Augusto Manzanal Ciancaglini
The media talk about a wave of protests that is shaking the world, but it is difficult to say that there is a connection between them; to talk about something generalised one would have to go into each demonstration and specify the causes that amplify it. In any case, it is true that mobilizations have taken place on four continents, and some of them, such as the feminists and ecologists, are clearly transnational.
In Europe, the yellow vests are marching through France and the strike is again a major pressure measure. Meanwhile, corruption is bringing Czechs and Romanians to the squares, nationalism is spreading from Spain to the UK, and both “sardines” and “leghisti” are flooding into Italy.
It is in Latin America where the demonstrations have become more frequent: after the great social conflict that has been dragging on the streets of Venezuela, Honduras, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico or Haiti, the discontent has been decreasing, territorially and also in terms of the urgency of the demands, for Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia and Colombia. The democratic insufficiency of some is intertwined with the economic stagnation of others and is solidified in quite common inequalities that turn upside down in the cities.
More blood is shed in the protests in Asia: political and economic hardship is pushing Iraqis, Iranians and Lebanese into the streets. Yet it is China where the political tension is chronicled; Beijing finds one of its greatest challenges in the streets of Hong Kong.
Finally, in Africa, violence erupts in Guinea and Ethiopia, while street pressure helped bring down governments that had been in power for decades in Algeria and Sudan.
There is one side to this phenomenon that represents a fundamental instrument for democracy today. However, politics on the street also has a darker face.
Globalization, among other things, is being a cocktail shaker for a fading bile potion that stuns. The cynical smile of the V-mask of Vendetta drinks from that fountain and starts her fight from the underground of social networks in the manner of Anonymous. However, the multiplicity of causes and contradictions have clogged the circuits with one-paragraph invective and pamphlets.
The paradoxical result is the bubbling of a cult of the binary that makes reality more ambiguous than ever; the dazzled ordinary citizen, fed up with an imaginary dystopia, tears off the anonymous mask of angry feedback and makes up to join the angry procession of a new leader: the Joker is already here suffering from his own laughter.
The apocalyptic prince of confusion has taken up his throne and decrees nostalgia for an ignored history that shakes hands with wild utopias of marketed Joan of Arc. The enemy appears both in every corner never crossed and in all the very reflections of that ephemeral march.
The politics of the algorithm takes away from thought its protagonism in the debate and consensus. Someone from the past, admired for so many advances with respect to his time, would hope that the political systems of these more dynamic and conscious societies of today no longer need strident crowds outside the State.
The insignificant and solitary light accommodates itself with others forming the yellowish constellation of popular action: the fleeting tyranny of the lost plebs, a momentary street or media majority. The soup of the current discontent is prepared with electronic stoves that cook up less pressing but more quickly elaborated objectives. It is time to go out into the streets, yes, but not only to demonstrate: knowledge, institutions and the other are waiting as never before in every real and virtual corner to conscientiously renew the means and the ends.
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