Yes, It Is Bread We Fight For, But We Fight for Facebook Too

In the wake of Egypt's fizzled "Facebook Youth" strike -- it had been scheduled for April 6, the first anniversary of an uprising in the textile town of Mahalla al-Kobra -- Marc Lynch has some thoughts on the drawbacks of that particular medium in that particular context:

I have a hard time thinking of a communications technology more poorly suited for organizing high-risk political collective action than Facebook. Joining a group is perhaps the lowest-cost political activity imaginable, involving none of the commitment and dedication necessary to go out to a protest -- to say nothing of engaging in the hard work of organizing required for real political activity. For all their faults, the bloggers of Kefaya were already committed and often experienced political activists ready to pay a certain degree of costs for their activities. But people who joined Facebook groups? Not so much. Marginally raising the costs of participation, as authoritarian governments can easily do by selectively repressing a few members or beating up some protestors[, can scare such members away.] Its public nature makes it easy for the authorities to identify leaders to repress, or for provocateurs or spies to join up and see what's in the works. And finally, Facebook -- with its brief Twittery status updates and forum-ish discussion threads -- offers less of the 'public sphere' potential of blogs.

All true. That said, there's another, more prosaic reason Egyptian dissidents weren't able to replicate last year's Facebook-free rebellion. That revolt was basically a bread riot. And as the German Press Agency reports, in the year since then

the price of wheat -- of which Egypt imports 7.5 million tonnes a year, more than any other country in the world -- has dropped more than 57 per cent. Last week, Egypt's Ministry of Social Solidarity said the country had 2 million ton of grain stored, enough to last the country four months.

In other words, well-fed college kids were unwilling to take the same risks as hungry people with little to lose. That would have been true even if they'd organized themselves through channels more appropriate than Facebook and Twitter.

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  • Right Thinking People Everywhe||

    1. More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread users.
    2. Fully HALF of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households score below average on standardized tests.
    3. In the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; infant mortality rates were unacceptably high; many women died in childbirth; and diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever, and influenza ravaged whole nations
    4. More than 90 percent of violent crimes are committed within 24 hours of eating bread.
    5. Bread is made from a substance called "dough." It has been proven that as little as one pound of dough can be used to suffocate a mouse. The average North American eats more bread than that in one month!
    6. Primitive tribal societies that have no bread exhibit a low incidence of cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, and osteoporosis.
    7. Bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread and given only water to eat begged for bread after as little as two days.
    8. Bread is often a "gateway" food item, leading the user to "harder" items such as butter, jelly, peanut butter, and even cold cuts.
    9. Bread has been proven to absorb water. Since the human body is more than 90 percent water, it follows that eating bread could lead to your body being taken over by this absorptive food product, turning you into a soggy, gooey bread-pudding person.
    10. Newborn babies can choke on bread.
    11. Bread is baked at temperatures as high as 240 degrees Celsius!
    That kind of heat can kill an adult in less than one minute.
    12. Most bread eaters are utterly unable to distinguish between significant scientific fact and meaningless statistical babbling.

    In light of these frightening statistics, we propose the following bread restrictions:

    1. No sale of bread to minors
    2. A nationwide "Just Say No To Toast" campaign, complete celebrity TV spots and bumper stickers.
    3. A 300 percent federal tax on all bread to pay for all the societal ills we might associate with bread.
    4. No animal or human images, nor any primary colors (which may appeal to children) may be used to promote bread usage.
    5. The establishment of "Bread-free" zones around schools.

  • High Every Body||

    RTPE,

    Change "bread" to glueton(sp?) mass and you could have the next DHMO.

  • Paul||

    Gluten, High Every Body.

  • Paul||

    So, what is this Facebook thingy all the young people are talking about?

  • ||

    Egypt's Ministry of Social Solidarity

    Wow, is that ever an Orwellian-sounding name -- though if they wanted to go for the full Newspeak flavor, "Minisoc" or "Minisol" would capture it better.

  • High Every Body||

    Paul,

    Thank you.

    "Glutens are used by the Department of Defense in illegal covert operations."

  • Paul||

    Egypt's Ministry of Social Solidarity

    Shhh, let's not give Obama any ideas.

  • jtuf||

    In other words, well-fed college kids were unwilling to take the same risks as hungry people with little to lose. That would have been true even if they'd organized themselves through channels more appropriate than Facebook and Twitter.



    Quite true. I'll add another rule of thumb to that. The number of people willing to participate in a political event will be directly proportional to the personal benefits those people receive from the event and indirectly proportional to the personal risks those people will endure because of the event. You can find individuals performing random acts of kindness, but they tend to cancel each other out, making the collective (any collective) a brute.

  • bixia||

  • orangecat||

    Wow, is that ever an Orwellian-sounding name -- though if they wanted to go for the full Newspeak flavor, "Minisoc" or "Minisol" would capture it better.
    http://www.sportsjerseysshop.com/

  • Colts jersey||

    Truth needs no colour; beauty , no pencil.

  • hervel leger dress||

    Good

  • nfl jerseys||

    great post.

  • nfl jerseys||

    ok,good

  • ||

    Gluten, High Every Body. See this collection of funny Facebook Status .

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