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What have @s learned from the recent uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East in relation to theory and strategy?

+3 votes
asked May 13, 2011 by AutumnLeavesCascade (9,010 points)
I have thoughts on this that have been percolating for some time. they are coming togehter but aren't fully here yet. Will do my best to say my piece in the next couple days, as I think this is a good question.

1 Answer

+2 votes
I have a much longer (too long for an answer here!) take on this, but the basic points as I've assesed them boil down to the following:

1.    Individual spontaneous action can spark widespread revolt. One person's suicide essentially sparked a powder keg.

2.    People not accustomed to militant street fighting are quick learners. In Egypt, Libya and elsewhere, people quickly figured out how to both defend and attack, with varying degrees of success.

3.    Strict non-violence doesn’t always work. (Do I need to go into any further detail here?)

4.    A revolution in half measures is not a revolution but a rearranging of the deck chairs. Egypt being a good example. The military is still in power, and elections are now unlikely to happen until 2013 or 2014 (not that elections are desirable either from an anarchist perspective, but that only further illustrates the point).

5.    In the absence of power, people will organize to meet their needs autonomously and without leaders. This seems to always astonish both politicians and the media, who will both do their best to trivialize or dismiss such...

6.    The state media outside of an autonomous zone will always describe self organization as a problem needing to be fixed as opposed to a strength.

7.    We need to have control of our sources of food and water, or we will be forced to depend on outside support which will seek to shape and direct the nature of our struggle. In Libya, the need for humanitarian aid was, to some degree at least, used as leverage to reinstate a power structure.

8.    Would-be leaders will always step in to grasp control. If there are no prominent would-be leaders grasping at the reigns, the western powers will appoint one to you.

Most of the conclusions I drew were not, for most anarchists, jaw dropping revelations, but rather the same things that a careful reading of the Russian, Mexican and Spanish revolutions, the economic collapse in Argentina, or even the anti-globalization movement would elicit, but it seems as if, since we keep bumping up against these conclusions, there is still more to be done around them.
answered Oct 9, 2011 by ingrate (19,590 points)
Thank you for your answer!!!! Not only did you offer great observations, but you offered them succinctly and put in easily digestible ideas rather than blocks of texts. Double upvote if it was possible.