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Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri: "Arabs are democracy's new pioneers"

Sarah Shin25 February 2011

Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri write in the Guardian about the Arab uprisings and their hope "that through this cycle of struggles the Arab world becomes for the next decade what Latin America was for the last - that is, a laboratory of political experimentation between powerful social movements and progressive governments."

Hardt and Negri identify the masses of frustrated, young and educated people as being the key players: "a population that has much in common with protesting students in London and Rome." They also comment on the wider significance of the insurrections for global capitalism:

Although these organised network movements refuse central leadership, they must nonetheless consolidate their demands in a new constituent process that links the most active segments of the rebellion to the needs of the population at large. The insurrections of Arab youth are certainly not aimed at a traditional liberal constitution that merely guarantees the division of powers and a regular electoral dynamic, but rather at a form of democracy adequate to the new forms of expression and needs of the multitude. This must include, firstly, constitutional recognition of the freedom of expression - not in the form typical of the dominant media, which is constantly subject to the corruption of governments and economic elites, but one that is represented by the common experiences of network relations.

And given that these uprisings were sparked by not only widespread unemployment and poverty but also a generalised sense of by frustrated productive and expressive capacities, especially among young people, a radical constitutional response must invent a common plan to manage natural resources and social production. This is a threshold through which neoliberalism cannot pass and capitalism is put to question. And Islamic rule is completely inadequate to meet these needs. Here insurrection touches on not only the equilibriums of north Africa and the Middle East but also the global system of economic governance.

Visit the Guardian to read the article in full.

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