In the 21C, where liberal democracies are lauded like the sainted bodies of yesteryear, we remain entranced by people power. Social media lights up, when people take to the streets in support of their cause. We have seen it in the west and, more recently, in places like Egypt and Tunisia. People power can bring down governments, as was the case in the Philippines in 1986, with Corazon Aquino ousting long-time dictator Ferdinand Marcos. People power perennials include: The Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia; the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon in 2005; and the Saffron revolution in Burma in 2007.
Democratic Reforms Are Exciting to Witness
The resulting political organisations and regimes in these countries, may not be the perfect outcome that students of democracy are looking for, but they are a part of the process. When citizens come together to overthrow tyranny it is always an inspiring event. Democratic reform is exciting to witness, but it is never the final piece in the puzzle. We only have to look at the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States to understand that everything is always a work in progress. The Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia began a wave of democratic reform movements throughout the region.
Third World Despots Maintained by First World Powers
Catering for the masses is never an easy task. Too many despots have been maintained in their positions by first world powers seeking stability in the region. Witness Trump and the Saudi Arabia situation right now in 2018. A state sanctioned murder of a dissident Saudi journalist by the Saudi Prince and his regime is accepted by the American president. Keeping a friend in a region full of enemies is more important to the Americans than the life of a dissident. Right and wrong are no longer moral points on the compass, when it comes to international affairs, apparently. They have not been for a very long time in fact.
Feeding the Mob
People power perennials include feeding the masses with desirable fare. Great “armies march on their stomachs”, according to Oxford Reference it has been attributed to both Napoleon and Frederick the great. See for yourself a fine Sydney caterer with a menu for just about every occasion. Catering for the mob is always easier if you have something delicious to offer them. Victories are always sweeter with a celebratory repast to accompany the shared enjoyment of the occasion. Viva la revolution.