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Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions

Incisive grassroots account of the new global revolutions by acclaimed BBC journalist and author of Meltdown

The world is facing a wave of uprisings, protests and revolutions: Arab dictators swept away, public spaces occupied, slum-dwellers in revolt, cyberspace buzzing with utopian dreams. Events we were told were consigned to history—democratic revolt and social revolution—are being lived by millions of people.

In this compelling new book, Paul Mason explores the causes and consequences of this great unrest. From Cairo to Athens, Wall Street and Westminster to Manila, Mason goes in search of the changes in society, technology and human behaviour that have propelled a generation onto the streets in search of social justice. In a narrative that blends historical insight with first-person reportage, Mason shines a light on these new forms of activism, from the vast, agile networks of cyberprotest to the culture wars and tent camps of the #occupy movement. The events, says Mason, reflect the expanding power of the individual and call for new political alternatives to elite rule and global poverty.

Reviews

  • “The writing style of this reportage is compact, urgent, present-tense, declarative, and addictive.”
  • “He’s lively, funny and engaging, trading in the energy derived from the thrill and significance of what he’s witnessing.”
  • “Superb overview of the global protest movements of 2011.”
  • “This book not only reads as an in-depth consideration of global politics today, but offers a personal memoir from a man who has had a ringside seat. We are blessed that the BBC, for all the criticisms, still employs journalists whose logic and unfailing inquisitiveness brings us such analysis.”
  • “You will learn something new and challenging on every page of this book.”
  • “The mix of wide-ranging reportage and historical analysis is lively and insightful.”
  • “A cogent, accessible analysis of the ongoing forces of global upheaval….[a] lively collection of essays and reportage.”
  • “Testament to his instincts as a veteran journalist, Mason managed to be everywhere right as things were kicking off—traversing the globe from the Middle East to Europe to America to Asia. [T]he book combines a feel for the breathlessness of events as they unfold with a historian's eye for patterns and precedents...Mason's prose beautifully captures the almost surreal mood that often accompanies mass shifts in consciousness.”
  • “These reports are good journalism. One feels as if they are present at the rallies, occupations and riots that Mason describes. The anecdotal tales he provides should remind anyone who participated in any kind of popular resistance in the past decades of the energy and hope one finds and feels at such events. These are the stuff that makes one join such movements. Worthwhile and provocative.”

Blog

  • Post-crash economics: a reading list

    Neoliberal economics isn't working and students are demanding more from their course reading than the 8th edition of Macroeconomics can provide. Following the news that Economics students in Manchester have formed the Post-Crash Economics Society and Aditya Chakrabortty's excoriating and controversial commentary on the state of contemporary economics, published in the Guardian this week, Verso presents a reading list of economics titles which challenge the mainstream neoliberal consensus and offer powerful alternative models in contemporary economics.
     


    First up, Wolfgang Streeck's analysis of the 2008 financial crisis, Buying Time: The Delayed Crisis of Democratic Capitalism.
    Placing the crisis in the context of the neoliberal transformation of society that began in the 1970s, Streeck's focus is on the tensions that this has produced between states, voters and capitalist enterprises. Buying Time asks fundamental questions about the compatibility between democracy and contemporary forms of capitalism. 
    Read Streeck's excellent article on the end of capitalism at the New Left Review website.

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  • 12 Years a Slave: Verso’s essential reading list on slavery and race relations



    This month sees the UK cinema release of Steve McQueen’s brilliant and brutal new film, 12 Years a Slave. McQueen has been vocal in condemning cinema’s wariness in confronting the subjects of slavery and race, and his film has galvanized a new interest in the unspeakably ugly period in American history. 

    Based on Solomon Northup’s 1853 documentary, 12 Years a Slave takes an unflinching look at the story of a free black man from New York who is abducted and sold into slavery.

    Verso has long held a commitment to telling similar stories, and we now present a selection of books as the essential starting point for those looking to learn more about the roots, events and legacies of slavery and racial tensions in America and the world.

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  • Uprisings in South America: A reading list



    As neoliberal policies and monetary hegemony continue to dominate around the globe, protests for democracy and against the political elite are widespread. With the start of the World Cup in Brazil it is, yet again, kicking off everywhere.

    Riot police fired percussion grenades and teargas at anti-World Cup protesters in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro on Thursday as the countdown to the kick-off was marred by demonstrations in at least 10 Brazilian cities. Just hours before the opening ceremony at the Itaquerão stadium, about 100 protesters started fires and threw rocks at police in an apparent attempt to block a road leading to the venue.

    The "Our Cup is on the Street" protests are targeting the high cost of the stadiums, corruption, police brutality and evictions. "The World Cup steals money from healthcare, education and the poor. The homeless are being forced from the streets. This is not for Brazil, it's for the tourists," said Denize Adriana Ferreira in this Guardian report.

    The following reading list from Verso suggests books to help us understand the multifaceted histories of uprising in Central and South America, as well as the anti-world cup protests.

    Barbaric Sport: A Global Plague

    by Marc Perelman


    What does hosting the World Cup really mean for Brazil? Marc Perelman explores this, and more, in Barbaric Sport.

    Boycott Football and Fifa - read his piece on the world cup here.

    Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of A New Architecture
    by Justin McGuirk


    Justin McGuirk travels across Latin America in search of the activist architects, maverick politicians and alternative communities already answering these questions. From Brazil to Venezuela, and from Mexico to Argentina, McGuirk discovers the people and ideas shaping the way cities are evolving. 

    'We want FIFA standard schools and hospitals' - what the World Cup means for Rio: read an extract from Radical Cities here.

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Other books by Paul Mason