The Current cycle (139 years)
The present 139 year Uranus/Pluto cycle started relatively recently in 1965 and reached its Out square (+90 degrees) in 2012 – a stage we are still in. The Sextile (+ 60 degrees) point was reached in 1995. The Opposition is not till 2046, the In square 2073 and the new cycle in 2104 – all beyond the reach of this site and the book it is based on.
What might this cycle mean?
We have given the generic meaning of this cycle as the ‘Transformation of intellectual & technological innovation or mindset’. Both Intellectual and Technological innovation are seen as equal indeed intertwined though (in a Marxian sense) the former seems to develop after the latter. Of course Intellectual innovation and changes in society’s mindset continue throughout history but every so often there is a breakthrough or a revolution, a major invention or innovation that serves to guide all subsequent innovation for a lengthy period.
HOW THE APPROACH AND METHODS OF INTELLECTUAL, SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION ALTER
Whereas we have described the Uranus/Neptune cycle as signifying the ‘idealisation of intellectual change’ – the alignment and identification of a major shift in intellectual and scientific thought with a new set of collective ideals, the Uranus/Pluto cycle signifies first how the approach and methods of intellectual, scientific, technological even aesthetic innovation alter in themselves’ It also signifies how that translates from the intellectual into a societal ‘mindset’ – a new related societal attitude that determines how people break through and alter social situations and attitudes.
Here we shall be looking at the conjunction for the emergence of a major new technology linked to the adoption of a major new methodology in pursuing or extending knowledge. The Intellectual and Technological changes seem to be not just synchronistic with the four stages of the cycle but sequentially cyclical in that whatever is born at the conjunction, gets extended and challenged at the Out square, maximised at the opposition and reaches a terminal stage at the In square.
In the ‘Cycles of History’ book, but not this website, there is a third development that matches this cycle. It has to do with human rights – in the West fought for and increasingly won by women, blacks and gays from 1965 but now encountering a challenge to their extension. It has also to do with individual freedoms – especially the freedom of expression – now challenged by majorities, traditional religions and cultures and even by governments.
THE START OF A NEW CYCLE
CONJUNCTION 1961 – 1970 (exact in 1965 and 1966)
In identifying developments around the 1965 Conjunction we shall focus on recorded historical developments which occurred while the planets Uranus and Pluto were within 10 degrees of each other between October 1961 and November 1969 and very briefly from June 1970 to July 1970.
COMPUTERS – a new knowledge paradigm
One strongly persuasive explanation of the meaning of this last conjunction in 1965 is that it is precisely at this time that the Computer emerges from electronics laboratories. Few people at the time could have dreamt of the totally transformative effect that computers would have on the whole field of knowledge, on the entire world of innovation, indeed on almost every aspect of human life. We shall argue this is a deeper and more fundamental change than any radical social and political change – because it begins to potentially alter every single human experience. Arguably, it actually precedes intellectual change.
Originally computers did not seem to be important objects, they seemed to be associated with the somewhat dry and boring back office world where businesses processed accounts or academic and scientific organisations worked out complicated equations. The true significance of the Computer was to surprise the world around 1979 at the cycle semi-sextile (+30 degrees into the cycle) and then even more strongly in 1995-97 at the cycle sextile (+ 60 degrees into the cycle) when it truly started to transform the way in which people accessed and communicated knowledge and information.
It is worth noting at this stage that the Uranus/Pluto sextile occurred only a couple of years after the Uranus/Neptune conjunction, which we have suggested signified the emergence of what we currently call the Internet as the vehicle for a new global idealism (see Chapter 2).
IN 139 YEARS WILL BE OMNIPRESENT
The cycle of Uranus and Pluto starting in 1965 is due to last around 139 years – ending in 2104. What seems likely is that around that date the Computer will be succeeded by another new key technology and methodology for pursuing or extending knowledge. Clearly the presence of computers by that date will be completely pervasive, extending into every single possible aspect of our lives. Their power will be truly awesome by our current standards. In fact it is precisely because computer and electronic based knowledge is likely to be so omnipresent that in itself it ceases to be the key intellectual innovator and is superceded by another new ‘paradigm’. What could that be? One total guess is that it may be some form of bio-neural technology or man-machine interface that links (in ways we cannot foresee) the access to and processing of knowledge with an extension to individual psychological powers.
The opposition in the present cycle occurs in 2046 and at that point one could guess that while the power and reach of computers in daily life will have become almost unlimited, an inherent contradiction may have arisen between the potency of the computer and limits to our ability to optimally use and apply the powers the computer facilitates. The machine may need to be somehow more closely linked to man’s psychology but the solution is not likely to emerge till the 2104 conjunction.
This of course is pure speculation. We shall now adopt a testable approach and examine whether computer development was really seeded exactly at the cycle conjunction in 1965, was spurred on at the semi-sextile in 1979 and even more so at the sextile in 1995-97 and to anticipate what trends suggest may happen in 2012 at the outgoing square.
Although the first transistorised commercial computer was completed in 1956 it was precisely in the eight years between 1961 and 1969 that all the key elements of the present day computer were developed.
|1962||Teletype ships its keyboard and punched-tape terminal used by most early microcomputers.|
|1963||Digital Equipment sells its first minicomputer to Atomic Energy of Canada|
|1963||Control Data Corp delivers its first 3600 computer|
|1963||Douglas Engelbart receives a patent on his mouse pointing device for computers|
|1964||Moore’s Law predicting the exponential growth in integrated circuit (IC) density is printed in a magazine article by Gordon Moore|
|1964||The BASIC programming language is developed|
|1966||IBM introduces the first disk storage system|
|1967||IBM introduces the first floppy disc|
|1968||Engelbart demonstrates his system of keyboard, keypad, mouse and windows|
|1968||Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce found Intel Corporation|
|1969||Intel announce a 1KB RAM chip, significantly larger than any previously produced memory chip|
|1969||AT&T develops Unix and Xerox demonstrates a laser printer|
Stephen White in his book ‘A Brief history of Computing’ distinguishes two early forms of computers then a third generation which led to an explosion in the use of computers – these relied on microchips. While the first microchip was produced in 1958, computers using microchips did not begin to appear until 1963 (just under two years before the date of the exact Uranus/Pluto conjunction and well within orb). It was the microchip which allowed the development of Minicomputers. Stephen White underlines a point that is key to the acceptance of the 1965 – 1970 period as the birth of the computer – “although processing power and storage capacities have increased beyond all recognition since the 1970s, the underlying technology of large scale integrated microchips has remained basically the same”
POSTMODERNISM – a new intellectual mindset
NEW NETWORKS OF PRE-SUPPOSITIONS
Intellectual mindsets in various fields like the Sciences and Arts can fluctuate quite frequently but really major changes in intellectual approach are not common. We shall argue that like major new technologies new intellectual mindsets emerge every 113 to 141 years. Indeed we shall argue that intellectual mindsets seem to change in parallel with major changes in technology. Thomas Kuhn speaking of today’s dominant intellectual focus ‘Science’ wrote in ‘The Structure of Scientific Revolutions’ that “what is called “science” is not an invariant approach to the world. Scientists work in terms of paradigms….networks of pre-suppositions in terms of which the facts of experience are interpreted. They reflect science’s biases concerning the nature of reality and knowledge [my italics]”. The Uranus/Pluto cycle seems to correlate with major changes in approach to the nature of reality and knowledge – for simplicity’s sake we shall call this ‘intellectual mindset’.
Is there between 1961 and 1970 the emergence of a new intellectual mindset that parallels the birth of the computer ? As you will see elsewhere on this site we have assigned the whole intellectual mindset of the previous cycle running from 1851 to 1965 to Determinism – the theory (or mindset) that every event (including human cognition and action) is causally determined by an unbroken chain of prior occurrences. We have drawn the parallel between that theory and the whole world of the Machine, which dominates the years 1851 to 1965. Here at this stage we can only parallel the whole world of the Computer with two intellectual beliefs that emerge at this time – 1) that every issue is capable of a solution through the processing and analysis of information 2) that everything is relative and there are no acceptable over-arching theories.
