7 Places Where Citizens Got Loud in 2014

Here’s why this was the year of the protest.

In recent years, amid the rise of social media and online petitions, it’s been easy to feel like the transformative and successful movements of the past century—the civil rights movement, anti-apartheid protests, and anti-Vietnam War protests—were destined to become relics of history. However, if there was ever a year to debunk the claims of “slacktivism” and “armchair activism” that have proliferated during the internet era, 2014 was it.

In many ways, the anti-government protests in Turkey and the anti-sexual harassment protests in India in 2013 hinted at the groundswell of protests that would follow from West Africa to Eastern Europe to Central America. Protesters boldly challenged entire governments, hegemonies, and systemic injustices in discrete ways that somehow felt greater than the sum of their grievances. Though not all were nonviolent, most of the protests demonstrated an impassioned form of civic engagement that will leave indelible imprints upon the history books of the future.

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Barbie Gets Crucified in Germany

Would you want to visit the Barbie Dreamhouse or are you glad people are out protesting?

In Berlin, it's hard to miss the massive pink structure that has sprouted up seemingly over night in the middle of town. Emblazoned with the words Barbie, The Dreamhouse Experience, it is a 50,000 square foot replica of the plastic doll's Malibu mansion. Inside, visitors can see over 350 Barbies, try on the petite doll's outfits using a "digital mirror,"and virtually bake cupcakes in a the Dreamhouse kitchen. Fans of the toy can live out this slice of domesticity through August 25.

But some people, namely the "sexstremists" in FEMEN, are not happy about the pink playhouse, arguing that Barbie is a symbol of repression and sends the wrong message to young girls about what their role in society should be. During the opening of the "experience" yesterday, topless women and men in drag took over the entryway carrying signs that read, "I will free you from the horror house" and "Stop Sexism." One woman, with "Life in plastic is not fantastic" scrawled across her stomach, stood in the massive high heel water fountain and burned a Barbie tied to a crucifix. According to the feminist group:

Ritual Barbie'cue with fried meat of the plastic idol was made to demonstrate the true meaning of the history of commercial monster Mattel. They have turned a piece of plastic into a god for millions of girls from all over the world who now seek only to imitate plastic shapes and stupidity and absurdity of conduct. The nazi ideology of Mattel purposefully creates the image of a female doll dictating not only the appearance of new generations, and that the worst social role of reckless beauty finding a reason to exist in the continuous care of their appearance and the house. FEMEN urges mercilessly burn the idols! A woman is not a Barbie! A woman is a revolution!

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An Open Letter From The Trenches: To Education Activists, Friends, and Haters

Education activists have to recognize that anger is a primary means to an end, not the end itself.

To my fellow education activists:

I've come across a few things that concern me and others in the last few months, and we got some shit to talk about.

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Occupy the SEC Will Teach You About This Timely Financial Issue

Take a minute to learn about one way that money works because "you need to understand the technicalities to be part of [the debate]."

On Tuesday, the Financial Stability Oversight Council will meet to discuss potential money-market mutual fund regulation reform. Hold on! Keep reading!

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Occupy History: Will We Remember OWS as a Footnote or a Chapter?

Is "What did Occupy accomplish?" the right question?

Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote a column in the New York Times calling Occupy Wall Street a "fad."

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