UPD: Спасибо, всё разрешилось with a little help from my friends:)
Good afternoon and proud to be here on TEDxKrakow. I'll try to speak a little bit today about a phenomenon which can and is actually changing the world and whose name is People Power.
I'll start with the anecdote or, for those of you who are Monty Python-lovers, a Monty Python type of sketch.
Here it is: It is December, 15 2010, somebody gives you a bet - you will look at the crystal ball and you will see the future, future will be accurate, but you need to share it to the world. Ok, curiosity killed a cat, you take the bet, you look at the crystal ball, one hour later you are sitting in a building of the national TV, in a top show, and you tell the story: "Before the end of 2011 Ben Ali and Mubarak and Ghaddafi would be down and prosecuted, Saleh of Yemen and Assad of Siria would be either challenged or already on their knees, Osama bin Laden would be dead and Radko Mladich would be in Hague."
Now the anchor watches you with the strange gaze on his face, and then at the top of it you add - "And thousands of the young people from Athens, Madrid and New York will demonstrate for social justice, claiming that they are inspired with arabs." Next thing you know - two guys in white appear, they give you the strange t-shirt, take you to the nearest mental institution.
So I would like to speak a little bit about the phenomenon, which is behind what already seems to be the very bad year for the bad guys and this phenomenon is called People Power.
Well, People Power has been there for a while, it helped Ghandi kick Brits from India, it helped Martin Luther King Jr win historical racial struggle, it helped local, Leh Valensa to kick out one million Soviet troops from Poland and beginning the end of the Soviet Union as we know it.
So what's new in it? What seems to be very new which is the idea I'd like to share with you today that there is the set of rules and skills which can be learned and taught in order to perform successful non-violent struggle. If this is true, we can help these movements.
Well, first one - analytic skills. I'll try where it all started in the Middle East, and for so many years we were living with completely wrong perception of the Middle East, it was looking like the frozen region, literally - refrigerator, and there were only two types of meal there - steak, which stands for a Mubarak-BenAli-type of military police dictatorship, or a potato, which stands for Tehran-type of theocracies, and everybody was amazed when the refrigerator opened and millions of young, mainly secular people step out to do the change. Guess what? - They didn't watch the demographics. What is the average age of Egyptian? 24. How long Mubarak in power? 31. So this system is just obsolete, they expired. And young people of Arab world wake up one morning and they understood that power lies in their hand. The rest is the year in front of us. And guess what? The same generation Epsilon with their rules, with their tools, with their games and with their language which sounds a little bit strange to me - I'm 38 now - and can you look at the age of the people in the streets of Europe? Seems that generation Epsilon is coming. Now, let me set another example. I'm meeting different people throughout the world and they are, you know, academics and professors and doctors and they will always talk conditions, they will say - People Power will work only if regime is not too oppressive, they will say - People Power will work if the annual income of the country is between X and Z, they will say - People Power will work only if there is a foreign pressure, they will say - People Power will only work if there is no oil, and I mean there is a set of conditions. Well, the news here is that the skill you bring into conflict are more important than the conditions. Namely, skills of unity, planning and maintaining non-violent discipline. Let me give it an example. I'm coming from country called Serbia, it took us 10 years to unite 18 opposition party leaders with their big egos behind the one single candidate against Balkan dictator Slobodan Milosevic. Guess what - that was the day of his defeat.
You look at the Egyptians, they fight on Tahrir square, they get rid of their individual symbols, they appear on the street only with the flag of Egypt. I will give you counter-example, you see 9 presidential candidates running against Lukashenko - you know the outcome. so unity is a big thing, and this can be a cheat. Same with planning. Somebody have lied to you about the successful and spontaneous non-violent revolution? That thing does not exist in the world. Whenever you see young people in front of the row trying to fraternize with the police or military - somebody was thinking about this before.
Now, at the end, nonviolent discipline, and this is probably the game-changer, if you maintain nonviolent discipline, you will exclusively win. You have 100000 people in a nonviolent march, one idiot or agent-provocateur throwing stone - guess what takes all the cameras - that one guy. One single act of violence can literally destroy your movement.
Now, let me move to another place, it's a selection of strategy and tactics. There are certain rules of nonviolent struggle you may follow:
First, you start small.
