Civil resistance -that is, non violent and active resistance to authoritarian regimes- is one of the most important means of transition from dictatorship to democracy. Civil resistance aims to undermine the central pillars that uphold these regimes, to strip them of legitimacy and gradually and systematically weaken them until they fall.
The most important of these pillars upholding the Syrian regime include its military institutions, security services and the militias known as shebiha, as well as economic institutions from within the private sector, clergy and some tribes, and not to mention political support from outside the country from the likes of Russia and China.
Civil resistance in Syria currently is firmly based on the principle of non violence. It considers the defections from the National Army and security services to be in its favour because of the way this actively contributes to the collapse of the regime. Through focusing -largely through the media- on the defection of public servants, business men, journalists and famous actors, artists and sports personalities, others are emboldened to take the same steps and civil resistance spreads.
Civil resistance takes many forms, among them road blocks, strikes, written campaigns and slogans, employees stopping doing their work, disabling government vehicles, delivering inflammatory leaflets and basically doing anything that disturbs the normal pattern of daily life, as long as it does not use violence against people.
Secrecy and discretion are paramount when planning works of civil resistance and it is similarly important to focus on achieving significant results that will effectively shake the foundations of the regime. The formation of alternative systems from the existing ones (the military, security services etc) is likewise an important task, as the old system begins to disintegrate and the way is paved the way for its final demise.
Intitally, civil resistance does not depend on quantity, so much as the quality of the young people involved and their abilities. In this way an atmosphere is created that engages an ever larger number of participants, until it becomes an option for all of society.
Effective activism is vital. The core work of number of activists should be to accept new members into their ranks and to train them in civil resistance until they are ready to take part in field work. Other aspects of core work is in planning, developing strategies and insuring a support system for the activists when in need. Such a support group would consist of a media team to cover all activities, a legal team to directly defend detainees, and an economic support system for the families of detainees.
By Center for Civil Society And Democracy in Syria