Sunday, January 02, 2011

Outlines Of The Coming Convulsion (Something's Busy Being Born).

I would like to think it started in Iran: The pro-democracy movement is practically leaderless. It's now taken on a life of its own. The uprising changes everything. Not just in Iran. But in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine, Europe, North America, everywhere.

Half way through December, Nick Cohen noticed something about the political outlines of the British student uprising: A few weeks ago, it seemed "realistic" politics to soak the young, who are few in number and unlikely to vote, while pandering to the old, who are many and vociferous. The media played along. . . It was an act of political extremism; a raw display of the power of the old over the young."

Then on Christmas Eve, Laurie Penny (smarter and more relevant than the go-to media personality Naomi Klein wished she still was) wrote about the student uprising this way: It is highly significant that one of the first things this hydra-headed youth movement set out to achieve was the decapitation of its own official leadership. . . Of course, the old left is not about to disappear completely. It is highly likely that even after a nuclear attack, the only remaining life-forms will be cockroaches and sour-faced vendors of the Socialist Worker. . . (but) for these young protesters, the strategic factionalism of the old left is irrelevant."

In yesterday's New York Times: "The outrage of the young has erupted, sometimes violently, on the streets of Greece and Italy in recent weeks, as students and more radical anarchists protest not only specific austerity measures in flattened economies but a rising reality in Southern Europe: People like Ms. Esposito feel increasingly shut out of their own futures. Experts warn of volatility in state finances and the broader society as the most highly educated generation in the history of the Mediterranean hits one of its worst job markets. Politicians are slowly beginning to take notice."

I don't think it's a stretch to say all these things are rather intimately connected. I won't pretend to know where it's heading or whether we're going to like what it means. But it does leave me feeling quite chipper.

UPDATE: Are we seeing this now in Gaza?

I'm with Peter.

17 Comments:

Blogger kellie said...

More for you today Terry, here here and here.

11:55 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

I'm liking the way this New Year is starting off. Tunisia too.

12:16 PM  
Blogger RadicalOmnivore said...

"It is highly likely that even after a nuclear attack, the only remaining life-forms will be cockroaches and sour-faced vendors of the Socialist Worker. . ."

Now that's the kind of chuckle I needed!

Indeed, Not a bad start to the year. Hope that book's coming along and 2011 is a good'un for you & yours.

12:19 PM  
Blogger Floris said...

Terry, did you see this?
Found it linked through the first twitter link from kellie.

Promising indeed.

2:28 AM  
Blogger kellie said...

Rejecting the binary thinkers on both sides - excellent.

3:40 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Thanks Floris. I did. I added as an update.

Something is happening.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Kurt Langmann said...

Yes, but after reading this I was not quite so chipper myself: http://www.adamsmith.org/blog/international/europe%27s-pension-seizures/#disqus_thread

10:03 PM  
Blogger dmurrell said...

I agree that the huge tuition increase in Britain was absurd. And I agree that the young should be peacefully lobbying against this.

I guess there is good research documenting the sliding economic prospects of our young. Particularly for those university students majoring in arts, humanities and social sciences, job prospects are poor.

One point of disagreement though. The young demonstrators in Greece, France and Spain -- demonstating against government job cuts and pay freezes in the public service -- are protesting against their own interests. The huge public pension gravy train hurts their own interests. In our country, the federal Liberals are calling for "CPP enhancement" -- with increased CPP tax rates -- something certainly hurtful to the young.

4:19 AM  
Blogger dmurrell said...

Btw, Happy New year Terry, and to all other readers and contributors to this site.

4:20 AM  
Blogger Thermblog said...

I wonder if this phenomenon does not date back to Lebanon in 2005.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Good point, Therm.

12:20 PM  
Blogger brad said...

And this, too.

"We are a generation of young people used to face missiles, carrying what seems to be a impossible mission of living a normal and healthy life, and only barely tolerated by a massive organization that has spread in our society as a malicious cancer disease, causing mayhem and effectively killing all living cells, thoughts and dreams on its way as well as paralyzing people with its terror regime. Not to mention the prison we live in, a prison sustained by a so-called democratic country."

2:25 PM  
Blogger brad said...

Peter's sentiments about breaking rigid ideological barriers registers with me, too. Somehow I doubt that the manifesto writer, who speak both of the suffocating oppression under Hamas and the unending Israeli violence, which they say tries to erase them from the Earth, will get a hearing from the stalwarts of the status quo. People who imagine that the conflict can be reduced the grand good and evil narratives, our boneheaded Prime Minister is one of these folks. FYI, here's a follow up from the manifesto writers. Solidarity means listening. Cheers.

http://gazaybo.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/dont-distort-our-speech/

8:37 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

I'm just a spectator in this Gaza thing. I'm interested and heartened and hoping for the best, but one or two expressions of rage won't be enough to help make much sense of it.

8:51 PM  
Blogger brad said...

Agreed but plain speaking rage of this kind is manifestly better than the stale cliche's that so often act, Orwell knew better than most, as covers, for the worst crimes committed by states, armies, and other rogues. There's more humanity and faith to be found in the prose of these youth than countless tired peons which repeat always the same banal formulas. We need not agree with every letter here but we should bother at least to listen.

9:08 PM  
Blogger brad said...

Terry I see that a colleague of yours over at the Propagandist, who embodies rigid "ideological certainties" in relation to Israel/Palestine, has posted, on a number of occasions some crude propaganda video depicting Gaza as a Disneyland style paradise. Could you not, in the spirit of Peter's blog post, nudge him into posting the Gazan Youth Manifesto.

5:43 PM  
Blogger brad said...

The same character has a malicious really unfounded blog posting that, relying on an unnamed source, cited, fo course, by the IDF, against the evidence of Israeli and Palestinian eyewitnesses, says that a Palestinian who was protesting land confiscation in Bi'lin did not die as actually reported. As a result of lethal tear gas regularly dispersed against non violent activists. Nope, it was a hoax perpetuated by lying Psalestinians and a compliant western media. The Protocols of Arabia conspiracy. This is the rhetoric that we need to move way beyond, this language of dehumanization that the youth in Gaza swipes at. My beef though is not with you but Narvey. Let me take the argument to him then. Cheers.

ps the post is about Awaher Abu Rahmah

7:47 PM  

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