I want to begin, not with a curse, but with a very beautiful convergence—one widely held to be real, but shrouded in mystery for millions of people. I am talking about the “movement of the squares” unfolding on both sides of the North/South divide. What is the hidden link be – tween the middle-class and precarious movements against the dictates of finance capital—Occupy Wall Street and the European Indignados— and the far more perilous struggles to end dictatorships in North Africa and the Middle East? What relationship could possibly be sustained be – tween the regions that concentrate global wealth and those from which labor, resources, and interest payments are relentlessly extracted?
Immanuel Wallerstein claims that the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa pit two historical groups against each other. One he calls the “1968 current,” which consists of nonviolent, directly demo – cratic grassroots movements that challenge all forms of exclusion and abuses of power, in the name of an equality that includes respect for fundamental differences. The other group consists of people who op – pose such movements and seek in whatever way to capture, contain, and neutralize them—and in North Africa and the Middle East, that chiefly means holders of oil wealth and U.S.-backed dictators. For Wallerstein, today’s uprisings are a continuation, after decades of latency, of “the world-revolution of 1968,” which extended by his account from 1966 to 1970…
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