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Interview: Paul Mason interviewed by Unfollow magazine in Greece | January 2014 1.

In your book, there is a description of several different movements with different goals and organizational structures. Which are the factors that connect and separate all those uprisings? Is there any factor that overdetermines the process, such as class, age, or education level? Is the sole feature that people are uprising, enough to include struggles with different aims in the same continuous? I certainly dont include all the struggles going on as part of the new phenomenon I am describing: for example in the Ukraine and in Thailand youve got mass protests that are essentially driven by splits in the ruling elite. They use digital networks and some horizontal methods, but theyre not driven by the ultimate force I am talking about here: dissatisfaction with what neoliberal capitalism can deliver. My argument is that neoliberalism has failed in three respects: its economic model has broken, its promise to young people and workers in the developed world after two decades of wage stagnation is further poverty; and having created a generation of individualists, it cant deliver what the individual wants: peace security and freedom.

2. Do the scattered uprisings occurring worldwide, have a common enemy? And if so, should respectively be assembled into a single unified body? Do you think the shape of "Empire" and "Multitude" recommended by

Hardt and Negri constitute the right approach? To be honest, Hardt/Negris concept of the multitude is intentionally vague. Its saying: theres a mass of people opposed to the system, drifting nomadically from one struggle to the next, and we have no model for what theyll do until they do it. The document that for me captures the essence of the new spirit of protest is The Coming Insurrection, by the so called Invisible Committee. It argues it is not about uniting the struggles against a common enemy but of pursuing each fragmentary struggle in a horizontal way, avoiding bureaucratism, building the elements of a new world in the ruins of the old. When I first read it I though this is pure dreamland: then I saw it more or less spontaneously followed by people whod never read it. 3. The book refers to the years 2009-2011. The years 2011-2013 that followed seem to confirm the picture described in the pages of your book . Having seen 4 consecutive years of ruprisings, where do you think that we are going? Can these struggles be absorbed by the system or are we in a period of structural transition as intellectuals like Wallerstein would support? I think were in the first years of realisation not only that another world is possible but that the other world will have to be build constructively on the basis of everything thats been positive in the era of globalisation and networks (and indeed carbon), but that the models of transition to that other world hardly exist. Thats why the protests seem aimless. What theyre doing is responding to symptoms of

neoliberal rule: so in Turkey, Erdogan is all powerful because hes backed by the global neoliberal elite, delivers to that portion of the conservative religious masses that backed him, and uses watercannon on all serious protests. In Gezi I saw urban, secular educated Turks basically trying to build for a few days society as they would like to have it: free. But from these demonstrations I use the term literally, as when someone demonstrates how to use a liquidiser in the department store to the actual creation of the thing itself is a long way. 4. Apart from a trend of radicalization of the masses to the left, there have been a shift in the opposite direction, developing conservative , reactionary and right-wing movements. In Greece , Golden Dawn maintains a remarkable momentum even after a murder. How did you experience this phenomenon of right-wing extremism in other countries and which is the difference between them and the fascist right in Greece? Golden Dawn achieved with knuckledusters and Nazi regalia what Marine Le Pen had to achieve by wearing a Chanel suit: a double-digit poll rating. Thats simply because Europe imposed social catastrophe on Greece. One European Commissioner, critical of the austerity, put it to me: the commission as a whole has a high appetite for risk. I think Greek conservatisms connivance with Golden Dawns agenda is also well documented, and the general perception of corruption in official politics its family domination also gave XA a head start.

When I interviewed Ilias Panagiotorous in 2012 I found him intelligent, considered and deadly serious that if a social crisis brings Syriza to power we will be next. I think Greece and the world is lucky that there was no Marine Le Pen inside XA nobody to say hey guys maybe keeping guns and Nazi uniforms in our villas is not such a great advert for our democratic credentials. However, its in the hands of the Greek legal system now. Many Greeks I know think the whole crackdown has been a pangiri. 5. The youth was considered to be the most radical social layer due to less contact with the Ideological State Apparatuses (ISA Althusser). Today, more and more expanding layers seem to disengage from one of the main ISAs ,namely the media and are increasingly aware of social media and horizontal citizen journalism. What role did this tendency play in the uprisings of recent years? Its a key driver. I dont buy Althussers concept, and I am critical of Chomsky/Hermann too. But basically the network allowed people to break free of information hierarchies. They would have done this anyway and were doing it even in the boom: look at the mismatch between how people actually live and what is on TV. But now neoliberalism comes to them and says: to keep the 1% wealthy you have to become the first generation since the 1930s to be poorer than your parents. Only ideologies of nation and destiny

can actually sustain that but even these ideologies the Greek fascists are opposed to austerity. Its not social media and citizen journalism though the Greek official media has more or less killed its credibility by the levels of non-reporting of fact during the crisis. It is something more pervasive: the social network just burns propaganda.

6. Many different social layers have participated in the uprisings described in your book. Nonetheless the main protagonist seems to be the networked educated young person. Is your book addressing only this subject? Which would be the benefits of the oppressed human throughout the world who would read your book? If you mean slum dwellers in Manila or Nairobi many of them are already networked individuals. I went to a web caf in a slum built of plywood and cardboard sheeting, on top of a filthy canal. The kids were doing their CVs, Facebooking or playing online games. Even in China where the web is totally policed there is a web caf on the corner of the poorest workers district and what people are saying and doing there is full of outrage and contempt for the way society is. Were living through the beginning of a great change: I think its at least as big as the invention of the printing press and the discovery of the Americas. The only question is, will the outcome be a third form of

capitalism based on knowledge or something different. For a knowledge based capitalism to work it has to work better than at present. ENDS

Thank you a lot for this interview! Questions: Antonis Galanopoulos and Chris Avramidis