Lessons of the Protest Wave in Europe

January 2014 - December 2014
Daniel Smilov, Ivan Krastev, Anna Ganeva and Yana Papazova

"The Lessons of the Protest Wave in Europe" is a one year research project (2014) aiming to understand the experience of the current wave of protests in Russia, Turkey, Spain, Ukraine and Bulgaria. In the last few years millions of angry citizens have "occupied" different places, demanding not simply a change in government but a different way of governing. What is common between these vastly different protest movements is that they trust neither the business or political elites, nor the government or the major opposition parties. They captured the public imagination without bringing to life neither a new ideology nor charismatic political leaders. Focusing on the five cases allowed us to have a closer look at the logic of the protests of the middle class in Europe. The main activities were conducting of workshops in Barcelona and Berlin, aiming to put protest experience at the center of our re-thinking of the role of the NGOs in European democracies.

The primarily objective of the Barcelona seminar (April, 2014) was to understand the political logic of the decisions of the civic activists and their unwillingness to come with viable political alternative. The seminar brought together civic activists from Russia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Spain - people that have been involved in the protest activity in their own countries. Experts, analysts and commentators from USA, Brazil, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary and Czech Republic also took part in the seminar. Among the participants we had activists of protests in Istanbul and Sofia, members of the Maiden Council.

The Berlin seminar in Berlin (June, 2014) was focused on the perspectives of the critics of the protests and on the governments' diverse responses to the protests and how these responses re-shape European politics. The two day seminar was structured in four round tables: RT I: Why did people go to the streets and what did they achieve there? Critics' perspective; RT II: The protests and the diverse responses of the governments - five experiences in comparative perspective; RT III: Protests and the future of democracy; RT IV: Lessons learned...
We gathered 21 policy experts, and policy makers from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Spain and Bulgaria and had the chance to hear their views of the nature, weaknesses and strength of the protest wave.
The final product is a Report that summarizes the key findings of the project activities (title: "The Politics of Protest: Between the Venting of Frustration and Transformation of Democracy").

For more information, please contact the project coordinator - Yana Papazova (yana@cls-sofia.org

Policy Paper: The Politics of Protest: Between the Venting of Frustration and Transformation of Democracy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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