Yet as revolutionary potential builds in breakthrough

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Yet as revolutionary potential builds in breakthrough venues, “irregular” communities of dissent (like the mothers, business persons, and cab/truck drivers in the earlier example) in- creasingly test the political waters, some for the first time, driven by exasperation and the cour- age that comes with growing numbers of disgruntled associates. In successful breakthroughs, these interests were swept into mass movement politics, frequently organized by less experi- enced civic entrepreneurs rather than civic professionals. But the lowest common denominator politics of mass mobilization that attracted wide swaths of public support among the CDDRL case studies came at the expense of inaction on the particular issues that galvanized these micropublics in the first place. As revolutionary potential builds in breakthrough venues, “irregular” communities of dissent increasingly test the political waters, some for the first time.
35 DEMOCRATIC BREAKTHROUGHS: THE INGREDIENTS OF SUCCESSFUL REVOLTS One implication for field implementation from these data, then, is that early intervention with informal groups makes it possible to address concrete grievances, create linkages to civic professionals, and to build support for principles like advocacy, accountability, and mass move- ment politics in the process. In truth, private foundations may have an easier job of providing support for such emergent civicism. However, there is little reason why governmental donors should not also be able to establish funding streams that also support such informal groups in an entrepreneurial fashion. Another implication from the data is that diffusion helped mitigate the consequences of external influences that were not necessarily synchronized with local political, social, legal, and economic contexts. Where regional activists were vectors of diffusion, as in Ukraine, Ser- bia, and Chile, local activists felt outside assistance to be particularly relevant and credible. In these instances, regional activists were instrumental in encouraging domestic oppositions to organize both horizontally through homogenous social strata and vertically into elite and less privileged classes. They also assisted civic actors as they “pushed” their political oppositions together and weighed the merits and drawbacks of confrontational versus nonadversarial tac- tics to challenge regimes. Donors generally excelled at one aspect of providing donor support in breakthrough ven- ues. They remained backstage. Most local prodemocracy activists were careful to cultivate a homegrown character to their initiatives, even when many were receiving significant support from foreign sources. Donors generally acquiesced in this, understanding that higher-profile assistance might compromise a local partner’s legal status, endanger their safety, or plummet their popularity with the public. Social movements like OTPOR in Serbia and PORA in Ukraine were particularly careful to appear native despite the fact that they received the finan- cial resources that enabled their spectacular growth from abroad. They understood that foreign

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