Rather than the “clash of civilizations” forecasted by Samuel Huntington in the 1990s, the world has been descending into what could most accurately be described as a clash of barbarisms, the clash of barbaric trends fostered within each civilizational sphere by the unravelling of the post-war social pact and the dismantling of social protections brought along by the neoliberal age. The fate of the Arab Spring provides a tragic illustration of this most worrying evolution. The famous alternative between “socialism or barbarism” that Rosa Luxemburg formulated during the First World War is now again highly relevant and a matter of historical urgency.
Gilbert Achcar grew up in Lebanon, researched and taught in Beirut, Paris and Berlin, and is currently, since 2007, Professor of Development Studies and International Relations at SOAS, University of London. His many books include The Clash of Barbarisms: September 11 and the Making of the New World Disorder (2002, 2006), published in 15 languages; Perilous Power: The Middle East and US Foreign Policy (2007, 2008), with Noam Chomsky; the critically acclaimed The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab–Israeli War of Narratives (2010); The People Want: A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising (2013); and most recently Morbid Symptoms: Relapse in the Arab Uprising (2016).
Cafe Date – 18.45 Monday 20th November