social revolts

What lessons can we draw from the social movements of 2011?

We’re publishing here the first presentation to the ICC Day of Discussion held in London on 23 June. Its focus is the significance and lessons of the social revolts of 2011. The other two presentations – on the origins of Islam and on art in ascendant and decadent capitalism – can be found on our website, and we will also publish write-ups of the discussions and if possible an audio version of the day’s debates.

The Indignados in Spain, Greece and Israel

In the editorial of International Review n° 146 we gave an account of the struggles that had developed in Spain. Since then, the contagion of its example has spread to Greece and Israel. In this article, we want to draw the lessons of these movements and look at what perspectives they hold faced with the bankruptcy of capitalism and the ferocious attacks against the proletariat and the vast majority of the world population.

Protests continue despite war tensions

In the article on the ‘social justice’ movement in Israel we published on 7 August, we wrote that “numerous demonstrators have expressed their frustration with the way the incessant refrain of ‘security’ and of the ‘threat of terrorism’ is used to make people put up with growing economic and social misery. Some have openly warned of the danger that the government could provoke military clashes or even a new war to restore ‘national unity’ and split the protest movement”. These fears proved to be well-grounded.

Israel protests: "Mubarak, Assad, Netanyahu!"

In Israel, over the last three weeks, hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets to protest against the dizzying cost of living, the growing impossibility for the average person to afford accommodation, the dismantling of welfare services. The demonstrators are calling for “social justice”, but many are also talking about “revolution”. They make no secret of the fact that they have been inspired by the wave of revolts in the Arab world, now spread to Spain and Greece.

Brixton, Zurich, Amsterdam, Berlin: The spectre of social revolt

Thirty years ago this summer over 40 British towns and cities were hit by a wave of social revolts as young people –often black but also white, mainly working class – fought back against police racism and repression. In Toxteth, Liverpool, police deployed CS gas for the first time in mainland Britain after almost losing control of the city. The following article, first published in WR 38 in May 1981, analyses the international significance of these events as a response by young people.

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