The Global Moment of 2011: Democracy, Social Justice and Dignity


  • Marlies Glasius,

  • Geoffrey Pleyers


In this contribution, we argue that post-2010 activisms, ranging from the Arab revolts to the Occupy movement, the Indignados and anti-austerity protests in Europe, and the pro-democracy protests in Russia and Mexico, exhibit three kinds of commonalities. These are a common infrastructure of networks and meetings that facilitate rapid diffusion; a generational background shaped both by the precarity of paid work and by exposure to and participation in global information streams; and, most fundamentally, a shared articulation of demands and practices. We further argue that three interconnected concepts have been at the core of both demands and the identity of these movements: democracy, social justice and dignity. Flowing from these three shared values and practices, post-2010 activisms also share a mistrust of institutional politics and a determination not to become corrupted by power, which run deeper than in previous generations of activists and which pose an ongoing challenge to their involvement with formal politics.