@be @sam @kawaiipunk @cidney Aight, so this is a new thread, let's go on from here.

> Maybe top-down/bottom-up is a false dichotomy

Indeed, maybe that's too limiting a view.

What I originally wanted to expresss was, my observation is big monolithic movements have had successes but could not keep up.

When change emanates from a smaller but more "natural" source, it looks like it's more transformative.

Maybe it's inevitable power dynamics that mess things up.


@be @sam @kawaiipunk @cidney I live in an example of this. Ataturk's Turkey was initially a tainted but huge success, a big leap forward. But even in his lifetime and leadership the cogs of the huge change chewed and spat out a lot of good things. E.g. great authors like Nazim Hikmet and Sabahattin Ali were persecuted because they dared to disagree. These people weren't fundamentalists, they were part of the communist intelligentsia. Big revolution was too fragile for their nuance.


@be @sam @kawaiipunk @cidney They wanted to go too far, but the revolution had egos, power structures and lowest common denominators it could not violate. These all culminated in Ataturk and the Republican People's Party. When the party willingly gave up power in '46, for the rest of the century Turkey oscillated between unstable centrist and right wing govts. The reason being, IMHO, that the top down revolutions were never internalised by a lot.


@be @sam @kawaiipunk @cidney Now compare this with the world wide civil rights movement. It's been realised and propelled by those who have faced injustices of many kind, including racism, sexism, colonialism, etc. Within these groups the power dynamics of a 20th century military/guerrilla revolution couldn't really exist, as it's a culmination of will and informedness of people, not the pursuing of a goal some rando set for them.

(I feel like I'm sounding a bit authoritative here,


@be @sam @kawaiipunk @cidney but I don't want to come off as such, I'm just sharing my uncooked thoughts and imperfect observations.)

My position is that such movements, like civil rights, like MeToo, like maybe worker coops, are stronger and more effective. Maybe not necessaily exclusive of other kinds of revolution, but certainly more gradual, with less negative externalities, and maybe with more staying power.

Now when I look at universities, as a grad student, I see many power


@be @sam @kawaiipunk @cidney structures that emanate from different time frames. We've an ecclesiastical attitude remnant from maybe Charlemagne's universities as monastic institutions. We've patriarchy to it's fullest. We come from a tradition of nobility but starting from 19th century we've absorbed capitalism. We're affected by the militarisation of K12. This results in a weird "kyriarchy" with intertwined traditions of power imbalance and forces of stagnance. The main symptom is


@be @sam @kawaiipunk @cidney that universities are a kind of structure where power inversely correlates with the number of people that belong to a group that wields it: students are virtually powerless. Early career academics have some miniscule privilege but are at the whims of tenured academics, especially in the Angloshpere universities. Tenured folks are beholden to no one but higher administration, the dean, the rector, etc. These people in turn are the acme of power in university,


@be @sam @kawaiipunk @cidney except in places like Turkey where they are appointed by the govt which wants to control universities as factories of anti-authoritarian thought.

In the end, the situation is, if you're abused (mobbing, sexual, etc.) as a student and want your abuser to see some consequences, your options: a hierarchy of people with a lot to lose to risk their convenience for you, or to generate popular outrage so as to force mechanisms of justice to work.


@be @sam @kawaiipunk @cidney In my view the optimal solution should include involving students, and everyone else, in proper democratic decision making. Students should have equal say in all decisions, including e.g. expelling a professor.

How this is achieved is something I don't have answers for. Students unionising is one possibility. Coop-like universities may be another.

Existing institutional solutions like students' assemblies are co-opted by unis as a device of oppression.


@be @sam @kawaiipunk @cidney Likewise, e.g. in Turkey large unions have been co-opted by the govt and turned into tools of oppression. Why this happens and how it can be prevented is another question.

This is an outline of the "thoughts" I were talking about. I'm really sorry about the wall of text, I haven't thought enough about this to be able to coherently and concisely express my poistion and curiosities.

So lemme pass on the mic on...



@be @sam @kawaiipunk @cidney P.S.: I forgot to mention one key thing: one curious thing is as science passed from nobility to burguoisie to proletariat, how power dynamics changed. I.e., I suppose the university is/was way less powerful than it is against you and I, when confronting children of the nobility or the haute bourguoisie. I sadly don't have much material information wrt this history tho.

@cadadr @be @sam @kawaiipunk @cidney In The Brain of The Firm, Stafford Beer says that top down versus bottom up is a false dichotomy. He says that the human body is neither top down nor bottom up, but a synergy between high and low level systems. If you needed to consciously control your heart rate all the time then things would not go well if you started daydreaming.

Instead of top down versus bottom up, consider sustainable (in cybernetics, "viable") information flows. The eddy in the stream. A persistence of dynamic forces.

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