What Sun Tzu and Clausewitz were to war, Gene Sharpwas to nonviolent struggle—strategist, philosopher, guru. An American academic who worked from his modest Boston home, Sharp studied and cataloged examples of nonviolent resistance, looking at why they succeeded or failed.
Sharp’s major contribution was to demonstrate that nonviolent struggle is more effective than armed struggle in most circumstances. Nonviolent action is not an appeal to a dictator’s conscience. It is a war, but fought without arms.
Sharp’s first work, “The Politics of Nonviolent Action,” a 3-vol series published in 1973, lists 198 tactics that movements use. Marches and parades, mock awards ceremonies, staying home from work, skywriting, suspending sports matches, guerrilla theater, staging work slowdowns—even withholding sex.