Monday, June 24, 2013

'48, '68, and ... '13?

Brazil is a BRIC, has the World Cup and Olympics on the way ... Turkey is young and vibrant ... so why the rush to the barricades?

Unlike 1848 and 1968, I don't see all that many red flags about ... which is good - I actually like the cosmopolitan, Westernesque, anti-Islamist, and liberty minded of what is going on it Turkey. Still not sure the angle on Brazil - but with a reformed Marxist at the head of the government, people protesting there is music to my ears there too.

While I still watch and process - Christopher Dickey at TheDailyBeast has an interesting thought bit to ponder;
... the fizz in Brazil and Turkey has yet to go flat, and the excitement and turmoil may well continue to spread across the globe.

What are the “root causes” of all this ferment? Is it the depredations of unfettered capitalism that makes people the servants of the market rather than the other way around? Is it a human lust for freedom? Is it Twitter? Or, at the end of the day, are all politics local, even revolutionary politics? In fact the answer could be yes to each of those questions, but even all those factors combined won’t necessarily lead to full-blown revolutions.

If you try to impose a left-right analysis, moreover, you’ll wind up with your head spinning. Left-wingers often identify with beleaguered workers and old socialist or even communist revolutionary movements, but a lot of the effervescence today is on the right and far right.

The Tea Party in the United States still operates within the system, but its base is full of fizz and is a political force. The Occupy movement on the left looks anemic by comparison. The huge protests in France over the last few months were largely the work of Catholic organizers and a loose constellation of conservative forces opposed to gay marriage, gay adoption—and just about anything else proposed by the current Socialist government in Paris. The most intense revolutionary rhetoric across Europe right now is on the far, far right, with the rise of a crypto-fascist party in Greece the most conspicuous example.

The protesters and rioters in Brazil may be from the classes for whom a ten-cent rise in the bus fare is suddenly unbearable, but they are lashing out at a government that grew from working-class roots. In Turkey, the massive outpouring of emotion on the streets comes from minorities, as the embattled and defiant Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan insists. But that’s just the point. They feel their country—and especially their cosmopolitan metropolis of Istanbul—slipping under the tyranny of a majority that will squeeze them out of a future.

Revolutions do not start simply because people are fed up with the status quo, in fact. Societies are not static. The uprisings begin when people feel cheated by change. And that can happen across the ideological spectrum. It can feed the fury of black bloc anarchists and the rage of neo-Nazi gangs. It can bring mothers with their babies in strollers out onto the streets, and send marchers protected only with handkerchiefs into the clouds of teargas and the torrents of water cannons.
Often, revolutions only see inevitable in hindsight with few actually seeing what was happening in real time. This too may soon pass as nothing but a passing whiff of gas in the air ... but I'm going to watch closer. Much closer.

History likes to sneak up and go "Boo!" now and then. Unrest in nations such as Turkey and Brazil? That has much larger implications than many may think. 

No comments: