robertogreco + catalonia   6

This wave of global protest is being led by the children of the financial crash | Jack Shenker | Opinion | The Guardian
““I’m 22 years old, and this is my last letter,” the young man begins. Most of his face is masked with black fabric; only his eyes, tired and steely, are visible below a messy fringe. “I’m worried that I will die and won’t see you any more,” he continues, his hands trembling. “But I can’t not take to the streets.”

The nameless demonstrator – one of many in Hong Kong who have been writing to their loved ones before heading out to confront rising police violence in the city – was filmed by the New York Times last week in an anonymous stairwell. But he could be almost anywhere, and not only because the walls behind him are white and characterless, left blank to protect his identity.

From east Asia to Latin America, northern Europe to the Middle East, there are young people gathering in stairwells, back alleys and basements whose faces display a similar blend of exhilaration and exhaustion. “The disaster of ‘chaos in Hong Kong’ has already hit the western world,” the former Chinese diplomat Wang Zhen declared in an official Communist party paper, following reports that protesters in Catalonia were being inspired by their counterparts in Hong Kong. “We can expect that other countries and cities may be struck by this deluge.”

Wang is right about the deluge. In the same week that those seeking independence from Spain occupied Barcelona airport and brought motorways to a standstill, Extinction Rebellion activists seized major bridges and squares across London, prompting nearly 2,000 arrests. Both mobilisations adopted tactics from Hong Kong, including fluid targets – inspired by Bruce Lee’s famous “be water“ mantra – and a repertoire of hand signals to outwit security forces.

Meanwhile Lebanon has been convulsed by its largest demonstrations in two decades, dozens have been killed during anti-government marches in Iraq, and in Egypt a blanket ban on dissent by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s brutal dictatorship failed to prevent sporadic anti-regime protests breaking out across the country late last month. In the Americas, where Wang once served as a Chinese government envoy, Ecuador, Chile and Haiti are all experiencing citizen uprisings that are virtually unprecedented in recent history, ushering vast numbers of people into the streets – as well as soldiers tasked with containing them.

Each of these upheavals has its own spark – a hike in transport fares in Santiago, or a proposed tax on users of messaging apps like WhatsApp in Beirut – and each involves different patterns of governance and resistance. The class composition of the indigenous demonstrators in Ecuador can’t be compared with most of those marching against the imprisonment of separatist leaders in Catalonia; nor is the state’s prohibition of protest in London on a par with the repression in Hong Kong, where officers shot live ammunition into a teenager’s chest.

And yet it’s clear that we are witnessing the biggest surge in global protest activity since the early 2010s, when a “movement of the squares” saw mass rallies in capital cities across the Arab world, followed by Occupy demonstrations in the global north. Historically speaking, the past decade has seen more protests than at any time since the 1960s. Despite their disparate grievances, some common threads do bind today’s rebellions together. Tracing them may help clarify the nature of our present political volatility.

One obvious link is also the most superficial: the role played by social media, which has been widely noted in the press. While it’s true that digital technologies have enabled more agile and horizontal forms of organising, the ubiquity of these tools in 2019 tells us almost nothing about what is driving people to take to the streets in the first place. Indeed, in many states, social media is now an instrument of state repression as much as it is a tool of revolt.

The most significant connection is generational. The majority of those protesting now are the children of the financial crisis – a generation that has come of age during the strange and febrile years after the collapse of a broken economic and political orthodoxy, and before its replacement has emerged.

One direct impact of the crash has been a rapid diminishment of opportunity for millions of young people in rich countries – who now regard precarious work and rising inequality as the norm. At the same time, the aftermath of the crash has cracked the entrenched structures that had evolved to detach citizens from active participation in politics – be that through authoritarian systems or via an institutional consensus on the inevitability of market logic and technocratic management. Amid widespread economic and social failure, it has become harder than ever for elites to justify power, even on their own terms.

