What does Revolution mean today?

by Jeff Noonan On May 31st what began months before as opposition to the cutting down of trees in Taksim Square in Istanbul exploded into country-wide opposition to the increasingly authoritarian rule of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  As was the case with the Arab Spring and Occupy, the Turkish youth and workers’ movement caught global commentators unawares.  Turkey had been held up as a model of “moderation” amongst “Muslim” countries:  tolerant, democratic, capitalist, a NATO member, and a trusted American ally.  Suddenly, the social fissures that had opened up the space for revolution in Tunisia and Egypt, for Occupy … Continue reading What does Revolution mean today?

Reflections on 1968

by George Katsiaficas More often than not, the movements of 1968 have been situated within nationalist parameters, and the global dimension of the movement’s vitality, if not altogether ignored, has been consigned a minor role. Whether in Mexico or France, Vietnam or India, the meaning of 1968 has been interpreted within the context of domestic patterns and localized history. Seen through such prisms, the most significant and vital aspect of 1968’s explosive energy — that it consisted of one international movement rather than multiple ones — becomes minimized, even forgotten. My book on 1968 was the first to consider the … Continue reading Reflections on 1968

Taking notes 12: On the state of movements

by Antonio Negri Some American and European comrades have asked me, Why didn’t you have an Occupy movement in Italy? Why is the No TAV movement the only expression of social struggle? The No TAV, despite their strong success, despite their original expression of post-modernity class war, lacks the characteristics of the Occupy movements: an extension of social change, the power to remove old hierarchies, and, above all, a shared and “common” political dynamic open to radical political upheavals. But here’s another paradox: what sense does this question have now? The Occupy movements seem already dead. The Arab springs have … Continue reading Taking notes 12: On the state of movements

The spiritual crisis of capitalist civilization

by Jeff Noonan Human beings are integrally natural and social creatures, dependent upon natural life-support systems for their physical existence and socio-cultural life-development systems for the nurturing and realization of their emotional, cognitive, and practical-creative capacities.  Societies whose developmental dynamics become alienated from their natural conditions of existence face inevitable doom.  Oblivious to the ways in which their reproductive dynamics undermining the physical foundations of social life, they collapse the very basis upon which their institutions and value systems depend.  Let us say that any society which unsustainably converts scarce natural resources into tokens of social power (as, for example, … Continue reading The spiritual crisis of capitalist civilization

Marxism, the 21st century and social transformation

by Bill Fletcher, Jr. A discussion of the future of socialism and social transformation must be grounded in two realities.  The first reality is the broader economic, environmental and state-legitimacy crises in which humanity finds itself.  In other words, the convergence of these three crises means that the necessity for a genuine Left capable of leading masses of people is more pressing than ever.  It means that while one cannot sit back and wait for the supposed “final” crisis of capitalism to open up doors to freedom — since capitalism is largely defined by its continual crises — it is … Continue reading Marxism, the 21st century and social transformation

Insurgent democracy

by John Schwarzmantel This article has three aims: in the first place it seeks to offer some reflection on the role of political theory, and its relationship to what could simplistically be called events in the real world. Should political theory in the broadest sense be concerned with analysing and interpreting these events, or is it an exercise of a different kind, primarily concerned with the analysis of texts and with developing a specialised language of inquiry into such texts, whether historical or contemporary, that offer generalised reflection on concepts like power and authority, freedom and justice, to name only … Continue reading Insurgent democracy

Understanding the Arab revolution

by Magid Shihade Despite a long history of revolutions in the Arab world in the last 100 years from Palestine, Algeria, Egypt to elsewhere in the region, it is correct to argue that not many scholars, commentators, and experts have expected the recent Arab revolution to take place. This is both true of Western and Arab/Muslim experts, commentators, and scholars alike. It is true that there were many studies and commentaries in the last two decades concerning the possible explosions of youth, with their overrepresentation demographically. But these were more warnings or fear of possible “chaos” and “extremism,” warnings about … Continue reading Understanding the Arab revolution