“In case you hadn’t noticed, these days a lot of the world is in some form of rebellion, insurrection, or protest,” wrote Rebecca Solnit in 2012, a year after a barrage of movements symbolically grouped around the Arab Spring erupted. These “post-2011” events challenged the sometimes simplistic narratives of the “post-911” world.
What linked the events in this cycle of struggles was not organizational coherence but rather a shared global sentiment mediated by a new form of global sensorium. Social energies headed “back to the streets,” bringing up questions about the consequences of physical exposure, organization, strategy, fragmentation, and violence. New media became double-edged weapons, used for and against emancipation. While after 2011 there were some attempts to decipher these “signs from the future,” as Žižek has put it, now in 2015 it seems that the “global moment” has ended. It’s time for a reflective turn, looking into dim corners and listening to the subterranean echoes of what’s happened. And looking ahead.