The world is in a prolonged period of global unrest. Since the financial crisis of 2008, every region of the planet has experienced levels of mass protest unprecedented in recent history, from the Arab Spring in the Middle East and Black Lives Matter in the U.S., to the farmers’ protests in India and the recent upheaval in Kazakhstan.
Yet decades of social movement struggle haven’t produced a break from capitalist domination, and in most places they have failed to even accomplish the more modest aims of reform. Meanwhile, the global climate crisis has added another layer of urgency to the task of social transformation.
What can past struggles teach us about the possibility of achieving a liberated world? In this interview with Truthout, Gareth Dale, co-editor of Revolutionary Rehearsals in the Neoliberal Age, explains how his new volume attempts to answer this question by examining “revolts in the neoliberal era that … give glimpses of radically transformative potential.”
Anton Woronczuk: Why should the left study unsuccessful attempts to transform society?
Gareth Dale: A question that has exercised parts of the left is how will global capitalism meet its end: by destroying the conditions that enable complex social life or through radical social transformation? The latter is clearly preferable, however unlikely it currently appears. If we’re ever to see socialist revolutions, they will arise from situations of dual power, in which institutions centered among workers and oppressed communities challenge the established structures of domination at every level, from workplaces and neighborhoods up to the nation state and globally.