Social Movements and the New State: The Fate of Pro-Democracy Organizations When Democracy Is Won

Social Movements and the New State: The Fate of Pro-Democracy Organizations When Democracy Is Won

Social Movements and the New State: The Fate of Pro-Democracy Organizations When Democracy Is Won

Social Movements and the New State: The Fate of Pro-Democracy Organizations When Democracy Is Won

Synopsis

The world's democracies cheered as the social movements of the Arab Spring ended the reigns of longstanding dictators and ushered in the possibility of democracy. Yet these unique transitions also fit into a broader pattern of democratic breakthroughs around the globe, where political leaders emerge from the pro-democracy movement that helped affect change. In Social Movements and the New State, Brian Grodsky examines the relationships between new political elites and the civil society organizations that brought them to power in three culturally and geographically disparate countries- Poland, South Africa, and Georgia.

This book argues that the identities and personal networks developed during the struggle provide "movement activists" with opportunities to influence minor issues, but that new and differing institutional pressures create schisms on broader policy that can turn prior bonds into a liability rather than an asset. Drawing on media analyses and more than 150 elite interviews, Grodsky offers a rare empirical assessment of the degree to which social movement organizations shape activists' beliefs and actions over the long term.

Excerpt

It was a show of epic proportions: Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians in early 2011 took to the streets of Cairo, demanding an end to strongman Hosni Mubarak’s thirty-year grip on power. They followed the newest pro-democracy, social-movement script almost to the letter: Motivated by their own mix of economic and political grievances and inspired by events next door, the mostly youthful protesters turned their grumbling into action that attracted the participation of longtime regime opponents, who sometimes adopted the lead role. the sparks of the Arab Spring were struck in Tunisia, but its fires roared through Egypt before singeing other countries in the region. From the news satellites orbiting overhead, the characteristic order of the Middle East gave way to immense and chaotic billows of smoke. in both Tunisia and Egypt the resolution occurred shockingly fast; the movements were victorious.

But on the ground, in Egypt’s Tahrir Square, the picture was anything but clear. in the immediate aftermath of victory some activists decided it was time to take to the newly opened political stage in order to institutionalize all that the movement had stood for. “We made the Republic of Tahrir,” said one youth leader who had quit his job on the stock exchange to enter the political arena. “Now let us make Egypt” (Worth 2011). Others lingered on the square, wondering whether it was really time to throw away the signs they had hastily crafted when the . . .

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