Emerging Generations of Leaders

Posted by: eric on June 17, 2009 at 5:47 pm

You can’t escape the news coverage of the Iranian post election results.  If you’re a Baby Boomer, you may have noticed that one kind of social activism our generation was famous for back in the day has been transformed by technology—political protest in the form of marches, demonstrations, sit-ins, rallies, and acts of civil disobedience have been taken to the next level.

We live in a new era where new forms of activism are likely to take center stage. The coming wave of change may have a shape that is quite unfamiliar to older veterans of the civil rights marches, antiwar rallies, teach-ins, and campus protests of the 1960s and 1970s.

It would be false to imply that today’s youth has completely abandoned traditional street protests and similar kinds of demonstrations. Beginning in 1999, demonstrations against economic globalization have been widespread around the time of significant meetings of groups like the World Trade Organization and the Group of Eight. During the run-up to the Iraq war, protest marches were held in cities around the world, reaching a peak when millions of demonstrators marched against the war on 15 February 2003. However, it’s true that demonstrations such as these have drawn less media coverage than similar events in the convulsive years of 1968 and 1969, and partly as a result of the diminished press attention, political activists have looked toward other methods of organizing and mobilizing around their demands for change.  And they have recently found it.

“From 2005 to 2008, mobile phone subscriptions in Iran grew by more than 375 percent.  By 2008, six of every 10 Iranians were mobile subscribers. Most of these phones have Internet access.  This creates an alternative media channel that the government cannot control.” source Jon Taplin

The use of Twitter to organize protests and evade government censorship of what is happening in Iran can not be overstated.  Many bloggers are posting sources for information.







Marches, demonstrations, and other forms of “visible activism” can have an impact unmatched by other political activities and therefore will play a role in the coming Millennial-led revolution.  And technology will be expertly used to coordinate, craft and disseminate information quickly.

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