Activists, authors, trade-unionists and students from across Europe have launched a call for a reconfiguration of European social policy in order to reclaim the true democratic meaning of the European project:
Now, in the midst of the crisis of finance, markets and bureaucracies, we must commence to practice an egalitarian, peaceful, green and democratic Europe. We must reclaim the dignity of Europeans and our fellow world citizens.
Stephen Graham appeared on Radio 4's Thinking Allowed to discuss Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism with Laurie Taylor and Melissa Butcher of the Open University.
Graham explains how military ideas of controlling space, honed in war zone cities like Baghdad, are being repackaged and sold to civilian police in Western cities. Concepts like 'smart' CCTV which attempts to identify suspicious behaviours in urban crowds, & the creation of fortified enclaves in certain areas, modelled on the Iraqi Green Zone, and the use of surveillance drones are all being imported back to Western cities after being developed in foreign warzones.
Graham views these new methods as more Minority Report than Big Brother - new CCTV technologies are designed to attempt to prempt terrorist attacks by scanning crowds, learning from previous incidents and trying to predict suspicious activity through monitoring behaviour.
Despite the scale of our current crisis, Paul Mason sees great hope in 2012, as he explains to Rod Stanley, editor of Dazed and Confused. Talking about his new book Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions, Paul says that though we may see financial and political systems crashing around us, we're also seeing the end of an
age where you just accept humanity can’t control the economy and the planet it lives on. It can, but we won’t go back to the old way of state control. It’ll be people’s control and that is what's happening now.
An extract from Paul Mason's Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions is published in the Guardian's G2 supplement today. Mason explains the role of technology and the importance of the network in recent global unrest.
Social media and new technology were crucial in shaping the revolutions of 2011, just as they shaped industry, finance and mass culture in the preceding decade. What's important is not that the Egyptian youth used Facebook, or that the British students used Twitter and the Greek rioters organised via Indymedia, but what they used these media for - and what such technology does to hierarchies, ideas and actions.
Here, the crucial concept is the network - whose impact on politics has been a long time coming. The network's basic law was explained by Bell Telephone boss Theodore Vail as early as 1908: the more people who use the network, the more useful it becomes to each user. (The most obvious impact of the "network effect" has been on the media and ideology. Long before people started using Twitter to foment social unrest, mainstream journalists noticed - to their dismay -that the size of one's public persona or pay cheque carried no guarantee of popularity online. People's status rises and falls with the reliability and truthfulness of what they contribute.)