Category Archives: governance

Jeremy Popkin: “Vive la révolution!”

“Must radical political change generate uncontainable violence?  The French Revolution is both a cautionary and inspiring tale.”

Jennifer Gonzalez Covarrubias: “A Mexican indigenous town’s environmental revolt”

“The indigenous town of Cheran is practically an independent enclave tucked into the lawless mountains of western Mexico.  Its residents have their own system of government based on community assemblies.”

William Dalrymple: Review of “The Buried” by Peter Hessler – Life, death and revolution in Egypt

‘In this scheme, the fall of Mubarak, the chaos of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the restoration of authoritarian rule under Sisi also follow rhythms familiar to Egyptian history. Hessler sees a mirror in the story of the pharoah Akhenaten – a failed revolutionary whose attempt to introduce monotheism was crushed in “what was possibly the first military coup in human history” by his general Horemheb, and whose tyranny was consolidated by Horemheb’s successor Ramesses II.’

Alex Kostantopoulos: “The Law of the Zapatista: A Presentation about the Laws Passed by EZLN”

“In the autonomous municipalities of Zapatistas, laws that are passed from the Council of Governance are not enforced by police or a judicial system but through a way that treats offenders as members of the community.  Justice is delivered by the authorities of the Zapatistas. They resolve issues among the members of the community and also between Zapatistas and non-Zapatistas.”

Bernard E. Harcourt: “The Counterrevolution: How Our Government Went to War Against Its Own Citizens”

The Counterrevolution is a penetrating and disturbing account of the rise of counterinsurgency, first as a military strategy but increasingly as a way of ruling ordinary Americans. Harcourt shows how counterinsurgency’s principles–bulk intelligence collection, ruthless targeting of minorities, pacifying propaganda–have taken hold domestically despite the absence of any radical uprising. This counterrevolution against phantom enemies, he argues, is the tyranny of our age.”

J. Daniel Elam: Hong Kong: “When We Burn You Will Burn With Us”

‘Like Hong Kong itself, the current protests are a harbinger for the rest of the world. Old revolutions promised egalitarianism on the basis of a shared world to win. A revolution for our times promises very little, except perhaps an egalitarianism based on a shared world in which there is nothing left to lose. “When we burn you will burn with us,” graffiti at the University of Hong Kong says. Is that a threat or a resignation? It’s both: for the future, there is nothing left at all.’

Yavor Tarinski interviewed on “Direct democracy and the passion for political participation”

‘If we want create a radically democratic and ecological society, we will have to abandon all bureaucratic and exploitative means. It is not enough to consume ethically or vote for the lesser evil. We have to build democratic and resilient communities capable of confederating with each other so as to tackle large-scale issues. As Castoriadis has said, “an autonomous society cannot be instaurated except through the autonomous activity of the collectivity.” This might sound too general or abstract, but the direct democracy of which we are speaking represents such a paradigm shift, that must surpass both globalization and localism and can lead towards genuine social emancipation.’

Jeffery R. Webber & Forrest Hylton interviewed on the Coup in Bolivia

“In a regional perspective, we might situate the Bolivian coup more or less mid-way between the “hard” military coup in Honduras in 2009, and the “soft” parliamentary coups against Fernando Lugo in Paraguay in 2012 and Dilma Rousseff in Brazil in 2016, with a crucial difference—in Bolivia, the far right co-opted and hijacked mass centrist protest by urban middle classes that preceded the coup, pushing it in a violent direction.”

“Chronicle of an insurrection: Lebanon”

“Since October 17, Lebanon has experienced countrywide demonstrations that have toppled the prime minister and transformed Lebanese society. These demonstrations are part of a global wave of uprisings including EcuadorChile, Honduras, Haiti, Sudan, Iraq, Hong Kong, and Catalunya, in which the exploited and oppressed are challenging the legitimacy of their rulers.”

Amy Goodman & Denis Moynihan: “A Worldwide Revolution is Underway”

“Puerto Rico. Hong Kong. Ecuador. Haiti. Lebanon. Iraq. And now, Chile. People are rising up around the world against austerity and corruption, defying police forces unleashed to suppress them.”