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And, yes, I DO take it personally: The World Revolution of 2011
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The World Revolution of 2011

an interesting perspective on occupy and the global awakening that seems to be taking place...

david graeber posting at adbusters...

It only makes sense then that the World Revolution of 2011 should have begun as a rebellion against US client states, in much the same way as the rebellions that brought down Soviet power began in places like Poland and Czechoslovakia. The wave of rebellion soon spread across the Mediterranean from North Africa to Southern Europe, and then, much more uncertainly at first, across the Atlantic to New York. But once it had, in a matter of weeks it had exploded everywhere. At this point it’s extremely difficult to predict how far all this will ultimately go. Truly historical events, after all, consist of precisely those moments that could not have been predicted beforehand. Could we be in the presence of a fundamental shift like 1789 – a shift not only in global power relations but in our elementary political common sense? It’s impossible to say, but there are reasons to be optimistic.

Let me end by listing three:

First, in no previous world revolution has the main center of mobilization been in the imperial center itself. Great Britain, the great imperial power of the 19th century, was barely affected by the uprisings of 1789 and 1848. In the same way, the US remained largely immune from the great revolutionary moments of the 20th century. The decisive street battles typically happen not in the imperial center, nor in the super-exploited margins, but in what might be termed the second tier: not London but Paris, not Berlin but St. Petersburg. The 2011 revolution started according to that familiar pattern, but it has actually spread to the imperial center itself. If this is sustained, it will be quite unprecedented.

Also, this time the power elite can’t start a war. They already tried that. They’re basically out of cards to play in this respect. This makes an enormous difference.

Lastly, the spread of feminist and anarchist sensibilities has opened up the possibility of a genuine cultural transformation. Here is the big question: Can we create a genuinely democratic culture? Can we change our fundamental conceptions of what politics must necessarily be like? For me, the image of middle-aged white guys in suits, in places like Denver or Minneapolis, patiently learning consensus process from pagan priestesses or members of groups like Anarchist People of Color so as to take part in their local General Assemblies (and there are … it’s true! I’ve heard reports) may well be the single most dramatic image to have come out of the Occupy movement so far.

Of course this could be the first moment in yet another round of recuperation and defeat. But if we are witnessing another 1789, a moment where our most basic assumptions about politics, economics, society, are about to be transformed – this is precisely how it would have to begin.

it's only been in the last two-plus months that i've started to become familiar with david graeber (see previous posts here), but the more i read of him, the better i like him...

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