Simon Critchley asks "What is Normal?"
In Adbusters December "Big Ideas of 2012" issue Simon Critchley, author of Infinitely Demanding and the forthcoming Faith of the Faithless, teases out the demands called forth by the masses who participated in the Arab Spring. Namely: no to empty variations of Western liberal democracy and yes to the sovereignty of the people
The various movements in North Africa and the Middle East...aim at one thing: autonomy. They demand collective ownership of the places where one lives, works, thinks and plays. Let's be clear: it is not just democracy that is being demanded all across the Arab world; it is socialism. And the tactics that have been developed to bring it about are anarchist.
Nearly a year after Mohamed Bouazizi's self-imolation in Tunisia, the indignados' encampments in public squares across Spain, the flowering of the Occupy movement and infinite other autonomous manifestations, we see that people across the globe are standing up and fighting back against marginalization, alienation and the dictatorship of capital. While none of us know what's next, Critchley asserts, surely it is a future much different than the reality—some might say nightmare—in which we are now living
...we are entering into a period of increasingly massive social dislocations and disorder which harbors within it countless risks, dialectical inversions, defeats, dangers, false dawns and fake defeats. But...we are all coming to the powerful and simple realization that human beings acting peacefully together in concert can do anything–and nothing can stop them.
Something is happening. Something is shifting in the relations between politics and power. We don't know where it will lead, but the four-decade ideological consensus that has simply allowed the creation of grotesque inequality has broken down, and anything and everything is suddenly possible.
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Simon Critchley's The Faith of the Faithless: Experiments in Political Theology will be published by Verso in February 2012.