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Thread: Threat or Opportunity: non-violent protest?

  1. #1
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Threat or Opportunity: non-violent protest?

    An intriguing FP post, which opens with:
    As nonviolent revolutions have swept long-ruling regimes from power in Tunisia and Egypt and threaten the rulers of nearby Algeria, Bahrain, and Yemen, the world's attention has been drawn to the causes -- generations of repressive rule -- and tools -- social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter -- animating the wave of revolt....

    The answer, for democratic activists in an ever-growing list of countries, is to turn to CANVAS. Better than other democracy groups, CANVAS has built a durable blueprint for nonviolent revolution: what to do to grow from a vanload of people into a mass movement and then use those masses to topple a dictator. CANVAS has figured out how to turn a cynical, passive, and fearful public into activists.
    Curiously the group hails from Serbia.

    Link:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...ion_u?page=0,1

    We have touched upon the state's responses in other threads, looked at the media, speculated on the motivation of the protesters, but not the methods used by them.

    I would expect some security analysts in the Middle East - at least - are studying a lot more.

    How will those who would seek power, maybe hiding their intentions and methods, respond to this model? In particular those who preach violence.

    I tried to locate CANVAS website and each visit hit a barrier. So I used the cached edition of:http://www.canvasopedia.org/

    Meantime this link is to an Egyptian protest manual (with translation), although some steps on meeting the police I expect were revised: http://www.theatlantic.com/internati...nslated/70388/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-18-2011 at 02:46 PM. Reason: Add weblink
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    Default Threat or opportunity ...

    It depends - political "METT-T"

    The SWJ Blog has picked up this theme, Callwell, Mao, Galula, Sharp?, with a good comment by Dave Maxwell:

    I remember when the book linked in the article above about the author Gene Sharp came out. I remember discussions with people who say that Unconventional Warfare in the classic sense of overthrowing a government, particularly a despotic or totalitarian regime, was a romantic notion of the past and no longer relevant, particularly in the post Cold War and post 9-11 world. Just like COIN after Vietnam, classic UW was no longer of value. Add this book to Hoffer's and Gurr's works and I think you have the basis for an Unconventional Warfare curriculum that has stood and will stand the test of time.
    and also Sharp as a Modern Jomini? (with links).

    Sharp's publications (and other links) are found at Albert Einstein Institute.

    Maria J. Stephan and Erica Chenoweth, Why Civil Resistance Works - The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict (2008), is extensively footnoted.

    Centre for Applied NonViolent Action & Strategies - CANVAS comes up fine on this computer.

    Have to run now to see "MAJ MIKE, the Flight Surgeon" (quarterly checkup) - maybe later with more stuff.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Default CANVAS Doctrinal Manual

    is Nonviolent Struggle - 50 Crucial Points A Strategic Approach to Everyday Tactics; Authors: (CANVAS) Srdja Popovic, Andrej Milivojevic and Slobodan Djinovic (direct download for English pdf):

    Abstract

    This book is a field guide for waging a strategic nonviolent struggle – it offers a rich and diverse array of practical information that nonviolent activists need to know. The user-friendly format of the book complements the presentation of the content in thematic chapters, which are organized around answering key questions that range from techniques of daily management to strategic planning. Written by those who successfully fought against repressive regimes using strategic nonviolent action, the book is designed as a ready-to-use tool for front-line practitioners who work in nondemocratic, and sometimes violent environments, as well as those who work in established democracies. It is based on firsthand experience from the struggles in Serbia and Georgia, and the lessons learned in Ukraine, Belarus, Zimbabwe and other countries.

    The book fills the gap between the tremendous theoretical insights about strategic nonviolent conflict developed by scholars over the past several decades and the accumulated experience of front-line practitioners. This is achieved by creating a synergy between, on the one hand, academic knowledge and the expertise of authors and of outside participants in the project, and, on the other hand, the lived experience of successful activists and leaders. Likewise, the book's content and format build a bridge between the strategic level and the often "heavy" book design of theoretical works, and the "cook-book" approach of existing manuals for political and public-interest campaigns, which mostly focus on tactical issues.

