Historically, most authors on strategic nonviolence from Gandhi on have warned against dependency on external aid. As Gene Sharp ( Sharp, The Politics of Nonviolent Action (0. Not listed) , p. 663) puts it, ‘Overconfidence in the the potential of aid from others may distract resistance efforts from their own most important tasks. In fact, third-party support is more likely to be forthcoming when nonviolent struggle by the grievance group is being waged effectively.’
At the same time, there are strong traditions of internationalism that have linked movements and also relationships between, for example, the colonised and opposition groups living near the centre of colonial power. Increasingly, internal movements - whether resisting specific policies or the regime as a whole - seek transnational support from similar movements, sympathetic networks and international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs). These linkages have increased with greater globalization, and have had a significant impact, for example on human rights issues. See for example the seminal study:
Keck, Margaret ; Sikkink, Kathryn , Activists Across Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics Ithaca NY, Cornell University Press, , 1998, pp. 240 .
The generally positive role of regional and transnational solidarity is also explored in Clark, People Power: Unarmed Resistance and Global Solidarity (A. 1.b. Strategic Theory, Dynamics, Methods and Movements) , where various dangers are also discussed. Carter, People Power and Political Change: Key Issues and Concepts (A. 1.a.ii. Theories of Civil Disobedience, Power and Revolution) briefly explores the advantages and problems of external support at all levels in Chapter 7. The flow of resources into a conflict can have unintended consequences, and while interchange between activists from different contexts can be invaluable, it is never a simple question of skills transfer: the essential work of analysing the local context, drawing up appropriate demands, and devising a strategy has to be done by the local movement.
The growth of international governmental organizations with an official commitment to human rights and political democracy - for example the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Europe Union (EU) and the UN and its agencies - has also influenced the international context in which movements operate. This includes the expansion (and increased acceptance) of international monitoring of elections and the strengthening of international human rights instruments. Indeed, current strategic debates about how unarmed or nonviolent resistance can achieve success include emphasis on the role of international pressure of various kinds - see in A.1.b, Chenoweth; Stephan, Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict (A. 1.b. Strategic Theory, Dynamics, Methods and Movements) , Martin, Justice Ignited: The Dynamics of Backfire (A. 1.b. Strategic Theory, Dynamics, Methods and Movements) .
Intervention by governments of other countries is clearly much more questionable, but can also be positive. Diplomatic pressure and the special status of foreign embassies can sometimes assist movements and individuals struggling against repression and threats of torture and death. Groups intervening nonviolently, for example Peace Brigades International, can gain significantly in effectiveness by liaising with sympathetic diplomats. National parliaments can also play a constructive role in some cases (though now international parliaments, notably the EU Parliament, probably have greater impartiality and influence).
Major problems arise, however, when national and great power interests are closely involved in promoting or preventing internal resistance movements, and especially when national governments work with or through supposedly autonomous nongovernmental organizations. The conflicting roles of Russia and western governments were noted under Section D, where electoral struggles also offer particular opportunities for external funding and intervention. But external governments have played a significant role in other struggles (for example in Lebanon) as noted under E. V.
These issues are not new - they are intrinsic to the nature of the international system, and Gene Sharp’s warning to nonviolent movement still stands. But debates about the role of external governmental and quasi-governmental aid have become more ideologically divisive since the US government decided to use ‘democracy assistance’ to internal resistance and opposition movements as a major tool of US foreign policy. The Second Reagan Administration created the National Endowment for Democracy - and decided to aid the Chilean opposition to General Pinochet (whom US agencies had helped to install in 1973). President Bush Jr. also endorsed a neoconservative policy of promoting ‘democracy’ round the world, sometimes through force of arms, but also through diplomacy and aid to opposition groups sympathetic to the west. The association of ‘democracy assistance’ with US governments has led some on the western left to view support to opposition movements in other countries (unless like the Palestinian Intifada they are clearly opposed to western government policies) with extreme suspicion. Critiques have been regularly articulated in The Guardian by commentators such as Mark Almond, Seumas Milne and Jonathan Steele, and more extreme views are circulated on various websites - for instance, Jonathan Mowat, ‘The New Gladio In Action? Coup d’État in Disguise: Washington’s New World Order “Democratization” Template’, at http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/MOW502A.html.
Debates about governmental ‘democracy promotion’ are relevant to this bibliography at two levels: 1. because it is important to assess whether US and western governmental intervention through funding and technical advice has been on so large a scale as to invalidate (or at least undermine) the autonomy of the internal opposition campaigns involved; 2. because provision of nonviolence training and strategic and tactical advice on nonviolent resistance has in some cases come to be associated with ‘democracy promotion’.
The references in this section therefore reflect a range of ideological perspectives. Since western ‘democracy assistance’ has been a source of particular controversy in ex-Soviet and ex-Communist states, major comparative studies under D.II.1 are referenced here under ‘See also’.
The website of Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, Stanford University - http://cddrl.stanford.edu/publications - lists a series of working papers published in 2008-9 on external influences in transitions to electoral democracy in Chile, Mexico, Poland, Serbia, Turkey and the Ukraine, also many of the articles by Michael McFaul (see below).