The polarisation that can be observed in recent elections in 2012, notably in Greece and in France for the first round of the Presidential elections, appears to also take place within some of the current Opposition Movements existing outside the classical party system. Those movements, Occupy and Democracia Real Ya! – also known as Los Indignados, born out of Spain’s mobilisation last year, are showing their continuing presence, notably with various protests staged on May Day, then between 12 and 15 May, more or less followed according to cities and countries.
A beginning of radicalization would, so far, touch more specifically the American Occupy movement. Already, in February and March, it gave rise to a debate on the tactics that should be used, as analysed by Stuart Jeanne Bramhall in “Debating Violence in the Occupy Movement.”
In May 2012, Occupy still displays weak signals of rising tension, which could lead to escalation. Those signs can be seen, for example, in the acronym chosen to prepare for May Day and then used on social networks such as Twitter: #M1GS (May 1st Global Strike), also reads MIGS, which refers to the Soviet and then Russian fighter aircraft, and thus carries with it a symbolism referring to war and opposition to the American and allies governments during the Cold War.
As shown in the gallery below (click on each thumbnail to see the image), some of the pictures surrounding M1GS, compared with the images used the year before, notably for the birth of the Spanish Movement, or with the more European 12M-15M 2012 protests, also tend to signal that a radicalization is happening. M1GS uses notably the colour red, as well as sometimes a more offensive symbolism. All transmit an aggressive feeling. 12M-15M continues to favour as colours yellow and black, which tends to warn of danger ahead and thus suggests caution. However, one can also find one call for 15M that adopts a red background and the symbolism of a fist.
Will radicalization spread and intensify? This will depend upon the interactions with the existing political authorities and, in a related way, upon the capability of the movements to obtain concrete results. It is definitely an issue that needs to be monitored in the coming months.
“12 M Puerta del Sol Aerial” in Jerome Roos On May 13, 2012 “#12mGlobal Indignados take back square on movement’s anniversary Madrid,” DRY International.
“Polish MiG-29 (version 9.12A) from the base in Królewo Malborskie near Malbork” by Łukasz Golowanow (website Konflikty.pl), via Wikimedia Commons.