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MONDAY, SEP 17 2012, 06:30 PM

The Austrian Cultural Forum is pleased to host this panel discussion with renowned Austrian political scientist Anton Pelinka on new social protest movements and their influence on elections in the United States and Europe.

In the last few years new protest movements have emerged and spread to many places around the world (Tea Party, Arab Spring, anti-authoritarian groups in Greece and Spain, Occupy Wall Street). People have returned to the streets to express discontent about politics and government. What these very different movements have in common is newfound political activism by the citizenry. The protestors have raised awareness for their issues via digital networking and brought them into the collective mainstream all around the world. At the same time, we are witnessing old power elites using classical media to tighten their grip on public opinion. In countries such as Italy and Great Britain the media are dominated by private interests, while in places like Hungary government parties are in control. This in turn represents real challenges for democratic balance, as does the manipulation of electoral processes and the design of voter registration.

Can new social protest movements counterbalance anti-democratic tendencies? What is their impact on the existing political system and how do they influence political elections in the United States and elsewhere? Can protest movements change the status quo? How do the political parties see these movements?

These and other questions will be explored by tonight's panelists, which will include eminent Austrian political scientist Anton Pelinka, community activist Yetta Kurland, and Gotham Tea Party activist Eric Dixon. The conversation will be moderated by John-Paul Bernbach.


John-Paul Bernbach is a board member of the Democratic leadership for the 21st Century (DL21C), where he serves as chair for Environmental Affairs and co-chair for Foreign Affairs. He is also an author, co-founder and managing partner of two US based companies with operations in Brussels, and a member of the Belgium chapter of Democrats Abroad.

Anton Pelinka is a Professor for Political Science and Nationalism Studies at the Central European University Budapest, in Hungary and the author of several books and articles.

Eric Dixon is a corporate lawyer, political strategist, policy blogger, member of the board of directors of the Financial Policy Council think tank, and a radio host.

Yetta Kurland is a civil rights attorney, educator, radio host, small business owner and community activist who has been empowering our community for over two and a half decades.


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