All this has produced a generation charged with hopelessness and hope. Afflicted by what the anthropologist David Graeber calls “despair fatigue”, protesters are putting their bodies on the line because it feels as if they have no other choice – and because those who rule over them have rarely seemed more vulnerable. Most have spent their lives under the maxim “there is no alternative” – and now circumstances have forced them to widen their political imaginations in search of something new. As one poster proclaims in Chile: “It’s not about 30 pesos, it’s about 30 years.”

Facing them down are states determined to put citizens back in their box and reseal the borders of political participation. The problem for governments is that there is no longer an established centre ground to snap back to, and their opponents know it – which is why so many of those involved in the current mobilisations will not settle for token concessions from the authorities.

“We need a whole new system, from scratch,” declared one demonstrator in Lebanon. The crackdown on Catalan separatists by the Spanish government has brought back dark memories of the state’s dirty war in the Basque country in the 1980s and the Franco era that preceded it; troops are marching through city centres in Chile for the first time since Pinochet.

In China, Xi Jinping has claimed that any attempt to divide the nation will result in “bodies smashed and bones ground to powder”. In many places, grassroots victory – and radical political transformation – feels to many like the only possible resolution, lending clashes an “all or nothing” antagonism and urgency that is hard to roll back.

What has intensified this urgency is the backdrop of looming ecological catastrophe. Even where protests are not explicitly about environmental concerns, the prospect of planetary catastrophe in our lifetimes raises the stakes for all political action. “The kids who are walking out of school have a hugely radical understanding of the way that politics works, and they recognise that our democratic processes and structures as they stand are designed to uphold the status quo,” Jake Woodier, one of the organisers behind the UK climate strike movement, told me this year. “They know that they will be worse off than their parents, know that they’ll never own a home, and know that on current trends they could live to see the end of humanity. So for them, for us, politics is not a game, it’s reality, and that’s reflected in the way we organise – relentlessly, radically, as if our lives depend on it.”

The Cambridge political scientist Helen Thompson once argued: “The post-2008 world is, in some fundamental sense, a world waiting for its reckoning.” That reckoning is beginning to unfold globally. They may come from different backgrounds and fight for different causes, but the kids being handcuffed, building barricades, and fighting their way through teargas in 2019 all entered adulthood after the end of the end of history. They know that we are living through one of what the American historian Robert Darnton has called “moments of suspended disbelief”: those rare, fragile conjunctures in which anything seems conceivable, and – far from being immutable – the old rules are ready to be rewritten. As long as it feels like their lives depend on winning, the deluge will continue.”
protest  protests  yout  greatrecession  crisis  economics  2008  2019  catastrophe  chile  china  catalonia  barcelona  hongkong  latinamerica  asia  spain  españa  lebanon  egypt  ecuador  haiti  london  extinctionrebellion  climatechange  policy  inequality  youth  activism  ows  occupywallstreet  repression  future  pinochet  franco  separatists  statusquo  elitism  uk  us  robertdarnton  jackshenker  government  governance  military  globalwarming  capitalism  socialism  democracy  technocracy  disenfranchisement  politics  democrats 
5 weeks ago by robertogreco
Teresa Forcades, the radical Catalan nun on a mission - video | World news | guardian.co.uk
"Sister Teresa Forcades is one of Catalonia's foremost political figures, but uniquely for a faith-led figure in Spain, her ideology is feminist and left-wing. Against a backdrop of continued economic contraction and austerity, she spoke to the Guardian about the need for an alternative to capitalism and criticised the misogyny of the Catholic church."
teresaforcades  2013  spain  españa  catholicchurch  catholicism  religion  politics  catalonia  cataluña  feminism  left  economics  capitalism  independence  diversity  culturaldiversity  culture  homogenization  misogyny  pope  power  women  gender 
may 2013 by robertogreco
ECONOMIA COL·LECTIVA. L'ÚLTIMA REVOLUCIÓ D'EUROPA
"“Economia Col·lectiva. L’última Revolució d’Europa” és un documental que aprofundeix per primera vegada en un dels episodis més extraordinaris de la nostra història: l’expropiació i la gestió col·lectiva d’empreses i serveis públics per part dels seus treballadors i treballadores. Va succeir a Catalunya fa poc més de 75 anys, a partir de 1936, i és un fet pràcticament desconegut."
history  spani  españa  economics  collectivism  labor  socialism  barcelona  catalonia  catalunya  1936  europe  activism  documentaries  documentary  spain  from delicious
january 2013 by robertogreco
More than a club: FC Barcelona and Catalonia's road to independence – video | Football | guardian.co.uk
"As Catalonia votes in an election that could lead to a referendum on independence from Spain, Sid Lowe looks at one of the region's great cultural sporting icons, FC Barcelona, and its role in Catalan identity. Key figures in the club's history, including Johan Cruyff, Joan Laporta and current vice-president Carles Vilarrubí explore Barça's motto 'more than a club' and its role in today's political landscape"
sidlowe  carlesvilarrubí  joanlaporta  johancruyff  españa  spain  nationalism  barça  2012  futbol  sports  politics  independence  football  barcelona  catalonia  soccer  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
Escuela Moderna - Wikipedia
"La Escuela Moderna was a progressive school that existed briefly at the start of the 20th century in Catalonia.

