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Soft Power Revolution: An Analysis Of Social Media And Non Violent Activism In The New Era

1583 words - 6 pages

The film ‘Bringing down a Dictator’ in a inspiring documentary about the peaceful revolution in Serbia in 1999. The Bulldozer revolution in Serbia inspired the so-called ‘color revolutions’ of Easter Europe and Central Asia where massive street protest after disputed elections led to the overthrown of authoritarian leaders (Dudouet, 2008, p. 9). The strategies of activist in Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus have many parallels to the current ‘Arab Spring.’ This paper will analyze York’s documentary, Bringing Down a Dictator in the terms of nonviolent theory and peaceful social revolution. Following, the role of the information revolution, in said movements, will be discussed. In closing comparisons will be made regarding how the aforementioned concepts apply the Arab Spring.
Bulldozer Revolution- How Serbian’s Brought Down a Dictator:
The film "Bringing Down A Dictator" documents the defeat of Slobodan Milosevic in October, 2000. This monumental event was accomplished not by the force of arms, as most anticipated, but instead by a grass root nonviolent movement of massive civil disobedience. Trained in nonviolent action Otpor launched a unified political opposition, fought voting fraud, and systematically won over the loyalty of police and army. When Milosevic refused to accept defeat at the polls, the people called a general strike. Serbs by the hundreds of thousands poured into the capital from all over the country to seize the Federal Parliament and forced Milosevic to step down.
The film points out the pillars that a utilized by dictators to remine in power and frames them as area’s of volunterability that can be exploited by the people. As a leader of Otpor Srdja Popovic asserted, “People think you have to chop off the top of a monolith. That's revolution. No, we say Otpor wants democracy. Not by chopping off heads. Serbians must depose their leader through elections. This will prove that Serbians are civilized" (York, director, n.d.).
Theory of Nonviolence:
Gene Sharp’s ideas shaped the development of the civil disobedience strategy of the Serbian opposition in 1999. Sharp is the author of a manual on non-violent resistance and has conducted studies that argue that non-violent action is more effective than using violence in political struggle. The nonviolent ‘theory of consent’ stipulates that the authority of any ruler or regime rests on the continuous voluntary obedience of its subjects. Thus by withdrawing consent via non-cooperation and civil disobedience a society can render the government impotent and no long capable of functioning (Dudouet, 2008, p. 4). Based on the aforementioned contention one can deduce that if power is based on consent, in order to function the state requires public legitimacy because a population will not participate is a structure that they deem to be illegitimate. It has been suggested that pseudo-democratic regimes, like that of Milosevic in Serbia, are particularly...

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