In December 2010 a revolutionary wave, the Arab spring began. A wave of demonstrations, rebellion and protest erupted and escalated in the Arab word from Tunisia over Egypt to Libya and Yemen as well as in Bahrain, Syria and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The Arab spring started on 17th of December 2010 as a young man Mohammed Bouazizi set fire to himself as a response to the ongoing confiscation of his fruit and vegetable cart by the police. Demonstrations and protests developed in different cities and spread over into other countries. These protests have become known as Arab Awakening or Arab uprising. “Days of rage” have been organised and various old and new forms of protest have been used to rise up against the socio-economic situation and decades of dictatorship.
To the same time protest movements started in Europe and the US opposing to the one dimensional effects of capitalist globalisation as for example the Indignados in Spain or the Occupy Wall Street movement on both continents.
Our aim in this workshop is - inspired by these revolutions and forms of protest - to address the inner connection between crisis and social change and look at these forms of protest and ask old questions under the light of new events like What is a revolution? What is a reform? What is resistance and rebellion? If concepts have their history like Kierkegaard stated, do we than - as Shakespeare formulated - need a trick to see them? Or to put it differently: Do we still understand revolution as for example Marx did as he distinguished between a social and political revolution or do we have to make a distinction between a liberation from oppression and the constitution of freedom like for example Arendt did? Are revolutions the test in the debates of the relation between theory and practice? These broad themes can include concepts steaming from Marx, Bakunin over to Lenin, Tolstoy and Landauer to Arendt to name only a few. We will look at these different concepts in various philosophical and/or revolutionary theories to compare the new with the old understanding; considering the historical background of these concepts (French and American Revolution, 1917 in Russia, 1956 in Hungary or 1989 in Germany) to see were they came from and to discuss, if we can understand the global wave of revolutions and protest still with our traditional concepts.