I've been reading the new "Voices from the Global Spring" collection edited by Anya Schiffrin and Eamon Kircher-Allen. It is a country-by-country account of recent activism, stretching from Cairo to lower Manhattan. In the foreword, Jeffrey Sachs outlines what he calls a "global new progressive movement." He sees that the worldwide protests have had four primary targets: "extreme inequality of wealth and income, the impunity of the rich, the corruption of government, and the collapse of public services." His prediction is that the future of the protest movement will involve four types of actions:

  1. Social activism to raise public awareness of the threats to society from the massive inequality of wealth and power.
  2. Activism to bring key economic sectors under more democratic control (Consumer boycotts, shareholder activism, etc.).
  3. An affirmative view of politics in which government once again takes on the challenges of quality education, science, technology, job training, environmental protection, and modern infrastructure.
  4. The struggle for political power itself, in which candidates for the poor and middle class will have to win elections.

His sense is that the blame (in the United States) lies with an irresponsible wealthy elite that is squandering the advantages that America built up over decades: "The rich have lost their sense of responsibility and are far more interested in their next yacht or private plane than in paying the price of civilization through honest and responsible taxation and investment."

And while youth unemployment is a common problem from Egypt to America, Sachs also has faith in the youth to use their new horizontal networking skills to out-maneuver the incumbent powers.

Only spring will tell.

[PHOTO CREDIT: Josef Weidenholzer (CC).]

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Tags: 99percent, egypt, employment, fairness, inequality, occupy, prosperity, protest

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