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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 6th, 2011 06:14 pm (UTC)
Interesting article. Lots of revolutionaries are lawyers. Gandhi and Nehru both were, as I recall.

One thing in there did annoy me a fair bit:

"It is - with international pressure and some powerful NGOs - possible to bring down a repressive government without having to spend years in the jungle as a guerilla, or years in the urban underground..."

To which my reply is: oh, yeah? Name one. If he's arguing this is a new development, that leaves out a lot of bringings down of dictatorships; if he's talking about the recent spate of unrest, we have exactly one success for the revolutionaries, and its name is Tunisia. What international pressure was on Tunisia? What NGOs were paying attention? Nobody gave a crap about Tunisia except Tunisians. Iran's under a ton of international pressure, and NGOs cared their hearts out; how'd that little revolutionary attempt work out?

Egypt is big, exciting news, but I think that a lot of folks are getting swept up in the romance of What It Means before we actually get to see What It Is. I'm hopeful, but I can see things possibly going very very badly in at least two different directions, so I'm biting the hell out of my nails, too.
Feb. 6th, 2011 06:40 pm (UTC)
I was thinking the same thing about NGOs. It's possible that they, like repressive governments, will find effective ways to use these tools the way corporations have learned to astroturf, but I haven't seen it yet.
Feb. 7th, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)
I remember learning this in college, too (I was a history major). The theory was that there are three classes - poor, professional, and elite - and any two together can make a revolution happen.

Historically the professional and elite classes are united and the poor stay down. But when the elite start pissing off the professionals, revolution happens. Likewise, when the professionals hold power behind a weak throne, a populist king can seize and solidify power on himself.
Feb. 7th, 2011 03:51 pm (UTC)
Democracy should have given serious political power to the poor. It should have given than an avenue to make things better for themselves, but it just doesn't seem to have happened (here, at least).
Feb. 7th, 2011 05:00 pm (UTC)
They do have power, technically. The problem is that the meta-aspects of poverty--namely resource scarcity and an environment that favors short-term gains over long-term--are counter to the collectivism needed to flex the power of numbers.

Add poor education, the predations of unscrupulous god-mongers, and a culture that engenders distrust of political authority, and you have the perfect recipe for a huge pile of people who willingly, albeit unknowingly, act against their own best interests.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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  • 14 Jan 2019, 21:47
    Oh, yeah, excellent point.
  • 14 Jan 2019, 21:46
    Oh yeah. Like the lawyers who get obvious really venal criminals off because it makes their success rate look good. But those are not the ones I am referring to in meaning well. These guys are mixed…
  • 14 Jan 2019, 20:37
    This reminds me of the time my wife was injured and the insurance guy handling her case did everything possible to deny and stall the payment. We had to put her surgery on a credit card because this…
  • 14 Jan 2019, 19:24
    The creepiest part is that some of them are actually well meaning.
  • 14 Jan 2019, 19:08
    Yeah. It's godawful what people will do when they have authority and no fear about using it.
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