We’re seeing protests everywhere. From Brazil to Turkey to Egypt.
What’s going on? Here are some.
Once ignited, open source protest is hard to stamp out.
Open source protest is usually focused on a single overarching goal. In most recent cases, it’s a call for a government that isn’t corrupt.
“No corruption” is the type of goal everyone can get behind. To get a protest going, all there needs to be is a successful trigger event. Often, that an be as simple as a protest called by some group on Facebook that takes off virally.
However, the motivations that actually get people to show up in the street day after day are more specific. Every individual or group that turns up has a very specific gripe/goal for protesting (some elements are often violent, but that’s to be expected since there is so much diversity of motive). Yet, despite that diversity, everyone is still onboard with the simple overarching goal of the protest.
This diversity of motive makes it very hard for a government to tailor a response/action that will diffuse the protest. It also make it nearly impossible for any single group or individual to sieze control of the protest and use it to advance their own agenda (most people wouldn’t agree with any complicated agenda).
Governments, particularly big governments, are becoming dinosaurs.
Governments, particularly governments of big countries, are finding it harder and harder to deliver meaningful results to citizens (particularly economic). As big as these states are (politically and militarily), the global, communications and financial system is MUCH bigger. Political and military power got stuck at the national level, and the rest went global and it integrated (people often miss this important fact).
This imbalance of power is made worse by the fact that citizens are directly connecting with the global economic, financial, and media system. A direct connection between individuals and the global systems, puts governments into the role of expensive/corrupt overhead/middle-management that provides less and less value with every year, rather than necessary leadership and protection.
It might have been easier for big countries to deliver meaningful opportunities to citizens if they were economically cohesive. But big countries aren’t. They are extremely arbitrary economic containers, since the boundaries were set by warfare/politics rather than organic economic growth. In contrast, smaller states (particularly city states) tend to be more effective in navigating global opportunities to the benefit of their citizens.
So, the protests will continue as big governments become less and less relevant to individual success, even though they demand more and more support to function.
People are learning to take care of themselves
The final step is that people are starting to understand that open source networks that connect people horizontally are extremely powerful. We are learning an entirely new way of interacting. It will accelerate.
I’m sure we’ll see MUCH more interaction in the future, particularly in regards to P2P economic platforms that bind people together economically in ways that are more effective than what a government can provide.
Phi Beta Iota: This is the point that most missed with respect to Occupy. Everyone (the 99%) is beyond protesting any specific grievance, right now the grievance is “the thing entire” as Ada Bozeman would say. Every institution, without exception, has become fraudulent, corrupt, self-serving, and antithetical to both the public interest and the sustainability of humanity — the two are synonymous.