2011: A Year for Democracy

2011 will be remembered as the year ordinary people around the world decided to reject the establishments, states and powers that govern them. From Tunisia and the Egyptian Revolution to Libyan and Syrian uprisings, the Spanish anti-capitalist demonstrations, Occupy movements in Europe and the USA, a South Sudanese declaration of independence and historic nationalist gains in Scotland and Catalonia.

There are no more invincible regimes, nothing that cannot be changed, no more governments that can ignore critique or condemnation. The world is changing and changing faster than anyone had anticipated.

As the internet becomes more widely available so does the ability to share writings and ideas. Information is no longer controlled by state broadcasters, and the organisation of resistance is quick and easy. Occupy movements utilised digital mapping. Arab Uprisings made use of social media and networking. Catalan advances were aided by video campaigns. Developments in Scotland were described by newspapers as a “Facebook revolution”.

The world is becoming more connected, and it is these connections which have allowed the public to look outward; to realise that democracy is a universal right, and that independence is an international normality.

Ordinary people now believe they have power. That is a valuable and irreversible thing. Scotland, like the world, has changed for good and forever.

As civil rights activist César Chávez once said:

Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours.”

Andrew Barr
Magazine Editor