"The greatest threat to power is not violence but disengagement [from the grid network]."
Interesting point, AC. It relates to this, also by Howard Zinn:
"However, the unexpected victories-even temporary ones-of insurgents show the vulnerability of the supposedly powerful. In a highly developed society, the Establishment cannot survive without the obedience and loyalty of millions of people who are given small rewards to keep the system going: the soldiers and police, teachers and ministers, administrators and social workers, technicians and production workers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, transport and communications workers, garbage men and firemen. These people-the employed, the somewhat privileged-are drawn into alliance with the elite. They become the guards of the system, buffers between the upper and lower classes. If they stop obeying, the system falls.
That will happen, I think, only when all of us who are slightly privileged and slightly uneasy begin to see that we are like the guards in the prison uprising at Attic -- expendable; that the Establishment, whatever rewards it gives us, will also, if necessary to maintain its control, kill us."
Or this by Noam Chomsky:
"The Threat of a Good Example"
"No country is exempt from U.S. intervention, no matter how unimportant. In fact, it's the weakest, poorest countries that often arouse the greatest hysteria. ... There's a reason for that. The weaker and poorer a country is, the more dangerous it is as an example. If a tiny, poor country like Grenada can succeed in bringing about a better life for its people, some other place that has more resources will ask, "why not us?" ..."
And by Bucky Fuller:
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."
So yes, withdrawing support is a powerful way of change, as Gandhi used:
"The Non-Cooperation Movement was a significant phase of the Indian struggle for freedom from British rule. It was led by Mahatma Gandhi and was supported by the Indian National Congress. After the Jallianwala Bagh incident, Gandhi started the Non Cooperation movement. It aimed to resist British occupation in India through non-violent means. Protestors would refuse to buy British goods, adopt the use of local handicrafts, picket liquor shops, and try to uphold the Indian values of honor and integrity. The ideals of Ahimsa or non-violence, and Gandhi's ability to rally hundreds of thousands of common citizens towards the cause of Indian independence, were first seen on a large scale in this movement through the summer 1920, they feared that the movement might lead to popular violence.
Among the significant causes of this movement were colonial oppression, exemplified by the Rowlatt Act and Jallianwala Bagh massacre, economic hardships to the common man due to a large chunk of Indian wealth being exported to Britain, ruin of Indian artisans due to British factory-made goods replacing handmade goods, and popular resentment with the British over Indian soldiers dying in World War I while fighting as part of the British Army, in battles that otherwise had nothing to do with India."
Or as a twist, would it really matter if most of India's wealth were exported to Britain or to a 1% of Indians who live in gated communities inside India?
Consider the US South of the 1950s:
"The Montgomery Bus Boycott, a seminal event in the U.S. civil rights movement, was a political and social protest campaign against the policy of racial segregation on the public transit system of Montgomery, Alabama. The campaign lasted from December 1, 1955, when Rosa Parks, an African American woman, was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat to a white person, to December 20, 1956, when a federal ruling, Browder v. Gayle, took effect, and led to a United States Supreme Court decision that declared the Alabama and Montgomery laws requiring segregated buses to be unconstitutional. Many important figures in the civil rights movement took part in the boycott, including Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ralph Abernathy."
What about the USA of today?
"A Rise in Wealth for the Wealthy; Declines for the Lower 93%"
That said, I don't feel the future lies in everyone disconnecting from all grids (electrical, informational, material, political, etc.) to pure subsistence. The goal in India was not to go off-grid long-term but to regain political control of their grids. Grids can be sources of wealth for all by sharing various costs to create greater benefits. It's been said it takes a village to live well in the wilderness. Also, we saw what happened to the loosely connected Native Americans who got pushed off their land by the more tightly connected invading European network (granted, it was a European network also armed with guns, germs, steel, and more).
As I say on my site, I do feel the balance between five types of transactions -- subsistence, gift, exchange, planned/political, and theft -- can change as culture changes. The USA has become heavily exchange-based especially as women moved from the subsistence, gift, and planned/political parts of the economy into the exchange economy over the past few decades. I can hope we may see that balance shift back to something healthier mix. And we do see some of that like with the FOSS movement, Wikpiedia, Makers, Open Government, etc.
Recent developments in space -- India to Mars, China to the Moon, Mexico to a simulated Solar System via Kerbal Space Program, show symbolically that an age of extreme technological dominance by the USA is coming to an end and likely more and more falling behind in key areas (including since you ultimately can't innovate if you don't locally produce, since local production is a form of education for the next generation of designers). Of course, US politics may be so broken at this point the symbolic meaning may not even be noticed or acted upon in a healthy way... I'll be curious what the US political response is to this... If any...
In any case, a lot of Chinese engineers are no-doubt very happy right now, and earned some well-deserved congratulations on a peaceful effort that displays their emerging technological prowess and future possibilities...