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The age of the awakening populace

edited February 2011 in Politics
Over the last 2 days I have been reading about how in Yemen the populace has been embolden by Egypt's success and have renewed their aspirations for freedom. In Algeria, also, we see the start of a popular revolution. Also in Italy popular sentiment has turned against their leadership and is demanding their resignation. If 1962-2009 was the age of Anglo-American Hegemony, have we just entered the 2010-???? age of the awakened populace?


  • It is a distinct possibility, but the the problem is if this turns into despotism by the people. Sure popular revolutions are good, and one might think of each election in America and elsewhere as peaceful revolutions, but places like Egypt and others in the Middle East don't have a history of Democracy, which means they could end up putting another asshole in power. Unfortunately, there is historical precedent with revolutions.

    I guess you could say I'm cynically optimistic.
  • I think when something fairly big happens, people like to make these equally big, sweeping predictions about the future, and they want to cleanly separate one time frame from another, and they expect these huge changes (practically) overnight. History doesn't really move like that, though, and I think a lot of people are going to be disappointed when they find out that these things didn't come to pass.

    I think in the short term, we're going to see a lot of these isolated incidents, connected only by their temporal proximity to the event in Egypt, followed by a long quiet period. There's going to be a lot of rumblings, and a lot to commentate on, but it's largely going to be quelled or dissipate. In the long term, I think some seeds are being sown, but it's too early to tell what the fruit from these seeds are. It could be a viable, open revolution, it could be more of the same, just with people who understand technology, which makes them even scarier.
  • I think when something fairly big happens, people like to make these equally big, sweeping predictions about the future,
    I don't think we are making predictions at this point, 2 whole Nations have over-thrown their governments and their are mass protests in several others. I think that classifies as "Sweeping"
  • I'd have to agree with Neito.
    For something slightly comparable, I'd bring up 1848, the "year of revolutions" in Europe, where essentially every major state in Europe except Great Britain, Russia, and the Netherlands had an armed revolt/protests of some kind. The revolution in France successfully overthrew Louis-Phillippe and formed the Second Republic, under Napoleon III - who turned France into a hereditary empire not four years later. A revolt in Denmark was successful at implementing a constitution, and a revolt in Wallachia succeeded for a whole year at establishing a representative government before being invaded by the Ottomans and the Russians, who restored the monarchy there. All the other revolutions failed.

    In the end, the revolutions ended up significantly weakening the liberalization and nationalist movements in Europe, in turn strengthening the hold of conservative governments.
    What I'm saying is: one of the last times a "wave of revolution" happened in Western civilization, almost nothing actually changed.

    Wikipedia article detailing various revolutions.
  • While I'm also attributing this to the ebb and flow of stagnation of change, previous cultures didn't have the internet, so it could go either way.
  • edited February 2011
    Also, point of note: I would bed you REAL MONEY that there won't be any kind of political reform in Italy. Considering what kind of people are popular, and the fact that the conservatives there are almost as crazy as the conservatives here (my grandmother openly supports Benito Mussolini. She says he's the best leader Italy has had in (at least) the past 1400 years.), I say that the day Italy has meaningful reform is the day they finally succeed in conquering Ethiopia.

    Italian politics in one image:

    EDIT: Actually, we should play a game where we sum up nations' politics in a single image.


    Post edited by YoshoKatana on
  • Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Iran, Italy, Palestine, Jordan, Algeria. I'm wondering who's next on the popular uprising parade?
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