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Tag: Arab Spring
A plausible progressive counter-narrative (July 7th 2012) A plausible progressive counter-narrative (July 7th 2012)

Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama the 60 year old American political scientist and economist is the subject of an article published by Dan Hind on Aljazeera titled ‘Just how do you change the world? Is there a progressive counter-narrative to the libertarian right?’ Hind states “Francis Fukuyama wrote an article for Foreign Affairs entitled The Future of History. In it he talked about the absence of “a plausible progressive counter-narrative” to the “libertarian right”. This libertarian right has “held the ideological high ground on economic issues” for a generation. …Fukuyama claims that “one of the most puzzling features of the world in the aftermath of the financial crisis is that populism has taken primarily a right-wing form, not a left-wing one”. So while he thinks it conceivable that the “Occupy Wall Street movement will gain traction”, he can’t find space for the hundreds of other occupations in the United States and worldwide. The role of trade unionists and socialists in Arab Spring is nowhere to be found and the vast movement for real democracy in Spain likewise vanishes. The Tea Party is what captures Fukuyama’s attention. …It would be unfair to mock him for his failure to predict the rise of Syriza in Greece, the defeat of a right-wing president in France and the growing confidence of anti-capitalist left in Europe and North America. It is, though, reasonable to expect a prophet to have some kind of grip on the recent past.”


Inspired by Dan Hind image source Robert Goddyn

Ahmed Daak the Sudanese lecturer of medical biochemistry along with Harry Verhoeven a specialist researcher on conflict, development and environment in the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes Region has published an article titled ‘The battle for the soul of the Islamic world’. The article published on Aljazeera discusses the Islamists and Salafis battle ‘for prominence in forging new political realities in the Islamic world’. They state in the article “The new realities emerging from the Arab Spring are demonstrating that Islam will occupy a key position in the political debate from Morocco to Indonesia. Yet what remains unclear is whether this will lead to greater societal cohesion or increased tensions within the Islamic world and between it and outside actors. To understand what the future might look like, we must analyse the struggle within the camp of the pious believers: reformist Islamists versus archconservative Salafis. …For all their differences, important similarities exist between Salafis and Islamists. The choice is not between “Westernisation” and “traditional Islam”: neither camp belongs to the caricature categories of the GWOT [Global War on Terror]. Both are products of modernity, who think about politics and religion in deeply modern ways and who respond to modernisation through discourses, institutions and ideas that are solidly rooted in 21st century imaginations.”


Inspired by Aljazeera image source Facebook

Joseph Eugene Stiglitz the 69 year old American economist and professor has published an article on The Daily Beast titled “The 99 Percent Wakes Up” pointing out  that “Inequality isn’t only plaguing America—the Arab Spring flowered because international capitalism is broken.” In the article Stiglitz states “…I met with protesters in Madrid’s Retiro Park, at Zuccotti Park in New York, and in [Tahrir Square] Cairo… The protesters have been criticized for not having an agenda, but such criticism misses the point of protest movements. They are an expression of frustration with the electoral process. They are an alarm. …they are asking for a great deal: for a democracy where people, not dollars, matter; and for a market economy that delivers on what it is supposed to do. The two demands are related: unfettered markets do not work well, as we have seen. For markets to work the way markets are supposed to work, there has to be appropriate government regulation. But for that to occur, we have to have a democracy that reflects the general interests, not the special interests. We may have the best government that money can buy, but that won’t be good enough.


Inspired by The Daily Beast image source

Peter Albert David Singer the 65 year old Australian philosopher and professor of Bioethics specializing in applied ethics has released an article on Aljazeera applauding the ending of battery cages in Europe for the keeping of fowls. Singer likened the achievement to the Arab Spring, stating “The end of the battery cage in Europe is a less dramatic development than the Arab Spring, but, like that popular uprising, it began with a small group of thoughtful and committed people… In the early 1970s, when the modern animal liberation movement began, no major organisation was campaigning against the battery cage… It took a concerted effort… to stir the RSPCA from its complacency towards the battery cage and other forms of intensive animal rearing… hens kept in cages so small… hens could never walk around freely, or lay eggs in a nest… Many people applauded our youthful idealism, but told us that we had no hope of ever changing a major industry. They were wrong… On the first day of 2012, keeping hens in such cages became illegal.”

