Global Independent Analytics
Navid Nasr
Navid Nasr

Location: Croatia

Specialization: Global security, Politics

Beware of The Will of The Masses

One thing that the Color "Revolutionaries" never seem to be in short supply of is patience and persistence

There's a memory I have, a snapshot in time, that I remember very well and I think I always will. It was early 2011, the first month of Spring, and there were several big rallies happening on the same day down at Lafayette Park in front of the White House. Libyan gusanos and Brotherhood "activists" were there loudly applauding and supporting the NATO bombing of their homeland while also waving British and French and US flags and profusely thanking Obama for doing his part in their heroic "liberation struggle." Syrian-American gusanos (including, as always, plenty of Brotherhood "activists") were also out in front of the White House demanding the same thing for their homeland from Obama and NATO. A third group was also present, albeit in fewer numbers. Iranian-Americans were demanding the lifting of sanctions from their homeland. I was fascinated by this rally (and if you know anything about the Iranian-American community and its politics, you'll know why) and I struck up a conversation with a gentleman in his 50s, who was there with his family, just to see if he was as disgusted with the other rallies that were happening around us as I was. He had two things to say: "Eena harumzadeh-and" (the most polite translation I can think of is "these people are all born out of wedlock") and the second thing, which was totally contradictory... "whenever the people are in the streets, you have to support them."

At the time, I don't think I mounted any protest over that statement (no pun intended) but in retrospect, I absolutely should have. This attitude is infuriating for several reasons. For one, there is never a monolithic "the people," anywhere at any time. Even if 60% of "the people" are out in the streets demanding something, that means that they are seeking to impose their will on the remainder of the population who may either not agree with "the people" philosophically or ideologically, or may be genuinely horrified at what the 60% wants and the impact that their demands will have on their lives and livelihood.

Secondly, public opinion, i.e. "the will of the people," is extremely malleable and transient. Molding and crafting public opinion towards the desired outcome have been honed to a near perfect science over the course of the last century. Call it propaganda or call it public relations, whatever you prefer, just be sure to give credit where credit is due.

Third, what if "the will of the people" is divided fairly equally amongst two, or even three, distinct, diametrically opposed camps, and they all take to the streets in great numbers? What then? To take the example of the Cedar "Revolution" in Lebanon in 2005, did the March 14 camp reflect "the will of the people" or was it March 8? or both?

No one can seriously say that both camps could be, or should be, supported even though they both represent huge segments of "the people." And here is the heart of the matter.

Just because a few dozen, a few hundred, or even a few thousand people take to the streets does not automatically mean that they and their demands are sacrosanct, and we must all bow down to them. Every protest movement must be judged on its merit and not on the worship of "the crowd." Who are the protesters? Which segment of "the people" do they come from? What percentage do they claim to represent? Who are the leaders of this movement (And there always are leaders)? What is their background? Their educational background, their work background and, most importantly, their ideological background? Has any of the leaders been trained or indoctrinated by an agency or organization that represents the will of another government? One which may not necessarily have the best interests of "the people" who are out in the streets in mind?

And, most importantly, what are the stated goals of the movement? The less precise, fuzzy and feel-good the goals are, the more rooted in empty slogans and catchphrases, the worse. If not even any of the leaders can articulate anything beyond "democracy" and "freedom," watch out. If the country, or at least the region that it lies in, has been the target of coups (soft or hard) or repeated destabilization attempts over the course of years and decades at the hands of U.S./Atlanticist imperialism and the movement says not a single word about this, watch out. If the movement receives very favorable press in the U.S., U.K., France, Belgium and other seats of global power and hegemony, watch out.

And worst of all are the movements that have dual messaging. One set of grievances and demands for the international audience usually relayed in English-language signs, pamphlets, websites, blogs and social media accounts, and another set of grievances and demands for the home crowd, always related almost entirely in the local language.

What I'm talking about here, without having named it up til this point, is the "color revolution" phenomenon as outlined by its chief theorist, Gene Sharp:

...one feature of Sharp's writing is in its manipulative use of vague and undefined terms such as 'Democracy', 'Dictatorship', and 'Freedom'. The tactic relies on a broader psychological operation (psyop) of using mass media (and before this, Radio Free Europe, et al.) to introduce these terms into popular consciousness as relating to 'the good.' While both academics and activists to this day have failed to find concretely consensus on the specific meaning and definition of the above-undefined terms, the 'Sharp Tactic' cynically relies on the popularized meanings of them. The meanings become notional, inferred, memetic, and simplistic in the Orwellian sense.

Once the 'meme' of 'Freedom and Democracy' takes hold on the household level in the targeted nation-state or region as 'the good', participants are imbued with the sense of both mission and moral superiority in their activities. In a manner similar to the Al Qaeda model, some of the leadership with direct connections to Washington Axis are (at least partially) aware of the grander scheme, while most organizers and activists believe that their party/network/organization and activities are home grown and not the product of imperial intrigue.

One thing that the Color "Revolutionaries" never seem to be in short supply of is patience and persistence. For every Georgia or Serbia, where they succeed the first time out, there is Russia, Belarus, Iran, Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Zimbabwe, places where they have tried, time and again, and failed, but keep at it. In the case of Brazil and Venezuela, at least, they have now almost succeeded after repeated failures.

This what the pan-national resistance to the Atlanticist bloc is facing. In this struggle, it's not numbers that matter when it comes to legitimacy, it's whether a particular movement genuinely serves the interests of the people and the nation that it claims to represent or not. Period. Nothing else, absolutely nothing else matters. And no amount of deification of "democracy," "freedom,"the people" or "the masses" changes that.

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