In the spring of 1989, Chinese workers and students captured global attention as they occupied Tiananmen Square, demanded political change, and then experienced a tragic crackdown at the hands of the Chinese army. Months later, East German civilians rose up nonviolently, bringing down the Berlin Wall and dismantling their regime. Although both movements used the tactics of civil resistance, their outcomes were different. In Nonviolent Revolutions, Sharon Erickson Nepstad examines these two movements, along with citizen uprisings in Panama, Chile, Kenya, and the Philippines. Through a comparative approach that includes both successful and failed cases, she analyzes the effects of movements' strategies along with the counter-strategies that regimes developed to retain power. Nepstad concludes that security force defections have a significant influence on revolutionary outcomes since those regimes that maintained troop loyalty were the least likely to collapse. Through a close analysis of these cases, she explores the reasons why soldiers defect or remain loyal and the conditions that increase the likelihood of mutiny.
She also examines the impact of international sanctions, arguing that they sometimes harm movements by generating new allies for authoritarian leaders or by shifting the locus of power from local civil resisters to international actors. In conclusion, Nepstad finds that the dynamics of nonviolent revolution are not adequately captured by theories that have largely been derived from studies of armed struggles. Nonviolent Revolutions offers insights into the distinctive challenges that civil resisters face and it explores the reasons why some of these insurrectionary movements failed. As this form of struggle has increased in recent years-with the explosion of "color revolutions " in Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine, Lebanon, Kyrgyzstan and Burma-this book provides a valuable new framework for understanding civil resistance and nonviolent revolt.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc