MARK KOSMAN reviews Paul Mason’s Why It’s Kicking off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions
Some people may dismiss Paul Mason as just another journalist, especially since he advocated more effective policing to contain the ‘Black Bloc’ after the 26 March TUC demo. Yet, this is no reason not to read Why It’s Kicking off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions.
Simply by bringing together insightful reports from the uprisings of 2010/11 – in Egypt, Greece, Israel, Spain, the UK and the US – Mason helps the reader get an overview of the present state of global class struggle. But, more than this, he puts these struggles in a historical and theoretical context and so provokes more interesting questions than any other recent book.
Mason’s main historical analogy is to compare the uprisings of 2011 with the waves of unrest in Europe in 1848 and in the period before the First World War. He argues that the radical intelligentsia, the newly unionised workers and the slum dwellers of the 19th century can be compared to the ‘graduates without a future’, the shrunken trade unions and the precarious workers of today. He also claims that the globalisation of the world economy, the revolutions in communications technology and the striving for individual freedom at the start of the 20th century can be compared to similar tendencies at the start of the 21st century.