The Umbrella Revolution in action /from afp-photo
Maybe Occupy was too successful a brand in that it sometimes disguised how much this movement was part of popular surges going on around the world: the Arab Spring(including the three successful revolutions, the ongoing Syrian civil war, uprisings in Yemen, and more); the student uprisings in Montreal, Mexico, and Chile that have continued to develop and broaden; the economic revolts in Spain, Greece, and Britain; the ongoing demonstrations and insurrections around Africa; even various acts of resistance in India, Japan, China, and Tibet, some large and powerful. Because, in case you hadn’t noticed, these days a lot of the world is in some form of rebellion, insurrection, or protest.
And the family resemblances matter. If you add them all up, you see a similar fury at greed, political corruption, economic inequality, environmental devastation, and a dimming, shrinking future.
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.
— Rebecca Solnit on the Occupy Wall Street movement and what it meant
Revolution is as unpredictable as an earthquake and as beautiful as spring. Its coming is always a surprise, but its nature should not be.
Revolution is a phase, a mood, like spring, and just as spring has its buds and showers, so revolution has its ebullience, its bravery, its hope, and its solidarity. Some of these things pass. The women of Cairo do not move as freely in public as they did during those few precious weeks when the old rules were suspended and everything was different. But the old Egypt is gone and Egyptians’ sense of themselves — and our sense of them — is forever changed.
No revolution vanishes without effect. The Prague Spring of 1968 was brutally crushed, but 21 years later when a second wave of revolution liberated Czechoslovakia, Alexander Dubcek, who had been the reformist Secretary of the Czechoslovakian Communist Party, returned to give heart to the people from a balcony overlooking Wenceslas Square: “The government is telling us that the street is not the place for things to be solved, but I say the street was and is the place. The voice of the street must be heard.”
The voice of the street has been a bugle cry this year. You heard it. Everyone did, but the rulers who thought their power was the only power that mattered, heard it last and with dismay. Many of them are nervous now, releasing political prisoners, lowering the price of food, and otherwise trying to tamp down uprisings.
— Rebecca Solnit on revolutions
— Human Rights Watch’s Egypt Director Heba Morayef states on the controversial protest law and ongoing demonstration crackdowns in Egypt under the interim government. Huge and alarming.
Marina Lewycka: Protesters in Kiev who want to be free of a stifling past and Russian power may find western politicians are not so different
Interesting angle on the ongoing new revolution brewing in Ukraine over foreign policy with Russia, the EU. It’s really a catch-22 for these demonstrators, protesting against relations with Russia but then, as the writer states, the EU isn’t so great.
Another showdown? They threaten protests if ultimatum is not met.
We have probably been venturing into the unknown all along; any revolution is essentially an uncertain endeavor. But we try to swerve the revolutionary path towards the collective path.
Islamists suppressed their fascist slogans in the name of religious dissimulation when they participated in the collective revolt of January 25. Our collective chant, “Bread, freedom and human dignity,” prevailed.
But this collective cry has not won yet. We have not won yet. We have participated in part of the battles — sometimes with the generals on our side. Confrontation was inevitable, and so was death. But those who savor the gallows are likely to be hanged. And I refuse to risk my neck. This time, it is also personal.
The battle is complicated and frightening. Side-switching is a common phenomenon in this war, and the drums are banging with the sounds of fear and cruelty. Our voice is struggling to be heard amid the archaic speakers who have long dominated.
We might have survived, but this is not our victory.