I wish I could remember where I did read these stats. Russia under the Tsar 1914-1917…had 180 million peasants and workers who did not rise. The Communist Party had ‘only’ 23000 members and ruled for 80 years. How come? Something to learn?
Yes, in my world of creating social movements powered by Viral Change™ it is actually quite simple: organization. Call it ‘apparatus’ or any other thing. I am not making moral judgments. We all know how those years went and how they ended, but the point is that there was an organization behind.
In Viral Change™ we call that the Mobilizing Platform which provides the difference between a social movement (SM) and a social movement organization (SMO). Not all SMs are SMOs.
We see this now everywhere where the language of social movements has been been reclaimed by both organizational change and macro-social change, let alone political platforms. Language is the easiest thing to reclaim. It’s usually free, no barriers to entry.
People with no structured mobilizing platform talk of grassroots but it is simply un-canalized noise at a scale. They talk about ‘bottom up’ but they mean more workshops at the bottom of the organization. They talk about champions and ambassadors but these are passionate volunteers often shooting in any direction.
Rebels need a cause and a structure. A structure does not need millions of people. No structure, no social movement organization. No social movement organization, the mobilization will be short lived, inside the organization and in the outside world.
Most large scale mobilization of people fade not because they lack vision or goals but because there is no mechanism of sustainability in place. No wonder one of the co-founders of ‘Occupy Wall Street’, Micah White, wrote a book entitled ‘The end of protest’.
He knows. The Tsars didn’t. The Communist Party perhaps invented it.
So what is in a platform?
That is tomorrow.