CONTRAST WITH LAST CYCLE’S DETERMINISM
The contrast of this world we are now in with the world of determinism could not be more pronounced – in the Deterministic world a limited number of outcomes flow inexorably from the premise or start point. In the new world an unlimited number of outcomes flow from a multi-directional and multi-axis premise with wholly relative conclusions. The contrast is between the cogs and ratchets of a machine which once started simply revolves forward to perform one task (or set of tasks) till it has completed them and the multiprocessor chips of a computer whose function and position may be made interchangeable depending on the task or program required. Most importantly, especially when Artificial Intelligence is involved, more information can come out than was put in, more choices can be revealed than were previously available, and perhaps even the premise may get altered by the conclusion.
The collective intellectual thrust in today’s world is more concerned with choice than with fate. The new intellectual universe is one that looks for connections not end points. This universe is one that looks more for intuitive links than deductive conclusions, it is one whose focus is constantly being queried.
This whole school of thought or intellectual approach emerging and advancing at this time has been described as ‘PostModernism’ and it emerges precisely during this period. There is arguably a theoretical analogy between certain parameters of the way computers and computer software are used and the key features of PostModernism – for instance the potentially temporary nature of computer data as opposed to the permanence of handwritten or typed documents and the use of alternative menu paths to access functions.
WHAT IS POSTMODERNISM ?
So what is PostModernism ? To define it we need first to define Modernism. Modernism is generally defined as a late 19th, early 20th Century movement rebelling against realism but also a movement requiring the writer or artist to break radically with previous tradition, to reject the past and create completely original work. Modernism was a reaction to realism which in turn was a reaction to Romanticism. We shall later argue that Modernism begins half way through the last Uranus/Pluto cycle around 1901 and that it declines but carries through to the end of the full cycle in 1965. We are suggesting that PostModernism may stretch from the year 1965 to around 2046 – a long time !
So now let’s see how Postmodernism is defined. It has been best defined as ‘an accumulated disillusionment with the promises of the Enlightenment and the progress of science which has proved so central to ‘modern’ positive thinking’. PostModernism rejects or invalidates the striving for unity, universality, certainty and high-minded truths which had still partially under laid Modernism. Instead it explores – again something which had not featured with the more forthright and single-minded Modernism. Though it denies the validity of worldviews, it is a worldview. So when did it emerge ?
PostModernism is first identified as a theoretical or academic discipline in the 1980s, although it could be said to have existed as a cultural movement much earlier. The very first strains of it can indeed be identified in the mid 1960s around the Uranus/Pluto conjunction. Can we demonstrate that between 1961 and 1970 a new intellectual mindset was born, that it first became discernible as a movement around 1979 and that it began in 1995 to 1997 to manifest outside academic and cultural circles in the media and in wider society?
The 60s – SEPARATE OUT THE INTELLECTUAL & THE CULTURAL
Certainly the second half of the 1960s sees an explosion of new ideological and cultural ideals, ideas and styles. They are spearheaded by a new generation of young people determined to free themselves from most social conventions especially those relating to politics, religion, race and sex. Could it be these new attitudes that form the very earliest shoots of the Postmodernist mindset ?
Perhaps, but we need to separate out this intellectual development which is destined to hugely grow beyond the 1960s from the other shorter length cultural waves during the 1960s which are destined to recede over the 1970s and to have all but disappeared by the 1990s when we are alleging Postmodernism starts to manifest beyond academic and cultural centres in mainstream society. That means ruling out Marxism for instance which though very influential in the Sixties has not survived outside academia the fall of Soviet Communism. It means ruling out a good deal of 1960s psychedelic and generational culture which by the 1980s had become very dated and was dying out. And by that time a totally different generational culture was in any case taking over. As we shall see with the 13 year Jupiter/Neptune cycle cultural cycles have a much shorter wavelength than intellectual and technological cycles.
Between 1961 and 1970 emerge a series of seminal books which quite separately make an important impact to build up the Postmodernist intellectual movement:
|1961||Michel Foucault’s Madness and Civilization|
|1962||Thomas Kuhn’s ‘The Structure of Scientific Revolutions|
|1967||Guy Debord’s ‘The Society of the Spectacle’|
|1967||Jacques Derrida’s ‘Of Grammatology’ ‘Writing and Difference’ and ‘Speech and Phenomena’|
|1968||Jean Baudrillard ‘The system of Objects‘|
|1970||Jean Baudrillard ‘Consumer Society’|
|1970||Michel Foucault’s ‘The Order of Things’|
In the 1960s the following Postmodern novelists publish their key works:
John Barth, Donald Barthelme Julian Barnes, Brigid Brophy, Angela Carter, Truman Capote, Margaret Drabble John Fowles, Gunter Grass, Joseph Heller, B S Johnson, Doris Lessing, Norman Mailer, Iris Murdoch, Thomas Pynchon, Alain Robbe-Grillet and Kurt Wonnegut. Postmodern poets from the same era include John Ashbery, John Berryman, and James Merrill. PostModern Playwrights include Peter Barnes, Edward Bond, Peter Nichols, John Osborne, Harold Pinter, Peter Schaffer, Tom Stoppard and Peter Weiss
The Postmodernist perspective can be seen in 1960s films like:
‘L’Anne derniere a Marienbad’ (Resnais 1961), Viridiana (Bunuel 1961), Blow up (Antonioni 1966), The Damned (Visconti 1969), Through a glass darkly (Bergman 1961), Pierrot Le Fou (Goddard 1969), Stolen Kisses (Truffaut 1968), Repulsion (Polanski 1965), Juliet of the Spirits (Fellini 1965) and Morgan: a suitable case for treatment (Karel Reisz 1966). There is even a glimpse of PostModernism in British kitchen-sink realism films such as Saturday night and Sunday morning (Karel Reisz 1960) A Taste of Honey (Tony Richardson 1961), A Kind of Loving (John Schlesinger 1962), The L shaped room (1962), Poor Cow and Up the Junction (Ken Loach 1967). Additionally between 1963 and 1968 the avant garde artists Andy Warhol produces nearly 650 ‘postmodernist’ films the better known of which include Sleep (1963), Empire (1964), Bitch (1965) and The Chelsea Girls (1966)
By the 1990s PostModernism will infiltrate and colonise Western society. The mindset is that we are disillusioned with disillusion and therefore we avoid any belief which can turn to illusion. “We know of no promises except those whose satisfaction can be easily measured or experienced. Our belief in science stems from the assured increase in the range and added value and convenience of consumer goods, especially technological goods. We believe in progress but we are conscious that for every step forward there seems to be an undocumented step back. We strive for unity and universality providing it is not at the expense of our personal rights. We know there is no certainty and that behind every high minded truth is an expose waiting to be revealed. We want pluralism and diversity because society is pluralistic and diverse. There are few personal issues over which Society should be allowed to be judgmental – the important thing is that each issue depends on the circumstances.”
The ‘Cycles of History’ book is not the only one to side with the correlation conclusions we are detailing. Dr Mary Klages, Professor of English, University of Colorado matches this book’s argument with her persuasive and succinct conclusion – “some might argue that postmodernism is best described by, and correlated with, the emergence of computer technology, starting in the 1960s, as the dominant force in all aspects of social life”
SOCIETAL MINDSET – an upheaval in values
If you ask a historian what were the key developments in the 1960s he would almost certainly point to pervasive radical social and political changes particularly with respect to civil rights, racial discrimination, women’s rights and later gay rights – accompanied by a titanic cultural revolution particularly in popular music and popular visual art. He would point to the Anti-war movement and its close relationship with student activism during the period of the Vietnam war.
