Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Violent flash mobs, how should we understand it?

What should we make of these swarms or flash mobs?

When you are living in a society that you perceive as being unjust, unfair, when you're unable to dream anymore about a brighter future, when you feel trapped within a cycle of poverty, when you perceive that the society you live in is not yours, what incentives do you have to preserve order, to respect the commons or the property of those that you associate with the higher casts? 

As the chasm between the haves and the have-nots deepens, the tension also increases. This tension was kept under control through psychological and physical means. We tell young people that destroying property or steeling is not good, and hope that they will voluntarily behave in a moral way, moral as defined by the establishment, camouflaging the systemic injustice. When that is not enough, when the pressure is too large, when the injustice becomes obvious, when people decide to act against the haves indiscriminately, "we" send in the "security" forces (security mostly for the rich, less for the poor). The problem is that current "security" systems were not designed for a coherent and well-coordinated mob, which is now awaken by alternative information sources. The traditional psychological and physical means of control are breaking down! 

The answer is NOT more brutal force, but a more just society. Social stability, as defined by the upper class, is not sustainable anymore for a large gap between the haves and the haves-not, because the classical means to sustain it are now inappropriate, ineffective. This is the multitude social revolution, the emancipation of the masses, a natural transition towards a more just society that plays on the unbalance of power in the favor of the multitude (see The multitude page on our website). The answer is to let the masses emancipate, to let them participate, to provide people with a sense of belonging, to provide them with real opportunities, to give them a reason to respect the commons and the property of others, because they feel that in doing so they help build a society for themselves. Otherwise people will passionately destroy the assets of those who they perceive as being part of the oppressing class, or participating in the oppressive system, if they are pushed to their limits, because they can. Yes, they can... and there is nothing in place to stop them! 

"the police are getting quite savvy in heading off these gatherings before they come to a head, they are routinely monitoring Internet websites, including in particular social networking sites..."

How much resources does the police have to play cat and mouse with the disenfranchised, jobless youth?

"Why they [violent flash mobs] happen? ...kids being bored and acting stupid"

Acting stupid? I don't think so... These kids realize a gap in the system, which they perceive as being unjust, unfair, and they exploit it very brilliantly. They collectively understand the power of social media to coordinate spontaneous actions that can overwhelm the "security" forces. These young people understand that the balance of power is shifting. Call that stupid...        

Swarm of flash mobs, or any other type of decentralized, spontaneous, and well-coordinated massive action are a reality. We saw them coming by analyzing the possibilities introduced by the new technology. They can target positive as well as negative action. The only effective way to reduce negative action is by giving people a reason not to engage in it. We cannot prevent it by force. The multitude is the power, and it will move in one direction or another depending on the signals it gets form the environment. A more just society will generate dynamically stable attractors characterized by positive action. 

See also the article on Pre-programmed mass movements on our website.           

London, England: "Just to show the rich people that we can do what we want..." video bellow. 

By AllOfUs