It coincides everywhere you look. Far and wide, there are protests! The world democracies are suddenly witnessing an outrageous amount of protests not just in one country, but almost every. It’s like a rebel on every front. Protests and criticism are the spines of any democracy and since time immemorial, people have taken their voices on the streets to be heard. However, this spine has been bearing too much burden lately and the democratic bodies throughout the world are ailing.
2021, the year succeeding the excruciating 12 months for million families worldwide, began with a protest when pro-Trump extremists mobbed the Capitol building. This was quickly followed by heart-wrenching violence that took place in India during a protest by Farmer’s Union on Republic Day. Despite COVID-19’s tight grip on the world, 2020 ended with an anti-lockdown protest in London. This happened when the year already began with New Year’s Day protests in Hong Kong and troubled anti-CAA NRC protests around the country, India. Even quarantine didn’t keep people at their homes and the world witnessed the outrage of the Black community in America during the Black Lives Matter movement around May 2020.
Something is in the air! The world is witnessing unrest as it did right before World War II and during the Great Depression. People in democracies look unhappier with each passing month. From Israeli citizens carrying out a demonstration for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign to an anti-Islam rally in Norway, are we left with any part of the world that is at peace with itself?
Why are mass protests rising worldwide?
The political protests are stimulated by a prolonged fusion of inequality, dashed expectations, a deep sense of frustration, and persistent corruption. But they always become more probable when the growth of individuals and the country as a whole stagnates.
Global protests around every country emphasize the extent of vexation among young generations against the failure of the system to provide equitable distribution of the resources. With more billionaires than ever before in the world, and exceedingly rich businessmen racing to becomes the world’s first trillionaire, the other section of society is disappointed and unhappy. People are refusing to tolerate corrupt regime more than ever. This and many other factors are at play for the mass unrest throughout the world.
Well, what do these protests and movements specify? People are increasingly dissatisfied with governance. But what are the reasons and what do people really want?
Do these protests have something in common?
Unlike old times today’s protests are leaderless. There is no Nelson Mandela to unite the Africans against the tyranny of white supremacy or a Mahatma Gandhi paving a non-violence route towards freedom.
Such demonstrations that lack leaders signify even more grave distrust by people since individuals themselves choose their path out on streets, without the influence of a central figure. Leaderless protests might remain highly disseminated but also appeal to not just one category of people but more. Therefore resulting in a more widespread movement that goes for a long due to its decentralized nature.
The onset of such protests can also be highly associated with social media which we shall discuss in the later section.
Experts say another thing that is common in these protests around every country is inequality. People around the world are rising against the growing gap between the rich or political elite and the poor. Not just this, people are also taking a stand against social and demographical discrimination which is signified by feminism, transgender, black lives matter, and other movements. After all, many of those protesters are people who have long felt shut out.
Financial inequality is another reason why people are finally hitting the saturation point.
- In Ecuador, the breaking point was rising petrol prices.
- In Iraq too, inflation and corruption are the tipping points that has brought people outside on the street.
- In Lebanon, it was a tax on internet calls, like those made via WhatsApp.
- In Chile, a 3.75 percent fare hype was announced for the public transit system and many others.
•Solidarity and influenced
For all of its physical and legal dangers, protest can be more stirring than the hard work of daily life; and that when everyone else is doing it, solidarity and unity becomes a trend. Every flap of protests has its counterpart somewhere else in the world. The protests have come out as more influential and contagious than any other political tool around any country. In the year 2020, the killing of George Floyd in the United States provoked worldwide protests with unanimous groups using racial killing to underline their synonymous sufferings. In the Global Climate Strike, reports claimed that over 6 million people had engaged across the world. The ongoing farmers’ protest in India has pitched unity among similar groups in a foreign land.
The global economy is in shambles and the youth population in many countries has produced a new generation that’s frustrated. According to the International Labour Organization, 44% of young people or working age are either unemployed or working jobs that don’t pay enough to escape poverty. An increase in youth unemployment is one of the best predictors of social unrest. Citizens worldwide continue to feel disillusioned with unresponsive government, while activists are sure that street action is the only way to force change.
The role of social media and misinformation in increasing unrest throughout the world
The issue of misinformation online is bedeviling the world. In the past few years, we’ve seen how it can skew the political discourse and leverage voter decisions in the United States. Awful yet, as the technology to mislead improves, substantiating factual content online will only become more difficult to be traced and removed, strengthening its ability to instill public discord. These modes are alarming enough for developed economies.
Social media and smartphones have revolutionized how demonstrations are advertised, sustained, and organized. Many governments, incorporating those of Pakistan, India, Turkey and Syria, have reacted to the unrest by closing down the internet for the time being. Such methods also support the stretch of news, both real and fake, worsening existing political ranges. The spread of fake information has smashed a new high not leaving any major event that happens anywhere in the world- the 2016 Russian misinformation hack in America, Presidential election results, ongoing farmer’s protest in India, coronavirus and pandemic, and what not!
Fake news holds the gravest threat to the world’s democracy and also the environment. Let’s not forget that there are still flat-earthers.
Why does anyone do this? People, institutions, and governments use fake news for two distinct motives.
First, they strengthen social disputes to weaken people’s integrity in the democratic procedure and people’s ability to work together.
Second, they divert people from essential matters so that these problems remain unsettled.
Imprinting a change
Are these protests just an unadorned way to make use of rights in democratic authorities or a message about democracy itself? The University of Cambridge’s Centre for the Future of Democracy lately inspected data from 154 countries and 3,500 surveys to measure whether democracy is still being preferred by the globe. Their findings showcase that people perpetually becoming malcontent with democracy in the last decade.
To be precise, no matter the decade, one thing is true for every demonstration- they are fueled by people. Many of these movements and protests are still going strong today striving to create lasting change for future generations.