This weekend was an exciting one globally: hundreds of thousands of people took the streets to protest and stand in solidarity. Despite the large turnout, relatively few cameras were covering either the anti-TTIP protest in Berlin (around 150,000 people) or the million man march for justice in Washington D.C (at least 10,000 people). Although these protests seem distant in both geography and background, they are both connected through a central theme: a demand for responsible, transparent, and locally cognizant government.
In Washington, D.C. the main issue on the board was police killings and the disturbing lack of official statistics on the issue. The official slogan of the march was “Justice for else”. There are a myriad of other problems that U.S. Americans have to contend with, like a failing mental healthcare system, more people in jail than anywhere else, and a government that objectively doesn’t represent the vast majority of Americans.
In Berlin, Germany, we saw over 100,000 people stand against the international agreement Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) treaty with the United States (among others). Germans have a reasonable fear that the treaty will undermine their regulatory rights. In a wider sense the Germans, as well as the French and many other Europeans, are weary to the idea of letting companies sue governments for having stricter regulation. Although the German citizens oppose the treaty, companies like Bayer and BASF welcome the chance to work more globally in a more ubiquitously unregulated market.
The general themes of these, and many other protests, are oversight and transparency. Grievous systemic problems exist, but they can only begun to be dealt with when governments listen to their people and supply transparency in their decisions and actions.