Food Scarcity and Prices Fuel Demonstrations World Wide

Posted on February 25, 2011


Revolution in Tunisia began in a very humble place – the local market:

… [A] Tunisian fruit vendor with a handcart set fire to himself six weeks ago, and in doing so lit the fuse that has detonated Egypt and threatens to topple the political order of the Maghreb, Yemen, and beyond. [Telegraph]

High food and oil prices throughout the world are fueling demonstrations with potential to spill over into full blown revolution.  Already in India, demonstrations against escalating food prices have led to the following:

NEW DELHI: At least 100,000 trade unionists marched through Delhi on Wednesday in a protest against high food prices and unemployment, piling pressure on an administration under fire over corruption scandals. 

The demonstration was the biggest in New Delhi in years and included members of a trade union linked to the ruling Congress party, reflecting disquiet within the party over food inflation which hit a high of over 18 per cent last December.

It was also the latest in a wave of protests that have swept the world, ignited by a worldwide spike in food prices. But unlike the protests that have toppled autocratic leaders, there have been no calls to overthrow India’s democratic government. [Economic Times of the Times of India]

Note that Union leaders were involved and remember that so many unions are now global or at least in touch with one another.  The Union members in Wisconsin or in Ohio may become frustrated to the point of looking for international support.  This is a global society and these things can be sparked globally and protesters realize this.
The United States through the 1970s had jobs sufficient for people to feed their families but deeper and longer down periods followed.  The landscape has changed.  Take a job away, put food and oil out of reach and Americans will end up on the streets in large numbers. Civil unrest may come here in a more clearly defined manner.  We need to watch for the signs.
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