“More than fifty years after the Kerner Commission, we have seen in the past eight years the return of Black rebellions in response to growing inequality that has been managed by the forces of racist and abusive policing. This is not history repeating itself; it is evidence that the problems that gave rise to earlier Black rebellions have not been resolved.”
“Local democracy wasn’t always perfect: there were many examples of local bigwigs, mafia, and armed mujahideen doing side deals with emigrating European owners or seizing European property. However, in the latter cases, there were often ongoing struggles between the usurpers and local workers for control. The spontaneous reality of the summer of 1962 set the stage for the struggle that was to dominate the next three years: direct democracy versus bureaucratic and bourgeois control. To put it another way: the people against a nascent ruling class.”
“There is a revolution in the making, and you must rush to make impressions of its traces, its familiar faces. You must learn to listen to its heartbeat, memorize it, keep it safe. For, this is for you too. This struggle. It encompasses your life, your freedom, your beliefs, your dreams of a better world. There is nothing abstract about it, nothing apart.”
“In my view, rebellions of the enslaved can aptly be classified as insurrections. From the early 1600s, historians estimate that there were around 250 insurrections in America that involved 10 or more enslaved people using violence to fight for equal rights.”
“Many issues besides women’s rights are bound up in the protests: authoritarianism, economic stagnation and severe unemployment, climate disaster, and various religious-fundamentalist impositions. The current uprising also represents the public’s response to the regime’s colossal cronyism and corruption, and to its confrontational foreign policy and regional expansionism, which have isolated Iran and contributed to extremely high inflation in the country.”
“How can you tell if a society is in a revolutionary state? I wonder if you ever can. Everyone who remembers the 1979 revolution will tell you that up to the very last day, most people were living their lives as if nothing was happening. Iran today is not different. Intense, bloody clashes between protestors and the police are interspersed with days of calm. Everyday life goes on at the same time as massive protests. If you go out on the street, you can collect evidence for both an imminent revolution and total peace.”
“Félix Guattari was dreaming of building a federation of regional protest movements, which could open up secondary fronts and weaken the Nation-State. Despite his extensive network of contacts, he never managed to realize this perilous project, which was located on the cusp between democratic combat and terrorist action.”
‘The revolutionary epic is never a “finished” narrative, let alone uniquely nefarious. The unruly and dense “archives” that revolutions (or an epic past) embody are liable to tell different stories, stories that bequeath different “lessons” and, thereby, possibilities.’
After the 1819 Peterloo Massacre, the young radical poet Percy Bysshe Shelley proclaimed he was deserting “the odorous gardens of literature” for “the great sandy desert of politics.” Instead, he infused literature with revolutionary political ideas.
“Gilmore’s narrative follows a path of struggle through Southern, American, and world histories that links together the Russian Revolution, the rise and fall of fascism, and the “long civil rights movement” in the United States”.