Category Archives: tragic politics

“The Root of Haiti’s Misery: Reparations to Enslavers” (ΝΥ Times)

“In 1791, enslaved Haitians did the seemingly impossible. They ousted their French masters and founded a nation. But France made generations of Haitians pay for their freedom — in cash.”

“Naomi Klein on How Egypt’s Failed Revolution Continues to Inspire Struggle Worldwide”

“But,” Alaa adds to his stark assessments, “the revolution did break a regime.” It defeated much of Mubarak’s machine, and the new junta that is in its place, while even more brutal, is also precarious for the thinness of its domestic support. Openings, he tells us, remain. In this way, Alaa acts as the revolution’s toughest critic and its most devoted militant.

Karim Alrawi: A Time of Monsters: On Alaa Abd el-Fattah’s “You Have Not Yet Been Defeated”

“In a series of personal accounts and short essays, Alaa takes the reader through the last eleven years, as the progress towards democracy in Egypt was rolled back by a degree of repression unknown in the country’s modern history.”

“Nicaragua Descends Into Autocratic Rule as Ortega Crushes Dissent”

“Daniel Ortega became a hero in Nicaragua for helping overthrow a notorious dictator. Now, 40 years later, he has become the kind of authoritarian leader he once fought against.  After methodically choking off competition and dissent, Mr. Ortega has all but ensured his victory in presidential elections on Sunday, representing a turn toward an openly dictatorial model that could set an example for other leaders across Latin America.”

‘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.”