2011 has probably been the most dynamic year since I was born (1968), maybe with the partial exception of the 1989-91 period. While we have seen some changes for good, much has been for the worse... much worse.
Fukushima, what can be worse?
|Fukushima I after the accidents|
The earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophe that began in March 11 are some of the worst that has happened this year. And the worst is not that a nuclear power plant has gone bersek, that is already a huge problem in itself, but that the nuclear and civilian authorities are essentially ignoring the problem.
When, in 1986, Chernobyl went awry, and after a few days of secrecy and uncertainty, the problem was addressed with all the seriousness it deserved and, if not solved (radiation is forever), at least reasonably patched. But in Japan we are seeing the ugliest reality of Capitalism: people are left to die and lied about what's going on, only because the nuclear lobby wants (there are both economic and military interests in that overtly dirty business).
We already saw something very similar in 2010 in the USA with the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. But while the oil disaster is one of widespread poisoning and ecological destruction, which may be more or less corrected in the long run, the nuclear one has no possible correction and can only get worse as time passes (at the very best it will not improve in any humanly applicable time frame).
We are effectively destroying Earth forever with nuclear energy and Fukushima catastrophe is a major and extremely sad milestone in this road to self-destruction. However our institutions only look elsewhere: the power derived from the yellow cake is too big for the oligarchic elites to abandon. At any cost and certainly at the cost of your life, which does not matter to them at all.
|Huge Tokyo anti-nuclear demo on Sep 19|
While the usual propaganda media are mostly oblivious to this reality, as they only copy-paste, almost to the letter, what high officials say (so good for the notion of "free media"), the destruction keeps extending and any neutral dispassionate analysis would declare much of North Honsu inhabitable and consider serious radiation containment measures for the rest of the World, notably West Japan, NE Asia, Hawaii and NW America.
But common sense has been banished from the decision making process (partial exceptions are Germany and Italy, which decided to eradicate nuclear power as soon as possible), so it is very possible that Humankind is doomed. Certainly it is much worse today than a year ago, thanks to the Nuclear Party.
A year of revolutions
|We learned that Arabs are not just passive subjects|
It began in 2010 with the French general strike, which threatened to become indefinite and to cut oil supplies, showing the power of the Working Class, when organized and ready to fight, remains as strong as ever.
Then, still in 2010, some nobody from the South, Mohamed Bouazizi, was abused just a bit more than he could bear: his fruit stand was expropriated by a policewoman who wanted a greater bribe... and he set up himself in fire. And with him all Tunisia and then North Africa and then all the "Arab World" and beyond were also set on fire.
It was obvious long before than Arabs were extremely tired of suffering abusive dictatorships. They still are. Many tyrannies remain to be shattered to pieces, beginning with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain - but these swim on petrodollars and have managed to stay afloat by the moment, not without resorting to massive repression, notably in Bahrain.
|We learned that Tahrir means Freedom|
We could also witness (or take part in some cases at least) in how real revolutionary processes do happen. It is not so easy to change a regime, much less from head to toe as they surely deserve: even the bravest and most sustained popular action, such as we have witnessed in Egypt, Yemen or Syria, appears to have its limitations in the scope of what they can achieve in the short run. That is because the elites and their mercenaries are well armed and organized, including religious and also secular propaganda, while the people is not.
It was however when the class organizations, the unions, threatened with massive strikes that Mubarak was forced to pull out. So again we must not ignore the power of Class organization and the power of the general strike: because ultimately they need us, they need our work and we can totally disrupt the economy...
Or why not? Take over it and redirect it to other uses: expropriation is one step beyond strike and it'd be revolutionary at its best.
But let's focus on what has actually happened: after the Arab World, we saw Spaniards flooding out to the streets in Spring. That was totally unexpected because even if some of the socio-economic factors are comparable between North Africa and Spain (>40% youth unemployment notably) the purchasing level is without doubt much better this side of the Mediterranean.
|We learned that the revolution has no borders|
But there they were by the tens of thousands, taking over the plazas of all the state. And they were into that for months until the Christian-Fascist counter-demonstrations organized by Ratzinger the Horrible displaced them from one of their main strongholds: the Puerta del Sol of Madrid.
But the torch of revolution had not been turned off at all. What we saw then and next was most interesting: not just the Greek People, who have been bravely fighting nearly impossible battles against the abuse imposed by the Capitalist International, not just the Chilean students who have been burning the streets of Santiago all the year round in pursuit of free quality education for all, but we were able to witness, we are still able to witness today, even in the midst of Winter, the people of the largest global power: the United States of America, going out to the streets in large numbers and with even larger legitimacy.
That was almost unthinkable a year ago.
|We learned that we have the power|
They even managed to organize some semblance of general strike and stop harbors and such.
Not just that, as I said, protests have continued for months in spite of widespread repression and lack of any specific agenda.
This last is indeed a problem and a sign that the revolutionary movement is clearly immature. Some would say no, that no specific agenda can be imposed to such a wide movement. Well, I do not mean to "impose" anything but if something I know about human organization and struggles is that spontaneous-ism is not the way: it does not work but for very short periods.
Instead neighborhood assemblies and more political kind of organizations must be set up at some point. Not just that: they must become part of the daily reality.
I think that some of that will almost unavoidably follow in any case but of course nothing human happens "alone": it needs of conscious action.
|We learned that there are still classes|
Whatever the case, what the peoples of the World have achieved this year, out of just rage and good will almost alone, cannot be dismissed: tyrannical regimes have been shattered to the foundations, peoples who had almost lost all notion of being able to carry out huge and influential protests have got themselves to do them actively... some sort of very basic class consciousness has been achieved (the 99% vs the 1% is a very good conceptual approach).
Just that, of course, it is not enough: while the Emperor's ugly and violent nakedness is every day more obvious, his head is still on his shoulders and he even grows more arrogant and more violent at times. Eventually we will realize that more than just chants and camps are needed: that we do need of Mme. Guillotine and to impose the class-less order to the 1% with violence if need be.
Not yet maybe but at some point some heads will have to roll (literally or not, that's arguable or rather will be determined by the events themselves) if we truly want to make a change. Most critically the very concept of property has too be revised if we want to equalize society (and believe me: you and I want that very badly). By the moment the targets have been some of the most abusive forms of property like banks and corporations but the analysis and review has to be extended to even money itself (in the end just coupons issued by the state and distributed most unfairly).
But all this is left for the year and years to come. By the moment in 2011, huge steps have been made and that should not be ignored nor dismissed as unimportant: things won't be the same after this year... and in this case for good.
Closer home: ETA abandons armed struggle, the state ignores them
Nuff said really: to the unprecedented and extremely radical change of direction by Basque armed organization ETA, the Spanish state has been mostly ignoring them and asking for the impossible.
I have witnessed many unfinished peace processes in the past and never ever seen one when so few concessions were made by a state that almost seem to be begging ETA, with their acts and inaction, to retake armed struggle.
Other hotspots of the year were the Neonazi-Zionist-Crusader massacre of Norway, the persistent state terrorism in Honduras, the continuity of Apartheid and genocide in Palestine under the name of Israel, the class conflict in South Asia under the banner of Maoism, the NATO intervention in Libya, the return to fascism in Ukraine, the London Riots, etc.
|Palestinians demand UN protection from Zionist terror|
Best wishes for the new year.
Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy doing it.