A new publication called “World Protests 2006-2013” by the Columbia University and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in New York analyzies strikes, demonstrations, rallies, riots, road blockages, occupations and other protest actions in 87 countries worldwide.
The paper covering over 90% of world population between 2006 and 2013 focuses on: (i) major grievances driving world protests (ii) who is demonstrating, what protest methods they use, and who are they opposed to (iii) achievements and repression of social movements in the short term, and (iv) the main policy demands of world demonstrators. The paper calls for policy-makers to listen, whether messages are articulate or communicate only through frustration and violence.
The study reflects a steady increase in the overall number of protests every year between 2006 (59 protests) and mid-2013 (112 protests events in only half a year). Following the onset of the global financial and economic crisis began to unfold, the number of protests exhibit a “jump” in 2010 with the adoption of austerity measures in all world regions.
A major finding of the study is also the overwhelming demand, not for economic justice per se, but for what prevents economic issues from being addressed: a lack of “real democracy”, which is a result of people’s growing awareness that policy-making has not prioritized them—even when it has claimed to—and frustration with politics as usual and a lack of trust in the existing political actors, left and right. This demand and the crisis of political representation it expresses is coming from every kind of political system, not only authoritarian governments but also representative democracies which are failing to listen to the needs and views of ordinary people. The study has been written by Isabel Ortiz, Sara Burke, Mohammed Barrada and Hernán Cortés and was published in September 2013.