    The focus is firmly on practical questions. Crucial points about waging strategic nonviolent struggle appear as "how to" questions:

    How do you plan symbolic public actions successfully with just a few supports?

    How do you recruit, train, and retain pro-reform activists?

    How do you manage scarce assets, such as volunteers and material resources?

    How do you plan your campaign and run it with constant feedback-loop management?

    How do you prepare to overcome the powerful influence of fear?

    How do you minimize the effectiveness of repressive mechanisms, including contaminants, surveillance and police repression?

    From this book, those considering launching a strategic nonviolent struggle in any environment will find enough information to steer away from making the most common mistakes and refocus towards selecting realistic objectives, structuring an organization efficiently, and effectively influencing public attitudes to the point where ordinary citizens are willing to participate in the struggle.

    The topics covered include the theory of political power, fundamentals of strategic and detailed tactical planning, message development and management of nonviolent actions and campaigns.

    The book is compatible with already existing and readily available resources for use in this field, such as the writings from the Albert Einstein Institution and the new computer game, "A Force More Powerful".

    In short, this book takes a strategic approach to the problems of day-to-day implementation of nonviolent struggle encountered by pro-reform movements in all environments, from those working for justice in established democracies to those working to end repression or occupation.
    Besides this monograph, you can download The CANVAS Core Curriculum - Students Book (direct download for English pdf):

    The content of the curriculum is divided into three parts:

    I. Theory and its applications: The goal of these lessons is to provide a concrete framework for people to understand how nonviolent action works. First, all movements start with the desire for change, so we offer a methodology to help groups develop their vision for what they want to achieve (Lesson 1). We then address how nonviolent movements can gain the power to achieve that vision. By emphasizing that political power comes from people’s ongoing consent and obedience to their society’s political, economic, and social systems, it becomes clear that nonviolent movements can gain power and create change by shifting people’s consent and obedience patterns (Lesson 2). In order to do this, nonviolent resisters must understand the roles that key organizations and institutions (which we call “pillars of support”) play in their society (Lesson 3), what people’s motivations are for consent and obedience (Lesson 4), how nonviolent movements produce change in society (Lesson 5), and the tactics and methods that nonviolent movements have at their disposal (Lesson 6).

    II. Planning considerations: There is rarely victory for nonviolent movements without a strategic plan. Therefore, an understanding of basic strategic principles (Lesson 7) as well as tools and techniques to analyze their past and current situation (Lesson 8 and Lesson A1) is important as movements develop their strategic plans. An essential part of those plans will be communications. How do movements effectively communicate what they stand for? Developing effective messages and analyzing audience segments (Lesson 9) and understanding the tools and types of targeted communications (Lesson 10) are essential. Targeted communication is one of the most important parts of any movement’s strategic plan.

    III. Organizational and operational considerations: Nonviolent movements are faced every day with stresses in the areas of leadership (Lesson 11), fear-management (Lesson 13), and avoiding contamination (Lesson 14), so they need to be prepared. They also need to be tactically innovative and choose issues and actions that put their opponents in dilemmas (Lesson 12). Finally, management of key resources (material resources, human resources, time, and knowledge) are critical to operating a nonviolent movement or campaign. The advanced campaign management package (Lessons A2, A3, A4, and A5) addresses these issues.
    As to the computer game, A Force More Powerful:

    A Force More Powerful – the Game of Nonviolent Strategy is no longer for sale. However, we do have a limited quantity left . If you want 10 or more copies of the game, are sure it will work on your computers (see below), and will pay for the UPS shipping & handling costs, we will give you copies free of charge. This offer is NOT for RESALE. Click here to send us your request.
    Upgraded game is People Power ($10).

    Regards

    Mike

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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Ever since Gandhi, non-violent protest seems to be an especially powerful tool for the erosion of a state's force's loyalty and morale IF the regime is already overdue.

    It's probably neither a threat nor an opportunity, for it's merely the final push over the edge for regimes which are bound to fail soon anyway.


