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A world in revolt

Throughout 2019, leaderless protests have engulfed cities across the world, fuelled by stagnant economies and enfeebled democracies. Our writers ask how a year of upheaval is transforming global politics

The uprising in Hong Kong is a reckoning with its colonial past

By Karen Cheung

The revolt has revealed the deep historical roots to the crisis and how the laws once used by the British are now serving its new authoritarian rulers.

 

Chile’s unrest has reawakened its egalitarian spirit

By Jerome Roos

The combination of low wages, rising living costs, meagre pension provisions and expensive drugs are driving growing numbers of Chileans into debt and despair.

 

One year on, the gilets jaunes are still fighting for justice

By Didier Fassin and Anne-Claire Defossez

Their broad political programme reflected the protest’s diversity, with activists from both left and right.

 

In the heart of Baghdad, a new vision for Iraq is emerging

By Maurice Glasman

Mass protests consisting mostly of young Shia men against corporate and state corruption, frequent power cuts, dirty water supplies and unemployment.

 

The fate of climate protests rests on profound economic change

By Ann Pettifor

Extinction Rebellion’s tactics might be working, but without structural reform, government action will leave intact the economic causes of the environmental crisis: capital flows and the exploitation of fossil fuels.

 

The grand pro-democracy narratives of 1989 are over

By Peter Pomerantsev

“The problem we are facing today is less oppression and more lack of identity, apathy, division and no trust,” says Srdja Popovic, the Serbian guru of political activism.

 

We are witnessing the end of the “Twitter Revolution

By Richard Seymour

The term was once gushingly applied to uprisings against corrupt regimes, but social media has since become associated with darker political developments, with Isis using it to build a global theocratic army.

 

Across the Middle East, they are done with false prophets

By John Jenkins

Demonstrators in Iraq and Lebanon have stood their ground for seven weeks, but to succeed, protest movements need credible leaders, programmes of reform and at least some control over the levers of power.

 

Democracy is a horizon we must always struggle towards

By Astra Taylor

Time and again, rebellions, wildcat strikes, debtors’ revolts and urban uprisings have bent the will of recalcitrant authorities. But history also shows that there are no shortcuts

 

 

This article appears in the 29 November 2019 issue of the New Statesman, The English Question