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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

  • Peter Mair on the death of parliamentary democracy

    Continuing our series of blogs on the UK General Election, today we bring you an extract from Peter Mair's Ruling the Void: The Hollowing of Western Democracy. Peter Mair was one of the leading political scientists of his generation before his death in 2011. Posthumously published, Ruling the Void offers Mair's chilling diagnosis of the EU and the slowly eroding mass democratic politics of Europe since the 1970s. Perfect reading before you cast your vote!



    The age of party democracy has passed. Although the parties themselves remain, they have become so disconnected from the wider society, and pursue a form of competition that is so lacking in meaning, that they no longer seem capable of sustaining democracy in its present form. Ruling the Void is about this problem. It deals with the problem of parties, of governments and of political representation in contemporary European democracy, and stems from a wider concern with the fracturing politics of popular democracy. It deals with how the changing character of political parties impacts upon their standing, legitimacy, and effectiveness, and thereby also on the standing, legitimacy and effectiveness of modern democracy. Although focused on Europe, and highlighting problems that are of particular relevance to Europe, the implications of the argument run much more widely.

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  • Tariq Ali on "the triumph of finance" and the politics of Thatcher and Blair

    Economically, the country is far from the visions of recovery and renewal promised by the Coalition and its media retinue. If anything, conditions are getting worse for the majority, while markets remain volatile. Underlying this trend is a continuing engrossment of wealth and privileges enjoyed by the rich. As pointed out by countless observers, while the earnings of the average employed person are either static or declining, the salaries and bonus options of the 1 per cent continue to rise. In this extract from The Extreme Centre, Tariq Ali critiques the politics of Thatcher and Blair.

    The origins of the new politics are firmly rooted in Thatcher’s response to Britain’s decline. Unemployment was ruthlessly held above three million for ten years, enabling the Conservatives to push though a programme of social re-engineering – deploying state resources to crush the unions and initiate the privatization of public utilities and housing, in hopes of creating a nation of ‘property-owners and shareholders’ – that transformed the country.1 The defence industry was ring-fenced while the rest of manufacturing was handed a collective death warrant. The defeat of the miners’ strike obliterated any possibility of resistance by the trade-union leaders and the rank and file. The triumph of finance capital was now complete. The decline of large parts of the country continued apace, and in turn, the country became increasingly restive.

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  • "Political leaders within the 1% promise to reduce inequality just before they gain power, but then increase it" - Danny Dorling

    Growing income and wealth inequality is recognised as the greatest social threat of our times. The top 1 per cent contribute to rising inequality, not just by taking more and more, but by suggesting that such greed is justifiable and using their enormous wealth to promote that concept. In this extract from Inequality and the 1%, Danny Dorling argues that there will always be a top 1 per cent, but there can be more or less inequality.


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Other books by Paul Mason