This was the “year of the protester” says Time Magazine in announcing their “person of the year” winner:
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 result 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 short, 2011 was unlike any year since 1989”?? Excuse me? Any informed conservative reading that must have thought “um, hello – Tea Party? Iranian revolution?” Ed Morrissey did, and in a must-read he slams not only Time’s lack of historical perspective, but also for their failure to recognize that the modern “year of the protester” happened before 2011 …. 2009 to be exact:
Oh, please. First, the idea that political protest originated in the 1960s is nothing but nostalgic nonsense, and quoting the long-debunked Fukuyama at this point is almost self-parody. America has seen plenty of grassroots protests throughout its history, nor is the US alone. From our own history, we had massive anti-war and anti-draft protests in the 60s … the 1860s, in New York. It had the same effect as anti-war protests in the 1960s, which was that the war continued apace (and the nation elected a Republican as president in the next national election).
In 2009, Time had the same opportunity to pick “the protester” when the protests were the Tea Party and Iran’s Green Revolution, which followed from Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, and so on. Who did they pick? Ben Bernanke. When the Tea Party movement actually delivered results at the ballot box in 2010 in a historic midterm drubbing of Barack Obama’s Democrats — they lost 68 seats, the worst outing since 1938 — they could have hailed The Protester then, too. Who did they pick? Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
So they’re a little late to “the protester” story in terms of real impact. And what impact has “the protester” actually had in 2011? Has the Occupy Movement, such as it is, had any kind of ground-breaking impact on politics in the way the Tea Party did in 2010 and still does in this cycle? Not even close, and even people on the Left have begun washing their hands of the literally pointless display. The Arab Spring protesters have had somewhat more impact, but the two dictators they overthrew in Tunisia and Egypt look to be replaced by Muslim Brotherhood theocrats. In Libya, Moammar Qaddafi didn’t get taken down by “protesters,” but by an armed insurrection that combined several militia forces with NATO’s air power dropping bombs on the capital for several months. In Syria, the Assad regime is mowing down the protesters while the US and Europe stand idly by. In that sense, it’s exactly like Iran in 2009 — when Time passed on the opportunity to name the martyred Neda as their person of the year.
Tim Graham has more, including excerpts of Time’s slobbering all over the failing, violent, anarchistic Occupy Wall Street movement which – according to Time magazine – is “in its very early days.”
If you subscribe to Time Magazine, I highly recommend that you use this edition to line your bird cage – or to help start a fire in order for you to have a nice, warm evening by the fireplace. In my opinion, that’s really all this edition of the magazine is good for – if even that.