From the Egyptian Revolution to Extinction Rebellion, the 2010s were marked by a global wave of spontaneous and largely structureless mass protests. Despite overwhelming numbers and popular support, most of these movements failed to achieve their aims, and in many cases led to worse conditions. James Butler joins Tom to make sense of the ‘mass protest decade’, sharing historical examples, theoretical approaches and first-hand experiences that help explain the defeats of the 2010s.
Find James Butler’s article, and Jan-Werner Müller’s take on the mass protest decade, in the 8 February issue of the LRB. You can listen to Forrest Hilton’s reflections on the 2022 Brazil elections on the LRB Podcast here.