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By Scott Radnitz

Mass mobilization is one of the so much dramatic and encouraging forces for political switch. while usual electorate take to the streets in huge numbers, they could undermine or even topple undemocratic governments, because the contemporary wave of peaceable uprisings in numerous postcommunist states has proven. despite the fact that, research into how protests are geared up can occasionally demonstrate that the origins and objective of "people power" aren't as they seem at the floor. specifically, protest can be utilized as an device of elite actors to develop their very own pursuits instead of these of the masses.

Weapons of the Wealthy specializes in the zone of post-Soviet critical Asia to enquire the reasons of elite-led protest. In nondemocratic states, fiscal and political possibilities can provide upward push to elites who're self reliant of the regime, but susceptible to expropriation and harassment from above. In stipulations of political uncertainty, elites have an incentive to domesticate aid in neighborhood groups, which elites can then wield as a "weapon" opposed to a predatory regime. Scott Radnitz builds on his in-depth fieldwork and research of the spatial distribution of protests to illustrate how Kyrgyzstan's post-independence improvement laid the foundation for elite-led mobilization, while Uzbekistan's did not.

Elites usually have the wherewithal and the incentive to set off protests, as is borne out via Radnitz's multiple hundred interviews with those that participated in, saw, or refrained from protests. Even Kyrgyzstan's 2005 "Tulip Revolution," which caused the 1st peaceable switch of strength in primary Asia due to the fact independence, can be understood as a strategic motion of elites instead of as an expression of the preferred will. This interpretation is helping account for the undemocratic nature of the successor govt and the 2010 rebellion that toppled it. It additionally serves as a caution for students to seem significantly at bottom-up political change.

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Brockett, “The Structure of Political Opportunities and Peasant Mobilization in Central America,” Comparative Politics 23, no. 3 (1991): 253–74; Sidney Tarrow, “State and Opportunities: The Political Structuring of Social Movements,” in Comparative Perspectives on Social Movements, ed. Doug McAdam, John D. McCarthy, Mayer D. Zald (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996). 57 The Mass Mobilization Infrastructure The two strategies that autonomous elites adopt in uncertain institutional environments—creating a social support base and developing ties with other autonomous elites—combine to create a set of relationships that in some ways mimics, but also presents a challenge to, the state.

Nodes that are not directly connected must rely on another broker to link them together, giving that broker disproportionate influence. But control by the nodes only goes so far. 65 Finally, the structure can be modified to model different relationships, while retaining the same dynamics, in the process of mobilization. For example, where units other than communities, such as trade unions or churches, are a viable structure for collective action, they can substitute for communities in the diagram and scale up through a vehicle other than autonomous elites.

The state hovers over the diagram because it is detached from both communities (depicted as small ovals) and autonomous elites (depicted as nodes). Embedded, autonomous elites play the critical role of holding the structure together, as they maintain ties to communities and to one another, represented by vertical lines and horizontal arcs, respectively. Embedded elites are responsible for activating its various parts to bring about mass mobilization. This model, as a conceptual tool, naturally represents some simplifications of reality.

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