What made the protest from February 2017 the biggest in the recent history

 

 

 

 

For my final paper  for Social Sciences I decided to take a look at the massive protests that took place in Romania at the beginning of the 2017 after the government adopted  a  law that would have favored corruption.

I decided to do an analyze on the reasons that made this protests the biggest in the recent history of Romania, since the falling of the Communist Regime in 1989.

Romanian people got  to a point of being used to streets protest, to expressing their anger and disapproval regarding thinks that matter for them, at least in the recent ten years. Major protest took place in the big cities  of Romania when Rosia Montana  problem was raised. Then, thousand took the streets protesting against the exploitation, forcing the exploiters to stop their work.

Foto: Raul Steff

In the last month of December 2014 thousands took the streets in Romania and in the Diaspora protesting against the ruling govern that has poorly organized the presidential elections forcing people to wait in lines for hours on end.

 

Foto: Andrei Dascalescu

 

 

It was not long until the major hazard from the Bucharest club  Collectiv  happened and  again thousands took the streets expressing their anger, grieve and hate against the corrupt system that lead to this tragedy.

Foto: Saul Pop

 

Looking at all this events and protest that took place in the recent years we can say that Romanians have a culture of protest, and they are use to expressing their anger and dissatisfaction  whenever things don’t go as they should or their pace  stability was threatened.

Unfortunately we have a clear example that this are not as they seem to be. In the summer of  2016 the press unveiled that a sanitizing firm, Hexy Pharma ,  that was supposed to keep clean  the hospitals and the tools being used was diluting the disinfectant   making it less sterile than rain water.

Considering that they operated in most of the Romanian hospitals they should have been considered a  national treat and the people should have raised against. Even more there were direct link between their actions and the youngsters that died in the hospitals after Collectiv. Surprising there were no street protest. Nothing notable.

An explanation can be the result of the studies explained by Remy Cross and David  A. Snow in their book. They explain that just the desire of social change is not enough. It takes leaders to speak up for and from the masses in order to coagulate a group.

“The desire for social change alone o mater its source or intensively  is insufficient to generate organized movement campaigns. Rather, collective action that takes the form of social movements seeking some kind  of social change  emerges from the confluence and interaction of a number of facilitating conditions: shared,  mobilizing grievances  , some degree of political opportunity, resource mobilization an a favorable ecological context”.[1]

 

But then same people, just a few months later , took part at the biggest protests in recent history of this country.  Among other things the extremely fast response of the masses was something that Romania has not seen until. The fact that just an hour after the news came out thousands were already on the streets in the Cities was a the first shook.

Not only this, but people kept going out on the streets protesting and enduring hursh  could, snow and even rain. An explanation for their willingness to put all this effort time and dedication can again be found in the research done by the same authors.

“Movements it’s important  to remember, are made up out of people willing to dedicate  varying degrees  of time and energy  as well as other resources, to altering or remedying  some issue about which they deeply and passionately  concerned.” [2]

 

Another reason for the fast  and angry response of the people was the fear factor. Before passing this law, there were day of public discussion about the laws points and lot of public figures expressed their concern about it. Even more there were small protest in Bucharest as well as in Cluj-Napoca thru which  people were signaling that they would not accept this law. The fear factor comes into play because the  decision was made late in the night ignoring all the alarm signs that came from the public.

This action translated into: the actual government  can and will take the decisions wanted even if they don’t represent the best interest for the majority. The masses felt it was a moment of ” now or never”. Many protesters declared that their reaction came in order to save this country in the last minute.

 “Movements it’s important  to remember, are made up out of people willing to dedicate  varying degrees  of time and energy  as well as other resources, to altering or remedying  some issue about which they deeply and passionately  concerned. “[3]

Last but not least  think that differentiated this protest from others was the creativity of the protesters. The iconic picture of the tens of thousands with their lanterns lifted to the sky circled the world. An explanation for this can be:

 “Forgas’ research dovetails with experiments conducted by two University of California, Santa Barbara psychologists in 2007. That study concluded anger promoted analytic processing, and that angry people were more likely to discriminate between weak and strong arguments than people in a neutral mood. The study authors suggested that this was because irritation promoted an effective and analytic way of processing information.” [4]

 

Foto: Agerpres

 

In conclusion we can see that there were some key factors that made the protest against the OUG 13 the biggest in the recent history of Romania. There was the fear factor that brought them on the streets, then the deep desire of social change accumulated over years of protest with no major change and lastly the anger that drove them give them a sense of common identity and helped them be creative in their process.

References

http://fspac.ubbcluj.ro/moodle/pluginfile.php/12840/mod_resource/content/2/25%20Apr%20Cross.pdf

http://fspac.ubbcluj.ro/moodle/pluginfile.php/26085/mod_resource/content/1/smarter%20as%20groups.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saul Pop                                     Introduction in Social Sciences

English journalism III year

 

 

[1] Social Movements  Remy Cross and David  A. Snow. http://fspac.ubbcluj.ro/moodle/pluginfile.php/12840/mod_resource/content/2/25%20Apr%20Cross.pdf

[2] Social Movements  Remy Cross and David  A. Snow. http://fspac.ubbcluj.ro/moodle/pluginfile.php/12840/mod_resource/content/2/25%20Apr%20Cross.pdf

[3] Social Movements  Remy Cross and David  A. Snow. http://fspac.ubbcluj.ro/moodle/pluginfile.php/12840/mod_resource/content/2/25%20Apr%20Cross.pdf

[4]http://fspac.ubbcluj.ro/moodle/pluginfile.php/26085/mod_resource/content/1/smarter%20as%20groups.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

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