If you have "no place to go," come here!

Cairo and Madrid


Generally speaking, the tactical insight of the Egyptian activists was the idea of seizing a public square and transforming their presence into a symbol powerful enough to topple a tyrant. To be fair, this model had been successfully used before, such as in the 1986 Filipino People Power Revolution in which two million protestors occupied the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, but the major breakthrough of the Egyptian activists was to prove that this tactic was once again relevant and that even the most highly policed state cannot stop the people if they organize themselves spontaneously. The gift of the Egyptian revolution was a sense of optimism [true dat], that a revolutionary spring has arrived in which, to use the slogan of the 9/11 antiwar movement, another world is possible.

The Spanish Revolution takes the lesson of Tahrir one step further. Rather than simply holding the Puerta del Sol square, the people of Madrid have transformed the street into proof that real, direct democracy is possible. The catch-phrase of this revolution is the "assembly", hours of discussions where people decide their demands, their manifesto, and the fate of their movement all without leaders. Horizontal, de-centralized, people power has been realized.


Life's exigencies and the tyranny of the urgent meant that I haven't been able to track post-Tahrir Egypt at all. Maybe, in narrative terms, Tahrir Square is The Hobbit, but post-Mubarak Egypt is the Lord of The Rings, and we're only in the opening chapter of the first volume, or possibly only the preface.

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