By Jerome Roos
Originally Posted: 11 May 2012 12:17 PM PDT http://roarmag.org/2012/05/jerome-roos-ovni-2012-revolution-21st-century/
The global day of action on May 12 will mark the resurgence of our resistance. But what is the way forward for our movement in these times of crisis?
This is the transcript of a presentation given at the OVNI 2012 festival in the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona on May 11, 2012.
It’s amazing to be here in Barcelona – home to one of the most inspiring revolutionary episodes in European history and today once again a hotbed of popular resistance against market fundamentalism and a false democracy. Before I start, I would like to thank the OVNI organization and Carlos Delclós — a lecturer at Pompeu Fabra, an active member of the movement here in Barcelona, and a contributor to ROARMAG.org — for giving me the opportunity to speak to you today, on the eve of the global day of action of May 12.
On the Edge of History
We are living through historic times. While the future may look bleak and uncertain, we are – in our own particular way – blessed to live through an era in which the very word ‘revolution’ is no longer just the abstract obsession of some fringe romantics inside the Old Left. We are living through a time in which the word capitalism no longer invokes hard work and ample reward, but the lack of work and opportunity for a growing number of people around the world. This is a time in which the very existence of revolutionary theory and practice is no longer considered just an academic or activist privilege, but a pressing global necessity and – increasingly – a factual reality on the ground. Read the rest of this entry »
“… what are you laughing at? Change the name and you are the subject of the story” (Horace, Satires and Epistles. London: Penguin 2005: 5)
In November 2010, British students staged a series of demonstrations in several cities of the UK and Northern Ireland. Organised by the National Campaign against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC), thousands marched against spending cuts to further education and an increase of the cap on tuition fees by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government. The 2010 protests have marked something of a turning point in modern British history: the political protest was back. After the 2003 anti-Iraq war protest in London which attracted almost a million people, the 2010 protests showed once more that it is the political protest that shapes the world for the better. But if these protests made dissensus visible, and posited it at the heart of British politics, they also gave police an opportunity to widely use a scare tactic, ensuring that protest against the status quo is effective. The tactic is called ‘kettling’, which so easily turns a legitimate protest into a ‘violent disorder’. Read the rest of this entry »
by Ady Cousins 19/2/12
Data produced by Greek survey organisation Public Issue shows that in 2011 one third of the population agreed that ‘Our society must change radically through revolution’
By Jérôme E. Roos On November 22, 2011 http://www.roarmag.org
Author: Tom Frost (Newcastle Law School)
Drawing upon the thought of Giorgio Agamben, this paper focuses upon the potential of a single act to change a political order. Agamben’s writings on the exception and the figure of whatever-being retain the possibility for a paradigmatic gesture that opens up a space for a politics not founded on a form of belonging grounded in a particular property or substance, such as national identity, race or religion.
To illustrate this event this paper turns to Agamben’s construction of whatever-being, the form-of-life that can challenge sovereign violence and the creation ofhomo sacer. The figure of whatever-being is constructed hyper-hermeneutically. This term is chosen deliberately. Agamben constructs whatever-being through singular paradigmatic examples. Read the rest of this entry »
Author: Saladdin Ahmed CriticalLegathinking.com
From Iran, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, and Syria to the countries of North Africa, such as Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, the anger, the desire to change the unbearable reality, the mass movement, and the process of reorganization of the political space are all present. What seems to be lacking, however, is a progressive revolutionary ideology that would be capable of not only abolishing direct political suppression, but also reshaping the exploitative social relations. The peoples of Near East and North Africa have the capacity and the will to change their world, but how big will that change be? Is it too unrealistic to expect a revolution that could reshape societies fundamentally, i.e. not only the representatives of the ideological superstructure, but also the relations of production, to use Marx’s terminology? If this is a progressive revolution, will it be able to exceed the aim of abolishing dictatorial regimes to create a more radical transformation of the societies of the Middle East? I think so far what is lacking is a grand progressive ideology, but is it possible for a new social and political vision to be emerging as the cross-national revolution continues? That is the hope. This article however, for the most part, expresses the less optimistic interpretation of what seems to be happening. Part of what determines the boundaries and the nature of a historical event at the moment of its occurrence is our (we who do support the event) own expectations, interpretations, utopias, criticisms, and doubts. My own wish is that this movement will not only target the dictators and their institutional apparatuses, but the entire exploitative social order including class and racial relations. Read the rest of this entry »
8 Mar 21 2011by Rashid Khalidi
Towards the end of his long, eventful life, in 1402, the renowned Arab historian Ibn Khaldun was in Damascus. He left us a description of Taymur’s siege of the city and of his meeting with the world conqueror. None of us is Ibn Khaldun, but any Arab historian today watching the Arab revolutions of 2011 has the sense of awe that our forbear must have had as we witness a great turning in world affairs.
This juncture may be unprecedented in modern Arab history. Suddenly, despotic regimes that have been entrenched for fourty years and more seem vulnerable. Two of them – in Tunis and then in Cairo – crumbled before our eyes in a few weeks. Others in Tripoli and Sanaa are fighting to survive. The old men who dominate the rest suddenly look their age, and the distance between them and most of their populations, born decades after them, has never been greater. An apparently frozen political situation has melted overnight in the heat of the popular upsurge that began in Tunisia and Egypt, and now is spreading. We are all privileged to be experiencing a world-historical moment, when fixed verities vanish and new potentials and forces emerge. Perhaps one day some of us can say, as Wordsworth said of the French Revolution, “Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven.” Read the rest of this entry »
The fury and violence of the Libyan uprising has been making me reflect on the Egyptian revolution, and the (still not ancien) regime’s modus operandi.
Extricating that mad bastard in the toctoc will inevitably be bloody. Reported deaths have already outstripped deaths during Egypt’s revolution, in less than a week. Gaddafi has bombed his people from the skies, used mercenaries, and subjected them to hallucinogenic broadcasts of defiance involving hunting caps and umbrellas. One of his sons, the insipid and stupid Seif, has also been enlisted to the media war effort.
I keep thinking back to Mubarak’s last speeches, imagining what the response would have been if, adorned in swathes of linen and a hunting cap, he’d stepped out of a toctoc and mumbled “I’m still in Cairo, you dogs!” But then our Hosny would never do that, obviously. He is a reasonable man who wears suits.
I often lament that if Egypt had to be burdened with a man with dictator tendencies he could have at least displayed a few colourful peccadilloes, like the rest of the world’s crackpots. A collection of high heel shoes, for example, or a penchant for making parliamentary speeches in spandex.
No such luck. Mubarak’s repression was low key in every way except for its cruelty. It was also insidious and self-maintaining, through an extensive network or nepotism, hand greasing and intimidation. For thirty years in Mubarak’s Egypt having the right connections and keeping to the approved script ensured better treatment from cradle to the grave. Read the rest of this entry »