He would naturally also mention the Cold War, the Berlin Wall, the Vietnam War, the Cuban missile crisis, the Prague Spring, Mao’s Red Revolution in China, the beginnings of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the expulsion of apartheid South Africa from the UN and white Rhodesia’s declaration of Independence, the Arab-Israeli 6 day war, the formation of the PLO and the end of the Franco-Algerian war of independence But few of these would seem to stem from a new Intellectual and Technological mindset and across the 139 year cycle we are discussing they are not the focus.
What we are going to focus on is a complex of revolutions or rebellions that have at heart one principle – that the individual citizen has rights of free expression and that these are absolutely paramount. We shall look in detail at the birth of Black Rights, Women rights and Gay rights – along with the Anti-war and Student activist movement alongside the cultural explosion. Finally we shall comment on the birth of what we shall call Individualistic Liberalism. All this precisely in the period October 1961 and November 1969 – with a brief follow-on during June and July 1970.
BLACK CIVIL RIGHTS
Let us look at racial equality first. On February 26 1962 the US Supreme Court outlaws race separation on public transportation. On September 20 1962 black student James Meredith is blocked from enrolling at the University of Mississippi by the state Governor – days later the US Circuit Court of Appeals orders that he be admitted. Around May 1963 police use dogs and cattle prods on peaceful civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham, Alabama and black children and parents entering a white area of the city get arrested. Racial bomb attacks in the region lead to race riots. In June President Kennedy says segregation is morally wrong and that it is time to act. On August 28 1963 a 250,000 strong civil rights march on Washington for Jobs and Freedom becomes the occasion for Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
Citing the stirring words of the Declaration of Independence – that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – King draws attention to the massive gap between that promise and reality in the USA for black citizens. The speech ends with a series of hopes prefaced by a phrase that has become immortalised “I have a dream”. On September 10th President Kennedy federalizes Alabama’s National Guard to prevent Governor Wallace from using guardsmen to stop state school desegregation. Five days later the Ku Klux Klan bomb the 16th St. Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama killing four young black girls as they prepare their Sunday school lesson – on ‘The love that forgives.’
In May 1964 in Mississippi two black teenagers are beaten and killed by local members of the Ku Klux Klan and their mutilated bodies thrown into the river. In June 1964 three young civil rights workers disappear near Meridian, Mississippi – later their bodies are found buried. That murderous event will inspire the film ‘Mississippi Burning’. In that same month the Civil Rights Act of 1964 gets approved by the US Senate. It guarantees the vote for everyone and prohibits segregation in public places. Soon after 700 young Americans begin descending on Mississippi to teach in ‘freedom schools’ and to register black voters. But by July the issue has spread to the North where riots are erupting in black communities in New York City, Rochester, NY and New Jersey. August sees race riots spread to Chicago and Philadelphia.
In early February 1965 Martin Luther King and 770 of his followers are arrested in Selma, Alabama. There on March 7 a protest march by some 600 civil rights demonstrators is broken up by state troopers. On March 20 President Johnson orders 4,000 troops to protect the 3,000 Selma-Montgomery civil rights marchers. On March 25 Martin Luther King leads a group of 25,000 to Montgomery Alabama to protest the denial of voting rights to blacks. That same day a white civil rights worker from Detroit is shot and killed by the Ku Klux Klan on a road near Selma.
In August rioting and looting breaks out in the predominantly black Watts section of Los Angeles as well as in Westside, Chicago. The Watts riots, which end after six days with the help of 20,000 National Guardsmen, leave 34 dead, 857 injured, over 2,200 arrested, and property valued at $200 million destroyed. Following the riots the Black Power movement is first conceived. In the same month the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is passed and signed by President Johnson. It outlaws the literacy test for voting eligibility in the South. (October 9 1965, April 4 and June 30 1966 are the Uranus/Pluto conjunction exact hits in this 8 to 9 year conjunction period)
In June 1966 Stokely Carmichael officially launches the Black Power movement. On July 4, President Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act. At this time there are race riots in the states of Illinois, Michigan and Ohio – later in September they reach Atlanta, Georgia. In October the Black Panthers write their Ten Point Program in Oakland, California calling for adequate housing, jobs, education and an end to police brutality.
In June 1967 there are race riots in Boston, Massachusetts, Buffalo, New York and Tampa, Florida – in the latter the National Guard is called out. That month sees the US Supreme Court strike down state laws prohibiting interracial marriages and the appointment by President Johnson of the first black justice on the US Supreme Court. In July race riots multiply – in Newark, New Jersey where 27 are killed and down from Wisconsin and Michigan through Illinois, Ohio and Maryland to North Carolina and Tennessee. In Detroit race riots leave 40 dead, 2,000 injured and 5,000 homeless – it takes the arrival of 4,700 paratroops to quell the rioting, looting and burning. In August the movie ‘In the Heat of the Night’ opens in New York starring Sidney Poitier as a black police officer from Philadelphia returning home to a southern racially demarcated town in Mississippi where Rod Steiger plays the local white Sherriff. It encapsulates the backdrop to the riots.
On Feb 3 1968 in South Carolina three black students are killed in a confrontation with highway patrolmen during a civil rights protest. On Feb 12 the book ‘Soul on Ice’ by Eldridge Cleaver, a militant activist and Black Panther, is published. On Feb 29 President Johnson’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders warns that racism is causing America to move “toward two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal.” In March and April Martin Luther King begins a drive to bring the nation’s poor people to Washington, D.C. for a series of massive nonviolent demonstrations. The campaign is to press the Johnson Administration and Congress to enact a $30 billion-a-year domestic ‘Marshall Plan’ to alleviate poverty.
On April 4 1968 the Rev Martin Luther King is assassinated while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Senator Bobby Kennedy speaks at a black ghetto in Indianapolis just after hearing of the assassination – his speech registers the enormity of the event. Riots over the next few days hit over a hundred American cities, though as a consequence of Kennedy’s words “no martyr’s cause had ever been stilled by an assassin’s bullet” Indianapolis remains quiet. Two months later Senator Robert Kennedy will himself be shot and killed. A week after King’s murder President Johnson signs into law the Civil Rights Act of 1968.
On October 16 American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos spark controversy at the Mexico City Olympics by giving ‘black power’ salutes during a victory ceremony after they win medals. Race riots in the US are to continue during the following summer but at a much lower level. On October 29 1969 the US Supreme Court orders “immediate” desegregation, superseding the previous “with all deliberate speed” ruling. Though there are more race riots and police killings of black men the constitutional battle has been won, black rights have become a major plank in the political demands of the left and of students while black power movements, some more radical than others, have emerged.
Perhaps the most important development affecting Women’s rights comes in May 1960, a year before the conjunction comes into orb, when the US Food and Drug Administration becomes the first health agency to approve the birth control pill – however it is originally only available for married women and does not get marketed to all or outside the US till late 1961. In that year President JF Kennedy establishes the President’s Commission on the Status of Women. The report issued by the Commission in 1963 documents substantial discrimination against women in the workplace and makes specific recommendations for improvement, including fair hiring practices, paid maternity leave, and affordable child care.
In February 1963, Betty Friedan publishes her benchmark expose text ‘The Feminine Mystique’, giving a voice to the discontent many women feel in being pushed into homemaking positions rather than being able to consider employment prospects. The book becomes a best seller and galvanises the women’s rights movement. On June 10 the US Congress passes the Equal Pay Act, making it illegal for employers to pay a woman less than what a man would receive for the same job. In 1964 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bars discrimination in employment on the basis of gender as well as race. At the same time it establishes the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to investigate complaints and impose penalties.
1960s feminism is driven by the social and political climate of the time – but perhaps chiefly by the increasing entry of women into higher education, the establishment of academic women’s studies courses and feminist thinking in many other related fields such as sociology where accepted standards were constantly being questioned.
