Monday, February 16, 2009

Revolution: call and response

'Revolutionary conditions'
Paul Woodward, War in Context: The widening gap between the interests of the corporate-state and the interests of ordinary people [is] becoming more glaringly visible. Ultimately and who's to say how rapidly, this might create revolutionary conditions. Given that we live in a society well inoculated by superficial distractions and pervasive ignorance, the tipping point may not be close at hand. Even so, more than at any other time the conditions seem ripe for the articulation and organization of a global revolutionary movement. Trotsky could only dream of living at such a time.

Open Democracy: The aspiration to what might be called the internationalisation of dissent has not yet been fully realised. But there are more than glimpses of the phenomenon in social, environmental and workers' movements -- reflecting the fact that one result of globalisation is the much wider understanding of the transnational nature of marginalisation and exclusion. There is every chance that the early 2010s will indeed see the rise of fully transnational anti-elite movements triggered by wholesale deprivation, fuelled by anger, and armed with the hunger for an inclusive and just world. In time, they may be as or even more potent than the anti-colonial movements of the 1950s and 1960s.

Alternet: 'In one variation, three teachers (two actors and a real subject) administered a test and shocks. When the two actors disobeyed the experimenter and refused to go beyond a certain shock level, 36 of 40 subjects joined their disobedient peers and refused as well.' Put in a political context, this is perhaps the most important lesson Milgram has to teach us. The best hope people have of resisting an oppressive system is to validate their experiences alongside other people. There is no more basic antidote to authoritarianism than support, solidarity and community.

The New York Times: The International Monetary Fund expects that by the end of the year, global economic growth will reach its lowest point since the Depression... The fund said that growth had come to 'a virtual halt,' with developed economies expected to shrink by 2 percent in 2009. 'This is the worst we've had since 1929,' said Laurent Wauquiez, France's employment minister. 'The thing that is new is that it is global... It is in every country, and it makes the whole difference.'

Raw Story: In a report to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dennis Blair, Obama's intelligence chief, said... that the growing economic crisis has become the greatest threat to US security, outpacing even terrorism... 'Instability can loosen the fragile hold that many developing countries have on law and order, which can spill out in dangerous ways into the international community... There could be a backlash against US efforts to promote free markets because the crisis was triggered by the United States... We are generally held to be responsible for it.'

The Guardian: The Iraq war was just the first of this century's 'resource wars,' in which powerful countries use force to secure valuable commodities... Sir David King predicts that with population growth, natural resources dwindling, and seas rising due to climate change, the squeeze on the planet will lead to more conflict... This strategy could also be used to find and keep supplies of other essentials, such as minerals, water and fertile land... 'Unless we get to grips with this problem globally, we potentially are going to lead ourselves into a situation where large, powerful nations will secure resources for their own people at the expense of others.'
Image source here.