Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions

Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions

by Paul Mason
     
 

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The world is facing a wave of uprisings, protests and revolutions: Arab dictators swept away, public spaces occupied, slum-dwellers in revolt, cyberspace buzzing with utopian dreams. Events we were told were consigned to history—democratic revolt and social revolution—are being lived by millions of people.

In this compelling new book, Paul Mason

Overview

The world is facing a wave of uprisings, protests and revolutions: Arab dictators swept away, public spaces occupied, slum-dwellers in revolt, cyberspace buzzing with utopian dreams. Events we were told were consigned to history—democratic revolt and social revolution—are being lived by millions of people.

In this compelling new book, Paul Mason explores the causes and consequences of this great unrest. From Cairo to Athens, Wall Street and Westminster to Manila, Mason goes in search of the changes in society, technology and human behavior that have propelled a generation onto the streets in search of social justice. In a narrative that blends historical insight with first-person reportage, Mason shines a light on these new forms of activism, from the vast, agile networks of cyberprotest to the culture wars and tent camps of the #occupy movement. The events, says Mason, reflect the expanding power of the individual and call for new political alternatives to elite rule and global poverty.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A first-hand witness to the protests in Cairo, Mason (Live Working or Die Fighting) dissects the revolutionary events of 2011 in Egypt, Britain, Greece, and America, before moving on to discuss the history, sociology, economics, and politics of unrest. From the 1848 "wave of revolutions" across Europe, to the French, Czechoslovakian, and American protests of 1968, Mason posits a common cause: the disconnect between the masses and the political systems and power structures. At the forefront of these modern uprisings are unemployed youth, the urban underclass, and organized labor. Armed with technology and social media—cell phone video cameras, Twitter, YouTube, etc.—protestors are able to mobilize sans central leadership, broadcast without Big Media mitigating their message, and—perhaps most importantly—use digital space to take to the physical streets. Mason gets bogged down in discussing the sociology of poverty and enumerating individual cases of the poor struggling to succeed, but overall his study stands as a good primer on a young revolution and its predecessors, and where we might go from here. (Jan.)
Claire Allfree - Metro

The mix of wide-ranging reportage and historical analysis is lively and insightful.

Andy Beckett - Guardian

The writing of this reportage is compact, urgent, present-tense, declarative, and addictive.

Guardian
Mason has had a ringside seat to some of the biggest news events of 2011. He has listened to the protestors in Tahrir Square. He followed Greek workers marching through Athens. He has travelled through America, watched first hand the collapse of blue-collar employment and the death of the dream of home ownership.
Phil Harrison - Time Out

He's lively, funny and engaging, trading in the energy derived from the thrill and significance of what he's witnessing.

Dan Carrier - Camden New Journal

This book not only reads as an in-depth consideration of global politics today, but offers a personal memoir from a man who has had a ringside seat. We are blessed that the BBC, for all the criticisms, still employs journalists whose logic and unfailing inquisitiveness brings us such analysis.

Kenny Farquharson - Scotland on Sunday

You will learn something new and challenging on every page of this book.

Metro
The mix of wide-ranging reportage and historical analysis is lively and insightful.

— Claire Allfree

Time Out
He's lively, funny and engaging, trading in the energy derived from the thrill and significance of what he's witnessing.

— Phil Harrison

Camden New Journal
This book not only reads as an in-depth consideration of global politics today, but offers a personal memoir from a man who has had a ringside seat. We are blessed that the BBC, for all the criticisms, still employs journalists whose logic and unfailing inquisitiveness brings us such analysis.

— Dan Carrier

Scotland on Sunday
You will learn something new and challenging on every page of this book.

— Kenny Farquharson

From the Publisher
“The writing style of this reportage is compact, urgent, present-tense, declarative, and addictive.”—Andy Beckett, Guardian

“He’s lively, funny and engaging, trading in the energy derived from the thrill and significance of what he’s witnessing.”—Phil Harrison, Time Out

“Superb overview of the global protest movements of 2011.”—New Internationalist

“This book not only reads as an in-depth consideration of global politics today, but offers a personal memoir from a man who has had a ringside seat. We are blessed that the BBC, for all the criticisms, still employs journalists whose logic and unfailing inquisitiveness brings us such analysis.”—Dan Carrier, Camden New Journal

“You will learn something new and challenging on every page of this book.”—Kenny Farquharson, Scotland on Sunday

“The mix of wide-ranging reportage and historical analysis is lively and insightful.”—Claire Allfree, Metro

“A cogent, accessible analysis of the ongoing forces of global upheaval....[a] lively collection of essays and reportage.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Testament to his instincts as a veteran journalist, Mason managed to be everywhere right as things were kicking off—traversing the globe from the Middle East to Europe to America to Asia. [T]he book combines a feel for the breathlessness of events as they unfold with a historian’s eye for patterns and precedents ... Mason’s prose beautifully captures the almost surreal mood that often accompanies mass shifts in consciousness.”—Leela Yellesetty, Socialist Worker

“These reports are good journalism. One feels as if they are present at the rallies, occupations and riots that Mason describes. The anecdotal tales he provides should remind anyone who participated in any kind of popular resistance in the past decades of the energy and hope one finds and feels at such events. These are the stuff that makes one join such movements. Worthwhile and provocative.”—Ron Jacobs, Counterpunch

Kirkus Reviews
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781844678891
Publisher:
Verso Books
Publication date:
01/09/2012
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
244
Sales rank:
1,085,107
File size:
590 KB

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Meet the Author

Paul Mason is the economics editor of the BBC’s flagship current affairsprogram Newsnight and appears frequently on BBC World News America.He has covered globalization and social justice stories from locations aroundthe world, including Latin America, Africa and China. His book Live Working,Die Fighting was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award.

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