    (This was of course focusing on the special case of non-violent protests for revolution. Non-violent protests for less ambitious objectives have a very different nature.)

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    Let's not glorify non-violence. It relies on the enthusiasm of the people, but is not necessarily democratic. Non-violence is a defeat mechanism in its own right. The Iranian revolution of 1979 was largely non-violent. For many a movement, the art of non-violence is to arouse the masses, start a revolution and take control the day after the revolution.

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    It works also against democratic governments. LBJ gave up the idea of running again for presidency because of the anti-war protest movement et cetera.

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    It works also against democratic governments. LBJ gave up the idea of running again for presidency because of the anti-war protest movement et cetera.
    Actually, he didn't run because of the heat he was taking for his stance in support of civil rights.

    He took heat for Vietnam (Colonial Intervention), sure. But he had to give up on running for a second term due to the heat he was taking from both sides of the aisle for his true counterinsurgency efforts in passing three landmark civil rights bills to quell the growing insurgency at home.

    Violence or non-violence are a tactical choice. They do not define the nature of the operation. If the nature is illegal challenge to government for political purpose, it is insurgency. The fact that our doctrine is so heavily derived from the experience of colonial powers in their efforts to suppress popular challenges to the puppet regimes they established, and to their own presence and control, shapes our thinking. Also the fact that this doctrine is written by the military, as these situations do tend to go violent at some point and are typically tossed to the military to resolve.

    This is a major flaw, the major flaw, in FM 3-24. It declares right up front that COIN and insurgency are complex forms of warfare, and in fact, it is neither complex, nor warfare.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Not so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Actually, he didn't run because of the heat he was taking for his stance in support of civil rights.
    That's a myth with little grounding in reality. He knew he'd lost a lot of voters in the South over the Bill but he didn't lose all of them and he could have carried an election had it not been for the fact that he lost Cronkite.

    Had Johnson run, he would have beaten Nixon were it not for Viet Nam. His loss of 'democrats' in the south didn't hurt nearly as much as his loss of Democrats in the rest of the nation who supported him on the Bill but not on Viet Nam...

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    We'll never know for sure what might have happened. I personally subscribe to civil rights role as being what cost him the most. Clearly the friction at home between growing race-based insurgency and the perspective that Vietnam was yet one more example of African Americans bearing an unfair brunt of the fight there merged in the protests at home. Between the two he was finished, and from what I have seen and read it was the blowback to his work on civil rights that drove his rapid decline after leaving office.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Default Re: LBJ - I've got to go with Jones ....

    not Robert Jones, but James Jones in 1988:

    Behind L.B.J.'s Decision Not to Run in '68

    By James R. Jones; James R. Jones, President Lyndon B. Johnson's chief of staff in 1968, was a Democratic Representative from Oklahoma from 1973 to 1987

    Published: April 16, 1988

    WASHINGTON — It's now just a shade over 20 years since Lyndon B. Johnson's speech to the nation that closed with this surprise: ''I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.''

    Most Americans couldn't believe that this larger-than-life figure could voluntarily relinquish the reins of power. Scholars and politicians still argue over what really motivated his decision to step down.

    My perspective was that of the President's administrative chief of staff. My office was next to his. I can state categorically that fear of losing the 1968 election was not the reason he retired. Several days before the speech, Mr. Johnson commissioned a poll, which indicated that he would be re-elected over all possible candidates. I always have felt that he took that poll to satisfy himself that he wasn't being run out of office.

    The real reason for Mr. Johnson's withdrawal was Vietnam. It was an involvement he had questioned as a Senator and about which he brooded as President. But his sense of Presidential continuity compelled him to pursue the commitments made by Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy.

    As our casualties grew, the abstract agony caused by the daily situation reports became a personal pain for the President when his own son-in-law, Charles Robb, a Marine captain, entered combat.

    In addition, Mr. Johnson had begun to doubt our ability to prosecute the war to any clear-cut victory. He worried about the discrepancy between Government reports and news stories in The New York Times written from Vietnam. The President mused aloud on more than one occasion that either The Times's reporter, R. W. Apple Jr., was working for the enemy or that our Government's intelligence apparatus was misleading him. ... (much more background in story)
    During March 1968, LBJ was advised by his "Wise Men" that he was not going to achieve a clear-cut victory:

    Johnson meets with 'The Wise Men,' March 25, 1968

    On this day in 1968, as pessimism over U.S. prospects in Vietnam deepened, President Lyndon B. Johnson met with 14 informal advisers. In 1945, some of them had forged a bipartisan foreign policy based on containing the Soviet Union. They went on to craft key institutions like NATO, the World Bank and the Marshall Plan. They were known, collectively, as “The Wise Men.”

    They met with LBJ after being briefed by officials at the State Department, the Pentagon and the CIA. They had been informed of a request from Gen. William Westmoreland, the top U.S. commander in Vietnam, for additional troops in the wake of perceived U.S. setbacks in the Tet Offensive.

    Present at the White House meeting were Dean Acheson, George Ball, McGeorge Bundy, Clark Clifford, Arthur Dean, Douglas Dillon, Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas, Averell Harriman, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., Robert Murphy, Cyrus Vance and Gens. Omar Bradley, Matthew Ridgway and Maxwell Taylor.

    In the words of Acheson, who summed up the recommendations from 11 of the men, “we can no longer do the job we set out to do in the time we have left, and we must begin to take steps to disengage.” Murphy, Taylor and Fortas dissented.
    and from a PBS Transcript - first re: the Nov 1967 "Wise Men" meeting with LBJ:

    McCullough: [voice-over] By the end of 1967, a grim sense of siege was settling over the White House. The President dug in. He had spent a lifetime climbing to the pinnacle of power; his whole political life now hung on only one issue -- Vietnam.

    Clark Clifford: He decided to call in the men whom he respected most. They became known as "the Wise Men." There were about ten of them. If you put the total service, those men must have had two hundred and fifty to three hundred years of government service.

    McCullough: [voice-over] These were the architects of American foreign policy -- Dean Acheson, John McCloy, Averell Harriman. "Contain Communism, don't let it spread" had been their advice to every President since Truman.

    William P. Bundy: The picture that was given to them was that we are making slow, grinding progress and we thought we could see, at some point, a break, with the other side really starting to really weaken and go downhill.

    McCullough: [voice-over] Dean Acheson said later, "I told him he was wholly right on Vietnam, that he had no choice except to press on."

    Clark Clifford: They voted unanimously for him to go on with his course. He was greatly comforted by that.

    William P. Bundy: The advice they gave was, "Look, the country doesn't see it the way you're describing it. You've got to develop a way to make your assessments of the situation more credible."

    George Ball: Well, they gave him perfectly silly advice. They were sensible people, and why they were so silly, I don't know. Their main advice was, "Well, you ought to improve your public relations." Well, after the meeting, I spoke to Dean Acheson and John Coles and Arthur Dean, and I said, "You old bastards, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves. You're like a lot of vultures sitting on the fence and sending the young men out to die." And I walked out of the room.
    but, the consensus disappeared in March 1968:

    McCullough: [voice-over] By the middle of March, Clark Clifford despaired of ever changing the President's mind. Only one group of Americans might be able to influence him -- those foreign-policy experts called "the Wise Men". Five months before, the Wise Men had cheered Johnson with their support. Now, Clifford encouraged the President to meet with them one more time.

    Clark Clifford: Although it might sound somewhat conspirational, I thought it wise to contact a good many of them first, so I did. I knew them all, I'd known them all for years, and I got a feeling from them. I made four, five or six contacts and found that in each instance, Tet had changed their minds. They all came back; we went through the same process -- reading cables, getting briefed; then we met with the President. They had all turned around. The impact was profound -- so profound that he thought something had gone wrong, and he used the expression "I think somebody has poisoned the well."

    Richard Goodwin: He had picked these old Cold Warriors that were still fighting the battle of containment, and he listened to their advice, and as long as they stayed with him, he felt that he must be doing the right thing. Then, finally, at the end, they left him. They all said, "It's not working," and they walked out of the room, and there was Lyndon Johnson all alone with his war, the last believer.
    So, that sums the evidence - although much more could be easily added (e.g., see Dean Rusk Transcript & George Ball Transcript).

