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. China corruption Isaac Lawrence/Getty Images

    The Next Battle in China’s War on Corruption

    • Chinese President Xi Jinping knows well the threat that corruption poses to the authority of the Communist Party of China and the state it controls. 
    • But moving beyond Xi's anti-corruption purge to build robust and lasting anti-graft institutions will not be easy, owing to enduring opportunities for bureaucratic capture.
  2. Italy unemployed demonstration SalvatoreEsposito/Barcroftimages / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

    Putting Europe’s Long-Term Unemployed Back to Work

    Across the European Union, millions of people who are willing and able to work have been unemployed for a year or longer, at great cost to social cohesion and political stability. If the EU is serious about stopping the rise of populism, it will need to do more to ensure that labor markets are working for everyone.

  3. Latin America market Federico Parra/Getty Images

    A Belt and Road for the Americas?

    In a time of global uncertainty, a vision of “made in the Americas” prosperity provides a unifying agenda for the continent. If implemented, the US could reassert its historical leadership among a group of countries that share its fundamental values, as well as an interest in inclusive economic growth and rising living standards.

  4. Startup office Mladlen Antonov/Getty Images

    How Best to Promote Research and Development

    Clearly, there is something appealing about a start-up-based innovation strategy: it feels democratic, accessible, and so California. But it is definitely not the only way to boost research and development, or even the main way, and it is certainly not the way most major innovations in the US came about during the twentieth century.

  5. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.