Second, you pick the battles you can win. There is only 200 of us in this room, we wouldn't call for the march of million, but what if we organize spring graffiti throughout the night all over Krakow city? The city will know. So we pick the tactics which accommodates to the event, especially this thing we call the small tactics of dispersion, they are very useful in a violent oppression. We're actually witnessing the picture of one of the best tactics ever used. It was on Tahrir square, where international community was constantly frightened that, you know, the islamists will overtake the revolution, while they've organized Christians protecting Muslims while they were praying and Coptic wedding cheered by thousands of Muslims, the world has just changed the picture of somebody was thinking about this previously. So there is so many things you can do instead of getting into one place, shouting and you know, showing off in front of the security forces.
Now, there is one also important dynamics. And this is dynamics analytics normally do not see. This is dynamics between fear and apathy on one side and enthusiasm and humor on another side.
So it works like in video game - you have a fear high, you have status quo, you have enthusiasm higher, you see fear is starting melting. Day two, you see people running towards police instead from the police, in Egypt you can tell that something is happening there, and then it's about the humor. Humor is such a powerful game-changer, and of course it was very big in Poland, and you know, we were just a small group of crazy students in Serbia when we made this big skit - we put the big petrol barrel with the portrait picture of mister president on it and in the middle of the main street there was a hole on a top so you could literally come, put a coin in, get a baseball bat and hit his face. Sounds loud. And within the minutes we were sitting in a nearby cafe, having coffee and there was a queue of people waiting to do this lovely thing. Well, that's just the beginning of the show. The real show starts when the police appears. What they will do? Arrest us? We are nowhere to be seen, we're 3 blocks away observing it from a, you know, espresso bar. Arrest the shoppers with kids? Doesn't make sense. Of course, you could bet, they've done the most stupid thing - they arrested the barrel. And now the picture of the smashed face on the barrel, with the policemen dragging them to the police car, that was the best day for the photographers from the newspapers that they ever will have. So I mean, these are the things you can do, and you can always use the humor.
There is also on big thing about the humor - it really hurts, because these guys are really taking themselves too seriously. When you start to mock them - it hurts.
Now, everybody is taking about his Majesty, the Internet, and it is also a very useful skill. And... but don’t rush to label things like "Facebook revolution", "Twitter revolution", don’t mix tools with the substance. It is true that the internet, the new media, is very useful in making things faster and cheaper. They make is also a bit safer for the participants because they give the part of anonymity. We're watching a great example something else internet can do - it can put the price tag of state-sponsored violence over nonviolent protester. This is famous group "We are all Khaled Said" made by Wael Ghonim, the Egypt and his friend. This is the mutilated face of the guy who was beaten by the police, this is how he became the public, this is what probably became the straw which broke camel’s back. But here is also the bad news: the nonviolent struggle is win in the real world, in the streets. You will never change your society towards democracy, or, you know, economics, if you sit down and click. There are risks to be taken and there are living people who are winning the struggle.
Well, million dollar question. What will happen in the Arab world, and though young people from Arab world were pretty successful in bringing down 3 dictators, shaking the region, kind of persuading clever kings from Jordan and Morocco doing substantial reforms, it is yet to be seen what will be the outcome, whether the Egyptians and Tunisians will make it through the transition, or this will end in bloody ethnic and religious conflicts, whether the Syrians will maintain nonviolent discipline, faced with the brutal daily violence which killed thousands already, or they will slip into violent struggle and make ugly civil war. Will these revolutions be hold like through transitions and the democracy or be overtaken by military or extremists of all kind? We cannot tell. Same works for the western sector, where you can see all these excited young people protesting around the world, occupying this, occupying that. Are they going to become the world wave, are they going to find their skills, their enthusiasm, and their strategy to find what they really want, to push for the reform, or they will just stay complaining about the endless list of the things they hate? This is the difference between two town. Now, what the statistic says. My friends book, Maria Stephan’s book talks a lot about violent and nonviolent struggle, and there is some shocking data. If you look at the last 35 years and different social transitions from dictatorship to democracy, you will see that out of 67 different cases, in 50 of these cases it was nonviolent struggle which was the key power. This is one more reason to look at this phenomenon, this is one more reason to look at the generation Epsilon, enough for me to give them credits and hope that they will find their skills and their courage to use the nonviolent struggle and thus fix at least the part of the mess our generation is making in this world.