In the period 2009-2014 political protests have erupted in more than 70 countries of the world, both democracies and non-democracies. In most of the cases the protests were led neither by a political party or trade union. The protesters were openly anti-institutional and mistrustful towards both the market and the state, and they lacked any coherent ideology. In this lecture I will claim that these “movements of mistrust” do not claim power and do not offer political alternative to the status quo but they do represent an effective strategy of citizen empowerment in the age of globalization when the power of citizens derives mostly from their ability to disrupt.
Ivan Krastev is the Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Permanent Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna and 2013-14 Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow of the Bosch Stiftung in Berlin. His books in English are Democracy Disrupted. The Global Politics on Protest (UPenn Press, May 2014); In Mistrust We Trust: Can Democracy Survive When We Don’t Trust Our Leaders? (TED Books, 2013); The Anti-American Century, co-edited with Alan McPherson, (CEU Press, 2007) and Shifting Obsessions: Three Essays on the Politics of Anticorruption (CEU Press, 2004). He is the co-author with Stephen Holmes of a forthcoming book on Russian politics.