Flash mobbing

The public left-wing aggression, organised via mobiles, that I think most people accept was crucial in the Spanish elections this year is often taken as having been the first successful application of flash mobbing to politics. Dheera Sujan, in Gods and Monsters: the Saffronisation of India, a programme on the Dutch International Service, suggests that Hindu ethnic supremacists got there first, during the 2002 Gujarat massacres:

The mobs who rampaged around Gujarat, sometime thousands strong, were reputedly paid in alcohol and a few hundreds rupees a day. Their leaders held computer printouts of official records, pointing out Muslim homes and businesses, and they were linked by mobile phones, coordinated with extraordinary precision. Despite repeated arguments from human rights organisations that these mobs couldn’t have sprung up spontaneously the day after Godhra, but were in fact acting out a long-planned strategy, many Indians, including most of the educated and decent people I’ve known all my life, support the Indian politicians who say the Gujarat massacres were an expected reaction to the provocation of the Godhra killings.

(Thanks, Henk.)

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