The power of dictatorships ultimately comes from the willing obedience of the people they govern. All hierarchical systems require the cooperation of people at every level, from the lowliest workers to the highest bureaucrats. Despots depend on the population’s cooperation and submissiveness - and if the people effectively withhold their consent, even the strongest of regimes can collapse. Without the consent of the working class - either their active support or their passive acquiescence the ruling class would have little power and little basis for rule.
Non-violence is not passive, nor is it a way of avoiding conflict. Any non-violent movement that takes on a well-entrenched dictatorship. Those who start such a movement must be prepared for a long struggle, with setbacks and numerous casualties. After all, only one side is committed to non-violence. Nor is there any guarantee of success, even in the long run. However, the other option, entails even larger casualties and has even poorer prospects of success
As soon as you choose to fight with violence you’re choosing to fight against opponents in possession of the best weapons. The state’s police and army are better trained in using those weapons. And they control the infrastructure that allows them to deploy them. To fight dictators with violence is to cede to them the choice of battleground and tactics. Using violence against experts in it is the quickest way to have a movement crushed. That is why governments frequently infiltrate opposition groups with agents provocateurs—to sidetrack the movement into violent acts that the police and security agencies can deal with. Non-violence is an aspect of resistance that the normal forces of coercion are ill-prepared for.
The success or failure of any peaceful revolt largely depends on the campaign’s ability to undermine the regimes supporters and weaken the allegiance of its civil servants, police and soldiers to the regime; to persuade those neutrals sitting on the fence to join the opposition. The worse the regime suppresses protests, the more steadfast ought the opposition be in its commitment to non-violence and the more the people resists, the more we will realize our own power and discover the means of re-shaping our destiny.
An example is Syri
The non-violent movements that had gathered momentum early on became increasingly sidelined by the embryonic Free Syrian Army. The Syrian regime’s bloody crackdown on dissent pushed many Syrian protesters to raise angry calls earlier this year for an armed uprising, for foreign military intervention to stop the killing. The FSA began as a collection of soldiers who refused to fire on peacefully protesting civilians, who then left the army and began to form militias aimed at protecting these demonstrators. Soon, this purely defensive function gave way to small raids and ambushes of government troops, thereby fuelling the regime’s claims that protestors are not peaceful, and that they cannot be dealt with peacefully. The armed opposition helped Assad gain the upper hand by justifying the government’s battle against so-called terrorists. The militarisation of the Syrian 'Arab Spring" protests drove the FSA into the arms of rival powers for the supply of weaponry and supplies and safe-havens. It brought in foreign fighters with their own agendas.