Revolutionaries are not born, they are made
Revolutionaries are not born; they are made. They are made through social, political and economic turmoil; through dramatic events that change the course of history; through pain and suffering that results from immense injustice; and through an intrinsic bravery and selflessness that is difficult to find in most people. When revolutionaries emerge, when they decide to fight, there is almost nothing that can stop them.
The reality is that we live in a world that has taught us to be obedient and that is slowly breaking us down, one by one. It is a world in which stability and mere survival have become the dream of billions. Life is not about being who you want to be, or achieving what you want to achieve. It’s about surviving myriad oppressive structures that determine our everyday lives, from capitalism to patriarchy, from imperialism to dictatorship. And in that quest for survival, humanity loses pieces of itself.
8:48 pm • 19 April 2014
“In other words: Political money and hence influence at the top levels is disproportionately white, male, and with almost no social context that includes significant numbers of African Americans and other people of color. This is why money isn’t speech. Freedom of speech as a functional element in democratic life assumes that such freedom can be meaningfully deployed. But the unleashing of yet more money into politics allows a very limited class of people to drown out the money “speech” of everyone else—but especially those with a deep, overwhelmingly well documented history of being denied voice and presence in American political life.”
— Ta-Nehisi Coates, on John Roberts and the color of money
2:24 pm • 17 April 2014
Maidan, Ukraine… Tahrir, Egypt… the square symbolises failure and not hope
Squares are famously potent political theatres. This year is a second showing for Ukraine’s revolution, and a third for Egypt’s. Western TV viewers have cheered them all on. We thrill to see young people hurling rocks at power. Fire, smoke, bloodstained flags, broken heads, water, gas and sinister paramilitaries are Les Misérables for slow learners. We can sit with a front seat in the auditorium of history. It beats polling booths any day.
The lesson of Egypt for Ukraine is that defiant crowds may destroy an old regime – but they seldom build a new one.
Tahrir and Maidan squares thus join Istanbul’s Taksim, Tehran’s Azadi, Beijing’s Tiananmen, Prague’s Wenceslaus, Athens’s Syntagma, London’s Trafalgar and a dozen other urban spaces the world over as icons of modern revolutionary politics. Their furniture is the barricade, their tipple the Molotov cocktail, their tonic the tear gas canister. They gather people in their thousands to sacred forums and invite the world to witness the latest trial of strength with a supposedly oppressive regime. Sometimes they even win.
11:12 am • 28 February 2014
“I hope everyone who believes in basic press freedoms will defend those journalistic outlets when they are under attack – all of them – regardless of how much one likes or does not like them.”
— Glenn Greenwald
8:48 pm • 5 November 2013
How to protest in the age of austerity
So much for a winter of discontent. The etiolated state of the British left in 2013 gives us no right to expect any such climax. All the seasonal metaphors – red-hot autumns, summers of rage, even democratic springs – have eluded us.
Why is the landscape so bleak? In 2011, things looked different. The election of a Tory-led government in the UK and a spate of Tea Party Republicans in the US initiated a sequence of austerity programmes – prompting direct conflicts between governments and organised workers. And this seemed to fuse with a heterogeneous series of global struggles, from Middle East revolutions to strike action in Greece to the indignados in Spain and the Occupy movement.
8:48 pm • 30 October 2013
Evidence social moves fast, but the Internet and social media moves faster
It looks like the overlapping of time became quite evident in the Navy Yard shooting. It’s almost like each step of the grieving process overlapped and became one. In this case, it looks like the event, the ongoing media coverage with developments, the time to grieve and the political backlash all overlapped and became one - one Monday morning. The rest of the day went on.
10:47 pm • 22 September 2013
Iran opens up access to Twitter and Facebook for the first time since 2009.
8:19 pm • 16 September 2013
Protesters get repressed by the Enrique Peña Nieto’s government in Mexico City, on Septembrer 13th 2013.
Reportedly a few photographs from the protest crackdown in Mexico. More from AP’s report here
12:53 am • 15 September 2013
“The right to privacy is often understood as an essential requirement for the realization of the right to freedom of expression. Undue interference with individuals’ privacy can both directly and indirectly limit the free development and exchange of ideas … An infringement upon one right can be both the cause and consequence of an infringement upon the other. […] Communications surveillance should be regarded as a highly intrusive act that potentially interferes with the rights to freedom of expression and privacy and threatens the foundations of a democratic society.”
— The United Nations on Internet surveillance and free speech
10:44 pm • 4 June 2013