Category Archives: tragic politics

Jeremy Popkin: “Vive la révolution!”

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

Cédric Durand: “It should have been a great decade for the European left – what happened? “

“If there’s a single moment that characterises the end of this moment, it’s the tragic Greek betrayal of July 2015. In this deadly summer, the Greek people voted against (“oxi”) the bailout conditions imposed by the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF. But this victory was transformed by Syriza – the only left-of-social-democracy government in Europe – into a humiliating submission. When then prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, accepted harsher structural reforms to keep Greece’s membership of the eurozone, he proved that democracy could be blackmailed. Capital, not people, has the last say.”

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 von Tunzelmann: “The Evil Repercussions of the American Revolution”

A review of TO BEGIN THE WORLD OVER AGAIN: How the American Revolution Devastated the Globe (2019) by Matthew Lockwood.  “He finds it at the root of a long list of ills, including increasing authoritarianism within Britain itself and the wider British Empire, the failure of Irish, Indian and Peruvian movements against imperialism, the Russian conquest of Crimea, the establishment of penal colonies in Australia and the growth of the global opium trade.”

“Everything is burning already; Let us burn together!”

“if we want peace, we will first go through war.  It is total war, planetary, nature defending itself against the civilisational monster; riotous war, protean, of a world bursting with rage to live against the costumed puppets that bleed it white. This war is already taking place everywhere, and is intensifying devilishly in the immense revolutionary leap that is drumming at the golden gates of the great spawning.  All countries are rising up.”

Dimitrina Petrova: “The Egalitarian Promise of 1989—and Its Betrayal”

The paradox of 1989 is that communism was stormed and brought down from the left, by people with unfulfilled egalitarian aspirations, but the revolutionary road led to a new society that has been experienced as more unfair than communism.”

Lorissa Rinehart: “A Graphic Novel Looks at the Limits of Freedom in Revolutionary Cuba”

“In Goodbye, My Havana, the Cuban revolution’s prescribed limits of freedom are most evident in the relegation of women and LGBTQ individuals to the periphery, where their rights quickly erode and their personhood is more easily dismissed. The benefit of hindsight shows Castro’s regime working inward from there. Once it had stripped the most vulnerable of their rights, it was easier to impose a system of authoritarianism on the remainder of the populace.”

John McClure: “Something Darker than Farce: the Spanish Left again Turns Victory to Defeat”

“In the end, history repeats itself, although what occurs is something darker than farce. As they did in 2016, the Socialists fail on July 25th to get the support they need in order to form a government. As for Podemos, it once again strikes a pose of stubborn, puerile defiance that will almost certainly cost it dearly in the next elections.”

Luis Hessel: “Women and a revolution betrayed: Nicaragua”

‘During the revolution we knew situations that we disapproved of, but we were not aware of the damage they would eventually cause by not correcting them in time. The “defence” of the Revolution, the early and fierce attack of the US, the economic and military blockade, the formation of the counterrevolution, the emotional commitment and the personal and collective cost that was necessary to pay to achieve Somoza’s departure, as well as many other factors, affected the lack of criticism or its limits of those who had already committed abuses since the beginning of the Revolution.’

Alex Press: “The Conscience of a Revolutionary: Victor Serge’s commitment to the individual as collective hero”

Serge is committed “to the individual seen as a collective hero and the product of generations of struggle. … If people, not just revolutions, are centuries in the making, bearing the traces of prior social relations, of political domination and uprisings, it’s important to chronicle them as flesh and blood.”