In October 1966 the National Organization for Women (NOW) is founded in the US by a group of feminists including Betty Friedan. This largest women’s rights group seeks to end sexual discrimination, especially in the workplace, by means of legislative lobbying, litigation, and public demonstrations.
In 1967 US President Lyndon Johnson’s affirmative action policy of 1965 is extended to cover discrimination based on gender. As a result, federal agencies and contractors must take active measures to ensure that women as well as minorities enjoy the same educational and employment opportunities as white males. In 1968 the EEO Commission rules gender-specific ‘help wanted’ advertisements illegal. In 1969 California becomes the first state (indeed the first jurisdiction anywhere) to adopt a ‘no fault’ divorce law allowing couples to divorce by mutual consent.
The phrase ‘women’s liberation’ is first recorded being used in 1964 – appearing in print in 1966. By 1968, although the term ‘Women’s Liberation Front’ appears in the magazine “Ramparts” it is starting to refer to the whole women’s movement. In Chicago, women disillusioned with the New Left meet separately in 1967, and go on by March 1968 to publish ‘Voice of the Women’s Liberation Movement’. Similar groups with similar titles appear in many parts of the US.
There are many feminist books and tracts published in the conjunction period. In May 1968 Sheila Rowbotham, an English radical feminist becomes one of the founders of the radical political and cultural newspaper ‘The Black Dwarf’ – edited until 1970 by the activist-come-broadcaster Tariq Ali. In 1969 she publishes her influential pamphlet ‘Women’s Liberation and the New Politics’ which argues that socialist theory needs to consider the oppression of women in cultural as well as economic terms.
In 1968 Carol Hanisch a radical feminist and member of New York Radical Women and Redstockings conceives of the idea of protesting against the Miss America Pageant. When it is held in September 1968, the media start referring to the demonstrations as ‘Women’s Liberation’. The image of women protesting by burning their bras is actually a fiction but it sticks. In a 1969 essay Carol Hanisch popularises the phrase “The Personal is Political”
By 1970 feminist writing is multiplying – it sees Gloria Steinem publish the Ms magazine and Kate Millett publish ‘Sexual Politics’ – advancing a view parallel to Hanisch that sex is politics, and politics is power imbalance in relationships.
In October 1970, actually a couple of months after the Uranus/Pluto goes out of orb, Germaine Greer publishes ‘The Female Eunuch’ – set to be the key text of the feminist movement in the 1970s. With her high profile broadcast presence the feminist movement gets widespread coverage. At the same time Shulamith Firestone, a Canadian-born feminist publishes ‘The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution’, another widely influential feminist text.
ANTI- WAR PROTESTS, STUDENT ACTIVISM & A CULTURAL EXPLOSION
It makes sense to follow these three areas together chronologically as their developments are so interwoven. On August 6 1961 as the conjunction comes into orb a sit-down demonstration takes place at a US Polaris submarine base in the UK. 20,000 people attend the rally and 5,000 sit down risking arrest. Months earlier there had been one of the largest ever anti-nuclear protest marches and the authorities are watchful. Philosopher Bertrand Russell, aged 88, is arrested and convicted of inciting the public to civil disobedience. There are further anti-nuclear demonstrations in the UK in December, in the US in February 1962 and in London, Helsinki, Tokyo and Hiroshima in August 1962. The protest focus however is shortly to change from nuclear disarmament to opposition to the US war in Vietnam.
On June 14 1962 the Port Huron Statement, the manifesto of the American student activist movement, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), is completed. But with the exception of protest sit-ins in most major cities in April 1964 the student and free speech movement has yet to make a national impact. though freedom for women (see above) and freedom of sexual expression protests are on the move. In June 1964 Henry Miller’s sexually graphic ‘Tropic of Cancer’ is finally allowed to be sold in the US. In September psychologist Dr Tim Leary establishes the International Foundation of Internal Freedom to promote research into the drug LSD. In October the Free Speech Movement is launched at the University of California at Berkeley. On December 2nd a speech from the movement’s founder encourages hundreds of students to take over part of the University. The next day police move in and arrest some 800 students – an action which results in the first student strike.
The Gulf of Tonkin resolution had been passed by Congress in August – effectively declaring war on North Vietnam. In February 1965 the US starts bombing North Vietnam catalysing student opposition to the war. On March 24 1965 the first Vietnam war teach-in takes place at the University of Michigan. On April 17 SDS holds the first anti-Vietnam war protest rally in Washington DC. In May the first underground newspaper, ‘The Los Angeles Free Press’, launches. In July the National Coordinating Committee to End the War in Vietnam forms and there are attempts to stop troop trains in Berkeley and Emeryville, California. In August 1965 the anti-nuclear song ‘Eve of Destruction’ by Barry McGuire is released, topping the charts within 5 weeks – then the fastest rising song in US rock music history. In September 1965 writer Michael Fallon applies the term ‘hippie’ to San Francisco counterculture. In October 1965 some thousands attend a Vietnam War teach-in at the University of California, Berkeley. (October 9 1965, April 4 and June 30 1966 Uranus/Pluto conjunction exact hits) On October 16 Vietnam War protests take place in 80 cities including New York, Ann Arbor, Madison, Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, London, Rome and Tokyo. In November 15,000 join the March on Washington for Peace.
On March 27 1966 anti – Vietnam war demonstrations take place in the US, Europe and Australia. On July 4 President Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act. In September the first mass circulation underground newspaper in the US, the ‘San Francisco Chronicle’, appears. In October as the young increasingly protest against being drafted into the armed forces to fight in Vetnam the singer Joan Baez and 123 other anti-draft protestors are arrested in the city. On 14th October in England the underground newspaper IT (International Times) is launched – followed in early 1967 by Oz magazine.
As 1967 begins ‘happenings’ and demonstrations proliferate. On January 14 1967 in San Francisco the ‘Great Human Be-In’ is held in Golden Gate Park drawing national attention to the Haight-Ashbury district – the centre of counter-culture in America. It is here that Tim Leary proclaims “Turn on, Tune in, Drop out” and Allen Ginsberg is credited with coining the term “Flower Power.” It is in that city in April that marchers against the Vietnam war fill the 40,000 capacity Kezar stadium. In Europe May sees the Stockholm Vietnam Tribunal open following the publication of Bertrand Russell’s book, “War Crimes in Vietnam.”
In the summer of 1967 comes ‘The Summer of Love’ – in the US as many as 100,000 people converge on the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco and the arts centres of many other cities to partake in a melting pot of music, psychoactive drugs, sexual freedom, creative expression, and political discourse. It becomes a defining cultural moment of the 1960s, as the hippie counterculture movement surges into public awareness. There are unprecedented experiments in alternative lifestyles including communal living and sharing of resources, macrobiotic food and ‘free love’. The media’s fascination with ‘counterculture’ surges in June with the Monterey Pop Festival where approximately 30,000 people gather. The song ‘San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)’ was initially designed to promote the pop festival. In the same month probably the most celebrated rock album ever is released – The Beatles ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club band.’
In October 1967 the first counter-culture musical ‘Hair,’ premieres in a theatre off Broadway. The following year it will move onto Broadway and stay for some 1,900 performances. In that same month 50,000 Vietnam war protestors assemble outside the Pentagon and there are many anti-draft rallies. On March 17 1968 a peaceful anti-Vietnam War protest in London ends in a riot outside the US Embassy as police on horses try to control up to 20,000 protestors. Unknown to the protestors one of the worst acts of the war is carried out the day before in the Vietnamese village of My Lai when US Lieutenant Calley leads his 100 strong company into the village and kills at least 347 of the 700 Vietnamese inhabitants. On March 19 students in Washington DC stage rallies, protests and a 5-day sit-in. On April 23 at Columbia University in New York City the SDS holds a rally while a week long student sit-in starts to protest ties to the US Defense Dept. The students seize several buildings and 628 people get arrested ! Another student sit-in takes place at Northwestern University in Chicago. On April 26 up to one million college and high school students boycott classes nationwide.
