It’s a Mad, Mad World


Agitators. Activists. Fed up citizens. They surrounded parliaments and conference centers, they rappelled office towers and donned costumes, they linked arms, and swelled in the streets from thousands to hundreds of thousands. They demanded higher wages, a cessation to test-bombing, an end to police brutality, new presidents.

These photos, documenting a handful of the year’s events, tell a starkly different story from the standard script about prosperity, consensus, and apathy that dominates the evening news. They tell of rage and riot—at fuel tax hikes, corporate domination, leather jackets. And while Americans caught 30-second glimpses of these complex conflicts on their TV screens, many protests outside the U.S. never reached the news assignment desks. Have demonstrators been heard? Perhaps. California janitors won a significant new labor contract, and Yugoslavians ousted Slobodan Milosevic. Are New York City police less brutal? Perhaps. Are the ice caps still melting? Probably. Are genetically altered foods finding their way into your body? Yes.

What do these images augur? That holding governments and corporations accountable often requires hitting the streets. The madder and louder people get, the harder they are to ignore. —Lenora Todaro



Mass Demonstrations at the Republican Convention
The Long Dormant Voting Rights Movement
New York City
The Death of Amadou Diallo
The Police Killing of Patrick Dorismond
Activist Mobilization at Economic Conferences
Los Angeles
‘Justice for Janitors’
The Painful Domino Sugar Strike


For more on ‘The Year in Protest,’ see the print version of this week’s Village Voice.