Speaker: Vincent Bevins, moderated by Daniel Aldana Cohen
Tuesday, October 17, 2023 | 12:00pm – 1:30pm | 8th Floor, Social Science Building | RSVP Required
Sponsors: Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative, or (SC)2; Social Science Matrix
Vincent Bevins’ brilliant new book, If We Burn: The Mass Protest Decade and the Missing Revolution, tells the story of the recent uprisings that sought to change the world – and what comes next.
From 2010 to 2020, more people participated in protests than at any other point in human history. Yet we are not living in more just and democratic societies as a result. Over four years, the acclaimed journalist Bevins carried out hundreds of interviews around the world. The result is a stirring work of history built around one question: How did so many mass protests lead to the opposite of what they asked for?
From the so-called Arab Spring to Gezi Park in Turkey, from Ukraine’s Euromaidan to student rebellions in Chile and Hong Kong, If We Burn renders street movements and their consequences in gripping detail. Bevins draws on his own strange experiences in Brazil, where a progressive-led protest explosion led to an extreme-right government that torched the Amazon.
Careful investigation reveals that conventional wisdom on revolutionary change has been gravely misguided. In this groundbreaking study of an extraordinary chain of events, protesters and major actors look back on successes and defeats, offering urgent lessons for the future.
Praise for If We Burn
“This is a wondrous work of mystery writing, an effort to solve the riddle: Why has a decade of large-scale rolling revolts produced no revolution, no significant structural reform? I can’t think of any journalist other than Bevins who would dare to ask such a question, or be capable of weaving together seemingly discrete global events into a stunning history of now. Have we planted seeds for a better future, or have the gears of change frozen for good? Bevins lets the people he talked to, those on the street, answer.”
—Greg Grandin, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The End of the Myth
“In this remarkably assured and sweeping history of the present, Vincent introduces us to the activists, hackers, punks, martyrs, and the millions of ordinary people whose spontaneous acts of bravery spurred the mass protests of the last decade. Bevins’s clear-eyed, sympathetic account of the unfulfilled promise of these protests leaves his reader with a bold vision of the future—one in which his book’s lessons are used to transform an uprising into a true revolution.”
—Merve Emre, critic, New Yorker
Praise for The Jakarta Method
“The Jakarta Method dismantles and re-positions the American mythos, similar to two recent Pulitzer Prize winners: Nikole Hannah-Jones’s The 1619 Project and Greg Grandin’s The End of the Myth…. The Jakarta Method is a devastating critique of US hypocrisy during the Cold War, and a mournful hypothetical of what the world might have looked like if Third World movements had succeeded.”
—Los Angeles Review of Books
Vincent Bevins is an award-winning journalist and correspondent. He covered Southeast Asia for the Washington Post, reporting from across the entire region and paying special attention to the legacy of the 1965 massacre in Indonesia. He previously served as the Brazil correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, also covering nearby parts of South America, and before that he worked for the Financial Times in London.
Among the other publications he has written for are the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Economist, the Guardian, Foreign Policy, the New York Review of Books, The New Republic, and more. Vincent was born and raised in California and spent the last few years living in Brazil.
Daniel Aldana Cohen is ssistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is Director of the Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative, or (SC)2. He is also Founding Co-Director of the Climate and Community Project, a progressive climate policy think tank. He is the co-author of A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green Deal (Verso 2019).