action (1973) provides an action-oriented approach to nonviolent action.

He has classified their methods into the following subgroups:

  • Nonviolent protest and conviction
  • Social non-cooperation
  • Economic boycotts
  • Strike actions
  • Political non-cooperation
  • Nonviolent Intervention

See also the scientific collaboration with the political scientist Theodor Ebert , who systematized nonviolent action (1968) in his dissertation.

Effective power

Petra Kelly had The Politics of Nonviolent Action smuggled into the GDR and Gerd Poppe passed. Volume II was received at the beginning of 1989 in the Democratic Initiative in Leipzig.

Sharp tried to exert concrete influence in Myanmar , where in 1992 his instructions for liberation movements From Dictatorship to Democracy were distributed, which have since been translated into over 30 languages ​​and were published in their fourth edition in 2012.

Sharp's theories influenced several liberation movements in Eastern Europe: Otpor in Serbia , Kmara in Georgia , Pora! in Ukraine , KelKel in Kyrgyzstan and Subr in Belarus (Belarus). As his liaison to these movements, the US Colonel a. D. Robert Helvey . The initiators of the revolution in Egypt in 2011 , which led to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, also appealed to him.

One of the awards of the Alternative Nobel Prize , each endowed with 50,000 euros , went to Sharp in 2012. The reason stated that his studies on nonviolent resistance had been used in the jungles of Burma as well as on Cairo's Tahrir Square . He has also advised governments on how to organize nonviolent resistance in the event of a military invasion.


  • A Typology of Non-violence , Periodical Mankind 12/1956, India
  • Which way To Freedom , Cardiff 1957, idem On other ways , Hamburg 1958
  • Tyranny could not quell them - How Norway's Teachers defeated Quisling during the Nazi Occupation ... , London 1958
  • Gandhi Wields the Weapon of Moral Power , Ahmedabad 1960
  • The Politics of Nonviolent Action.
  • Social Power and Political Freedom. Boston 1978, ISBN 0-87558-093-9
  • Gandhi Faces the Storm. 1982, ISBN 0-85283-115-3
  • Making Europe Unconquerable. The Potential of Civilian-Based Deterrence and Defense. Cambridge 1983, ISBN 0-85066-329-6
  • National Security Through Civilian-Based Defense. 1985, ISBN 0-9614256-0-1
  • with Ronald McCarthy & Brad Bennett: Nonviolent Action: A Research Guide. 1997, ISBN 0-8153-1577-5
  • with Joshua Paulson and others: Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice And 21st Century Potential. Boston 2005, ISBN 0-87558-161-7
  • From dictatorship to democracy: A conceptual framework for liberation. Albert Einstein Institution, 1993 ( PDF; 882 kB )
    • From dictatorship to democracy. A Guide to Liberation. Beck, Munich 2008, ISBN 3-406-56817-3


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Gene Sharp, advocate for nonviolent resistance, dies at 90 (English)
  2. ^ Sharp, Gene, Gandhi Wields the Weapon of Moral Power, Ahmedabad 1960, pp. X, XI
  3. ^ Gene Sharp A biographical Profile. Canadian Centers for Teaching Peace.
  4. a b Ruaridh, Arrow, Feb. 21, 2011: Gene Sharp: Author of the nonviolent revolution rule book , BBC.
  5. Short biography about Gene Sharp at the Albert Einstein Institute
  6. ^ Albert Einstein Institute: Nonviolent Sanctions , Vol 1 Issue 2 (Fall 1989)
  7. ^ Protest movement in Egypt - revolution according to plan , at, February 15, 2011
  8. How to overthrow a dictator: Instructions on 93 pages , at, February 17, 2011
  9. Alternative Nobel Prize in Stockholm: Prize for activist and scientist ( Memento from September 29, 2012 in the Internet Archive ), from September 27, 2012