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Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions [Paperback]

Paul Mason
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Book Description

16 Jan 2012
Our world is changing dramatically. The global economic crisis has given way to social crisis: corrupt and dictatorial politics enmeshed with a global financial elite - and an ever-widening gulf between the haves and have-nots. In 2011 this profound disconnect found expression in events that we were told had been consigned to history: revolt and revolution. In this compelling new book, Paul Mason sets out to explore the causes and consequences of this new wave of struggle. From London to Cairo, Wisconsin to Tehran, he charts the new forms of collective action: fluid networks of agile, Twitter- and Facebook-savvy networks of youthful protesters who understand how power works. The events, says Mason, reflect the expanding power of the individual and call for new ways of thinking about political alternatives, elite rule and global poverty.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books; First Edition edition (16 Jan 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781844678518
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844678518
  • ASIN: 1844678512
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 15.4 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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The writing style of this reportage is compact, urgent, present-tense, declarative, and addictive. - Andy Beckett, Guardian

He s lively, funny and engaging, trading in the energy derived from the thrill and significance of what he s witnessing. -Phil Harrison, Time Out

Superb overview of the global protest movements of 2011. - New Internationalist

This book not only reads as an in-depth consideration of global politics today, but offers a personal memoir from a man who has had a ringside seat. We are blessed that the BBC, for all the criticisms, still employs journalists whose logic and unfailing inquisitiveness brings us such analysis. --Dan Carrier, Camden New Journal

You will learn something new and challenging on every page of this book.- Kenny Farquharson, Scotland on Sunday

The mix of wide-ranging reportage and historical analysis is lively and insightful. --Claire Allfree, Metro

Praise for Meltdown: A page-turning account - Mason is refreshingly clear-eyed - and angry. --Will Hutton, Guardian

Praise for Meltdown: What people need is a reliable guide to the financial crisis - Meltdown is the book they are looking for. --John Gray, New Statesman

Praise for Meltdown: A lucid and sharply polemical account of the crisis. --Oliver Kamm, The Times

Praise for Meltdown: A lucid and sharply polemical account of the crisis. --Oliver Kamm, The Times

About the Author

PAUL MASON is the economics editor of the BBC's flagship current affairs program Newsnight. He has covered globalization and social justice stories from locations around the world, including Latin America, Africa and China, has been nominated for an Emmy for his work with BBC World News America, and has twice been nominated for the Orwell Prize for his blog Idle Scrawl. He is the author of Meltdown and Live Working or Die Fighting.

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Customer Reviews

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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book. 8 Mar 2012
I only know Mason's work since he became BBC Newsnight's Economics Editor but this book is an excellent addition to his broadcast work. Mason has an ability not only to penetrate and analyse the economic issues that stirred up the recent revolutions, but he has an understanding of politics, sociology and technology. In this relatively short and accessible book, he is able to compare revolutions in previous decades and centuries and highlight the similarities with the Arab Spring and Occupy movements in the West.

Other people have gone into more detail, but I would just add that if you want a good understanding of why it happened, then buy this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cracking and informative read 5 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A great read and Paul Mason correctly classifies this as journalism, but it is reporting from the front line of major changes occurring across the world. Most interesting in so many ways, I took 2 pages of notes of things to follow up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a great way in to the Arabian spring and the riots that was caused by it, told from a ground- level perspective. Most recommended
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Paul Mason has become well known as the economics editor of Newsnight. In this book he explores the causes and consequences of the great unrest, around the world; from Cairo to Athens, Wall Street and Westminster to Manila. It is a ranging, lively reportage and insightful analysis on economics, history, techology and philosophy. Highly recommended.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The end of Globalisation? 15 Jan 2012
Paul Mason's "Why It's All Kicking Off Everywhere" is an equally ambitious attempt to provide a journalistic account of the underpinnings behind the revolutions and protest movements of the past few years. The book is an extended edition of a blog post that went viral and Mason is positive about the role of technology, what he defines as his `technological-determinist approach', particularly `social media's power to present unmediated reality'. Indeed his main argument is that modern technology has allowed `networked individuals' to overcome collective institutions which are unfit for purpose, in essence that `a network can usually defeat a hierarchy'. These networks of organisation led to security services in Tunisia and Egypt being bypassed by protestors.

Mason argues that `we are in the middle of a revolution: something wider than a pure political overthrow and narrower than the classic social revolutions of the twentieth century'. He sees the ingredients for this revolution as a combination of the `radicalized, secular-leaning youth; a repressed workers' movement with considerable social power; uncontrollable social media and the restive urban poor'. Although global in nature there are significant differences in its success, in UK for example there has been a `crisis' of protestors as `students got wrapped up in exams; the trade unions began negotiations over pensions; the small group of activists behind UK Uncut went into a defensive huddle; and the anarchists engaged in mutual recrimination'.

However the book poses more questions than it does answers and can be guilty of trying a bit too hard to be in touch with 21st century living in Mason's half-baked attempt to accredit Twitter users and constant reference to iPods and Lady Gaga.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This is an out-standing book, building on a good blog (which impressed me at the time) and one I have recommended to a lot of people since.

It is perhaps most thought-provoking thing I've read in a while

Linking the events of 2008 financial crash, Tahir Square, Los Indignados, London Riots and with well-informed references to 1848, 1789 French Revolution and the pre-war 1900-1913 periods this has historic depth, economic understanding and is astonishingly thought-provoking.

I had wondered why economic crises wasn't leading to a political change, and this addressees that.

It also ties in the role of technology (Twitter has an impact analagous to railways in 1848 revolutions)

Highly recommended
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The People's nets to pull down the Hierarchy? 9 Feb 2012
By Feyd
Its hard to imagine a short book doing a better job capturing the essence of the global post-crises protest movement. Mason is so sympathetic he seems to have created a new hybrid form - about 5% tweats and 95% traditional book, with frequent use of precis and change of focus. This keeps the writing fast paced and allows coverage of a topic that is vast in scope. There are vivid sketches of what life is like for the poorest 20% in Egypt, the Philippines, the US, here in London and elsewhere. Mason discusses the various networks folk use to organise their protests and to build multiple and often transient webs of relationships. He describes the characteristics of the different sort of protestors, broadly divided into students, workers and urban poor, stressing how many of the youths are very similar in manner and dress whether they're from Europe, the Middle East or the States. There are often little tweat size quotes to keep it real and let them speak with their own voice. While always sympathetic, Mason dosent seem to glamorise or distort, he trys to relay the reality of whats happening as faithfully as he can. As a (very) part time member of Occupy I can confirm Masons authenticity, several of informal leaders mention being in touch with him and he's always spoke of highly - his name seems to come up more than all other journalists combined.

This isnt just a book of street journalism - Mason makes illuminating comparisons with historical eruptions of global protest like 1848 , the waxing of anarchy in the early 20th century (mostly ended by WWI) and 1968.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Every body should read this
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