Revolutions, but not as we know them

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In the 25 years since the Tiananmen Square protests in China, we have seen a remarkable number of popular uprisings around the world. This so-called “revolutionary wave” – spanning from the “colour revolutions” at the end of the Cold War to the Arab Spring in 2011 – has ushered in a new period of democratisation. But, the latest rounds of protests, best exemplified by the rallies and strikes in Brazil ahead of the football World Cup, represent a new wave of mobilisation that is more complicated and troubling in many ways. This is not to say that we have seen the end of revolutionary movements. Indeed, even where protests have taken place in the last five years – Burma, Iran, Egypt…

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