Spain is anticipating a further breakdown in public order as the government introduce draconian new laws against freedom of communication and freedom of association; in Greece they're bombing government offices already, and here in the UK one has to compose each blog and twitter post as though hearing it read in a secret government court. Across Europe public order crumbles as people are out of love with their political class; for every criminal who throws a rock are ten civil disobedients, for every civil disobedient ten angry voters. Not since the period just before 1848 has Europe faced such concerted pressure for political and democratic reform.
Czechs and Hungarians rose to throw off Austrian hegemony; in Sicily they rose against the Bourbons, in France they forced the abdication of Louis Philippe. In Denmark, Schleswig, Poland, Wallachia, Belgium, Ukraine and Ireland they rose up, in England the Chartists demanded, and in Switzerland, one of the few outright successes of that year of change, the old order was overthrown and a new constitution enabled. Most risings were suppressed, with more or less brutality, by troops. However, the sought-for freedoms - freedom of the press, and freedom of association - did come in most cases in the following years.
In 2012 one can distil down the common demand as one for control. Across Europe, people feel they have lost control; lost it to globalisation, to centralised political elites, to an amorphous and dispersed bureaucratic net, to a remote and undemocratic EU, to global finance, to oligopolies of incestuous mega-corporations. When the traditional response of incumbent governments to public disorder is to increase their own control, not to let it go, the potential for real conflict between governments and peoples is building rapidly.