From the Haitian revolution to the spectre of Tahrir: is a global revolution possible?

In this revolutionary process, “the streets are the classroom”. There gets decided who may speak and what new truth is produced, while traditional centres of power and knowledge production are being defied and/or removed. Old truths of sectarian divide are being contested and challenged by new ones of (inter)national unity and solidarity in countries like Lebanon and Iraq. Iranian protesters are emboldened by the popular protests of the Lebanese and the Iraqis who were in their turn encouraged by the examples of the Algerians and the Sudanese. Protesters rising up in Bogota, capital of Columbia, are waving Chilean and Ecuadorian flags. In the wake of the Chilean uprising, a protest song denouncing rape culture and sexual violence went viral and became an international feminist phenomenon. The spectre of Tahrir moved from Cairo to Tahrir Square in Baghdad where protesters display an exceptional level of solidarity, unity and self-organization in very difficult and violent circumstances. After years of pessimism, talks about Arab winters and counter-revolutionary violence, Tahrir once again forms a centre stage. Also in the so-called established liberal democracies, the spectre of Tahrir set in motion a radical process redefining the very meaning of politics – and by no means do I want to suggest that this would be the first time in history. A new meaning that, as it were, freed democracy from its representative and parliamentary straitjacket (again). Despite their substantial differences in tactics, modes of expression and demands, movements such as the Gilets Jaunes, Extinction Rebellion and before them the indignados literally moved politics back where it belongs: on the streets, in the square, in public space.

Koenraad Bogaert in From the Haitian revolution to the spectre of Tahrir: is a global revolution possible? (