I remember coming across a study, possibly featured in a John Oliver segment, that found that a successful coup needs only a surprisingly small percentage of the population; I think it was like 1-3% of the population needs to be motivated to over throw the government for their coup to be successful. Does anyone know what study this was from? If I recall correctly it was authored by a woman.
The source of this is Erica Chenoweth, and her value is 3.5% of the population mobilized. It was given in her TEDx talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJSehRlU34w
Researchers used to say that no government could survive if five percent of its population mobilized against it. But our data reveal that the threshold is probably lower. In fact, no campaigns failed once they’d achieved the active and sustained participation of just 3.5% of the population—and lots of them succeeded with far less than that . Now, 3.5% is nothing to sneeze at. In the U.S. today, this means almost 11 million people.
But get this: Every single campaign that did surpass that 3.5% threshold was a nonviolent one. In fact, campaigns that relied solely on nonviolent methods were on average four times larger than the average violent campaign.
The point of the talk is that you can achieve this level more effectively with civil protest, than with violence.
You can find methodology etc linked from her blog https://www.ericachenoweth.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/WCRWAppendix-1.pdf