The ancient discussion about the purposes of wealth and the conflict between oligarchy – rule of the rich – and democracy – the rule of the demos/the people comes to the fore once again with the Occupy protests.
The occupy movement has achieved an incredible and much-needed shake-up of a long-standing political stasis in the US and elsewhere, but it is crucial now to highlight the connection between failed foreign policy, bloated military spending and illegal wars, and the economic crisis at home.
While banks and European leaders negotiate the next public bail out of private greed, and the financial speculation that caused the crisis continues unheeded, Europeans have shown that like many people around the world, from Tahrir to Syntagma Square and Wall Street, they are not going to take more neoliberal austerity lying down. The question already being asked by many observers is - where to now for the popular demonstrations?
The philosophy and experience of radical movements in the 1960s and 70s are in several ways complementary to the ideas of the direct action movements of today. Hilary Wainwright examines the possibility of forging a new kind of political economy by learning from the best of both of them.
Walden Bello shares some reflections on the meaning of Seattle for change in knowledge systems, discusses how despite the deep crisis of neoliberalism, finance capital has managed to retain tremendous power, and appeals for a new comprehensive vision of the desirable society.