Human Rights Industry

Meet US govt-backed regime-change guru Gene Sharp, mastermind of soft coups

Max Blumenthal discusses US government-backed regime-change guru Gene Sharp with scholar Marcie Smith Parenti.


They talk about Sharp’s NED-funded Albert Einstein Institution; his explicitly neoliberal, pro-corporate, and pro-imperialist politics; and the manuals he wrote teaching people how to do so-called “color revolutions” (ie, soft coups) against Washington’s targets, from Yugoslavia to Venezuela to Hong Kong.

 

Renowned as a “nonviolent” political strategist, Gene Sharp declared in a lecture:

People sometimes speak of nonviolence, which is not a word I like; it’s too vague, sloppy, etc. There’s nonviolence and then there’s armed struggle. And of course everybody knows, armed struggle is more effective, because you’ve got something to fight with; and when you’ve got nonviolence, you’ve got an absence of something.

I say nonviolent struggle is armed struggle. And we have to take back that term from those advocates of violence, who try to justify with pretty words that kind of combat. Only with this type of struggle, one fights with psychological weapons, social weapons, economic weapons, and political weapons.

And that this is ultimately more powerful against oppression, injustice, and tyranny then is violence.

This is a technique of combat; it is a substitute for war and other violence; it is not compromise.

Smith Parenti explains that Sharp worked for decades at Harvard University’s Center for International Affairs, nicknamed “the CIA at Harvard,” a “think tank that was theorizing, among other things, how the US could prosecute the cold war, and win. And Gene Sharp was very clear that he was anti-communist; he was very clear … as to his preferences for economic policy; he thought the government should get out of quote-unquote ‘intervening in markets.'”

Blumenthal notes that Sharp is a “figure who has influenced so many of the people we write about at The Grayzone,” and his work is frequently cited by “US assets in countries like Nicaragua or Venezuela, who are regime-change assets essentially.”

You can download an audio-only podcast version below.

Read Marcie’s article “Change Agent: Gene Sharp’s Neoliberal Nonviolence” at Nonsite (May 2019).

Here at Rokfin, you can watch the censored part two of their discussion.

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