On January 25th, a young generation of Egyptians assembled in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Their calls for a Democratic form of government sparked a wave of protests that toppled the nearly 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak's regime. The effect of those public demonstrations is still being felt as waves of protests continue to spread across the Arab world. But why have these protests been so successful?
Graeme Robertson, is an assistant professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of “The Politics of Protest in Hybrid Regimes." In a recent article, Graeme argues that the lack of information, necessary to support most autocratic regimes, works in two ways. Primarily, it keeps information away from the populace but it also keeps information away from members of the ruling-elite, who need the necessary information to build or rebuild alliances with like-minded groups. Moments of protest, he goes on to write, provide opportunity for insight and discourse among the public and power elite. Once alliances shift, regimes quickly go with them.