Otpor

A student-led Serbian uprising, Otpor (“resistance”) led to the overthrow of dictator Slobodan Milošević in 2000. The campaign–almost entirely obstructive program–was carefully planned with assistance from Gene Sharp and his colleagues. Otpor involved a long-term consciousness raising effort with graffiti, flyers, billboards, a rock concert, and nonviolent direct action including various forms of civil disobedience, trade union organizing, preparations to combat electoral fraud, a massive strike, and finally a national convergence of hundreds of thousands on the capital building. The movement was one of strategic, rather than principled, nonviolence – little concern seemed to be displayed (as documented in video footage) for changing the heart of the oppressor, but instead for gaining political power and deposing the regime by any nonviolent means necessary. It has led to other similar campaigns in Eastern Europe, such as Ukraine’s Orange Revolution. Uniquely, the leaders of Otpor have formed an organization called CANVAS to “export” lessons learned to other would-be nonviolent revolutionaries.

Film: “Bringing Down a Dictator”