Call it the year of dreaming dangerously: 2011 caught the world off guard with a series of shattering events. While protesters in New York, Cairo, London, and Athens took to the streets in pursuit of emancipation, obscure destructive fantasies inspired the world’s racist populists in places as far apart as Hungary and Arizona, achieving a horrific consummation in the actions of mass murderer Anders Breivik.
The subterranean work of dissatisfaction continues. Rage is building, and a new wave of revolts and disturbances will follow. Why? Because the events of 2011 augur a new political reality. These are limited, distorted—sometimes even perverted—fragments of a utopian future lying dormant in the present.
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If 2011 saw a monumental change in the governments of the Middle East, 2012 has demonstrated that revolution takes some time, that conflict is sustained and that some of the same challenges are not consigned to history.
Protests continue in Egypt’s capital Cairo, as over one hundred thousand demonstrators have recently taken to the streets and gathered once again in Tahrir Square in opposition to dictatorial decrees by President Mohammed Morsi. With only one hundred days in power, Morsi’s fledgling tenure as president has resulted in examples of sweeping authority, transferring all executive and legislative powers from the military council to his offices.
Such actions are reminiscent of the power exercised by former President Hosni Mubarak. The on-going distrust of Morsi’s presidency returns the chant of the 2011 revolution: "The people want to bring down the regime".
These are Verso’s key titles on the challenges facing Egypt and the Middle East, where uprising continues from the hopefulness of the Arab Spring to the challenges ahead.
Steven Connor, in the Times Literary Supplement, sums up the major importance of Slavoj Žižek's ''everlasting gobstopper of a book" Less Than Nothing. In a single paragraph, Connor explains Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit as the 'engorgement' of Spirit through the dialectical movement of history (spirit meets its negative antagonist in the form of matter or the material world and responds by both preserving and overcoming both thesis and antithesis through the process of sublation), the principle of the postmodernist reaction to it (denouncing the Hegelian dialectic as one of several totalising conceptions of the world that it rejects) and finally Žižek's critical thrust that manages to:
both discredit postmodernist arguments in their dependence on a dishing of Hegel, and to endorse the objections to totality that are key to those postmodernist arguments.