The Big March
by Sonia Sodha
Today's student demo is a reminder of the power of direct democracy in action (save for the minority of students who engaged in violent protest, which just goes to show how a small number of people can ruin it for the rest). Regardless of people's views on tuition fees, there does seem to be a palpable joy in the fact that 50,000 citizens have got out and marched for something they believe in - the biggest number since the anti-war protests of 2003.
Next week (on the 15th of November) there is a different public demonstration happening; albeit one of a very different kind. Three quarters of a million people have signed up to take part in the Big March (http://www.beatbullying.org/bigmarch/) - the world's first virtual march - against bullying, organised by the charity Beat Bullying. Everyone who is taking part has designed an avatar with a personalised banner, which will march across 50 websites (including Google and Demos) to ask Government for help and support in protecting children against bullying, violence and harassment.
The idea is genius, harnessing the strength of people action through the digital world. It gives new meaning to the idea of direct democracy in the 21st century and will give hundreds of thousands of young people, who might not be able to make it to a real-world march, the opportunity to demonstrate in the kinds of numbers never seen before.
So if it's a cause you believe in (and let's face it - who doesn't?) get to the Big March website and create your avatar now!