Sit-ins and occupations take place in many European Universities – notably at the London School of Economics in London and the University of Nanterre in Paris. In fact revolutionary focus now shifts to France where in May 1968 student riots and strikes hit most parts of France and succeed in getting 10 million workers to go on strike. There is violent fighting in Paris on the Boulevard Saint-Michel and Saint-Germain and rioters set fire to the Paris Bourse. Some 600 students and police are wounded. Across North America campus protests too become more assertive – in Washington DC, New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Berkeley California, Houston Texas and Montreal Canada. Many universities elsewhere experience violent protest – as in in Mexico City where troops invade the university and dozens of students are killed.
On June 5 Senator Robert Kennedy is shot and mortally wounded by gunman Sirhan Sirhan at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, just after claiming victory in California’s Democratic presidential primary – he dies the next day. On Aug 26 the Democratic National Convention opens in Chicago. Thousands of anti-war demonstrators take to the streets and riots develop between protestors and police outside the Convention. On Oct 27 in London there is a massive anti-Vietnam war demonstration – but it will be the last. In February 1969 in North Carolina students at Duke University take over the Allen Building – but sit-ins and university occupations in the US and Europe are now on the wane.
On June 17 1969 the raunchy and partly nude musical review ‘Oh! Calcutta!’ opens in New York. It breaks more censorship thresholds than ‘Hair’. In June 1969 the ‘gay rights’ movement is considered to have been born when police officers raid the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Some 400 to 1,000 patrons riot against the police for 3 days. Within a year there will be Gay Liberation marches. On August 15 1969 400,000 young people gather at White Lake, New York state for the Woodstock music festival – the first ‘rock festival’. During 1969 the number of community based underground newspapers in the US mushrooms to 150.
On September 24 1969 the trial of the “Chicago Eight” begins. Five defendants are convicted of inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic national convention – their convictions will ultimately be overturned. In October 1969 a branch of the SDS calling themselves ‘Weathermen’ launch ‘Days of Rage’ – their direct action campaign includes vandalism against homes, businesses and automobiles, and assault against police officers. Dozens are injured, and over 280 members of the Weather Underground are arrested. On November 15 250,000 anti-war protesters stage the largest and peaceful demonstration in Washington, D.C. However, in contrast, later in May 1970 not only do several hundred construction workers in New York demonstrate in support of the war but on May 20 some 100,000 people march in support of US policy in Vietnam and Cambodia.
On February 16 1970 in San Francisco a homemade bomb, placed outside a police station kills a police sergeant. In that month there are explosions in Washington, Maryland and Michigan. On March 6 a bomb explodes in a Greenwich Village townhouse when 3 militant Weathermen members are killed at the site where a bomb is being manufactured. Later in the year a bomb explodes at the University of Wisconsin’s Army Math Research Center in Madison which kills a researcher.
On May 1 1970 students at Ohio’s Kent State University protest at the American invasion of Cambodia – campus protests are now breaking out across the nation. But when student anti-war protesters burn down the army officers training building the National Guard are ordered to take control of the campus. On May 4 a peaceful rally of some 2,000 students is ordered by National guardsmen to disperse and tear gas is fired into the crowd. Then a small group of guardsmen suddenly fire into a group of protesters, killing four and wounding eleven others. In the days that follow, hundreds of colleges are shut down by student strikes and more than 100,000 demonstrators march on Washington, D.C. Later the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest investigates the Kent killings and finds “The indiscriminate firing of rifles into a crowd of students and the deaths that followed were unnecessary, unwarranted, and inexcusable.” In the first days of July 1970 the Uranus/Pluto conjunction goes out of orb,
We have seen how the fight for Black rights, Women’s rights and Gay rights along with the right not to have to fight in a war or support a war which the individual perceives as immoral is accompanied by a cultural explosion in which in particular the individual’s freedom of expression is seen as paramount. Of course such a principle has been propounded by many writers for centuries but this is the first contemporary collective expression of such individual rights. The cycle conjunction period of 1961 to 1970 – sees the birth of what we shall call Individualist Liberalism, a social mindset which influentially asserts and defends these absolute individual rights of expression.
Liberalism in its broader sense has long been a worldview founded on the ideas of liberty and equality. ‘Liberal’ politicians (this is not a reference to any political party) support ideas such as free and fair elections, civil rights, and a right to life, liberty, and property. Some contemporary liberals however are especially vociferous on individual rights – especially in terms of individual freedoms – in particular the individual’s right to free speech and freedom of expression. These rights are seen to necessarily over-rule some of the rights of the majority in societies. Acceptance of this principle is clearly born in the 1960s and has become greatly amplified in the decades that follow.
Will the Uranus/Pluto Out square in orb between 2009 and 2020, see an extension to OR a challenge to this development of Black, Women and Gay rights ? Will that period see anti-war protests? Will students become the core of national anti-government demonstrations ? Will there be an accompanying cultural explosion or a cultural backlash ? What will happen to the freedom for individual expression in print, on television, in art or in other media such as the internet ? Will the freedom in sexual behaviour and sexual expression get extended ? Will the focus of development be in North America, Europe or some other geographical area ?
The next two stages in the Cycle – the 1978 Semi-sextile and 1995 Sextile
At these minor cycle stages only Computers and PostModernism are addressed. The semisextile (+ 30 degree point) was reached three times – on 19 February 1978, on 13 December 1978 and on August 16 1979. and the sextile (+ 60 degree point) on 10 April 1995. Neither the semisextile or sextile is a major stage in a cycle so we must allow any correlation to be suggestive rather than conclusive. We must also give these aspects a relatively narrow orb – roughly three degrees either side of these points. The periods we shall examine are for the semisextile between mid November 1977 and mid January 1980 and for the sextile between July 6th 1993 and November 18th 1995. At the semisextile we should expect to see the first detectable manifestation of Computers and PostModernism in the outside world, at the sextile that manifestation should become quite evident. At the semisextile the development is marginal to society, at the sextile it is starting to get integrated into the mainstream.
Let us look first at the semisextile. The first noticeable manifestation of the Computer in the world outside government, commercial data bureaux and academic research comes in December 1978 when Atari announces the Atari 400 and 800 personal computers, the first of their kind, and in 1979 (month unknown) when Hayes introduces the 110/300 baud modem for the Apple II personal computer and finally in July 1979 when Compuserve begins the Micronet service offering bulletin boards, databases and games for personal computer owners. The launch of affordable personal computers and a modem to transmit and receive data is unquestionably the key point at which the true consumer potential of the computer can first begin to be detected or glimpsed.
The Sextile point is reached in April 1995. Again looking three degrees either side of this point during 1994, 1995 and 1996 we should expect to see clear signs of computers beginning to be widely integrated into society. In October 1994 the first mass market browser Netscape Navigator 1.0 is launched. In August 1995 Microsoft releases Windows 95 and Office 95 and both Sony and Sega introduce 32-bit game systems. Indeed that these are launch points can be seen when soon after in November 1995 Microsoft releases Microsoft Internet Explorer 2.0 and in June 1996 Nintendo announces a 64-bit game system. It will be recalled that the Uranus/Pluto sextile point was reached shortly after the Uranus/Neptune conjunction which it has been suggested signified the emergence of what we currently call the Internet as the global vehicle for a new collective idealism. The contemporaneous launch of the web browser technology with an outpouring of enthusiasm for the Internet’s potential benefit’s serves to reflect this
BAUDRILLARD & FOUCAULT
At the semisextile the first noticeable manifestation of the term Postmodernism on the wider intellectual scene comes in 1977 when Charles Jencks publishes ‘The Language of Postmodern Architecture’ perhaps the earliest key work to shape the use of the term ‘Postmodernist’ today. In that same year Jean Baudrillard publishes ‘Symbolic Exchange and Death’ which proclaims that there is no longer such a thing as ideology – there is only what he terms simulation (see below). In that same year Michel Foucault’s two seminal books ‘Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison’ and the first and most referenced volume of ‘The History of Sexuality’ are translated into English. The books are hugely influential in opening up alternative explanations of the way in which society controls the individual and the manner in which sex relates to power.
