The Globalization of Mass Politics

Globalization has assumed a new form: global mass politics. Of course, political protests have been global for decades, as past marches against the Vietnam War, nuclear weapons, and globalization itself demonstrated. The revolutions of 1989 and 1991 in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union blanketed a huge region within months. But the anti-Iraq War protests reveal a new dynamic. Up to 10 million protestors in some 60 countries and 600 cities took to the streets on schedule on a single day, February 15, showing that mass politics can now be approached globally.

Communications and mass media have long enabled "copycat" effects--protests in one place ignite similar actions elsewhere. The overthrow of King Louis Phillipe in France in 1848 was carried by the recently introduced telegraph to Germany, igniting revolution. Television images of the fall of the Berlin Wall spurred revolutionary changes throughout the former Soviet bloc. On other occasions, protests such as May Day marches were transformed into widespread social mobilization, as happened in France on May 1, 1968.

What is distinctive about the recent mass protests against US plans for a war against Iraq is that the February 15 event was planned ahead of time, at short notice, for a specific date, and with an explicit goal of worldwide scale. The decision to launch February 15 as a day of mass protest was apparently taken at a meeting of activists at the European Social Forum in Florence in November last year. In ninety days, these organizers turned out more than 5 million protestors worldwide.

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

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/fodNDfT;
  1. Patrick Kovarik/Getty Images

    The Summit of Climate Hopes

    Presidents, prime ministers, and policymakers gather in Paris today for the One Planet Summit. But with no senior US representative attending, is the 2015 Paris climate agreement still viable?

  2. Trump greets his supporters The Washington Post/Getty Images

    Populist Plutocracy and the Future of America

    • In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently sold out the blue-collar, socially conservative whites who brought him to power, while pursuing policies to enrich his fellow plutocrats. 

    • Sooner or later, Trump's core supporters will wake up to this fact, so it is worth asking how far he might go to keep them on his side.
  3. Agents are bidding on at the auction of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

    The Man Who Didn’t Save the World

    A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food.

  4.  An inside view of the 'AknRobotics' Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Two Myths About Automation

    While many people believe that technological progress and job destruction are accelerating dramatically, there is no evidence of either trend. In reality, total factor productivity, the best summary measure of the pace of technical change, has been stagnating since 2005 in the US and across the advanced-country world.

  5. A student shows a combo pictures of three dictators, Austrian born Hitler, Castro and Stalin with Viktor Orban Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images

    The Hungarian Government’s Failed Campaign of Lies

    The Hungarian government has released the results of its "national consultation" on what it calls the "Soros Plan" to flood the country with Muslim migrants and refugees. But no such plan exists, only a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign to help a corrupt administration deflect attention from its failure to fulfill Hungarians’ aspirations.

  6. Project Syndicate

    DEBATE: Should the Eurozone Impose Fiscal Union?

    French President Emmanuel Macron wants European leaders to appoint a eurozone finance minister as a way to ensure the single currency's long-term viability. But would it work, and, more fundamentally, is it necessary?

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now