From climate change to political corruption and authoritarianism, leaders of protest movements share a common dilemma: how to achieve impact when existing parties and institutions cannot be trusted?
Overcoming fragmentation between each other and within parliamentary forces is paramount for protest movements whose ultimate goal is policy change, as Helena Marschall from Fridays for Future underlines. There is a strong European call for change: international attention helps make corrupt leaders accountable, says Romanian activist Radu Vancu.
But the question remains: how can political forces be trusted given the radical disappointment characterizing most protest movements? ‘Hope lies within thinking about society as a community’, says Hungarian civic campaigner Dóra Papp.
Political scientist Claus Leggewie moderated a fishbowl panel about the future of protest movements with activists Dóra Papp (civic campaigner, Hungary), Radu Vancu (‘We See You’ Movement, Romania) and Helena Marschall (Fridays For Future, Germany) at the 30th European Meeting of Cultural Journals ‘Europe ‘89: The promise recalled’, 2 November 2019 in Berlin.
Anthropocentrism causes political injustice and ecological destruction. But an inverted anthropocentrism, in which the nonhuman is granted rights, is not the solution. Only by redefining the human can democracy be about the conditions of shared life.
A reductionist definition of democracy as ‘people power’ fails to grasp democracy’s political evolution as guarantee against tyranny. Giving a voice to the biosphere extends this principle and is not to negate democracy’s own conditions.
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