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Signs of Hope – A continuing series November 22, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Gewerkschaftler suggested this recently:

I suggest this blog should have a regular (weekly) slot where people can post happenings at the personal or political level that gives them hope that we’re perhaps not going to hell in a handbasket as quickly as we thought. Or as the phlegmatic Germans put it “hope dies last”.

Any contributions this week?

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1. Joe - November 22, 2019

Hope? I don’t know.

But as good a place as any to talk about all these riots.
Colombia, Bolivia, Chile, Venezuela. Iraq, Lebanon. Hong Kong.
I’m sure there’s more. What to make of them? Probably every situation is different.
So riots in Chile against the right-wing government, good. Riots in Venezuela against the left-wing government, bad? Riots in Bolivia against the left-wing government bad, riots in Bolivia against the post-coup right-wing government, good?
Riots in Iraq, definitely good.
And so on.

But going deeper, what’s the politics behind the riots? You know, sort of, where are the bolsheviks when we need them? To build on the riots and provide revolutionary, proletarian, vanguard leadership.
Ok, that’s fierce simplistic and probably quite iffy but riots are all well and good but the rioters need a programme – overthrow the regime, fine, but exactly what will we replace it with?

How often do riots end with regime change? Off the top of my head, in the last while, Ukraine, Egypt, Tunisia…
How come sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t?

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CL - November 22, 2019

In some cases its more a sign of desperation than of hope.

What so they have in common? Lack of leaders, and use of social media.

“Is the lack of centralized leadership a source of weakness—or strength?”
Social media allows decentralized communication and organization.
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/11/leaderless-protests-around-world/602194/

Protests are unsustainable in the long-run. The one in Hong Kong seems to be running out of steam. There are elections at the weekend.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/22/hong-kong-university-siege-continues-as-city-prepares-for-election

“If it weren’t for me, Hong Kong would’ve been obliterated in 14 minutes,” Trump said in a wide-ranging interview with “Fox & Friends” on Friday morning.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/president-trump-claims-he-is-preventing-hong-kong-from-being-obliterated-by-china-today-2019-11-22/

Worldwide protests against the status quo, but difficult to predict outcomes.
In 1969 no one predicted that the civil rights protests would be followed by the long war.

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CL - November 22, 2019

“We may be in the midst of the largest wave of nonviolent mass movements in world history…
Social media networks do often get people involved in protests quickly….
But social media can also hamper longer-term movements for change. That’s because it can gather people quickly — but without the foundation for sustained engagement, which requires opportunities to plan, train, organize, prepare and hammer out strategy….
Organized movements are better able to withstand government overreactions. Leaderless movements appear to be less effective at maneuvering around government repression, maintaining nonviolent discipline, and negotiating or bargaining with the government”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/11/16/this-may-be-largest-wave-nonviolent-mass-movements-world-history-what-comes-next/

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2. Joe - November 22, 2019

Also, France.

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3. FergusD - November 23, 2019

Also, protesting against something only goes so far, what are you going to replace the current system with? If the protestors don’t know then after a while the rest of the population can get tired and frustrated and want a firm hand to sort things out – dangerous. Or some faux radical steps forward and it is the same old, same old.

Re: Joe, In my opinion a revolutionary Marxist organisation is exactly what is needed!

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tafkaGW - November 25, 2019

Many of these movements have immunised themselves against take-over and political direction by self-appointed Leninist vanguards. Which is in IMO a sign of progress and hope.

For the foreseeable a pluralist mix of movements and democratic eco-socialist parties will have to develop new methods of political coordination. There can be no replay of 1917.

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pettyburgess - November 25, 2019

I quite agree that there will be no repeat of 1917. I fear however that many advocates of “democratic eco-socialist parties” may be less aware of the need to avoid repeating social democracy’s century of betrayals however.

More broadly there is a problem for those of us on the left that neither the descendants of Lenin nor those of socialist reformism have much purchase on most of these movements, at least outside Latin America.

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tafkaGW - November 26, 2019

Fair point.

However some members of such eco-socialist parties are quite aware of the problem of repeating social democratic failure. The goal has to be the end of capitalism as a precondition for a sustainable society with genuine freedoms.

The alternative is capitalist breakdown into competing warlord states and sub-states – i.e. barbarism.

As for purchase on movements, my impression of the climate movement here in Germany is that it is either anti-capitalist or open to moving in that direction.

“System change not climate change!”

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