how leaderless political protests gaining momentum
how leaderless political protests gaining momentum

Our Glorious history and evolutionary civilization across the globe have produced many prominent leaders since ages viz., Alexander in ancient times, Genghis Khan in medieval epoch and Abraham Lincoln, Che Guevara, Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, Mandela, etc in the modern period.

They became the leaders of masses by using various paraphernalia like military might, intelligence, resistance, non-cooperation, non-violence, etc. The people loved these charismatic leaders based on their oratory skills irrespective of caste, religion, race, etc and use to join their movements. But in the contemporary period, the trend of ‘making a leader’ has slowly become vague. This era has evolved to make the movements as ‘leaderless’ because the protestors understood that to create a leader is easy rather than leading a movement in achieving its full commitment.

Also, if the agitators select their leader, there might be an apprehension that the cause will not get its due support from the general public because of multiple viewpoints and different ideologies and it might hamper their unity. Hence, such leaderless movements are arising in recent past like Hong Kong Protests for Pro-Democracy and Greta Thunberg fight against climate change.

Hongkong Protests

We are in the modern time of advance cyber technology. The use of many end-to-end encrypted communication platforms like Telegram and LIHKG (Hong Kong version of Reddit, where one can have debate and vote) to propagate the ideas and to brainstorm the fellow protestors. They also used black bloc methods like black clothing, ski masks, scarves, helmets, sunglasses, etc to conceal their identity.

They also resorted to black paint the surveillance cameras. Doxing was an awesome cyber warfare tool for the protestors. The Hong Kong Protests saw the rise of young student activists like Joshua Wong, Issac Cheng, Ivan Lam and many others who are in their mid-20s.

Greta Thunberg’s Protest

The 16-year-old girl made the world realize the importance of climate change through her innovative form of protests without involving any leader or a political party. she started her activism through a placard ‘school strike for climate’ by standing outside the Swedish parliament. As a result, other students got inspired and engaged in similar protests in their own communities worldwide under the name ‘Fridays for Future’.

She out lashes the countries and leaders in a blunt way who don’t show the concern for climate change mentioned in the Paris Agreement of 2015 and because of this attitude, she got both praise and criticism around the world. Her immediate fame has shot her name in the nomination category of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Protests in India

We have witnessed India Against Corruption movement, a leaderless Political Protest in 2011 and then in 2014 after Nirbhay’s incident. Since then, there has been a transformation of the political wave under Modi and till now India didn’t have a big leaderless movement to counter the heavyweight Prime Minister. The limited rise of young leaders like Kanhaiya Kumar, Jignesh Mevani, Hardik Patel, Shehla Rashid, Umar Khalid, etc doesn’t mark their presence with huge impact.

The unsuccessful farmers’ march didn’t get any limelight from the mainstream media. The Kashmiris plight has been sunk by fellow Indians. For democracy to progress, there should be healthy movements of rights in order to pressurize the governments of the day. It is, therefore, very necessary in the present context to have leaderless movements in India to garner mass support keeping aside their ideologies to counter the largest political party in the world and prevent them to turn into majoritarianism rule and dictatorship.

© The Eastern Herald
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Studied Middle East Geopolitics from the acclaimed Boston University. Bylines in The Hans India, Sakshipost, Muslim Mirror, and TwoCircles. A contributor to The Eastern Herald.