Author Archives: Mobilizing Ideas

New Documentary Film – The Activists: War, Peace, and Politics in the Streets

Bullfrog Films has released a new educational documentary film, titled The Activists, which may be of interest to many of the readers of Mobilizing Ideas. Michael T. Heaney, author of Party in the Street: The Antiwar Movement and the Democratic Party after 9/11 (Cambridge 2015), is among the producers of the project, along with Melody Shemtov and Marco Roldán. The film is priced for purchase by libraries. Discounts are available for community groups or to rent the film. Heaney is available to Skype to your classroom or community group if you show the film. More information is available here: http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/acts.html

Synopsis

Activists and activism have long been a part of the struggle for peace and justice in American politics and society. Activists have fought battles for civil rights, voter enfranchisement, collective bargaining, and an end to wars. While these struggles have sometimes yielded significant victories, and at other times resulted in disappointing defeats, activism has always been driven by ordinary people who give freely of their time and resources to try to bring about their visions for a new world. However, activists – as well how they fit into the political process – are often overlooked or misunderstood by their fellow citizens. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Daily Disruption

The Arab Spring Sixth Years On: Part 2

Six years ago, after starting with the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, a wave of protests in the Arabian Middle East toppled several governments and gave voice to a new generation of activists. Mobilizing Ideas marks this anniversary with a dialogue entitled, “Movement Trajectories: The Arab Spring Six Years On.” For a second month we ask our contributors to consider the pathways of movements after the period of mass mobilization, specifically looking at the countries of the Arab Spring.

Many thanks to our fantastic group of contributors.

Rauf Arif, Texas Tech University (essay)
Dana M. Moss, University of Pittsburgh (essay)
Daniel Ritter, Stockholm University (essay)

Editors in Chief,
Grace Yukich, David Ortiz, Rory McVeigh, Guillermo Trejo

Leave a comment

Filed under Essay Dialogues, The Arab Spring Six Years Later

On the Prospects of a Second Arab Spring

By Daniel Ritter

In her recent book, Donatella della Porta explores the often disappointing outcomes of democracy-seeking social movements by asking “where did the revolution go?” The task she sets for herself is similar to the one bestowed upon the participants of this exchange, namely “to consider the pathways of movements after the period of mass mobilization.” In other words, what became of the large crowds that epitomized the 2011 wave of uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, and, perhaps more importantly, are we likely to see them again anytime soon? Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Essay Dialogues, The Arab Spring Six Years Later

V for Vendetta: Recalling Memories of Arab Spring in the Context of Collective Memory

By Rauf Arif

The 2011 political uprisings in the Middle East, frequently referred to as the “Arab Spring,” that had shaken several countries in the Muslim World, are being referred to as iconic collective memory of our recent past as these historical events created unstoppable ripples in the stagnant political culture of the Arab region. As commonly believed, these political uprisings started from Tunisia in late 2010, when a Tunisian street vendor, Mohammad Bouazizi, doused himself with gasoline and self-immolated in protest against poor economic conditions and police brutality (Arif 2014; Harb 2011; Mir 2011). This incident paved the way for online and offline political protests in 18 Arab countries in North Africa and the Middle East (Ghannam 2011), and points toward a new era of social movements and protests in the digital age. While looking back at what happened six years ago in the Muslim majority countries’ landscape, through this short essay, I would like to highlight an important theoretical paradigm of “collective memory,” which majority of mass media scholars failed to recognize while trying to make sense of the unprecedented collective action in the Arab region. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Essay Dialogues, The Arab Spring Six Years Later

The Arab Spring Six Years On

Six years ago, after starting with the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, a wave of protests in the Arabian Middle East toppled several governments and gave voice to a new generation of activists. Mobilizing Ideas marks this anniversary with a dialogue entitled, “Movement Trajectories: The Arab Spring Six Years On.” We ask our contributors to consider the pathways of movements after the period of mass mobilization, specifically looking at the countries of the Arab Spring.

Many thanks to our fantastic group of contributors.

James M. Dorsey, Nanyang Technological University (essay)
Charles Kurzman, University of North Carolina (essay)
Anne PriceHelen RizzoChelsea MartyKatherine Meyer (essay)
Atef Said, University of Illinois-Chicago, (essay)

Editors in Chief,
Grace Yukich, David Ortiz, Rory McVeigh, Guillermo Trejo

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Was the Arab Spring Worth It?

By Charles Kurzman

You risked your life for freedom, dignity, justice, and equality. You took days and weeks from other responsibilities – from your family, your school, your work — in order to serve your nation. You convinced yourself that you were building a better future. Now you ask yourself, was it worth it? Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under The Arab Spring Six Years Later

Three Lessons For Social Movement Research From the Egyptian Revolution

By Atef Said

Jack Goldstone famously argued that revolutions are like earthquakes: unpredictable. Once an earthquake happens, however, we study it to learn something new (Goldstone 1991: 59, 149). In the same vein, sociologists Mohamed Bamyeh and Sari Hanafi recently stated “Revolutions, therefore, are opportunities to learn something new. The worst analytical insult to a revolution is to use it as an opportunity to apply mechanically an existing theory or model.” (Bamyeh and Hanafi 2015: 343) What can we learn from the Arab Spring today, 6 years later? A general Google search brings up 11,700,000 entries that roughly have some version of “Lessons from the Arab spring” in the title. These lessons/conclusions vary from blaming some actors (such as the political Islamists, or the “revolutionary youth”) or forces of the old regimes (such as the military or the security apparatuses), or the elite (intellectual or the political elite, which varies from liberal, nationalists to Marxist leftists) or discussing the problem of a lack of organization or leadership. And there is a multitude of lessons to be learned, depending on the perspective of the scholar or observer. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under The Arab Spring Six Years Later