This panel was organised as part of the 'Time to Talk: European Houses of Debate' project. For more on our activities, see: and

Panel IV: Change (17 November 2012)
What was behind the mass civic protests and demonstrations of the past two years in the East and the West? What were their goals and what have they achieved?

Zygmunt Bauman (United Kingdom/Poland), Juraj Buzalka (Slovakia), Leonidas Donskis (Lithuania), Aitor Tinoco i Girona (Spain), Peter Pomerantsev (United Kingdom/Russia)
Chair: Eszter Babarczy (Hungary)

00:00:00 Eszter Babarczy opens the fourth panel and introduces the panelists. (In English)

00:03:08 Zygmunt Bauman outlines the historical context, describing how and by whom change was effected then versus how and by whom it is effected now, shedding light on the similarities and differences between the Great Depression and the contemporary global financial crisis. (In English)

00:25:32 Leonidas Donskis begins with the Lithuanian experience of statehood, the post-Soviet euphoria that gave way to resentment and disenchantment, a reality without utopias. (In English)

00:38:04 Aitor Tinoco i Girona introduces the 15-M Movement, a Spanish protest movement arising from the dire economic situation of the country, and describes their new way of thinking about and doing politics. (In English)

00:47:14 Peter Pomerantsev about the curious appropriation of discourses and ideologies by the regime in Russia and about what can be done to face such pervasiveness of power. (In English)

00:53:22 Juraj Buzalka briefly outlines the relationship between markets and protests, especially after the changes that started during the Reagan/Thatcher era. (In Slovak with English subtitles)

00:59:22 Eszter Babarczy describes the recent protests in Hungary, followed by Aitor Tinoco i Girona, who talks about the way that Internet creates a culture of participation among the global citizens on an individual level, and outlines some of the goals and challenges of the 15-M Movement. (In English)

01:10:05 Eszter Babarczy asks the other panelists to comment on Aitor Tinoco i Girona’s contribution, with Zygmunt Bauman and Leonidas Donskis providing their sobering responses respectively. (In English)

01:19:26 Juraj Buzalka talks about the crisis of traditional institutions and structures like the nation state which enables the space in which social movements can be created. (In Slovak with English subtitles)

01:22:39 Peter Pomerantsev with the last contribution before a mid-panel break about the mistaken notion that change necessarily equals something good. (In English)

01:27:18 The panel resumes and Peter Pomerantsev talks about the achievements of protest movements in Russia. (In English)

01:33:31 Leonidas Donskis talks about the phenomenon of George Sörös, the man with his own foreign policy, and wider question of the fight for human rights. (In English)

01:41:50 Zygmunt Bauman draws lessons from the dissolution of the USSR and talks about the great irreconcilable poles of freedom and security. (In English)

01:53:28 Juraj Buzalka continues with his thoughts about dialectism and the various paradoxes inherent in modern capitalist market oriented systems. (In Slovak with English subtitles)

01:57:37 Leonidas Donskis answers Eszter Babarczy’s question about the sensentionalist nature of contemporary media coverage and the dangers of technologies and the loss of privacy. (In English)

02:07:37 Zygmunt Bauman elaborates further on the previous points by comparing our contemporary reality to the concept of the Panopticon and the more recent concept of banopticon. (In English)

02:15:18 Peter Pomerantsev contests the idea that populations have significantly changed vis-à-vis the numbers of extroverts and attention seekers, and provides more of his insights regarding reality TV and social networks. (In English)

02:19:24 Juraj Buzalka more about Facebook and the historically unclear division between the public and the private. (In Slovak with English subtitles)

02:23:35 Eszter Babarczy opens the floor for the audience to ask questions. Leonidas Donskis and Peter Pomerantsev provide their responses about the new ‘big brothers’ of the Internet. (In English)

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