Reflections on 2013: from Thatcher to Taksim

by ROAR Collective on December 27, 2013

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The year 2013 gave both reasons to hope and to despair. Here’s a selection of our most widely read essays, from Thatcher’s death to the Taksim Commune.

This was the year Margaret Thatcher died — yet her zombie ideology lives on. It was the year Hugo Chávez passed on as well, but the grassroots revolution of ordinary Venezuelans continues unabated. This was also the year Nelson Mandela moved on, but the social struggle against economic apartheid remains in full swing. Most of all, however, this was the year that the indomitable spirit of resistance resurfaced around the globe — and still no one really seems capable of jamming the genie back into its bottle just yet.

It was the year of the Gezi uprising and riots in Rio; the year of persistent protests in Bulgaria and Romania; the year of right-wing revolt from Thailand to the Ukraine; the year of mass demonstrations in Sudan and a Thermidorian counterrevolution in Egypt; the umpteenth year of the Palestinian fight for freedom; the year the Zapatistas celebrated their tenth anniversary of autonomy by inviting 1.500 activists from all over the world to Chiapas to work the land together, sleep in their homes, and learn from their proud history of struggle.

It was the year of Edward Snowden, who revealed Uncle Sam’s most sinister of secrets in the biggest single leak in world history, and who has been on the run ever since. It was also the year of Chelsea Manning, a new heroine who rose above her former self, right as Bradley disappeared behind bars for 35 years simply for doing what was right and sharing the ugly truth of US imperialism and human rights abuse with the world. As always, this was the year of police violence and deepening state terror. It was the sixth year of the global economic crisis and the first time the IMF formally admitted it made “major mistakes” by mindlessly forcing austerity upon everyone but the rich.

In a word, 2013 was another year in a deepening cycle of crisis and revolt — a year in which some of the darkest secrets and most persistent contradictions inherent in the world-system were laid bare for everyone to see; a year that gave both reason to hope and reason to despair; a year that didn’t tell us anything we did not already know, but that certainly confirmed that those paranoiacs who have been crying wolf for decades were certainly on to something. In 2011, TIME declared “the protester” their person of the year. But 2013 proved once and for all that we were not just living through the year of the protester, but that we have firmly arrived at the dawn of the Age of the Protester.

So here’s to 2014: a year of continued resistance to authoritarian neoliberalism everywhere! To celebrate the cycle of struggles we are living through, ROAR has decided to list some of our most widely shared posts from 2013 — not only to look back upon the past, but also to reignite the fuel of love that animates the spirit of revolt across the world. May we learn from our failures and take inspiration from each other’s victories; may we move forward wherever those in power try to push us back; and most of all, may we continue to build the foundations of the new world within the crumbling shell of the old. We are most certainly living through interesting times.

And if you liked our work in 2013, make sure to check out our exciting plans for 2014 as well! We need your support to turn ROAR into a cutting-edge platform for independent media. Help us provide you with the news and analysis you don’t find in the mainstream. It’s time to ROAR for real democracy!

Wishing you a year full of joyful rebellion and constructive change!

ROAR Collective

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ROAR has exciting plans for 2014: we want to dramatically expand our project by building a revolutionary new platform for independent news and critical analysis. To find out more about our plans, and what you can do to make them a reality, click here

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