But it is in French academic circles that the Postmodernist approach gains some of its strongest initial ground. The key event comes in 1979 when Jean-François Lyotard writes a short but influential work ‘The Postmodern Condition : a report on knowledge’. In that same year Christopher Norris publishes ‘Deconstruction: theory and practice’ – he is later to become a leading critic of Postmodernism.
HYPER-REALITY & SIMULATION
Postmodernism is closely allied with sociology and Jean Baudrillard during the late 1960s is an Assistant Sociology Professor, moving on to lecture at that hotbed of student revolution – the University of Paris-Nanterre. What Baudrillard terms ‘hyperreality’ is a good example of Postmodernist thinking. He believes that, especially in America, society has constructed itself a world that is more ‘real’ than Real. Authenticity has been replaced by copy and nothing is ‘real,’ though those engaged in the illusion are incapable of seeing it. Instead of having experiences, people observe spectacles, via real or metaphorical control screens. Instead of the real, we have simulation. The analogy with the Computer paradigm is striking. The description is still close enough today to be un-nerving.
But the years 1977-79 do not just mark an academic breakthrough for Postmodernism in Europe, it also happens in the United States and at its most prestigious university. In 1979 Jacques Derrida publishes ‘Spurs’ and ‘Living On’ in ‘Deconstruction and Criticism’, a new anthology of essays from senior academics at Yale University. The book confirms the existence of a Yale school of Deconstructive criticism. In the USA in related academic fields Peter Berger (Sociology), Richard Rorty (Philosophy) and Edward Said (PostColonialism) in the same period open up their subjects to the new influence. On both sides of the Atlantic Postmodernism has arrived in academic circles and this is acknowledged by a pre-eminent historian of Postmodernism Stephen Connor who states that the “concept of postmodernism cannot be said to have crystallized until about the mid-1970’s.” We believe the years 1977-79 were the crucial years of academic ascendancy.
And so we come to the Sextile point reached in April 1995. The Columbia Encyclopaedia describes the term Postmodernism as most specifically designating an international architectural movement that emerged in the 1960s (conjunction), became prominent in the late 1970s and 80s (semi-sextile), and remained a dominant force in the 1990s (the sextile stage). We are going to have to show that during 1994, 1995 and 1996 the Postmodernist approach begins to be widely integrated into society. Our first evidence of this is that during these years we first see Postmodernist thinking begin to elicit a strong reaction from Christian theologians and intellectuals.
CHRISTIANITY REELING FROM ONSLAUGHT
During these years Christianity, which had begun to reel under the onslaught of Postmodernism, came back with a strong response, one that ensured Postmodernism would stay high on any theological course’s curriculum. George Barna writes ‘Absolute Confusion: How our moral and Spiritual Foundations are eroding in this age of change’, David Wells writes ‘God in the Wasteland: The Reality of Truth in a World of Fading Dreams’, Gene Veith writes ‘ Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture’
Gene Veith puts the relevance clearly: “Without a belief in God…..it would be difficult to avoid postmodernist conclusions . . . If there is no transcendent logos, then there can be no absolutes, no meaning apart from human culture….Postmodernism may represent the dead-end – the implosion, the deconstruction-of attempts to do without God.”
RELATIVISM & MULTICULTURALISM
But much wider than this we begin to see the emergence from Postmodernism of what came to be referred to by its critics as ‘political correctness’. (One of the first to deploy this term was Postmodernist philosopher Michel Foucault in March 1968). Martin Fields explains that according to the precepts of Postmodernism “when it comes to issues of morality…each culture’s, and ultimately each individual’s, view on ethics is just as valid as the next”. This view is the basis for the assumptions of the ‘Political Correctness’ movement in today’s society. Rather than affirming any one morality as absolute, every person’s moral persuasion is to be respected no matter what it is, and even language must be revised so as to not favour any one outlook and thus offend another. (famously for one English local council “Happy Christmas” had to become “Happy Wintertide”) Again this is evident in the mid 1990s outside cultural and intellectual centres and among non-intellectual members of society. It goes on to become the moral and intellectual basis of Multiculturalism.
We also see emerge a surge of what amounts to cultural cynicism, cultural boredom or helplessness. There is a sense of ‘ we’ve seen it all before’, ‘there are no stories left to tell’ , we’ve done that, we’ve bought that T shirt’. The point is that this cynicism spreads out of academia into the media, into different aspects of culture such as music and painting. As Linda Tate says “Postmodernism is all pervasive influencing not only literature but also music, fashion and food – virtually everything that makes up our collective sense of culture. But our collective sense of culture depends on shared systems of meaning and valuation. One could say that after decades of cumulative erosion in the mid 1990s there finally occurred a breakdown in the traditional systems of meaning in the West”.
Theology Today has described postmodernism as “the perception of a radical sociocultural upheaval within modern culture, a ‘socioquake,’ an unsettling shift in the massive geological plates undergirding liberal Western culture and society. The term refers to a cultural mood, a perception about the spirit or the tendency of our culture. It points to a sense of dis-ease or promise, a feeling of transition to something new in our culture”. Can we see evidence of this ‘socioquake’ or cultural dis-ease in popular culture in this exact period ?
CULTURAL DIS-EASE – FORMALDEHYDE SHEEP & TRAINSPOTTING
The examples we can cite are sporadic but illuminating. 1994 sees artist Damien Hirst create his controversial work ‘Away from the Flock’ consisting of a sheep preserved in formaldehyde – the only defence for this had to be postmodernist. Composer Harrison Birtwistle writes his postmodernist opera ‘The Second Mrs Kong’ an opera described by one critic as “about aloneness, discorporation, separation and dis-paration…about impossibly disparate and disjunct elements held together, bound together, by ideas”. Three films premiered between 1994 and 1996 which break new thresholds in their detachment from human morality and ethics – ‘Natural Born Killers’, ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘Trainspotting’. The postmodernist perspective has seeped out of the ivory towers of academia and the inner circles of aesthetics to colonise popular media and literature. The violent reality of ‘Natural born killers’ and the drug infested world of ‘Trainspotting’ are devoid of any high minded truths. These films explore non judgmentally a diverse and fragmented world with no concern to place them in some unified context. Postmodernism is no longer a matter of avant garde cultural theories and niceties, this is on the streets and pervasive throughout culture and much of the media.
McDONALDISATION & HOLLYWOODISATION
The amorally relativistic, a-religious and a-philosophical West that Postmodernism has helped define presents a threat to those societies whose worldview is still based on religion and tradition. As Dr Klages has so perceptively stated it seems clear that “one of the consequences of postmodernism seems to be the rise of religious fundamentalism, as a form of resistance to the questioning of the ‘grand narratives’ of religious truth.” Not only are the tenets of postmodernism repugnant to the Muslim world for instance, but they are carried into the very midst of these societies by the combined and unstoppable force of Western consumerism (McDonaldisation) and Western based media (Hollywoodisation) which know no borders or frontiers. Legitimate opposition to these invasive forces has little chance of success and in that vacuum there is little doubt that the hard men have emerged to wreak the only onslaught that the West has to sit up and confront – fundamentalist terrorism
OUT SQUARE 2009 – 2020 (exact in June & Sept 2012, May & Nov 2013, April & Dec 2014 and March 2015)
In identifying developments around the 2012 Outgoing square we shall focus on recorded historical developments which occurred or are likely to occur while the planets Uranus and Pluto are within 10 degrees of each other. We are therefore looking at the period 24 March 2009 to 23 March 2020. This is around eleven years out of a 139 year cycle. Elsewhere this book’s coverage ends July 2010 but here because of the current importance of the Uranus/Pluto Out square coverage is extended to October 2012. However this still means that only one third of the Out square period is available for evidence as to the correlation of the cycle stage and only two exact hits out of seven are available for clues as to the key thrust of the cycle stage. Consequently any conclusions have to be highly qualified.
