Protest, counterprotest and the collective action problem

Apparently, pro-democracy protestors want democracy so badly that they can solve the collective action problem through ultruism while pro-establishment citizens are less willing to stand up for their position and let others speak for them.

Successful political participation involves solving the collective action problem (see wikipedia). People who share similar grievances would benefit from collective action but often fail to come together. The solutions to the collective action problem typically involve 1) leadership and incentives and 2) ultruism. There have been many stories on how the occupy protesters are “leaderless but orderly.” Of course, there is a joint leadership of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, Scholarism, and the Occupy Central. But many ordinary protestors act on their own and have refused the leadership’s decision to retreat twice. (See leadership. ) The use of social media has also facilitated this self-organized movement. (See a social media revolution.)

Counterprotestors, on the other hand, seem to be more reliant on leadership and incentives. A significant percentage of HK people are pro-establishment. (See a cross-class movement.) But many counter-protestors are caught on film or by undercover reporters that they are paid.

Below, counterprotest organizers are caught on film for mobilizing another effort to beat up protestors and clear road blocks in Mongkok on Oct. 24:

Another video emerged on Oct. 25: 

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