Inspired by Peter Singer image source Joel Travis Sage

Václav Havel the 75 year old Czech playwright, poet, dissident and former President of the Czech Republic who recently died, has been honored in an article published by Mark LeVine. Levine recalls Havel’s role in the Velvet Revolution and connection to the Arab Spring, “as a model for understanding, or engaging in, the present revolutions across the Middle East and North Africa … While it looks increasingly dark in Egypt, Syria and other Arab countries today, if the protesters in the streets can solidify their co-ordination with civil society and, as was so crucial in Poland, involve religious leaders in fighting truly to take down the system rather than merely get a large piece of it for themselves, there is little doubt that in a very short period of time the world’s newest generation of revolutionaries will manage to secure the freedom for which they are fighting…”


Inspired by Mark LeVine image source Ondřej Sláma

Larbi Sadiki the Tunisian political scientist whose writings focus on the democratization of the Arab world released an article on Aljazeera that discusses the significance of Mohamed Bouazizi self-immolation one year on, that set off a chain of events now known as the ‘Arab Spring’. “The man and the act spawned a hugely unprecedented movement, forever altering the Arab political landscape, delivering the much-vaunted ‘breakthrough’ in the fight against autocracy … The Arab Spring fervour that sprang in Bouazizi’s home town and country has spread further afield in the Arab world, making possible dreams of dignity and freedom which are today palpably catapulting the Arabs into democratic openings. The uprisings and still unfolding revolutions were made by the Arab world’s little peoples. Their greatness, like Bouazizi, lies in their capacity for self-sacrifice in the quest for dignity.”


Inspired by Larbi Sadiki image source

Carson Chan the 31 year old architecture writer and curator has been featured by Alexander Forbes in an interview for Artinfo Berlin about the fallout from the Arab Spring protests on the Moroccan ‘Marrakech Biennale’, which had been “forced into a state of adaptation, rolling with the ever-changing context of the region … [Challenging and reassessing] post-colonialism, and why it’s important to break the rules.” In the interview Chan states, “The context of North Africa right now is that it’s a tumultuous area of the world. The people there are really voicing their own sovereignty, their own ambitions, and it’s really exciting to be there… More importantly, I think, is how a post-colonial identity has affected people in Morocco. It was a French protectorate from 1912 to 1956, so French as a language was installed, certain codes of how to operate, what to show, what culture is being expressed was dictated by the French for a long time.”


Inspired by Alexander Forbes image source artiffexbalear

Michael J. Sandel the 58 year old US political philosopher and Harvard University professor of political philosophy has referred to the grass root uprisings initiated during the ‘Arab Spring’ in an Aljazeera interview as “one of the most important political developments of our lifetimes. I think we will look back decades from now and see it as such. We don’t know how these revolutions will play out, one country to the next, but what we do know is that this is a historical moment… I think it should be an inspiration to those of us in established democracies to try to embody more fully the ideals of dignity and justice and above all of citizenship… The future is unpredictable, but I think that what will be remembered historically, whatever false starts there may be – and there may be many false starts…”


Inspired by Aljazerra image source roycecarlton

David Rolfe Graeber the 50 year old US anthropologist and anarchist is being hailed as the anti-leader of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Graeber has been profiled by Drake Bennett  in Business Week as “a key member of a small band of activists who quietly planned, then noisily carried out, the occupation of Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, providing the focal point for what has grown into an amorphous global movement known as Occupy Wall Street.” Graeber although not the movements spokesperson, provides a favorable voice to the protests comparing them to the Arab Spring. Graeber, having an impressive history of both direct and indirect involvement in political activism, claims the contemporary Occupy Wall Street grassroots protest movement represents “the opening salvo in a wave of negotiations over the dissolution of the American Empire.”


Inspired by Drake Bennett image source David Graeber

Slavoj Žižek the 62 year old Slovenian philosopher and critical theorist has expressed concern for the future of western democratic capitalist societies. In an interview with Al Jazeera’s Tom Ackerman, Žižek analyses the contemporary mini revolutions taking place with the Arab Spring, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the dissention in Europe with austerity issues. Žižek who is internationally recognized for his critical examination of both capitalism and socialism, states the “system [global financial and political] has lost its self-evidence, its automatic legitimacy, and now the field is open … What I’m afraid of is with this capitalism with Asian values, we get a capitalism much more efficient and dynamic than our western capitalism. But I don’t share the hope of my liberal friends – give them ten years, [and there will be] another Tiananmen Square demonstration – no, the marriage between capitalism and democracy is over.”


Inspired by Tom Ackerman image source Andy Miah

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