Bullets and Ballots

How Power Shifts in the Real World

What groups are involved?

Army & Wealthy- The "highest class" in the social status world

Guerillas- The revolting group of Guatemalans

Guatemalan Government- The assumed rulers of Guatemala

USA- Everything revolves around the most wealthy and powerful nation in the world

Peasants- The "lowest class" in the social status world, yet their decisions impact society as a whole

Social Power

The social world is a very delicate place. You can shoot from the bottom, straight to the top in a split second, but you can also fall down. Social ranking is determined by power- the more power you have, the higher rank you are. In this case, the army & wealthy are the most powerful, because of their MSU's (Military Strength Units). The guerillas are about a third as powerful as the army and wealthy, and are just as powerful as the USA. Although the Guatemalan Government may seem to be the most powerful, they actually have about the same number of MSU's as the peasants.

How does power shift and why?

The army & wealthy can't remain in power forever- can they? They could, but they usually don't. Power is shifting everywhere. Power shifts online, in school, in competitions, and in government. The amount of MSU's fluctuates with the tiniest bit of change. While in the midst of making deals with everybody, a member of the guerillas is silenced by the army & wealthy, who, by doing so, relinquish 10 of their MSU's to the guerillas. The guerillas are now more powerful than the USA (as far as Guatemalan power is concerned). This is just one example of how power can shift. Power can also shift when groups form alliances (the guerillas and the Guatemalan Government, the army & wealthy and the peasants), when groups make treaties and deals, when there is an attack, or when one person, or multiple persons, of one group move to another group. Why does power shift? Because groups want things. They want more or less MSU's, they want more or less votes (covered in the next paragraph), they want more or less people, anything they want, they will try and get.


It's election time and everybody wants to either run or vote. Anybody from the army & wealthy, the guerillas, the government, or the peasants can run and vote. The USA can't do either, since they're not a part of Guatemala. All the groups, besides the peasants, each have 1 vote per member. The peasants each have 2 votes per member. Since the peasants have the most influential vote, everybody wants to gain their trust and friendship, so they'll trade with them, make deals with them, make treaties with them, anything for those extra votes. And anybody can run, for now.

Cooperation and Conflict

COOPERATION: In order to trade, make deals, make treaties, or befriend other groups and/or people, groups must cooperate with one another. They must be friendly, be understanding, and (obviously) be cooperative. If they aren't, they most likely won't get what they want. Groups must also be open-minded, in order to be cooperative. When the guerillas wanted to trade with the USA, they said no, no matter what the guerillas had to offer. They weren't even hearing the guerillas out. This can result in conflict.

CONFLICT: Even when cooperation is being used, conflict still arises. Conflict can arise from uncooperative people or groups (USA), attacks on people or groups, and disagreements between people or groups. When the guerillas didn't get what they wanted, they attacked the most powerful and wealthy group at the time- the army & wealthy. Sometimes conflict can help; the guerillas received 20 MSU's for their attack. Sometimes, however, it may backfire. If the guerillas attacked and were unsuccessful, they may have lost MSU's.

The most powerful group in the end, has the option to take over. When they take over, they can end life how it is and start anew, or continue life as it is. Basically, once a group takes over, they can run Guatemala however they want. The guerillas ended up taking over, and they began a communistic government. But how does the USA fit into all of this? After all, they are the most powerful and wealthy country in the world.

Big image


We haven't talked much about the USA, even though they do play a large role in all of this. Here's the thing about the USA: they can't keep out of anyone's business. While the take over of Guatemala is going on, and everyone is now ruled under communsim, the USA has had it's nose stuck right into it without anyone noticing. And they have an opinion (just like everyone else who butts into other people's business)- they don't like it. So what do they do? They essentially take over- again. They appoint the citizens of the army & wealthy group, as the only candidates able to run. All the other candidates are no longer able to participate in the elction. They destroy the communist government, and the army & wealthy are again, the most powerful.

When a country's power shifts, is the effect..


Well, that would honestly depend on one's opinion and how the effect is on one person specifically. For example, the guerillas made it a nice, equal, communist country. Person A did not have more money than Person B; Person B did not have more power than Person A. The peasants, I suppose, would be happy because they have more money. The army & wealthy would probably be angry because they have less money. The government would be happy because they have their country back. The guerillas would be happy, obviously because they rule the country. Overall, that specific power shift was positive. But there are many different power shifts: good and bad; positive and negative. A power shift, overall, can be hard to adjust to, making it seem negative to people adjusting to it. Those who take the power, in the power shift, probably think it's a positive effect, since things are in their favor. So, it depends on the opinions of those under the power shift, whether or not the effect is negative or positive.

How does this apply to your life?

Conflict in your life:

-Fights with a sibling, friend, etc.


-Problems that could make things or situations tough

Siblings Fighting

Cooperation in your life:

-Compromising with siblings, friends, etc.

-Making deals as part as your job, an investment, etc.

-Dealing with not always getting what you want

-Listening to those who have higher authority/power over you without complaints

The Rolling Stones - You Can't Always Get What You Want (lyrics)

Power shifts in your life:

-If your country gains a new leader, new way of life, new government

-If you're in charge (in a job, workplace, etc.) then you're not, or vice-versa

-If someone new comes into your life and they overrule you