Crossposted because I think it’s an interesting take, but I don’t fully agree with the part about protests having no quantifiable goal.

Not all protests for Gaza were meant to gain engagement, many were organized to cause direct economic disruption to those that profit from the war, that is a goal.

https://www.a15action.com/

  • @theluddite@lemmy.ml
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    1 month ago

    Oh hey I wrote that lol.

    Not all protests for Gaza were meant to gain engagement, many were organized to cause direct economic disruption to those that profit from the war, that is a goal.

    I actually totally agree with you. I should’ve been more careful in the text to distinguish between those two very different kinds of actions. I actually really, really like things that disrupt those that profit, but those are not nearly as common as going to the local park or whatever. I might throw in a footnote to clarify.

  • poVoq
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    1 month ago

    I discussed the original text that this is a reaction to with a Brazilian who claims to be well connected to the original core cell that started the protests and they said that Bevin’s reading is a complete misinterpretation of what happened. I think some other Brazilian here on Lemmy also commented something similar.

    Personally I know a bit more about the protests in Egypt, and for these I would also but to a lesser extend say that Bevin’s description of them is very flawed. At the very least some of the people involved are on record stating that the “Twitter revolution” moniker is a complete western media fabrication and social media played only a very small role in organising the protests.

    • @theluddite@lemmy.ml
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      1 month ago

      That’s kind of a weird critique, because it’s actually consistent with the book. He spends a lot of time talking about how wildly different every person’s interpretation of the event is, and that’s kind of the problem. It’s part of why these movements are illegible to power. He’s very clear that this is his interpretation, based on his own contacts, experience, and extensive research, but that it’s not going to be the same as everyone else’s.

      Same is true with the moniker. Whether or not the people on the ground felt that way about it or not, that story, fabricated without input from those on the ground, is what ended up creating meaning out of the movement, at least insomuch as power is concerned. That’s like the core thesis of the book: The problem with that wave of protests was not being able to assert their own meaning over their actions. The meaning was created for them by people like western media, and they weren’t able to organize their own narrative, choose their own representatives, etc.

      edit to add: IIRC, he even specifically discusses how the different people in the core group of Brazilian organizers disagree on what happened.

      • poVoq
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        31 month ago

        I don’t think its wired to critique someone for having a widely different interpretation of what happened than multiple others that were directly involved and then taking this very peculiar subjective interpretation to make wide sweeping (and IMHO wrong) conclusions about what we should learn from it.

        My impression is that Bevin started out with a preconsived notion and then kinda made up a retrospective narrative of these protests to fit to that.

        Many of his conclusions as a result are so much besides the point that they are not even wrong.

        • @theluddite@lemmy.ml
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          1 month ago

          I don’t think its wired to critique someone for having a widely different interpretation of what happened than multiple others that were directly involved and then taking this very peculiar subjective interpretation to make wide sweeping (and IMHO wrong) conclusions about what we should learn from it.

          It is because that’s literally what the book is about. The book is addressing that very phenomenon as its core thesis. That’s exactly what he is talking about when he says that the protests are illegible. If someone says “people disagree a lot about what happened and that’s a problem” responding to that by saying “i disagree about what happened” isn’t really engaging with the argument.

          My impression is that Bevin started out with a preconsived notion and then kinda made up a retrospective narrative of these protests to fit to that.

          I’m sorry but I don’t think that anyone who has actually read the book in good faith can come to that conclusion.

          edit: added more explanation

          • poVoq
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            31 month ago

            Ok I guess I need to start from the basics 😒

            His core thesis is exactly what I meant with preconceived notion. These protests might have been illegible to him and government authorities, but that is exactly why they worked. The entire premise that protests need to be legible and that these protest failed to achieve what they set out to do is IMHO false.

            Maybe the Brazilian ones had a certain aspect of appealing to Rusoff, but from what I gathered most people involved in the core did not consider that aspect especially important and I suspect Bevin failed to understand their point and summarized it as “they didn’t know either” or something along those lines to fit it in his grand narrative of these protests failing somehow to articulate specific demands.

            Anyway, maybe I am wrong about the Brazilian protests, but the Egyptian (and Tunisian) ones certainly did not want to appeal to the dictators in power, they wanted to get rid of them, and that worked very well. Being illegible to the state apparatus was a successful tactic for them and they mostly used social media to spread disinformation to intentionally confuse the state apparatus. Bevin completely fails to see that and just parrots the western media narrative that social media was somehow instrumental in mobilizing the masses.

            Now you can argue that the successes of the protest in Egypt (and to a lesser extend Tunisia) where later rolled back, but that is muddling a multi year struggle with very different actors and a shift in public opinion. The initial protests where a resounding success in achieving what they set out to do, but later after the Muslim Brotherhood rose to power through democratic elections, many of the original urban liberal supporters turned back to the military as the lesser evil. In Tunesia it played out slightly different, but it is also wrong there to say that the initial protests failed to achieve what they set out to do.

            Similarly for Brazil I think Bevin is muddling the initial protests with ones that happened many months later and which ultimately helped Bolsenaro to be elected as the president. But that is a bit like how MLs like to muddle the original soviet revolution with the later brutal take-over by the Bolshevik.

            • @theluddite@lemmy.ml
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              31 month ago

              Yeah, again, I take pretty strong issue with your characterization of Bevins’s stance. Have you actually read the book? I think that this is an interesting and worthwhile discussion, but I also don’t want to go in circles if you haven’t…

              When he says that they’re illegible to state power, he doesn’t mean that they want to appeal to the people currently in power (and maybe this is a conflation that I accidentally invite in my own write-up). He means that they cannot participate in state power as an institutional apparatus, be it as reformists or revolutionaries.

              I get what you’re saying, and I agree with a lot of it (but not all of it), but you’re just not responding to an argument that Bevins makes, at least in how I read him. You are responding to one that many in western media did in fact make, and I agree with you in that context, but that was just not my reading of Bevins at all.

              • poVoq
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                31 month ago

                He means that they cannot participate in state power as an institutional apparatus, be it as reformists or revolutionaries.

                You realize how funny it is that you post this in an Anarchist community?

                Anyway, I do get that point by Bevin, but it is the typical false argument MLs like to make, which is why I stopped reading the book when it became clear that this is really all he has to say.

                • @theluddite@lemmy.ml
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                  1 month ago

                  I once again disagree with your characterization of the book.

                  You realize how funny it is that you post this in an Anarchist community?

                  That’s stupid. Anarchist revolutionary theory and historical practice are full of ideas that are perfectly compatible with this analysis, even if Bevins himself is clearly not an anarchist. There is no more legible act to the state than organized violence, for example.

                  I’m not sure why you’ve taken this unpleasant posture towards me. I’m genuinely here for a discussion, but this is my last response if you keep acting like I’m some sort of uncultured idiot that needs you “to start from the basics 😒”