The Global Imagination of Protest

Graffiti last spring on a wall near Tunisia’s interior ministry reading “Thank you, Facebook” was not just praise for a social-media company that had facilitated an uprising. It also celebrated the sense of shared experience that defined the Tunisian revolution – and the many other protests and revolutions that erupted in 2011.

NEW YORK – When graffiti appeared last spring on a wall near Tunisia’s interior ministry reading “Thank you, Facebook,” it was not just praise for a social-media company that had facilitated the country’s uprising. It was also a celebration of the sense of shared experience that defined the Tunisian revolution – and the many other historic protests and revolutions that erupted in 2011.

As we discovered collecting essays for our new book From Cairo to Wall Street: Voices from the Global Spring, one of the defining characteristics of the new age of protest is the dovetailing of the desire and the ability to connect – across neighborhoods, cities, countries, and even continents. In every contributor’s country, a new awareness of shared destinies and of a global community permeated protest movements. Social-media technology was one tool that advanced it; but so was a reconceptualization of the meaning of public space, and the view that a plurality of ideas is superior to dogma – that the act of collaboration is as important as the outcome.

So these were not just political revolutions. They were also revolutions of ideas – the globalization of protest as a strategy.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To continue reading, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you are agreeing to our Terms and Conditions.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/fYutt2k;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.