Monday, January 30, 2012

Layer 510 . . . Revolutions, Start The Week, the Force of Ideas and the Power of Truth


The following sentences are from a blog by Oguejiofo Annu which Oxzen quoted last January (Layer 426) -
On January 14, President Ben Ali [of Tunisia] fled the country amid escalating violence and opposition . . .
The entire Africa and middle east is taken by surprise. Strong men and presidents are quietly sweating it out and considering their counter strategy. The commentators say this fire has the potential of blazing outside the borders of Tunisia as it moves like a forest firestorm to burn down the oppressive power structures of Africa and Middle East.
Rasta Livewire will keep you posted as this fire blazes on . . .

Little did we dare to believe that the downfall of the tyrants in Egypt and Libya would be witnessed before the year was out.



The whole of this morning's Start The Week on Radio 4 was on the subject of revolution.
On Start the Week Andrew Marr talks revolution. Wael Ghonim explains how social networks played a vital role in the Arab Spring. His Facebook page,'We Are All Khaled Said', which featured the death of a young Egyptian, inspired a new generation to fight oppression. Mary King, Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies looks back to earlier struggles in eastern Europe, and the journalist Paul Mason explores how far the worldwide economic crisis and growing inequality lie behind the new revolutions.
The call for a mass protest on January 25th last year - the start of Egypt's revolution - began from the Facebook page, Kullena Khaled Said. It was a page created to highlight the fate of a young man beaten to death by the police in Alexandria. But as events changed across the Arab world, it became a focus for hundreds of thousands of protestors demanding an end to Mubarak's rule. Its creator was Wael Ghonim, a Google executive, who used his knowledge of technology and the love of his country to inspire a generation of young Egyptians to demand change.
Revolution 2.0 is published by Fourth Estate.
From Tahrir Square in Cairo, to the streets of Athens, to the avenues of Madrid, to Westminster and St Paul's, 2011 saw an uprising against regimes and systems of government almost unprecedented in world history. Journalist Paul Mason visited many of the places where revolutions were 'kicking off' and spoke to many of the new generation of revolutionaries. So who are these people and how significant was the world economic crisis in triggering such widespread social and political unrest?
Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions is published by Verso.
In 1989 revolution spread throughout Eastern Europe, toppling the dictatorial regimes in Poland, Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Romania. Out of all of these countries only Romania overthrew its old regime through violent action. A lifelong advocate of peaceful protest movements and a civil rights activist with Martin Luther King, Mary King argues that armed struggle is ultimately less successful. She looks at the parallels between the recent Arab Spring and the Autumn of Nations two decades ago.
Quotes from the broadcast:

Technology has empowered people.

Media has been decentralised.

We're seeing processes of disorientation as the dominant neo-liberal economics model (globalisation) falls apart.

The degree of 'preparedness' of the people is the key to successful peaceful revolution.

The revolution in the USA is more about culture and behaviour - 'people power' - driven by the anger and the condition of the American poor and the poverty-stricken masses. (Paul Mason)

Governments are having to learn to listen, and can no longer ignore the will of the people.

Activists around the world have read the autobiography of Gandhi and have learnt the methods of non-violent struggle - from South Africa to Georgia; from the Ukraine to the Phillipines.

The revolution in Egypt was directly inspired by the Tunisian revolution. People saw what was possible! (Through direct non-violent action.)

Discontent has been driven by the breakdown of the neo-liberal economic model. (Paul Mason)

[The technology of] communication is phenomenally important for mass non-violent movements. (Mary King)

The majority of people are fed up with a world run by rich people FOR rich people.

The protests we're seeing are a reaction to the bankrupting of states.

People in some countries are finding it hard to survive due to food economics - caused by commodity price inflation and asset price inflation.

Many slum dwellers can't even afford bread and sugar.

Young people are the detonators.

Sustained long-term mass action needs established self-sustainable groups (students, unions, churches and mosques) and the use of general strikes. (Mary King)

The American civil rights movement learnt how to be effective from Gandhi.

The force of ideas will eventually prevail.


In his autobiography (Page 47) Gandhi wrote about the power of truth amd morality :

"One thing took deep root in me - that morality is the basis of things, and that truth is the substance of all morality. Truth became my sole objective."

Also speaking truth to power . . .

In case you missed it, take a look at this previous blog about Paul Mason's book:

Layer 504 . . . Kicking Off Everywhere, Global Unrest and a Viral Revolution


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