A Scan of Critical World Developments
World Protests Rising
Protests have been on the rise worldwide since 2006, reminiscent of spikes in mass dissent in 1848, 1917, and 1968. A recent study by the Initiative for Policy Dialogue and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung reported a sharp increase in both the number of protests and the number of protesters across all major regions. By the middle of the year, 2013 had seen almost twice as many protests as 2006. These protests attracted diverse participants, as middle-classes, youth, and seniors joined activists and unions. The most common grievance was the lack of “real democracy,” as citizens felt frustrated by the failure of governments to address their needs; opposition to international finance institutions, growing corporate influence over policymaking, and environmental injustice followed, in that order. Only about one-third of the protests achieved their goals; however, they have not all ended, and many have called for systemic change that cannot be achieved by any single policy or reform. Where this upsurge will lead remains to be seen, but it raises at least the possibility of the emergence of the aware and engaged global public needed for a transition to a just and sustainable society.