THE BLOG
01/27/2017 03:57 am ET Updated Jan 27, 2018

Angry People

Jacky Naegelen / Reuters

Last Saturday, in one of the most influential and famous television programs in the United States, Saturday Night Live, with an average audience of 7 million viewers weekly for the past 43 years on NBC, and which has for months now made the decision to fight Donald Trump head on, comedian Aziz Ansari delivered a brilliant monologue and congratulated the millions of people who protested against Trump, across America, on the day of his inauguration: "Change doesn't come from presidents. Change comes from large groups of angry people." And he concluded by saying to the protesters "And if Day 1 is any indication, you are part of the largest group of angry people I have ever seen. Good luck to you."

In my opinion, even beyond the United States, one of the great characteristics of the historical dynamics of 2017 is: In anger, people will challenge those who govern them, when they will not view them as legitimate or effective. In the United States, the majority of the people, who voted against the new president, see him as illegitimate. In Europe, governments are seen to be ineffective for an increasing number of citizens.

In both cases, peoples are better and better trained as time goes on, increasingly active on social networks, in associations and primary elections, they intend to control governments' action by using more and more pressing methods and even brutal ones when they are angry.

And anger is mounting, in all democracies. Because economic power is stronger than political power. In Europe, anger will first become manifest at the ballot boxes, and in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy, by the general elimination of those who were unsuccessful in the elections and of the official representatives of mainstream parties. When the game of alliances, or voting procedures, will succeed in preventing it, the anger of voters will show itself outside elections, through rumblings, demonstrations, and revolts; in anger, minorities, or even majorities, will reject the results of the elections; and if the weakest do elect, as they just did in the United States, the candidate of the powerful, it is democracy itself that will be called into question.

It is therefore essential, for all political parties committed to democracy to put forward, for all future elections, new candidates, with ambitious programs, which implies a long-term vision, and link the major geopolitical choices and highly relevant issues that directly concerns voters. If the democratic parties are unable to initiate this massive renewal of their leadership cadre and their projects they will be swept away; large groups of angry people will oust the old elites from power.
2017 is the moment of truth: A virtual revolution, as violent as a bloodthirsty revolution, is crucial to the survival of democracy. It should not be limited to changes in political leadership; it must be matched by a real transformation of power relations. If not well managed, it will lead, as is the case after many revolutions, to the return to power of the same people, after a barbaric period. If it is managed in an organized fashion it will give birth to new countries, free from their anxieties and fantasies, youth-friendly, a source of prosperity.