At the square (+90 degrees) in 2012 we should expect to see some major challenge or extension to the computer’s development both as a device and as an intellectual methodology or ‘paradigm’. It is likely that the computer as a device will in this period have to undergo a major transformation which could be challenging for the majority of its users. At the same time the mindset that has grown with this cycle, Postmodernism, should encounter its first major resistance. The meaning of the cycle implies that both the computer and the related mindset will successfully meet these challenges but not without some very unsettling problems or crises. The computer and later Postmodernism will by 2020 have become stronger (i.e. more established) through overcoming the obstacles or transitional problems they are presented with in this eleven year period.
Let us first look at the computer as a device. It started around 1965 in laboratories, universities and in offices as a rather boring large sized number crunching machine and progressed to the ubiquitous desktop or laptop that huge numbers of people use for all kinds of purposes every single day. It has had peripherals and accessories added, it has enabled software or apps as we now say. It was, and is still, used as a word processor, internet access provider and display device and a knowledge or data storage medium. But it is becoming clear that the personal computer that emerges from this cycle out square is going to be a very different device from the standard one in 2009. In particular much of its functionality will move onto smartphones
– ‘the computer’ moves to becoming essentially an access and control device with data tending to be stored centrally on the internet – so called ‘cloud computing’
– laptops, tablets and notebooks along with large screen mobiles increasingly displace desktop computers except for some secure office functions
– Touch screen technology begins to increasingly rival the mouse and the keyboard though with writing and professional or semi-professional activities the keyboard will remain the main text input device.
– researchers start working out futuristic ways in which the human body can be used as a control centre – for instance where different parts of your hand can become a phone and your wrist carry a watch size computer.
DESIGN & PERFORMANCE
– In August 2009 it is reported that DNA shapes can now be organised to serve as a scaffold for electronic components just six nanometres apart – an eightfold increase on the existing silicon chip standard.
– In November 2009 it is reported that the next generation of computers may make use of the ‘spin’ of electrons instead of the electrons’ charge – this could lead to computers that require far less power than conventional ones.
– in April 2010 it is reported that researchers at Hewlett Packard (HP) have developed memristors – tiny devices which are the ‘fourth’ basic building block of circuits, after capacitors, resistors and inductors. HP plans for them to replace transistors. Their unique property is to allow future chips to both store and process data in the same device – currently these functions have to be done on separate devices which is both slow and wasteful. Professor Leon Chua – the first person to propose memristors – describes the work as “conceptually, just the tip of the iceberg”
– In July 2010 it is reported that the way neurons (in the brain) communicate could inspire the next generation of computers.
– In July 2010 scientists make progress on reducing the energy use of computers, especially supercomputer’s. IBM’s Aquasar technology, launched in this month, cools computer processors by flowing water between each one. The technology, developed for supercomputers, is 50% more energy efficient and in a future dominated by energy costs it and similar energy reducing processes are likely to become more widely deployed in data centres worldwide.
– In 2009 and 2010 it becomes clear that Personal Computers’ Hard Disc capacity is going to be hugely larger. Western Digital produces the first 2.0 and 3.0 terabyte hard drive. In 2010 the first Drive is manufactured using the Advanced Format of 4,096 bytes a block (“4K”) instead of 512 bytes a block. In 2011 Seagate produce the first 4.0 terabyte hard drive. In 2012 Western Digital announces the first 2.5-inch, 5mm thick drive, and the first 2.5-inch, 7mm thick drive with two platters.
In time, but perhaps not during the Out square, the chips and processors inside a computer may no longer be made from silicon but from a newly discovered material ‘graphene’ – said to be the strongest and most conductive material ever measured.
– 2009 Samsung and Fujitsu join IBM in starting major research programmes on graphene. In April 2010 European startup Graphenea is established, raising $3.8 million to produce graphene. In June 2010 Samsung manages to fabricate a 30″ graphene sheet. In September 2010 UCLA researchers develop a 300Ghz graphene transistor. In February 2011 researchers develop a graphene-based high-performance bendable battery and Graphene is demonstrated to repel water very effectively. In October 2011 the UK government to invest £50 million (later £71m) in graphene commercial opportunities. In December 2011 the Siren alarm tag, the world’s first graphene-based product starts shipping. In February 2012 Graphene is used to create what are the world’s toughest fibres. In July 2012 it is demonstrated that Graphene can automatically repair itself. In August 2012 Sony produces a record 100 metre long graphene sheet. In September 2012 Graphene coating is shown to make copper almost 100 times more resistant to corrosion
It is likely that the Postmodernist mindset will encounter its first major challenge since its birth in the mid 1960s. Remember that we are using ‘intellectual mindset’ as shorthand for the dominant approach to the nature of reality and knowledge. The challenge is likely to come in the form of societal disillusionment with a philosophy born of disillusionment and a strong criticism of intellectual relativism (the total acceptance of plurality, diversity and fragmentation in beliefs and approaches).
INTELLECTUAL RELATIVISM REJECTED
It is likely that the effects of the financial collapse of 2008, the worst since the Great Depression, whose final manifestation may still be on its way up to 2020, will include a growing rejection of not just financial and regulatory laissez-faire and equivocation but a rejection of the intellectual mindset underlying this relativism. This relativistic mindset was one that seemed to say if a system of ideas makes sense intellectually but contradicts another set of ideas or beliefs let it develop wherever it will. Avoid any attempt to unify, inter-relate or structure society’s different approaches. Let a thousand flowers bloom ! Do not make any absolute judgement on new intellectual attitudes or theories, avoid anything that could smack of a societal worldview.
LESS TOLERANCE FOR EQUIVOCATION
As the Uranus/Pluto square comes into orb in 2009 and 2010 a degree of anger can be detected among those in society especially those most affected by the credit crunch. There is a growing perception that decision makers have been playing intellectual games – no more so than in banks where it is quite clear senior bankers did not understand what they were doing – they simply trusted that the experts who came up with the complex web of selling and sub-selling of risk and debt knew what they were doing.
The intellectual climate by 2012 has become less tolerant – there is now a stronger demand in society for high minded truths – especially on environmental and health topics. And there is a demand for judgement – equivocation is no longer flavour of the month ! These societal pressures seep through to intellectual centres such as the sometimes cash pressed universities. It would be very surprising if in this climate a Postmodernist book became a best seller or a Postmodernist writer become an icon. The next few years are going to prove a bumpy ride and relativistic abstraction is not needed.
MULTICULTURALISM BLAMED FOR ALIENATION
Multiculturalism, for political as well as intellectual reasons, has already been rejected as a societal philosophy by many European governments. Its influence has been blamed in some countries for the pervasiveness of support for terrorism since 9/11 and alienation between communities. Islamic fundamentalism itself strongly opposes intellectual relativism and faces uncomfortable questions when it comes to the co-existence of beliefs and values within its own culture’s sub-boundaries. Finally we shall see in the next section whether the right to absolute personal freedom of expression will be allowed at this time to survive this critical onslaught.
