Did the recent global youth-let uprisings succeed?

Although recent Insurgencies didn’t develop a systematic plan of action, they challenge our “cognitive maps,” our learned helplessness, and are “passageways between worlds” in an interface between social networks and the streets, explained Benjamin Arditi, a professor in Mexico.[1] The uprisings reveal the Emperor isn’t wearing clothes. Examples of this approach are slogans like, “Sorry for the inconvenience, but we are changing the world,” and statements of identity like “We are the 99%.” Arditi quotes David Graeber’s comment about Occupy Wall Street that, “direct action is simply the defiant insistence as if acting as if one is already free.” Although they can’t provide a blueprint of a future order, they make an impact even if they don’t last because they challenge the existing order and change the discussion: “All insurgencies are episodic.” Uprisings like Egypt’s Tahrir Square inspired other protesters around the planet. The Arab Spring developed a new post-Islamist and post-ideological struggle with techniques such as protest art and social media used by others. Syrians used flash mobs to gather for ten minutes and then leave before security forces, learned from previous struggles. The Spanish indignados slogan “They don’t represent us” echoed the Argentina cry in 2001 “All of them must go,” referring to politicians. Arditi concluded, “So even in failure, if we measure failure by the absence of a plan for a future society, insurgencies will have had a measure of success.”

[1] Benjamin Arditi, “Insurgencies Don’t Have a Plan,” JOMEC, 2012.



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