Category Archives: democracy

Tareq Baconi: “What the Gaza Protests Portend”

“In these circumstances, the Palestinian struggle for self-determination has, in effect, dissolved into numerous local battles: equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel, freedom of movement for West Bankers, residency rights for East Jerusalemites, education for refugees, an end to the blockade for Gazans. This fragmentation is not, however, a given for all time. The dense smoke, burning tires, and the masses of people huddled under gunfire on Friday afternoons is what, at this moment, the recalibration of the Palestinian struggle looks like. The images coming out of Gaza are an indication of Palestinian disenchantment with the political process and with their leaders. In a deeper and more significant way, we are also witnessing a revival of the core principles that always animated the Palestinian cause but that were displaced in the tangled maze of political negotiations.”

Davide Grasso: “Democratic confederalism in Rojava: Has revolution eliminated the state?”

The Kurdish movement challenges the state at a conceptual level before the historical: the notion of the state appears here in relation to a way of organising the institutions rather than to the very existence of the institutions; it’s above all a way of thinking of its function.”

John Dunn interviewed on “Modern Revolutions and Beyond”

‘Dunn offers a categorization of revolution as a distinctly bounded historical phenomenon that has not persisted into the twenty-first century. “The Epoch of Revolution,” he argues, begins with 1789 and had definitively ended by 1989. After the Epoch of Revolution, Dunn argues, we now confront a more enduring and generic phenomenon: regime collapse.’

“In Just a Week, ‘Nicaragua Changed’ as Protesters Cracked a Leader’s Grip”

“The revolutionary, many Nicaraguans say, is suddenly facing a revolution of his own.”

“The re-election of Hungary’s authoritarian prime minister disproves everything we thought we knew about democracy.”

“Until recently, many political scientists believed that there was a certain set of countries in which democracy was safe. … The recent election in Hungary is the latest piece of evidence that this theory has always been dangerously naïve.”

Tithi Bhattacharya: “Women are leading the wave of strikes in America”

“These strikes are for wages and benefits, but they arise from a social landscape scoured by gender and racial inequalities.”

Yavor Tarinski: “City, Municipality, Commons: Rebel Cities in the Neoliberal Age”

“Concepts like libertarian municipalism, which are essentially direct-democratic, could be of great use in our efforts at regaining our right to the city. I.e. notions that are rooted in the historic clash over power between the municipality and the nation state. Unlike statecraft, predisposed to bureaucratic centralization and hierarchy, cities tend to empower local populaces, creating citizens, actively involved in public affairs.”

Haleh Esfandiari: “Reform or Revolution? Iran’s Path to Democracy”

“Iran has often seemed to be on the brink of democracy. During the twentieth century, the country experienced three major political upheavals: … [They] all constituted a reaction to corruption, misrule, and autocracy. They all reflected the spread of literacy, the rising expectations of a growing middle class, and the impatience of a wealthy business community with official mismanagement. They were all characterized by an aspiration for some form of democratic government. Yet each time, that aspiration was disappointed. … In Democracy in Iran, Misagh Parsa examines why the forces of repression have always gained the upper hand over Iran’s democratic impulses and how democracy might eventually emerge in Iran. “

Lakhdar Ghettas: “The Tunisian revolution seven years on”

“Political transitions following bottom up upheavals are very difficult to navigate in that they bring to the surface all the contradictions that were suppressed by the authoritarian regime.”

Mohammad Ali Kadivar & Neil Ketchley: “Sticks, Stones and Molotov Cocktails: Unarmed Collective Violence and Democratization”

“The literature on civil resistance finds that nonviolent campaigns are more likely to succeed than violent insurgencies. A parallel literature on democratization poses mass mobilization as exogenous to political liberalization. Contributing to both literatures, we propose the category of unarmed collective violence to capture an empirically recurring form of unruly collective action.”