    Regards

    Mike

  11. #11
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default That's a flawed myth to offset the ignominy of Viet Nam and save a leftist icon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    We'll never know for sure what might have happened.
    Obviously. However as one who'd been voting for about 20 years at the time and thus was paying attention, Nixon was distrusted as was Johnson he was the less distrusted until mid 1967 when too many rumors of dumb things related to Viet Nam and his personal pecadilloes were circulating and he became the 'untrust' front runner. He was a sitting President, yet he drew two challengers for his own party's nomination?

    McCarthy had the student and academic vote, Kennedy had the working Democrat vote -- both campaigned using war errors as fodder -- and Johnson had less than 20% support among Democrats in the polls. Viet Nam sunk him -- as it should have. It also killed him, a good part of his decision was based on his belief that another term would kill him. He died two days after it would have ended.
    I personally subscribe to civil rights role as being what cost him the most...and from what I have seen and read it was the blowback to his work on civil rights that drove his rapid decline after leaving office.
    We can disagree on that.

    Addendum: Started this, stopped, went to dinner came back an posted without looking. Mike had posted in the interim and I didn't see it until this post had arrived on the Board. Good catches, Mike. All makes sense, and with due respect to Clark Clifford, et.al. (very little, I'm not a Clifford fan -- nor a Vance fan...) Lyndon left due to Viet Nam. James R. Jones not withstanding, I'm not at all sure that Lyndon would've trumped Nixon. The press had long disliked Nixon; they had come to dislike Lyndon even more...
    Last edited by Ken White; 02-19-2011 at 01:55 AM. Reason: Addendum

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    Default Jim Jones to LBJ

    Minutes of 2 Nov 1967 "Wise Men" meeting - as to which, that group believed that all was going well:

    2 Nov 1967 Snip 01.jpg

    Mr Dean (Wiki, Korea, Geneva, NYT Obit) suggested that:

    2 Nov 1967 Snip 02.jpg

    Over the next 4 months, he delved into his own questions. His answer on 25 March 1968 was disengagement.

    The problem that the Johnson Admin had is that it had propagated a gospel that we would win - "light at end of tunnel", etc. When that became doubtful, the Admin's competence (in the public's eye and in the Wise Mens' eyes) went through the floor.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Default Sad

    Disappointing that the advice given to the President on Vietnam in many ways sounds too similiar to the advice given to the President on Afghanistan. Once again we dived in with no clear and achievable end in mind, and love to point out the numerous tactical successes we're having.

    I did a lot of reading on this topic, and actually watched it unfold as a kid. I remember witnessing the war protests and racial riots quite vividly during those days and there should be no doubt both these issues were key national issues that touched most of America to some extent. The difference is the President did the right thing concerning the Civil Rights Movement and he mishandled the Vietnam War. Those who knew him best said it was Vietnam that convinced him not to run again, so I'm not sure why we would challenge that assessment.

    Posted by Marc,

    Let's not glorify non-violence. It relies on the enthusiasm of the people, but is not necessarily democratic. Non-violence is a defeat mechanism in its own right. The Iranian revolution of 1979 was largely non-violent. For many a movement, the art of non-violence is to arouse the masses, start a revolution and take control the day after the revolution.
    I think this comment most accurately addresses the question of whether these movements are an opportunity or a threat. We shouldn't automatically equate these movements as being democratic or even necessarily representing a significant percentage of the population. We sure as heck can't automatically confuse them as democracy breaking out (but we can still hope until proven otherwise). In short it is a tactic that be employed for both good and evil ends, and its success demends on a number of variables in each circumstance.

    Non violence led by Ghandi didn't work in India, yet it is still a myth perpetuated by those who "want to believe". Non violence didn't work in China and won't work in China in the current environment. Non violent movements in most countries can be violently suppressed "if" the government still maintains control of the security forces and decides to employ harsh methods, so like any tactic it can only be employed in certain situations to attain specific ends (for better or worse).

