The journalist and writer Paul Mason recently gave a brilliant talk to a large audience at SOAS, London University - based on his book -
Our world is changing dramatically. The global economic crisis has given way to social crisis: corrupt and dictatorial politics enmeshed with a global financial elite - and an ever-widening gulf between the haves and have-nots. In 2011 this profound disconnect found expression in events that we were told had been consigned to history: revolt and revolution. In this compelling new book, Paul Mason sets out to explore the causes and consequences of this new wave of struggle. From London to Cairo, Wisconsin to Tehran, he charts the new forms of collective action: fluid networks of agile, Twitter- and Facebook-savvy networks of youthful protesters who understand how power works. The events, says Mason, reflect the expanding power of the individual and call for new ways of thinking about political alternatives, elite rule and global poverty.
http://shiftmag.co.uk/?p=523&oo=41439044 - This is an interesting review of the book, which includes this paragraph:
If we go back to the early 19th century, any idiot could use a printing press, but it took real skill as a writer and business owner to produce interesting, entertaining, informed and well-distributed works. Similarly, and as he should know, it takes real skill for a historian to dig through (still mainly material) archives, and real skill for a journalist to assemble facts through documents and interviews. The internet does create the social network he discusses, and it does make publication and communication not only substantially easier, but completely different in many ways than what came before. But it doesn’t lend creativity, ingenuity, or good organising skills where it didn’t exist before. No matter what the invention – the press, the railway, the telephone – it still needs people of intellect and dedication to do something remarkable with it, and his over-enthusiasm unfortunately brings to mind a quote from Alan Partridge’s recent autobiography: ‘Wikipedia has made university education all but pointless’.
Here's Paul Mason speaking on the Guardian's website:
The new edition of Paul's book: