This book focuses on the patterns of radical mass forms of social protest and the technologies for managing these forms of protest in the political struggle.
Radical mass forms of social protest (RMFSP) include a whole spectrum of social protests and opposition in society, starting from mass anti-government protests leading to clashes with the forces of law and order, and ending in civil wars, as well as including uprisings, rebellions and revolutions. The identifying sign of this phenomenon is a violent confrontation in society; the classifying feature is the degree of intensity of such a confrontation. The key here is a different qualitative psychological state of protest, since the protesters are ready to take a huge risk to life and health, and loss of freedom when defending their demands. The identifying characteristic and fundamentally different quality, distinguishing radical mass forms of social protest from other forms, allows us to argue that all manifestations of this form of social protest are a single phenomenon, that leads to inevitable conditions. The phenomenon necessarily carries the patterns of emergence, development and disappearance common to each ma¬ni¬festation. First of all, about the reasons, relationships of cause and effect, an algorithm (movement, stages), motivational levers, social composition, ideology, etc. and also the general principles of use of this phenomenon in definite purposes.
This book is a collection of conclusions of a number of studies conducted by the author over 10 years.
To assess the patterns of the social protest that the author identifies in a separate form — RMFSP — the author conducted a study of a number of historical examples. The end of the research was an analysis of modern events.
The first block consists of examples of radical mass forms of social protest in the revolution in Russia, 1905–1922, to which the author devoted a separate book. A separate study (which led to the emergence of two independent books) was the study of radical mass forms of social protest in Germany during the period 1918–1932. The third block of significant historical examples was the events of the Cuban Revolution of the mid-20th century.
The author devoted a separate direction of research to revolutions as a socio-political phenomenon. An analysis of more than 60 revolutions and several dozen examples close to revolutions, and a number of countries that avoided this social phenomenon, made it possible not only to draw conclusions about this phenomenon of Modern and Contemporary history, but also to obtain conclusions on the laws of RMSFP as part of the vast majority of revolutions.
Colour revolutions (which include the so-called events of the “Arab Spring”) quickly broke into our lives, and like any new phenomenon, forced to talk about themselves, write, make films and, of course, make the first attempts at scientific study. In the colour revolutions it is customary to see a mass protest and a change of power, for example: in Serbia (2001), Georgia (2003), Ukraine (2004 and 2014), Kyrgyzstan (2005). In this series there are failed attempts with a similar scenario: Belarus (2006), Armenia (2008), Russia (2012). The name “Arab spring” was given to events in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East during December 2010 – February 2011. Mass protest actions took place in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Algeria, Jordan, Morocco and Oman (insignificant protest actions took place in Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Djibouti and Western Sahara). As a result, regime change occurred in three states: Tunisia, Egypt and Libya — in Libya and Syria, protest movements progressed into a civil war.
The author devoted a significant number of works to the analysis of colour revolutions and events of the Arab Spring.
Some studies were devoted to the contemporary manifestations of radical mass forms of social protest in developed countries: the events in Germany in 2017, USA in 2014, 2017 and 2020, in England in 2010 and 2011, and the contemporary Russian political protest, which often goes according to the laws of the RMFSP of colour revolutions.
Thus, all significant manifestations of RMSFP from the peasant wars of the 15th century to modern events were taken as material for analysis.
The analysis aimed to compare the same phenomenon in a broad historical context, in terms of:
1) the emergence, development and completion of RMFSP,
2) the social basis of these protest manifestations,
3) their ideological base,
4) socio-psychological attitudes towards the legitimacy of the current government and protest against it, and the legitimacy of the new government,
5) technologies for managing RMFSP for political purposes from the point of view of:
a) the formed values and opportunities for propaganda,
b) the characteristics of the personalities of protest leaders and the problems of charisma and the personal factor,
c) and the use of factors such as the “external factor” (influence of foreign countries), the “geographical factor” (capital-periphery), the “army factor” (opposition to the possibility of using force measures by political authorities).
Regularly occurring similar events and actions are laws in the course of RMFSP and technologies for managing them, discrepancies — variability or events and actions that were exceptional in nature.
Eduard E. Shults
PhD in History. Head of Communication Technologies Department, associate professor, Moscow State Linguistic University; associate professor, Department of Middle Ages and Modern History of Russia, Moscow Region State University. He is the author of 10 books and nearly 100 research articles. His primary research interests are revolutions, their history, regularity, patterns and natural laws, theory of revolutions, patterns and technologies of radical mass forms of social protest.