Step 1: Public speeches

On Tuesday I promised you a blueprint, and today, I’m passing it around. It’s called From Dictatorship to Democracy, A Conceptual Framework for Liberation, by Professor Gene Sharp. Sharp was the founder of the Albert Einstein Institution, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the study of nonviolent action. This 1994 essay is a critical analysis of how to destroy a dictatorship and to prevent the rise of a new one. It includes a list of 198 methods of nonviolent action and persuasion, found on page 79.

You’ve probably heard the expression “If you’re not OUTRAGED, you’re not paying attention.” If you’re a 3.5%er, you’ve been outraged since the summer of 2016. Dictators know that daily outrage leads to feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness. When we share our fury, while it feels good to know we’re not alone, it also means we’re doing the dictator’s job for him. This is what dictators do – whether you’re for or against them, they mobilize people around a collective energy of hatred. When we unite in a common mission for equality and peace and sustain that wave of hope, the collective energy increases our number.

Step 1: Public speeches

Every time I share a step from this blueprint, it will come with a suggested Call to Action, something immediately doable and sustainable – with the understanding that “I’m part of the 3.5%” means that when one of us gets tired, someone standing next to us will be there to pick up the torch.

Today’s Action

Michelle Obama_Nelson MandelaSHORT GAME: Watch and/or share any one of the speeches below, or find another one you love. (Barack Obama’s 2004 speech is one of my all-time favorites.) The power of speeches is in their ability to mobilize large groups of people, so when you share the voices from the past with your children and friends, you are reminding them that true power unites us. 

Nelson Mandela said that “education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” When you talk with friends are share on social media, experiment with what happens when you shift your words to messages of empowerment.

Fill the 3.5 percenters with the inspiration needed to cancel out the noise.

LONG GAME: Be on the lookout for opportunities to attend public speeches in your community and invite your friends and family to attend. Make it a social event. Bring drinks and snacks and folding chairs. Show up in numbers. Make your presence seen and heard.

Gandhi challenged his country: “No clapping is possible without two hands to do it.” In other words: “There IS no government if the people refuse to be ruled by it.” Today, anyone with a social media account has a platform, so if your hands refuse to clap, make them click and tweet and love or like, but let all your words confirm our power.

We are building our base.

The podium is yours.

“There is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is the United States of America.” – Barack Obama, 2004






July 17, 2018


– resources: From Dictatorship to Democracy, A Conceptual Framework for Liberation, by Gene Sharp, Appendix One, “The Methods of Nonviolent Action”

“No clapping is possible without two hands to do it,” from On Nonviolent Resistance by Mohandas K. Gandhi

Nonviolent does not mean passive.  twitter-bird

Did I miss one of your favorite speeches? Feel free to post the link in the comments.

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