Bravo the fearless Russians who risked frost bitten toes to send a clear message to Putin: “not welcome for re-election.” Their courage is another testament to the human spirit, the flame of which, modern times shows to be alive and well. Arab Spring, Russian Spring, it don’t matter – we shall not go quietly into this dark night. F*!$ all yall dictators.
Alas, if only it was so easy. If all it took to transform your government was a bunch of people in the streets, we’d have fixed things in America by now. Oh yeah, that’s right, didn’t we have something of a people’s movement too? I think it was called Occupy Wallstreet. It failed.
The post-mortem on Occupy Wallstreet looks pretty clear – not enough direction. The movement failed to identify it’s primary demands in ways that could be considered by conventional political discourse. “Down with the 1%” doesn’t cut it. Why not try something like “increase capital gains taxes” next time? If they had focused on some specific policy recommendations which most of the country could get behind, they wouldn’t have scared people off with their reactionary fervor. “Those guys suck” is not a rational argument. “Those guys need to pay more” is trending in the right direction. Turns out the whole living in camps thing isn’t really conducive to civilization either.
To their credit – the russians seem pretty clear about their “one demand.” Putin should not run for reelection – no one wants his blatantly dictatorial ass back on the throne. So actually, they’re off to a better start than those stateside. Time for the second hurdle, what are you proposing as an alternative? And can you get people to march for and back that alternative? The majority of Russians might agree that Putin should not be reelected, but can they agree on another candidate?
Unless the russian movement becomes pro someone or something rather than just anti, it will face the same inevitable defeat as Occupy Wallstreet. If that weren’t enough, a glance towards Egypt should remind us all that there are always more heads to guillotine, better results require more constructive thinking.