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The writings of an 83-year-old political science professor have long been required reading for revolutionaries, from Serbia to Cairo

Among the catalogue of films screening at this month’s Raindance Festival is How To Start A Revolution, a documentary by Ruaridh Arrow, a former producer of Channel 4’s Dispatches. It’s about the American academic Gene Sharp: a political science professor who has redefined the global politics of the last three decades, yet who remains all but unknown.

Sharp is a kind of ultra-politicised Miss Marple. Mild mannered and softly spoken,…

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