The myriad protests from Istanbul to São Paulo have one thing in common – growing dissent among the young, educated and better-off protesting against the very system that once enriched them. And therein lies the danger for governments
If the “new protest” can be summed up, it is not in specifics of the complaints but in a wider idea about organisation encapsulated on a banner spotted in Brazil last week: “We are the social network.”
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What does ring true, however, is his assertion that a driving force from Tahrir Square to Occupy is a redefinition of notions of both what “freedom” means and its relationship to governments that seem ever more distant. It is significant, too, that many recent protests have taken place in the large cities that have been most transformed by neoliberal policies.
Phi Beta Iota: All of the established “institutions” have become ignorant and arrogant. The author of the article above is re-inventing the wheel and demonstrating his abject ignorance of all that has been learned before about revolutions. They emerge from a mix of preconditions (concentrated wealth and the loss of state legitimacy are among the foremost preconditions) and they erupt when a precipitant — a Tunesian fruit seller, a soccer mom committing suicide on YouTube — arouses the majority of the public, not just the activist edge. They are always led by the educated who suffer the cognitive dissonance of knowing how far removed the government is from doing what it should be doing. As this web site has been putting forth for some time now, every one of the eight major institutions ostensibly in the service of the public has failed. Academia, civil society including labor unions and religions, commerce, government, law enforcement, media, military, non-government/non-profit — all eight, in most but not all countries, both ignorant and arrogant, which is to say, illegitimate. Legitimacy has been lost. There is only one way to restore legitimacy, and that is to restore the role of intelligence with integrity in the governance of the public interest. We have three convergent problems: 01 the bulk of the public is stupid and drugged or both — this is by design; 02 the bulk of the government — across all three branches — is corrupt to the bone and not at all interested in intelligence with integrity even if it could be accessed; and 03 the intelligence professionals across all eight tribes have sacrificed their own integrity in favor of job security, and given up trying to do the right thing….they have become enablers of corruption rather than enablers of legitimacy. There are bright spots, and public triumph is inevitable, but the healing would go faster if the EU, NATO, and the BRICS committed to a collaborative network of information-sharing and sense-making — to Open Source Everything (OSE – the technical solution) and M4IS2 – the human solution.