|By Alan Hall | Excerpted from the March 2011 Socionomist
Originally published in the title “Authoritarianism: Conflict Intensifies”
Suddenly it seems that protests and rebellions have become the new normal around the globe, as Alan Hall predicted would happen in his April / May 2010 study on authoritarianism / anti-authoritarianism.
In this update, socionomist Alan Hall examines recent anti-authoritarian protests in North Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe, North America and South America—all of which, he submits, have been spurred by declining social mood at a large degree. Excerpts follow.
Since our last issue, thousands of Greek citizens have taken on authorities in a nationwide strike to oppose their government’s deep budget cuts. They hit police with rocks and gasoline bombs, and police responded with tear gas and flash grenades. We noted last year that the extreme optimism of the Grand Supercycle peak in social mood had generated unsustainable government spending in many countries, including Greece. As a result, many people have become more dependent on and thereby more vulnerable to the decisions of their governments. The social stresses are now impelling both authoritarian policies and opposition to them.
Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 citizens marched in London on March 26 to protest government budget cuts. And in Bolivia, demonstrators in multiple cities demanded the resignation of government officials who, the unhappy citizens said, had done too little to address inflation in food and transportation prices. In Asia, the South Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo reported that protests in tightly controlled North Korea took place in February; in a follow-up report on March 25, the publication said that the North Korean regime had warned its people not to keep the South Korean propaganda leaflets being dropped over the country. The newspaper said North Korean authorities fear a democratic uprising like those currently occurring in the Middle East. In China, officials blocked the Twitter and Facebook websites after activists attempted to organize protests via social media. Authorities also blocked LinkedIn after a user called for revolution. In the Middle East, Bahrain’s government used force to bring an end to a month-long protest. Some 100 people died in a government crackdown on protests in Syria. And in Yemen, supporters of President Ali Abdullah Saleh fired on peaceful demonstrators. In the U.S., workers’ unions spent weeks protesting a law proposed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker that curtailed collective bargaining for public employees. Walker was victorious, but on March 18, Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi issued a temporary restraining order halting the new law. Finally, in Libya, air attacks by the U.S. and its allies reduced the ability of that nation’s dictator, Colonel Muammar Quaddafi, to oppose a rebel advance. At press time, rebels were fighting Quaddafi’s forces for control of the oil town of Brega. …
In the remainder of this packed, two-page report, Alan Hall discusses multiple other growing expressions of authoritarianism–such as the use of surveillance cameras and proposals for increased control of the Internet. All are on the rise during the current large-scale social mood decline.
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