Politics > Political Life in Society > Crises are Opportunities: CG3

Crises are Opportunities: CG3

Political Action is Difficult

Society is monolithic. An experience of crisis makes a difference to popular sentiment and provokes a readiness for change that no politically-active person or group can ignore.

It is hard to do much for society in ordinary times, because…Closed most people, both in their membership groups and as part of the general public, do not feel they can take responsibility for society, or even for their own group. Politics seems to be just a noisy diversion.

Attention is focused in times of social crisis, so…Closed people become confused and uncertain: so infantile fears and dependency urges rise up. People then become ready to accept authority or leadership that appears to be strong and promises certainty.

Attention is distracted by the social crisis, so…Closed the media become obsessed with issues, and people find it hard to think of anything else. Contentious or radical activities, irrelevant to the crisis, can often be pursued under its cover, without the fear that they might be given negative publicity or attacked and prevented.

Social atmospheres are powerful, pervasive, and almost irresistible by individuals. So a crisis is the time that experienced political players hope for, wait for—and pounce upon. Events are constantly happening. Whether any particular event is experienced as a crisis or not will depend a great deal on how it is perceived and communicated—which entails Political Work-G2. Once public opinion-CL5 perceives a crisis, deliberate actions become expected as a response.

5 Drivers of Mobilization-for-Results

Using crises occurs by activating 5 drivers of mobilization.

The new focus in CG3 is what follows once the crisis is accepted as such (rightly or wrongly) and what follows is: mobilization.

ClosedEmotional Turmoil demands Rational Leadership

A crisis provides the emotional conditions for mobilizing relevant people, who would otherwise be reluctant to make an effort or accept hardship to get a desired result. Emotional states characteristic of a crisis—excitement, hope, despair, anger, fear, uncertainty, confusion—also need some rational control. So, in times of crisis, strong leadership is essential and the qualities of those in charge are put to the test.

The 5 Triadic drivers are distinguished by:

Victory Strategy (CG31)

This is based on «striking while the iron is hot» and getting the desired result.
ClosedHow it works

The executive leader mobilizes the group’s heavy hitters, members and supporters, so as to «win the day». The need is to develop a battle-plan—comprehensive, informed and hard-hitting. The strategy uses leverage and brings heavy pressure to bear to get an official decision-CL3 favourable to the group.

Social Measures (CG32)

Political players need to respond to the emergence of a worrying societal issue-CL4 by showing followers that they are doing something.
ClosedHow it works

The political leader rallies a team of officials and experts to develop a feasible, timely, targeted program that will reassure the people that their concern is being addressed. Whether the program is feasible, whether it does in fact deal with the concern, whether the concern is real or imaginary, and even whether it will be implemented at all—are of far less significance than a promise that includes references to a variety of actions to be taken.

Popular Commitments (CG33)

Campaigners from amongst the citizens work to generate mass support on matters that deal with the public interest-CL5.
ClosedHow it works

People en masse cannot cope with complexity, so the desired commitment is as simple as possible: e.g. vote, march, sign up, donate. The goal of such actions is simple as well—just a short memorable message (e.g. "free the Birmingham 5!" "donate your kidney now!"). In elections, where the commitment is a vote, the message may be just a catchy slogan (e.g. "yes we can!").

Moral Crusade (CG34)

This form of mobilization is driven by cause-centred individuals committed to a specific ideology-L6.
ClosedHow it works

Articulate passionate leaders whip up fundamentalist followers to an intensity of feeling and a willingness to use force. Crushing our freedoms to prevent terrorists destroying our freedoms can only make sense from within a crusade. When the crusade successfully invades government (as with the crusade against communism in the USA in the McCarthy era, and against terrorism today), it may satisfy a mass appetite while becoming terrifying for ordinary intelligent people.
John Stuart Mill (1806–1873)…Closed "One person with a belief is equal to a force of 99 who have only interests."

Righting of Wrongs: (CG35)

Mobilization driven by communal needs-CL7 targets appalling conditions and the wholly inadequate official responses to them.
ClosedHow it works

Inspiring leaders like Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Desmond Tutu, emerge in even the worst of circumstances to provide a message of hope. Their example uplifts the people involved, who are often joined by many sympathizers, so they can unite and press peacefully for remedial action.

The next Grouping (Level), considers how situations precipitating mobilization can be more rationally addressed. The solution is inquiries that contribute to public policy.

Originally posted: August-2009; Last updated: 15-Nov-2010

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
All Rights Reserved.

comments powered by Disqus