Category Archives: tragic politics

‘What Have We Done With Democracy?’ A Decade On, Arab Spring Gains Wither

Tunisia, birthplace of the pro-democracy uprisings that swept the Arab world, now looks to many like a final confirmation of failed promise.”

Sumanta Banerjee: “Embers of the Paris Commune”

“This year we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune of 1871 – the biggest urban insurrection of the nineteenth century, that led to the setting up of a grass roots based popular government in Paris, albeit for only about two months, before it was crushed by the Versailles troops at the end of May that year. But during that brief period of popular sovereignty, that government – known as the `Commune’, meaning the smallest unit of local governance – laid the foundations of a model of decentralization of power, that has continued to inspire generations all over the world.”

Brian Meeks: “How a Revolution on the Tiny Island of Grenada Shook the World”

Revolutions are, inevitably, fraught periods of great danger and uncertainty. At their moment of triumph, the old order is temporarily prostrate, but there remains great hostility to the new regime both internally and internationally. The chances of initial consolidation and success are slim, and the very act of asserting authority in order to survive becomes the definitive and often negative signature of revolution.”

Adom Getachew interviewed on “The Anti-Colonial Revolution”

Radical post-colonial leaders like Kwame Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere didn’t just want independence — they wanted to break the political and economic order that kept the Global South in subjugation.”

Brecht de Smet: “Egypt’s Decade of Revolution and Counterrevolution”

“The fall of the Egyptian dictator, Hosni Mubarak, ten years ago today, was a triumph for popular mobilization. But the revolutionary forces lacked the political organization and vision needed to head off a counterrevolutionary backlash that restored the authoritarian state’s power.”

Robert Solé: “Ten Years of Hope and Blood”

“But in Lebanon, as in Algeria or Sudan, the game is not over. The same can be said of all the countries that have experienced a “Spring”, however fleeting, followed by a counter-revolution. The Arab peoples now know that it is not enough to overthrow an authoritarian regime to achieve democracy. Elsewhere in the world, the road has always been long and painful. Refusing to despair, the most committed or lucid citizens are trying, in Gramsci’s words, to combine the pessimism of intelligence with the optimism of will.”

“A Decade After the Arab Spring, Autocrats Still Rule the Mideast”

“Ten years later, the collisions between that old order and the popular uprisings across the Middle East in 2011 that became known as the Arab Spring have left much of the region in smoldering ruins.”

“Refusing to forget a revolution: The Arab Spring”

“An event, a revolution, is neither objectively caused so as to be explained, nor subjectively undertaken under some calculus of rational self-interest susceptible to an evaluation based on the success or failure of meeting the chosen ends.”

“Fear and uncertainty as Kyrgyzstan mob rule spreads”

“A power vacuum is threatening to destabilise Kyrgyzstan, which is struggling to come up with legitimate ways of initiating a power transfer following the violent uprising over a disputed parliamentary election result. The euphoria felt after opposition groups seized the parliament building has quickly turned to uncertainty and insecurity.”

“Hopes Fade for New Political Course in Algeria a Year After Popular Uprising”

“The revolt in the streets that began last year, known here as Hirak, initially appeared to signal a new dawn in a country that had been stifled for decades by its huge military. But when the movement’s failure to coalesce around leaders and agree on goals created a vacuum, the remnants of the repressive Algerian state, with its ample security services, stepped in.”