Five years ago the Middle East and North Africa was electrified by unprecedented popular protests that heralded the start of the Arab Spring. Beginning in Tunisia popular movements swept regimes from power in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya and threatened to overthrow ruling elites across the region. Tragically, the Arab Spring has since become mired in counterrevolution and civil war with the extraordinary violence of the war in Syria, the rise of ISIS, the escalating refugee crisis, and the establishment of a new dictatorship in Egypt emblematic of the profound challenges facing the people of the region. As tumultuous events continue to unfold we present Verso's reading list of key titles addressing the developing situation in the Middle East.
In under two weeks time, Greece will vote on who is to lead their country after the speedy resignation of Alexis Tsipras. Below is an interview with Greece's former finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis and leading academics from around the UK. This interview was first published on The Conversation website under a Creative Commons licence.
Photo: Yves Herman/Reuters
It is very widely believed that the establishment of universal suffrage marks the final outcome ofthe democratic process: any backward step would be impossible. Yet viewed at a worldwide level, the conquest of the right to vote has been far from linear in its progress: having suffered frequent retreats, attempts to shape our collective destiny have required ever more vigorous popular mobilisations.
Democracy is in crisis. A recent illustration of this is the gap between the Thessaloniki programme – on which basis Syriza won January’s parliamentary elections in Greece – and the cascade of concessions that the European Union has forced upon the resulting government. ‘It’s the logic of 70-30’, the European Economics Commissioner Mr. Pierre Moscovici earnestly explains. ‘70% of the measures [that Brussels wants] are non-negotiable, whereas 30% can be changed’. In the hierarchy of the political values of our time, popular sovereignty cuts a very pale figure indeed.
For the benefit of those who haven't read the Guardian's comment (anti)coverage of Jeremy Corbyn's campaign, I've compiled all 100,000 words into this handy digested read.
Sorry but huge crowds do not translate into electoral success. We need to be looking for small crowds, people, SMALL CROWDS. About 10 people would be ideal; roughly the size of our little party at Saffron and Cosmo’s place last night, where everyone agreed that while o̲f̲ ̲c̲o̲u̲r̲s̲e̲ our red hearts lie instinctively with socialism, it’s quite clear that we must make credible policy proposals such as supporting workfare or implementing austerity, or we’ll have a Conservative government implementing austerity and supporting workfare until 2025.