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Springtime: The New Student Rebellions

First-hand accounts of the momentous student movement that shook the world
The autumn and winter of 2010 saw an unprecedented wave of student protests across the UK, in response to the coalition government’s savage cuts in state funding for higher education, cuts which formed the basis for an ideological attack on the nature of education itself. Involving universities and schools, occupations, sit-ins and demonstrations, these protests spread with remarkable speed. Rather than a series of isolated incidents, they formed part of a growing movement that spans much of the Western world and is now spreading into North Africa. Ever since the Wall Street crash of 2008 there has been increasing social and political turbulence in the heartlands of capital.

From the US to Europe, students have been in the vanguard of protest against their governments’ harsh austerity measures. Tracing these worldwide protests, this new book explores how the protests spread and how they were organized, through the unprecedented use of social networking media such as Facebook and Twitter. It looks, too, at events on the ground, the demonstrations, and the police tactics: kettling, cavalry charges and violent assault.

From Athens to Rome, San Francisco to London and, most recently, Tunis, this new book looks at how the new student protests developed into a strong and challenging movement that demands another way to run the world. Consisting largely of the voices that participated in the struggle, Springtime will become an essential point of reference as the uprising continues.

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  • McJihad: Empire and Islam between The US and Saudi Arabia

    It has become popular today to say that we live in an era of what Benjamin Barber has labelled "Jihad vs. McWorld." The globalising powers of capitalism ("McWorld") are confronted with or resisted by the forces that Barber labels "Jihad" — the variety of tribal particularisms and "narrowly conceived faiths" opposed to the homogenising force of capital. Even those with a critical view of the growth of American empire and the expansion of what is erroneously termed the global market usually subscribe to this interpretation. In fact it is the critics who often argue that we need a better understanding of these local forms of resistance against the "universal" force of the market.

    The terms of this debate are quite misleading. We live in an age, to adapt Barber’s nomenclature, of "McJihad." It is an age in which the mechanisms of what we call capitalism appear to operate, in certain critical instances, only by adopting the social force and moral authority of conservative Islamic movements. It may be true that we need a better understanding of the local forces that oppose the globalisation of capital; but, more than this, we need a better understanding of the so-called global forces of capital.

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  • Five Book Plan: History of US Political Organizing

    For May Day, we present our latest Five Book Plan: L.A. Kauffman, author of Direct Actionselects five essential histories of political organizing in the United States.


    Black Panther women, West Oakland, 1970.

    Jo Ann Gibson Robinson (ed. David J. Garrow), The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It: The Memoir of Jo Ann Gibson Robinson (University of Texas Press, 1987)

    Many people know that Rosa Parks was a trained and seasoned political activist before the famous day when she decided to stay in her bus seat. But few are aware of the large, well-organized network of black women in Montgomery that transformed her arrest into a historic campaign of mass noncompliance. This engaging memoir by Jo Ann Gibson Robinson, a key initiator of the Montgomery bus boycott, reveals the behind-the-scenes work of local organizers who had long been waiting and planning for the right opportunity to challenge racial segregation in their city when Parks was arrested. In an era when movements rely heavily on the internet to mobilize participation, there's much to learn from the extraordinary tale of how black women in Montgomery sprang into action the moment Parks was arrested, secretly distributing more than 50,000 leaflets throughout their community in fewer than 24 hours, and thus launching the boycott without tipping off the city's white leadership.

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  • Time on the Clock of The World: Amin Husain on How We Handle Trump

    Susie Day's interview with organizer and artist Amin Husain was first published in Monthly Review online



    Rounding up immigrants, pissing on transgender bathroom rights, barring press from press briefings… The only good thing Donald Trump has done is to galvanize millions of people into political outrage. For months now we've gone to dozens of marches and rallies. Of course, this isn't enough, but what more to do?

    Then I happened on a Facebook post by Amin Husain:"I wish I could share what's wrong and what's missing in how we're handling the Trump era without many of my dear friends thinking that I am just being a downer on the 'resistance.'" I had to hear more.

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