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The New Global Revolutions

by Paul Mason

Pub Date: March 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-84467-851-8
Publisher: Verso

An astute early analysis of the revolutionary events of 2011 by an accomplished British journalist. 

In Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed (2009), Mason, economics editor of BBC’s Newsnight, tracked the ramifications of Lehman Brothers’ collapse, spelling the failure of globalization, which in turn prompted worldwide job losses, lowering of wages, elevation of food prices, bursting of the credit bubble and rise of the disgruntled “networked individual.” In this lively collection of essays and reportage expanded from his blog, Mason looks at the recent succession of public protests, including the early student outbreaks in Athens, Gaza, Tehran and UC-Santa Cruz, which set the template for last year’s Arab Spring, and how they all point toward the end of “capitalist realism.” Incredibly, writes the author, the failure by everyone to predict the revolutionary groundswell from Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria was the result of a “self-deluding” narrative the West has long entertained about the Arab world and which Mason, with a nod to Edward Said, calls a fatal “disorientation.” The complacency bred by the global corporate colossus was shaken in the economic downturn, and young people especially, rendered impotent from unemployment, poverty and disenfranchisement, found a sense of liberation in protests and occupations. Using social media, the protestors discovered a new power in “guerrilla newsgathering.” Drawing on observers as diverse as Marx and Glenn Beck, and pertinent historical analogies such as the Revolution of 1848, Mason looks at root economic causes of anomie and class struggle, which are creating “new forms of human behavior.” And while previous protest movements often ended in defeat, Mason believes that the combination of today’s technology and numbers just might prevail.

A cogent, accessible analysis of the ongoing forces of global upheaval.