Monday, October 22, 2007

BOOK/CFP- Mapping the Color Revolutions

Distrib. by: Central-Eurasia-L - Announcement List for Central Eurasian Studies

BOOK/CFP- Mapping the Color Revolutions

Posted by: Abel Polese <>

Call for papers: Mapping the Color Revolutions

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Given the enthusiasm and volume of submissions for the special issue
of the journal Totalitarianism and Democracy devoted to the "Color
Revolutions", we are planning to expand the scope of the research and
edit a book mapping the "Color Revolutions" that have so far occurred,
and trying to identify similar movements that may also act as a
catalyst for regime change.

Provisional title:
Mapping the 'Color Revolutions': The March of Civic Activism and
Political Transformation from Europe to Asia

Our geographical focus is not limited to former communist states as a
number of countries like Iran, Lebanon and Burma have also witnessed
increasing civil activism and the emergence of groups employing
non-violent methods to protest against the status quo.

For this reason we wish to integrate the material already selected and
receive further propositions for articles focusing on different
aspects of those "color movements". The original call for papers is
attached herewith and we encourage any submission but welcome
particularly papers with a geographical focus on

Slovakia (especially the OK campaign in 1998)

Submissions dealing with previous protest movements (for example
Solidarnosc in Poland, the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia,
protests in the Baltic states and Ukraine) would also be welcomed so
long as they can show how such movements have contributed to the
current wave of "Color Revolutions"

Abstracts (500 words) should be sent by 10 December 2007 to the
addresses below. Selected authors will be notified by 15 December and
the deadline for submission of the final paper (8000 words) will be 20
April 2008.

For further information or submission of abstracts, please contact by

Dr. Donnacha Ó Beacháin, Associate Professor, Department of Political
Science, KIMEP, Almaty, Kazakhstan
donnacha_1@yahoo. com

Abel Polese , Marie Curie Research Fellow, Hannah Arendt Institute for
Research on Totalitarianism (HAIT), Dresden, Germany

Mapping the 'Color Revolutions': The March of Civic Activism and
Political Transformation from Europe to Asia (provisional title) (NB
contributions focusing on previous protest movements such as those in
Czechoslovakia or the Baltic States are very welcome, so long as they
can show a connection between them and those that form the primary
focus of our analysis).

Since 1998 the Eurasian geopolitical landscape has been affected by
what have been labeled the 'color revolutions' , which refers to a
number of socio-political transformations attempted, but not
necessarily achieved, in a number of countries, namely: Slovakia
(1998), Serbia (2000), Belarus (2001 and 2006), Georgia (2003),
Ukraine (2004), Kyrgyzstan (2005) and immediately sedated in Russia,
Uzbekistan (2005), Azerbaijan (2005), and Kazakhstan (2005).

Those events have certainly some elements in common with the second
wave of revolutions, which occurred in Germany, Poland, the Czech
Republic and the Baltic Countries in 1989 but they also possess some
completely new features like the growing use of the Internet, humor
and art to deliver a message, and the significant involvement of
grassroots NGOs.

In some cases these 'revolutions' have led to a radical political and
social change in the country, in other cases not. It is our belief
that the 'people' factor is decisive in determining the nature of a
revolution and popular attitudes are crucial for a successful
movement. However, it is up to leaders to create the conditions for
people to become aware and motivate them to act. How is it possible to
create the conditions necessary for a revolution to occur and to be

To answer this question one should go beyond the vision that sees
economic and logistic support to the opposition as the main elements
of a successful revolution. Likewise the opinion that 'people stood up
and fought for democracy' should be examined and analyses should try
to understand the relative importance of external aid and popular
attitudes in determining the 'success' of a revolution. A revolution
is 'successful' if it leads to a substantial change in the country.
The easiest indicator of this change is a political one, however a
social change might also be employed as an indicator of success, when
it is measurable.

All the opposition movements made use of protest techniques developed
over the years and often based on Gene Sharp's theory of power (1973)
and his a guidebook 'from dictatorship to democracy'. Some
theoretical questions we want to answer are: Why did the use of
revolutionary tools not lead to the same result throughout the
post-communist space? Is it because those tools were used correctly in
some cases and incorrectly in others or because 'geography' matters?

What was the role of the ruling elite in preventing the development of
civil society and stymieing protests and to what degree was the role
of the political opposition, external actors and NGO networking important?

Is there a saturation point for the 'color revolutions' after which
all attempts to use such techniques will be futile? Or is it the case
that some 'revolutions' were not attempted in the right place or at
the right moment?

By exploring the above questions and drawing from the experiences of
these 'revolutions' , we seek to spell out a theory of 'color
revolutions' that can provide some common points for all the social
changes that have occurred between 1998-2006. To do this, we welcome
theory-generating contributions that focus on a country as case study
or propose a comparative analysis of a number of countries.
Contributions should analyze one or more elements that have to be
encountered when 'organizing a revolution'. In particular we might
divide the topics in the following way: (the list is not exhaustive
and potential contributors are welcome to discuss with the editors a
possible focus)

a) Ideology and a theoretical framework
- The role of previous waves of revolutions
- The reference texts of a revolution
- The role of Gene Sharp's 'theory of power', 'from dictatorship to
democracy' and other ideological sources

b) The will to set up a revolutionary apparatus
- The work of the Einstein Foundation in Eurasia
- The role of foreign and domestic intelligence forces
- The legacy of previous protest movements
- Democratic ideology in regional context
- Existence of a team of revolution makers at national and
international level that has been operating in Eurasia and is
extending its field of action to other regions

c) Fundraising
- Relations with foreign foundations
- Domestic fundraising: contact with local businessmen
- Door to door fundraising: gathering goods other than money (labor
force, commodities, ideas, services, ideological and physical support)

d) Training of activists
- Contact with other successful protest movements
- Relations with foreign foundations
- Domestic trainings of activists

e) Coordination and cooperation of forces
- Relations between the political and NGO forces before, during and
after the political crisis
- Networking between domestic NGOs
- Relations between the political forces, national based and grassroots NGOs

f) Containing the influence of hostile actors
- The role of external forces such as the EU, Russia and USA and
their influence on civil society
- Coping with an hostile environment and limiting the influence of
the current regime
- Alliances of the opposition and civil society with some major
personalities of the ruling elite that subsequently support the
protest movements

g) Involving and motivating people
- The People's attitude, in a comparative historical and/or
geographical perspective
- Communication between the leaders and people to motive them
- The relations between NGOs and "ordinary" people
- Communication between active and passive strata of the population

h) Capacity to choose time and modality to carry out the revolution
- The logistics of a revolution
- How to prepare scenarios (optimistic and pessimistic) of a revolution
- The right time to carry out a revolution

Central-Eurasia-L mailing list

No comments: