Person of the Year

TIME magazine has announced their annual Person of the Year, and this year's winner is not a single person, but a group. A very big group. 2011 was the year of The Protester. It began in Tunisia, spread through the Arab Spring in Egypt, Libya, Syria, and elsewhere, and before December, protesting crowds were seen in Greece, England, Wisconsin, New York, and all over. It was the biggest year of citizen demonstrations since at least the fall of European Communism in 1989.
In short, 2011 was unlike any year since 1989 — but more extraordinary, more global, more democratic, since in '89 the regime disintegrations were all the results of a single disintegration at headquarters, one big switch pulled in Moscow that cut off the power throughout the system. So 2011 was unlike any year since 1968 — but more consequential because more protesters have more skin in the game. Their protests weren't part of a countercultural pageant, as in '68, and rapidly morphed into full-fledged rebellions, bringing down regimes and immediately changing the course of history. It was, in other words, unlike anything in any of our lifetimes, probably unlike any year since 1848, when one street protest in Paris blossomed into a three-day revolution that turned a monarchy into a republican democracy and then — within weeks, thanks in part to new technologies (telegraphy, railroads, rotary printing presses) — inspired an unstoppable cascade of protest and insurrection in Munich, Berlin, Vienna, Milan, Venice and dozens of other places across Europe, as well as a huge peaceful demonstration of democratic solidarity in New York that marched down Broadway and occupied a public park a few blocks north of Wall Street. How perfect that the German word Zeitgeist was transplanted into English in that unprecedented, uncanny year of insurrection.

In an extensive article, TIME tells the story of the year in protests. Link

(Image credit: Peter Hapak for TIME)

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I did have hopes for the Occupy but without a leader in their cause people, message and actions are left up to the individual which inevitably means that a lot of well meaning people get buried under the extremists (similar to essentially every movement ever). Still, it is a clear indication that a huge percentage of the country is angry with the way the country is won and will continually be reflected in years to come. Think long term. I know I'm angry with the government but I really do not feel like being arrested or pepper sprayed while demonstrating my right to peaceful protest, this should be what you criticize, not the small percentage of protestors mimicking christian televangelist.
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It would have made more sense to make the "protester" the person of the year in 2009 or 2010. Instead, Time waits until 2011. A year where protests in countries like Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya overthrew dictators and are now leading to Iranian style theocracies. Does that make the world any better off? Domestically, it's been a year highlighted by the Occupy Wall Street protests. A movement with a confused message at best. Somewhat fitting that Time releases this right on the heels of the occupiers trying to shut down ports in a befuddled attempt to sock it to the so-called 1%... a move that, if successful, would have only raised consumer prices for the 99%. Brilliant.
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