How did we get from the optimism of the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement to Trump’s election and the dislocation of the present day?
Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere, written by Paul Mason and directed by David Lan, will be performed 28–30 March 2017 at the Young Vic. Tickets are free and will be allocated by ballot.
Paul Mason follows in the footsteps of Virginia Woolf in search of fictional character in the age of social media.
I get on a train and there, eventually, is Eleni Haifa: about 22, massive hair and 5 ft tall.
She is either Italian, Jewish, Arab, Turkish, Kurdish or Greek. She has olive skin and is wearing high heels with gold tips, a white jacket, oyster coloured skirt and carrying two iPhones, one in a black case and one red.
She has one iPhone in each hand and is transferring something from one to another by typing using her thumbs. But not the tips of her thumbs because her nails are so long – and polished – that she has to use the pads of her thumbs to type, very fast. She puts one down – the one playing her music - and then goes to Facebook on the other: to her profile, where the picture is some kind of cartoon. She flips to What’sApp – I can tell it’s What’sApp from the green message boxes. Between Clapham Junction and Waterloo she spends her switching between What’s App and Facebook. She’s been on the train at least from Richmond.
An extract from the updated edition of Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed, Paul Mason's account of the 2008 financial collapse, anticipating the social fall-out of the crisis. His exploration of the global wave of social revolt since 2008, Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions, will be published in January 2012.
In the summer of 2010, any attempt to predict the future would be pointless. However, the fault-lines of the global recovery are clear. In the space of twenty-four months the risk has moved from housing to banking to states and now, in southern Europe, to social cohesion.
In searching for a metaphor to illustrate what's happened, I am drawn to the image of tank armour. When a depleted-uranium dart hits the armour of a tank its energy is diffused into layer-upon-layer of complex materials: metals, fabrics, ceramics. If you are lucky, the round never penetrates the final layer and the crew survives. But take a look at the armour plate: it is mangled, defabricated, and can never be used again. What you need to avoid at all costs is being hit by a second shot.