Founded in 1901 in Barcelona by free-thinker Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, the school's stated goal was to "educate the working class in a rational, secular & non-coercive setting". In practice, high tuition fees restricted attendance at the school to wealthier middle class students. It was privately hoped that when the time was ripe for revolutionary action, these students would be motivated to lead the working classes.

It closed in 1906. Shortly after, Ferrer was executed for sedition.

Today, the only remaining archives from the school are held in the special collections department of the University of California, San Diego.

La Escuela Moderna, & Ferrer's ideas generally, formed the inspiration for a series of Modern Schools in the US, Cuba, South America & London. The first of these was started in NYC in 1911."

[See also http://struggle.ws/spain/ferrer.html AND http://www.flickr.com/photos/sheenachi/4351675600/ ]
education  anarchism  escuelamoderna  franciscoferrer  unschooling  deschooling  coercion  modernschools  ucsd  anarchy  schools  barcelona  catalonia  spain  españa  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco

related tags

accountability  activism  adaptability  adaptation  administration  anarchism  anarchy  anticapitalism  antistatism  asia  authoritarianism  authority  barcelona  barça  borders  bullshitjobs  bureaucracy  capitalism  carlesvilarrubí  catalonia  catalunya  cataluña  catastrophe  catholicchurch  catholicism  checksandbalances  chile  china  climatechange  coercion  collectivism  compulsion  compulsory  consenus  control  crisis  criticalthinking  cultofpersonality  culturaldiversity  culture  cv  davidgraeber  defense  democracy  democrats  deschooling  directdemocracy  disenfranchisement  diversity  documentaries  documentary  ecology  economics  ecuador  education  efficiency  egypt  elitism  environment  escuelamoderna  españa  europe  evolution  exploitation  extinctionrebellion  feminism  football  franciscoferrer  franco  freedom  futbol  future  gender  globalwarming  governance  government  grassroots  greatrecession  haiti  hierarchy  history  homogenization  hongkong  horizontality  improvisation  independence  inequality  iran  iraq  isis  jackshenker  joanlaporta  johancruyff  kurdistan  kurds  labor  language  latinamerica  lcproject  lebanon  left  listening  london  military  misogyny  modernschools  morality  murraybookchin  nationalism  occupywallstreet  openstudioproject  organization  ows  patriarchy  pinochet  policy  politics  pope  power  process  projectmanagement  protest  protests  reason  religion  repression  robertdarnton  rojava  rule  schools  self-governance  separatists  sfsh  sidlowe  slow  soccer  socialism  solidarity  spain  spani  sports  statelessness  statusquo  sustainability  syria  tcsnmy  technocracy  teresaforcades  time  turkey  ucsd  uk  unschooling  us  voice  voting  women  yout  youth 

Copy this bookmark:



description:


tags: