The “colorless” protests in Russia: mixed messages and an uncertain future
This book analyzes social movements across a range of countries in the non-Western world: Bosnia, Brazil, Egypt, India, Iran, Palestine, Russia, Syria, Turkey and Ukraine in the period 2008 to 2016. The individual case studies investigate how political and social goals are framed nationally and globally, and the types of mobilization strategies used to pursue them. The studies also assess how, in the age of transnationalism, the idea of participatory democracy produces new collective-action frames and mass-mobilization strategies.
The book challenges the view that most social movements unequivocally seek to achieve higher levels of democratization. Instead, the authors argue that protesters across different movements advocate more involved forms of citizen participation, since passive representation through liberal democratic institutions fails to address mass grievances and demands for accountability in many countries.
In India, anti-corruption mass protests began in April 2011 against various aspects of corruption such as kleptocracy, electoral fraud and black money. The protestors demanded the enactment of a strong legislation and enforcement against perceived political corruption. The protestors used non-violent repertoires of civil disobedience such as hunger strikes, marches, and rallies. They used social media to organise, communicate, and spread their message. Initially non-partisan to politics, the mobilisations fought for the Jan Lokpal Bill (introduced in parliament in 2011). Later, the core activist group split into two and one group formed a political party called Aam Aadmi Party (common man’s party). It won the Delhi legislative assembly polls and formed the government. The Lokpal and Lokayukt Act (or the Lokpal Act) was enacted in 2013. This was a major success of the mobilisations. Bangladesh won independence from Pakistan through a bloody war in 1971. During the war, the Pakistan army violated human rights and conducted genocide on a large scale. In 2009, the ruling Awami League government formed an International Crime Tribunal to put alleged war criminals to trial. In 2010, the Tribunal delivered its first indictment against groups considered enemy ‘collaborators’ and ‘traitors’ (Razakars, Al Badr, and Al Sham). But the indictments divided the country into seculars (who embraced the Bangladeshi identity, demanded capital punishment for war criminals, and found the indictments too lenient) and Islamic hardliners (who nursed their severed links with Pakistan and tried to save the war criminals). In February 2013, massive public protests started in the Shahbag public square to demand capital punishment for war crime convict Abdul Quader Mollah and a ban against the radical Islamist group Jamat-e-Islami. Secular activists used non-violent repertoires and mobilised people through social media and blogs. Though the hardliners murdered many activists, the secular protests were successful to some extent, as many of the convicted were given capital punishment. In both cases, a ‘protest public’ emerged. Though not organised through any civil society organisation or social movement, they successfully brought about sociopolitical transformations, policy shifts, and legal transformation. These protest 2 participants were mostly youth, and used only non-violent repertoires, even though the opposition used massive violence (mainly in case of Shahbag). These South Asian protests were influenced by Occupy Wall Street and Arab Spring, but were located between the local and global. They were influenced by global protest cycles, but raised national identity, consciousness, and conscience as a public issue, and demanded direct participation in national policy formulations. There were divergences also. In India, protests led to a party being formed (the party formed a government), and changes in the law, after which the movement petered out. In Bangladesh, the Shahbag protests started a spiral of counter-violence, radicalisation, and ‘terrorist’ attacks that engulfed society. This paper will analyse the ‘protest public’ in these two cases using an analytical framework derived from the theory of public (Habermas 1989; Fraser 1990) and link it to the notions of postcolonial society and private/public difference in South Asia (Chatterjee 1993 and Chakrabarty 1999).
Despite the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 and the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, there has been limited devolution of powers and gram sabhas have remained largely powerless. However, the movement to save Hasdeo Arand forests used these legislative provisions as an advocacy tool to not only highlight the regional challenges but also strive for a greater role of gram sabhas in central- and state-level policy legislating processes. It showcases the potential, as well as limits, of harnessing local self-governance institutions to push the boundaries of the provisions of these acts.
In the late 2000s, a number of analysts were optimistic about Brazil’s future. Their expectant analyses did not bear out, however, as a political and economic crisis developed just as Brazil was gearing up to host two mega-events, the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016. This paper has two aims. The first is to deepen our understanding of the crisis through examining one of the foremost social actors to emerge in this period: the Landless Workers’ Movement (Movimento de Trabalhadores Sem-Teto, MTST). The second is to use this case to consider the potential for the sociology of critical capacity—a field of theory that emerged out of the Political and Moral Sociology Research Group in Paris in the 1980s—to contribute to theorising the ‘justification work’ of movements and protest publics.
In this paper, the author tries to observe the buildup and convergence of the varying catergories of the social organizations with different categories of the social organizations with divergence of the agendas that lock-stepped their logistics and energy to work for the meta-narrative "fight against corruption", a nationwide protest that started in the beginning of the 2011 and remained active untill April 2013. This paper further analyzes the constituent of the collective expression of the outrage and the vigil of the common citizens in India during this entire process.
Despite the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 and the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of the Forest Rights) Act, 2006, there has been limited devolution of powers and gram. However, the movement to save Hasdeo Arand hospitals used these legislative provisions as an advocacy tool to the central and state-level policy legislating processes. It showscases the potential, as well as the limits, of harnessing local self-governance institutions.
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