Last Friday, in many countries around the world, millions were out on the streets to protest for action against climate change. In Germany, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in more than 500 towns. Over the weekend, newspapers and social media buzzed with photos showing large crowds in public places; many of my friends and acquaintances posted their own snapshots from the protest marches.
“No taxation without representation” was the battle cry that eventually led to the United States independence from its British motherland back in 1776, sometimes also rendered as “Taxation without representation is tyranny”. It was complemented by the times’ enlightened thinkers’ belief that human beings are capable of rational decision making, sometimes even abstracting from their most immediate needs and wants in favour of some common good. A consequence of this double conviction – similarly enacted in other revolutionary movements in various places and times – was the emergence of the modern state as the main form of organising our ways of living together.
Today, the state is in crisis.