Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Egyptian Revolution

I have been watching recent events in Egypt avidly from afar this weekend for both their tragic death toll and their incredibly exciting potential to end the autocratic regime of Hosni Mubarak. The fall of the Egyptian dictator would no doubt resonate widely within the Arab world and beyond.  Indeed, it’s interesting to note that the Chinese regime has blocked all references to Egypt on Twitter.

This attempt to cut off the revolutionary rumblings that social media such as Twitter and Facebook can transmit clearly reflects the importance of these new forms of mass communication.

For a variety of different perspectives on this topic, it’s worth looking back at the Social Text dossier on social media and the Iranian uprising in 2009.  You can find it here.

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Filed under democracy

Lost generations

An article in today’s New York Times offers a powerful and unsettling comment on the video I made several weeks ago in Italy.

The article describes a demographic time bomb in southern Europe, where young people are locked out of the labor market by older generations and victimized by laws intended to increase the flexibility of employment.  Highly educated young people in countries such as Italy, Spain, Greece, and Portugal must live with their parents well into middle age since they seldom succeed in finding well paying jobs.  In many cases, they simply leave their countries, just as the young Italians in the video I shot discuss doing. For obvious reasons, these young people are also not having children, meaning that there are no future generations to support the generous welfare state that their elders are benefiting from.

Interestingly, the article noted that, in this context, protests against austerity measures imposed on the universities are intimately linked to much broader frustrations over the failure of society to create a viable future for these lost generations.

It seems that wherever one looks there are more and more of what Zygmunt Bauman calls “surplus people.”  The problems described in the article are much worse throughout the global South.


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Filed under class war, education