At the start of 2009, fury is erupting. Today, something is qualitatively different about the mood on the street. For the first time in forty years, the anger of people is palpable. The general sense of discontent that was expressed in the Greek riots is spreading. And a storm is now shaking cities across Europe as protesters galvanized by the Gaza massacre smash windows, overturn cars and confront riot police. Given the passion for resistance already displayed, it appears likely that 2009 will become a year of fury.
Global protests against the invasion of Gaza raged furiously during this, the second week, of the Israeli war. Over 100,000 people marched in France, 70,000 in Brussels, 100,000 in Madrid, 100,000 in London and protests continue to appear in cities across Europe including Athens, Berlin, Budapest, Oslo, Sarajevo and Stockholm. However, unlike the antiwar protests of the past, what is remarkable now is the widespread militancy of protesters. In each city, riot police were called in and violent clashes ensued. London protesters smashed the windows of Starbucks, in Brussels they vandalized car windows and in Yemen police opened fire on protesters, wounding five. For a complete summary of the global protests, visit The Raw Story or The Daily Mail.
Rage is one factor that marks the mood of 2009 as different. And another is the militancy of average people. Like in Greece, where the majority supported the anarchist riots, today's militant protesters are also joined, and supported by, mainstream opposition. In the UK, for example, the former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, declared: "The British government and European Union have the economic leverage to stop this carnage. They must take decisive action to force Israel to end the slaughter." And in Spain, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told protesters, "It is my duty to call on Israel to implement an immediate cease-fire."
At this moment it seems clear that the mood on the street is one of riotous fury. Only time can tell whether the passion will be sustained long enough to usher in systemic change.
Do you think your friends and neighbors are furious? What do you think is behind the passion sweeping the globe?
Micah M. White is a Contributing Editor at Adbusters Magazine and an independent activist. Micah is currently writing a book of philosophical meanderings into the future of activism. He lives in Binghamton, NY with his wife and two cats. www.micahmwhite.com