    What I do find interesting is the ability to use social media to facilitate these movements in unique ways. However, as we all know popular movements have been facilitated in the past without this technology.

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    Default Isolation - one response by autocrats

    LBJ and Gandhi aside I do wonder as autocratic states look around the scene what are the lessons learnt?

    First and foremost electronic communication is so dangerous. If you are a developing autocratic state, would you want to allow this to develop? I understand it is easy to switch off mobile phone networks, the UK has a preferential system in place for emergencies, so state mobiles work and for example others can only get calls in. Isolating international links, which are via a few nodes, unless you have a sat phone, appears to be easy.

    Limited or slow communications would be attractive for an autocrat. In another thread on Burma I have commented that without imagery 24/7 news has a much reduced impact. Large chunks of the world are not on the 24/7 editors list.

    Reducing international exposure is possible, although even the PRC has learnt not easy after rioting in Tibet was filmed by tourists and a BBC reporter on a holiday. Plus the ethnic rioting and state response in Urumchi.

    Tourists are a mixed blessing, in Egypt the vast majority were miles away from the focal point, the cities, on beaches in Sinai and above all usually have little interaction with the locals. More problematic are the resident expats, especially if widely dispersed like preachers, NGO etc.
    davidbfpo

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    Default Did the Internet matter in Tunisia and Egypt?

    From Open Democracy:
    An audio interview in which Nabila Ramdani describes the role of the social networks in the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions – to what extent are Morozov's and Gladwell's arguments proved wrong by events?
    Closing sentences:
    There will be numerous attempts to re-impose autocracies dominated self-styled leaders of the people. However, the biggest historical change highlighted by revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia is that these people are nowadays hugely well informed, questioning and technologically savvy.

    This should be our greatest cause for optimism as we consider the future of the Arab world.
    Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/tony-cu...-02-19%2005:30
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Did Rome's roads matter in the rise of the Barbarians?

    Did the invention of the printing press matter in the rise of the people of Europe against the Holy Roman Empire?

    Did Britain's global telegraph network matter in the rise of her colonial populaces?

    Did the internet matter in Tunisia and Egypt.

    Answer to all: Yes.

    When a state relies upon overt controls of a populace to maintain stability, the speed and availability of information is their greatest threat. As information and transportation technology continue to emerge, control-based systems of governance will continue to become less and less viable.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Default Breaking the fear hold

    Bob and David,

    One of the points at least two leaders made about the recent uprisings in North Africa was that the people were no longer scared. I don't pretend to know why, but I think it is somewhat accurate that many Iranians and Chinese have access to information technology and are frustrated with their government, but are too scared to act due to the consequences. I think if these movements continue we'll see some rather harsh and bloody crackdowns.

    I'm not sure any lessons have been learnt yet, but governments everywhere are probably considering strategies to counter this type of threat to their control. I think there are a lot of options, and again depending on the overall context of each situation those options will vary. In some cases as others have pointed out the government has already failed, it is like a rotten fruit that hasn't fallen from the tree yet and this tactic is the wind that brings it down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    LBJ and Gandhi aside I do wonder as autocratic states look around the scene what are the lessons learnt?

    First and foremost electronic communication is so dangerous. If you are a developing autocratic state, would you want to allow this to develop?
    related:
    Trajan on the revolts in Tunisia (?)

    It's not the communications, but the organising.

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    Default It's both

    Posted by Fuches,

    It's not the communications, but the organising.
    The organizers agree with you that organization was critical, but the means they used to form a community (organize) to mobilize was Facebook. Not only did they effectively garner support from within Egypt, they garnered international support, which limited the options for the Gov of Egypt.

    IT is important, yes it just a tool, just like strategic bombers, satellite communications, nuclear weapons, submarines, etc., but it is apparent that tools can make things possible that were not previously possible.

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    It should nevertheless be understood that it's not the communication tool, but the organising that counts. The absence of communication tools does no suppress self-organisation. It merely reduces the options of the people for self-organising themselves.

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