#Iranelection and Chicago, 1968: the revolution is being televised (this time)

What an amazing spectacle, because of the web the largest political show ever: actual revolutionary battles that the people(the crowd, the mob, the mass of us, this time mediated by the web) are, so far, winning.

Clay Shirkey (the author of Here Comes Everybody) meets the barricades. “Here we come!” the mob of Iranians seem to say in this video, picking up rocks to fling at the badly outnumbered cops. The cops all run; the crowd cheers, the youtube post says “funny.” But Shirkey’s point is that the crowd, left on its own (and not oppressed off the streets by state apparati–cops in night sticks here, exploding tear gas and bullets elsewhere) can organize and take basic actions relatively well.

But what about the complex action of rebelling and not getting killed? So far they seem less succssful.

The #iranelection phenomenon also shows the way that civilizations in bloom express exuberance through youth, who rise up and rail against “the man” in each; these young people are the soldiers of social progress in each venue–Paris, 1848; Prague, 1968; Chicago, 1968; Tienanmen Square, 1989; and now Tehran, 2009.

The full revolution narrative hasn’t finished playing out: where is the counter-coup of the state (usually in the form of superior weapons)? What can rocks do against tanks?

Or think back to what happened almost forty summers ago in this town, Chicago, August, 1968. The young idealists convened to do the American thing, to peaceably gather and discuss ideas of how to reorginize the state for the common good. But the spokespeople were yippies and hence scary. The state warned the protesters not to do it. Parade permits and park use permits were denied. The kids got their back up, testosterone in full surge, this time to create a festival of “peace, love, light” etc.

In Chicago came the world’s firt mediated revolution. “The Whole world is watching!” they screamed. and still the state, in snazzy baby blue shirts that televised well, played their oppressive part smartly.Oh, for a new script, and not just a new view of the drama!

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