I think this photograph does a wonderful job of disrupting the idea that the U.S. has it all figured out and our only job is to support other countries in ascending to similar political perfection.  Americans had been watching the protests in Egypt, most cheering on the democratization, as if we were watching them become more like us.  But the effort to criminalize stifle public employee union activity in Wisconsin suggests that our own democracy is quite fragile.  And when Egyptians can watch American protests, cheer on our workers’ movements, and donate to our organizing efforts, then it becomes clear that a hierarchical “west and the rest” binary fails to describe reality.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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