Episode 31: Dr. Marcie Smith on Gene Sharp’s Impact Upon Leftist Protest Politics



Ken and Andrew speak with Prof. Marcie Smith of John Jay College, author of a pair of articles published by Nonsite about nonviolence guru Gene Sharp. Over the past 45 years, Sharp’s philosophy of “revolutionary nonviolence” has become a hegemonic ideology within the various protest movements. But as Dr. Smith shows in her scholarship, Sharp was also a significant Cold War ideologue whose philosophy is more synoptic with neoliberalism than traditional radical Left praxis, be it Marxism, Leninism, or anarchism. Sharpian nonviolence has dominated the methods and strategies of protest, discouraging radicals to engage in taking state power, precisely at the moment when reactionary forces have waged a successful campaign to take control of government so to demolish the welfare state created during the New Deal to Great Society governing coalitions.

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