The New York Times has a couple of nice pieces on the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions: an interactive account of the key events and a more detailed piece outlining the role of the different protest groups, bloggers and Facebook-ites, nonviolent resistance tactics, and the Obama administration.
A few quick thoughts:
1) Max Forte is right about the U.S.’s equivocation, its policy of “hedging its bets” in a mix of realism and opportunism.
2) But it’s so much better to have Obama at the helm of global empire than Bush. (Not that it’s really the helm, but it’s an important figurehead position.)
3) Gene Sharp continues to be an un(der)sung hero-tactician of late-20th/early-21st century political struggle.
4) There’s something about “the multitude” in these events, in part at least because they come together in and through events (including digital events), not personalities or even ideas, and because they grow through the transmission of affect. (I’ve been reading John Beasley-Murray’s Posthegemony (the book), which he kindly sent me a digital copy of, and it is very good, and quite helpful for thinking about these things.)
5) How long will the Times (and The Guardian and other actual producers of news) continue to give us their services for (essentially) free? The enclosure of the digital commons remains an uphill battle; let’s make the most of the moment…