From Dictatorship to Democracy – “. . . tyranny can also change into tyranny. . .”

Exerpt from Gene Sharps 2003 book “From Dictatorship to Democracy – a Conceptual Framework for Liberation”

threats of a new dictatorshipAristotle warned long ago that “. . . tyranny can also change into tyranny. . .” There is ample historical evidence from France (the Jacobins and Napoleon), Russia (the Bolsheviks), Iran (the Ayatollah), Burma (SLORC), and elsewhere that the collapse of an oppressive regime will be seen by some persons and groups as merely the opportunity for them to step in as the new masters.  Their motives may vary, but the results are often approximately the same.  The new dictatorship may even be more cruel and total in its control than the old one.Even before the collapse of the dictatorship, members of the old regime may attempt to cut short the defiance struggle for democracy by staging a coup d’état designed to preempt victory by the popular resistance.  It may claim to oust the dictatorship, but in fact seek only to impose a new refurbished model of the old one.


No one should believe that with the downfall of the dictatorship an ideal society will immediately appear.  The disintegration of the dictatorship simply provides the beginning point, under conditions of enhanced freedom, for long-term efforts to improve the society and meet human needs more adequately.  Serious political, economic, and social problems will continue for years, requiring the cooperation of many people and groups in seeking their resolution.  The new political system should provide the opportunities for people with varying outlooks and favored measures to continue constructive work and policy development to deal with problems in the future.


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