A People's History of London, Lindsey German and John Rees' chronicle of the city told through its rebellions and revolts, continues to draw strong reviews. Writing for the Camden New Journal, Dan Carrier interviewed the authors:
"There is barely a street in inner London that cannot tell a tale," says John. "This is not just a social history but is the story of a theatre of political activism". They draw on reasons for London's radicalism, and say the book is timely. "The Olympics and the Jubilee mean there is a big focus on London,' says Lindsey. "London books tell the history of the rich and powerful. We wanted to show there was a different tradition."
Carrier's follows London's story from its sacking by Boudicca's hordes to the riots of August 2011, by way of strikes, revolts and the London mob, claiming "It is an inspiring history of radical activism, and this chronicle of these heroes who stood shoulder to shoulder is a timely reminder."
Appearing on The Julian Assange Show alongside renowned linguist and political theorist Noam Chomsky, "street-fighting novelist" Tariq Ali argues the "infectious" Arab Spring has spread to the US and Russia, and is still underway. Criticising the "extreme centre", a political consensus of centrist neoliberal orthodoxy that destroys political diversity and opposition, Ali talks about how the speed and flair of the Arab Spring caught everyone, from dictators and their sponsors to the Western media, by surprise.
Assange, Ali and Chomsky continue to discuss the "new hope" that resides in South America Bolivarian movements, and the democratic crisis in the Eurozone.
Friday 15th June saw Dalston's homely Cafe Oto host Verso's "24hr Žižek" event. The evening began with an opening talk serving as an introduction to Hegel's thought, delivered in pin-sharp clarity by Iain Hamilton Grant.
Slavoj Žižek then spoke at length on Marx, the current economic situation worldwide, the rise of the European far-right, fatherhood, and the social crisis currently unfolding in Greece.
Mexico is in a deep and long crisis. The "Drug War" was taken to new heights by conservative President Felipe Calderón after he took office in December 2006 and the resulting violence has left an estimated 50,000 people dead. Calderon's decision to send the military in to try to break the cartel's stranglehold has destroyed millions of lives, while achieving very little, if anything. As the Mexican presidential elections take place on Sunday, large swathes of the north of the country remain outside the control of the federal government.
Over the past six years, Calderón's conservative Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) has meanwhile presided over an economic model lauded by the Bretton Woods institutions and Financial Times editorials – i.e. high growth rates, big booty for foreign investors, and (this bit is kept quiet) yawning inequality. For example, the country's growth was 5.5 per cent in 2010, the highest in 10 years, but that same year the number of Mexicans living in poverty grew by more than 3m, putting 52m Mexicans below the poverty line, or nearly half the population. The Financial Times calls such a state of affairs "bloody but booming".
There is only one candidate standing in the presidential elections on Sunday that can reverse, or at least attenuate, the nightmare many Mexicans – mostly the poor and destitute – have been living through over the past six years, and before.
Today in Dissent, Hazem Kandil—author of Soldiers, Spies and Statesmen: Egypt's Road to Revolt,forthcoming from Verso in November—writes on the occasion of the Egyptian presidential results, "Whither the Egyptian Revolution?"
Kandil considers that—in light of the candidate options for Egypt's presidency, between the old guard of Omar Suleiman and Ahmed Shafiq, and the ultimate winner, the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi, with its ambivalence to the revolution—"Though a year and a half have gone by, the final verdict on the Egyptian Revolution—including whether it actually was one—is still to come."
Kandil’s analysis of post-revolt politics here is grounded in the feeling that “it is clear that the uprising fell short of its declared goal of overthrowing the regime.” The deeply entrenched tripartite alliance between the military, security, and political institutions held a strong preventive grip on revolutionary movements before the revolt, and they remained in place in the post-revolt police state. Kandil then hones in on the various ways Egypt is witnessing a “moment that is neither a relapse to politics as usual nor the emergence of a new regime, but rather the reconstitution of the power balance within the ruling bloc.”