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Unconventional Wisdom: Name This Moment

February 24, 2011 ·

What will we eventually call this historic wave of peaceful protests and solidarity that's spreading around the world?

Two weeks ago, I wrote in this space about Wisconsin and unions and the power of the people. My focus was on football, not workers defending their collective bargaining rights. But just as Hosni Mubarak was stepping down in Cairo, Governor Scott Walker was stepping up in Madison with his bill to slash these fundamental rights.


Nusair stands in solidarity from Cairo

Muhammad Saladin Nusair's sign in Tahrir Square, which read, "Egypt Supports Wisconsin Workers — One World, One Pain," sums up the extraordinary solidarity between protesters in both locations. Wisconsinites have chomped on pizza purchased by Egyptians as democratic revolutions continue to erupt.

Muammar Gaddafi's brutal response to Libya's uprising reveals democracy's high price. Yet, people power is gaining momentum and spreading across the Middle East and Africa — even reaching the stamp-size French-speaking country of Djibouti, where the police have clashed with anti-regime protesters. As IPS scholar Manuel Pérez-Rocha said during a recent protest that expressed global solidarity with Mexican unions, there's a "renewed international push against injustice."

We at the Institute for Policy Studies are actively involved with campaigns to end injustice, protect workers, and sensibly cut budgets. While state governments and the Obama administration complain that we're running out of money, IPS expert Chuck Collins offers a straight-forward solution for stopping corporate tax dodgers to fund the gap. This Saturday, there's a rally calling for corporations to pay their fair share of taxes before freezing civil servants' pay and cutting government services.

Last week, IPS scholars Janet Redman and Sarah Anderson joined people in more than 25 countries in a global day of action calling for a small financial transaction tax that would raise hundreds of billions of dollars of much-needed revenue while restraining speculation. In addition to these government-revenue-boosting solutions, IPS experts John Feffer, Miriam Pemberton, and Robert Alvarez all suggest ways to shrink the federal budget by cutting military spending.

What will we eventually call this historic wave of peaceful protests and solidarity that's spreading around the world? Write your suggestions below in our comments section, post them on our Facebook wall, or tweet them to @IPS_DC, and we'll post the best ones on our blog next week.


Joy Zarembka
IPS Associate Director