Paul Mason analyses the worldwide wave of protests for his Idle Scrawl blog, picking up on some "common threads" including the centrality of secularised, westernised young people and how social media and technology has "expanded the space and power of the individual."
We've had revolution in Tunisia, Egypt's Mubarak is teetering; in Yemen, Jordan and Syria suddenly protests have appeared. In Ireland young techno-savvy professionals are agitating for a "Second Republic"; in France the youth from banlieues battled police on the streets to defend the retirement rights of 60-year olds; in Greece striking and rioting have become a national pastime. And in Britain we've had riots and student occupations that changed the political mood.
What's going on? What's the wider social dynamic? ...
Speaking to Al Jazeera English today about the future of Egypt and whether the revolt can lead to real change, Slavoj Žižek, author of Living in the End Times, states that Western powers may be afraid to acknowledge it, but what we see today in Egypt is "direct proof that freedom is universal."
Over the past two weeks, women have been playing an enormous role in the call for political change in Egypt, quite possibly altering how the world views them and their radical global counterparts.
Avi Shlaim responds to Raja Shehadeh's Palestinian perspective in the Guardian feature in which leading writers from across the Arab world reflect on the Tunisia protests. Shlaim, author of Israel and Palestine, urges us to remember Palestine:
Your 10 Arab writers gave voice to the wave of optimism that is sweeping through their countries in the wake of the peaceful revolution in Tunisia ("After Tunisia", 29 January). It was melancholy to note, however, that Raja Shehadeh, the Palestinian lawyer and writer, cannot share in this optimism. While the rest of the Arab world is at long last moving towards participatory democracy, a police state is emerging in Palestine with active western support.
Nichols connects the radical and 20th century American liberal traditions and movements with the Socialist movement, portraying such figures as American Revolutionary hero Tom Paine and Emma Lazurus, whose poem graces the Statue of Liberty, as part of the larger socialist tradition ... While one might take issue with some of Nichols' characterizations of Tom Paine and Abraham Lincoln in regard to their relationship to socialist traditions, Nichols nevertheless presents important sides of them which are usually omitted in traditional accounts - in the case of Paine, an almost total omission, except for a few quotes from Common Sense and sometimes from the American Prospect.