Day Two: State-oriented, popular uprisings and revolutions

About this day

On this day, we will be looking at struggles for freedom which are focused on the state. This includes struggles which are waged against the state (e.g uprisings against military dictatorships), as well as struggles which have as their objective the taking of state power – either through elections or revolution. This perspective sees the state as an important locus (site) of power, and as a powerful instrument through which to achieve freedom and create a just and equal society. In considering this particular strategy, we firstly have to understand what is the state and what is the function of the state? Secondly, where does the power of the state come from? Thirdly, what is possible and not possible to achieve with state power, particularly in today’s context? The answers to these questions are fiercely contested (and always have been) and will be explored throughout the day. Similarly contested is the question of whether to achieve state power through electoral or other means, including revolution. We will look at both paths to power: Venezuela as an example of the electoral route, and the Arab revolutions of 2010-11 as an example of the other. These cases will also help us to answer our questions about the state and state power, and the potential of using the state to transform society.

We will end the day with a presentation on the revolution in Sudan by Walaa Muzan and Muzan Alneel, and a facilitated discussion on the contemporary feminist movement in Sudan and South Africa.

Objectives for this day:

The aim of the day is to give participants an understanding of the struggles for freedom focused on the state – either against the state, or which have as their objective the taking of state power – either through elections or a revolution. At the end of this day, participants should have an understanding of the state, state power and the extent to which state power can (and cannot) be used to transform society today. Furthermore, participants should have an understanding and critical perspective on the transformations which took place in Venezuela and the Arab world, and which is currently underway in Sudan.

Day activity sessions:

This day comprises the following activities:

Activity 5: The state as an arena for freedom struggles

Activity 6: Revolution in Bad Times? Sudan after the Arab Spring.

Activity 7: Sunset reflections: feminism in Sudan and South Africa

Last updated December 15, 2019 6:29 pm