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I'm currently watching the BBC DVD series called 'A History of Britain' presented by Simon Schama. Once you get over the twitching delivery, he has some interesting insights - one of which is that these uprisings have happened before and they haven't ended well for the non-elite.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Feb 18th, 2011 at 09:10:32 AM EST
The majority of popular uprisings, against the uprisers own government, fail.  The people typically don't have the military technology, training, and logistics to overcome the elites using the centralized institutions of domination.

Since 1945 the majority of popular uprisings against external domination have succeeded.  Mostly they succeeded in tossing out a external dominating elite and creating an internal dominating elite.  How things go after that depends on how the new elite govern.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Feb 18th, 2011 at 12:43:45 PM EST
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To me, the enabling speed of mobile and online peer-to-peer communication - which is faster than any security services can react - will be increasingly effective in removing internal or external dominating elites.

What these innovations don't do is provide any means for democratic 'government' - by the people for the people. And 'the people' is problematic here. Mobile and online are fundamentally middle-class, though this is changing.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Feb 18th, 2011 at 01:22:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Modern communications can inform you a wind power plant, say, needs to be built.  Still takes a couple hundred million and a year (or whatever) to build it.  

I think the Internet's ability to increase global frustration by informing people what is available, and what they do not have, is underrated.

 

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Feb 18th, 2011 at 02:13:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OTOH a million people might invest 100 'units' each if it assured them of 100 units + of stable electricity prices.

Frustration can be another word for problem-solving.

Meanwhile we have a W*stern society that is founded on marketing that is intentionally frustrating: "you are unhappy, but if you buy our product, all will be well." I really don't see the difference in frustration level.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Feb 18th, 2011 at 03:33:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frustration and anxiety have been used to sell consumer products for so long that it's been missed that they're additive, so when economic anxiety is added, you're not starting from happy people.

Consumers are anxious, or they wouldn't consume so much.

Fear is a dangerous tool, with sharp edges on the handle.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Sat Feb 19th, 2011 at 08:38:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One form of frustration is channelled (Chaneled?) and herded, the other is direct and authentic. So they're very different in practice, because the latter sort can result in direct political action, while the former is limited to browsing, shopping and mooing.

I'll agree with AT that the Internet is underrated as a catalyst.

But I think it's also underrated as a medium of spontaneous collaborative action. Herr Guttenblag would never have been rumbled in the days of print, because there would have been no way for a group of people to:

Find copies of the PhD
Self-organise
Collaborate to find and summarise evidence
Share, publish and control the story

Effectively the Internet became Guttenbad's supervisor and peer review of last resort - and it not only failed him, it humiliated him. (Even if it turns out there was a political conspiracy against him, this still remains true; the conspiracy needed evidence, and it found it.)

This isn't something completely new. King Leopold of Belgium's criminal operation was toppled by a couple of dedicated journos. But they had to collect evidence, give talks, and write for print. They weren't hobbyists. And it took them years.

Now a group of enthusiasts can apply similar leverage within days - see also Wikileaks, Anonymous, etc.

So it's becoming easier to create and control a story without owning the media. That's not a small change - it's literally a revolutionary one.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 10:38:49 AM EST
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I think the figures historically from 1500 to 2000 was 1/3 revolutions are successful, however Military coups it's 2/3

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 at 11:37:50 AM EST
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