As the votes of Egypt’s presidential election are counted today, Francis Fukuyama asks on The Daily Beastwhy the young revolutionaries of the Arab Spring did not have a candidate.
This group of young activists, which can still be mobilized for street protests like the recent demonstrations in front of the Defense Ministry, has failed to turn itself into a meaningful player in post-Mubarak electoral politics.
It is a fair point. In the last wave of democratic revolution, which brought down the Soviet Union twenty years ago, the most successful democratic transitions featured organizations, like the Solidarity union in Poland and Civic Forum in the former Czechoslovakia, which could organize a revolution AND then win power afterwards. Analogous digital organization, like the April 6th Youth Movement, have not had this success.
Does the ease of collective action on social media, which allows effective coordination through loose ties, mean that the strong ties that are needed for durable organization do not form? Can Egypt’s digital movement follow the path of organizations like thePirate Party, which did translate online organization into electoral success? How can the “flash organizations” which facilitate digital revolutions transform themselves into durable political organizations capable of influencing the aftermath?