Srdja Popovic is cofounder and executive director of the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) and a former member of the Serbian National Assembly.
Srdja Popovic on
When I look at the world from my personal passion, which is democracy and human rights, it is a little bit better world. When you look to the world 40 years ago, here were a bunch of the countries under the Soviet Union which are solid democracies now.
Issue number one for me is democracy. The world is moving towards the right direction when it comes to the numbers. More and more people are free, more and more countries are free every year. But there is so much work to be done. We need to understand the basic mechanism for democracy is people power. So democracy is not something imposed from upside-down; this is something coming from downside-up.
When you look at the Balkans or you look at the other places, you can see that there is a direct relationship between war and democracy. I think the more democracies we achieve, the less is likely that you have wars, because when you look at the percentage of the wars, the wars generally don't start between democracy and democracy, because there are such powerful mechanisms to put an effort in the government to stop wars.
One of the biggest misconceptions when you look to the social change is that social change and social movements demand strong leaders. Now you are witnessing the completely new breed of movements, even called leaderless movements.
Another issue which grabs the world attention now is the social injustice issue. You can call this the "Occupy movement" you can call this "99-against-1 movement." Whether we are talking about the liberal capitalism or countries like Russia, there is definitely an unfair distribution of wealth. There must be a way to create a safer place and a more socially just place. So you can call me a moderate leftist, but I really believe in social justice.