SOCIETY AWARE OF DE-HUMANISING EFFECTS
At the conceptual boundary between the Computer and Postmodernism there may arise at the cycle Out square an increasing awareness even questioning of the objectives of information technology when set against its dehumanising effects. Firstly the pervasiveness and intrusion of computers into every aspect of human life is now getting increasingly strong. In particular the erosion of privacy has surged in 2010 and 2011 as individuals allow a mass of personal data to be stored out on the internet on social network sites like Facebook, Twitter or relationship sites. And this at a time when cyber crime is mushrooming into a multi billion dollar industry. Not least, computers are getting significantly more compromised by subversive cyber activity from the Internet – the huge number of computers used as malicious ‘botnets’ is one example. Finally but more difficult to measure could there be the very beginnings of an intellectual revolt against the compartmentalisation of thought that the computer has increasingly imposed on intellectual and creative and business to consumer tasks?
KNOWLEDGE COMPLETELY FUNCTIONAL
By 2012 knowledge is becoming completely functional – you learn things, not to know them, but simply to use that knowledge. Knowledge is seen as out there conveniently on the internet despite the fact that a huge proportion of what passes for fact on the web is in fact false and risks getting duplicated daily by other factual websites. Knowing what is truth and what is false on the internet will be a key issue for intellectuals in particular. Knowledge has also now become increasingly fragmented so that the mass of intellectuals are specialist, the only generalists are journalists and authors and even many of them will only admit to being specialist. Moreover as Dr Mary Klages points out “in postmodern societies, anything which is not able to be translated into a form recognizable and storable by a computer – in other words anything that’s not digitisable – will cease to be knowledge”. Therefore one section of the population will decide what knowledge is even if the anarchic Internet will constantly seek to break that definitional circle open.
By 2012 everything that is produced, distributed and consumed in society reaches that stage through a computer. If it bypasses or ignores the computer it does not really exist or to be more precise it is something purely individual and therefore is seen as lacking full validity.
This cycle Out square is unlikely to see large numbers of people smashing up computers metaphorically or literally. The Luddites of 2012 would have to call on superhuman powers to wreck something now so ingrained in society and seemingly so needed by both the individual and society but as the power of the computer expands exponentially there are likely to be sections of society who will start to opt out of the information society – by using open information technology like mobile phones and areas of the internet.
RISE OF POPULIST POLITICAL PARTIES
We are guessing that the first half of the 1965 to 2104 Uranus/Pluto cycle ending in 2046 will see the rise and fall of PostModernism – we are suggesting that the Postmodernist disillusion with the progress of Science, with the powers of reason and with high minded truths will very slowly start to recede after 2012 at the same time as cracks begin to appear in the intellectual strength of Postmodernist doctrines. The period around 2015 starts to be a time of sweeping disillusion throughout society with the actions and status of society’s key decision makers especially politicians – and those standing up and urging intellectual unity and coherence may be striking a popular note. Those that maintain that there are some certainties in the world, some inviolable values, some tenable worldview may have a far more appreciative audience than they would have had a decade earlier – this will be seen in the rise of populist political parties.
INTELLECTUAL EXPLOSION AT CYCLE OPPOSITION
But make no mistake Postmodernism is here to stay as the dominant intellectual mindset for many decades. The key postmodernist principles of accepting the pluralism, diversity and fragmentation of contemporary society in a relativistic or non-judgmental manner could well remain till the cycle opposition when an intellectual explosion could well turn Postmodernism into a more accepting and integrating part of society’s worldview. We cannot say what the mindset of the second half of this cycle will be called but it is likely to define itself more by support than rejection of society’s intellectual history. There will no longer be a climate of disillusion with disillusion. Society is likely to move on to risk holding beliefs which may turn in time to disillusion. There may be striving for unity, universality and certainty as the intellectual debate of the past half cycle is assimilated and consolidated. Only at the cycle In square is the whole Postmodernist debate likely to become increasingly irrelevant to the world as it will by then no longer be aligned with the world of reality and knowledge.
It is worth pointing out that the schema, formula and whole approach of this website you are on is fundamentally at odds with Postmodernism – though it is written at a time when PostModernism is near its peak.
SOCIETAL MINDSET – a massive gap between rights in the West and the Rest of the world
The explosion of rebellion and the pursuit of various freedoms at the cycle conjunction in the 1960s which manifested in the achievement of new Black, Women and Gay rights alongside anti-war protests and student activism is seen as an essential part of Postmodernism. These events have clearly not recurred in the same form since. However at the cycle Out square are we now to see major extensions to these advances OR will there be major challenges ? It is probable some of the forecasts below will need modifying.
What is apparent as we survey where rights have got to since the original battle in the 1960s is the massive gap between the attainment of rights in the West (North America and Europe) and the rest of the world, especially Africa and Asia.
DEMOCRATIC, WOMEN’S AND MINORITY RIGHTS
The key difference between these issues at the Conjunction and the Out square is whereas in the 1960s the new social mindset manifests in North America, Europe and Australasia, by 2009 the same battles are being fought largely outside the advanced countries. The first consequence of this is that on the one hand it is entire populations outside of the governing and wealthy classes who are battling for their basic democratic rights and on the other hand minority racial groups are no longer mostly Black – their racial grouping is more likely to be determined by religion. This is not to say that African American communities in the US or the West Indian and communities in Britain and the rest of Europe do not still face issues – but they are mostly the concern of activists. The situation for Asian or Middle East communities in their own countries is on a totally different scale ! The same applies to feminism and female emancipation. The lack of Women’s rights outside advanced countries is on a totally different scale and hugely more marked. This is even more true of Gay rights. We shall see in traditional countries respective groups struggling to establish their rights but we may also see in advanced countries an emerging backlash as to how far minority group rights can encroach on the majority’s rights.
In the 1960s we would have termed these rights ‘Civil Rights’ – indeed that term was used almost exclusively in the US then to refer to Black rights and later in Northern Ireland to refer to the struggles by the minority (35%) Catholic population to achieve equal rights. In North America and Europe many of those whose skin is not white have a continuing battle to fight for equality though things have much improved since the 1960s. But the focus of this cycle appears to be on those people who have very few if any rights. For a long period it was the lack of basic democratic rights in virtually all Communist countries that was given as the key ideological difference underpinning the Cold War. In post-colonial Asia and Africa a the virtues of independence (most were granted independence in the 1960s) were based on the belief that democracy was the best possible system of government alongside a somewhat unconvincing proclamation of general rights and freedoms – which clearly in most of those countries were many decades away from being put into practice.
This aspect of the Uranus/Pluto Out square does seem to correlate with an outburst of demonstrations and protests but in the many countries outside the West where basic democratic rights are being denied. Look at the ‘Arab Spring’ countries. In the 1988 SAT/URA cycle (see webpage) we suggested that the collapse of the Soviet Union and the democratisation of most East European countries, which along with end of the Cold war marked the 1988-90 Saturn/Uranus conjunction, led on at the final maximisation opposition stage to the ‘Arab Spring’. It seems as if the peak of that Saturn/Uranus cycle was concerned with the actual overthrow of governments such as occurred in Tunisia (January 2011), Egypt (February 2011), Libya (August 2011 and Yemen (November 2011) as well as the contemporaneous major protests which led to a change in Government or government policies in Jordan, Oman, Kuwait, Morocco and Lebanon.
Of course in many countries where major protests occurred there has yet to be a clear outcome – not least in Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya and of course Syria – but we would contend that the ‘Arab Spring’ – like the Saturn/Uranus opposition – ended at the end of 2011. It looks strongly as if the focus for societal upheaval likely to occur during the Uranus/Pluto Out square between 2009 and 2020 is the struggle for these ‘Arab Spring’ countries to achieve a change of societal mindset. That mindset will have to focus on defining the borderline between religion and politics and is likely to involve a new relationship with the West. Indeed it seems likely to focus on the whole question of borders as upheavals result in massive population migration – in many cases to Europe. It may be that certain countries in North Africa and the Gulf do come up with a workable democratic formula appropriate to their history but it will almost certainly be one that will leave the West nervous about the status and role of religion in government. Remember with this cycle we are talking about a revolution in mindset not actions.
The unfolding of the Arab Spring between August 2007 and April 2011 is covered in detail on this cycle page > http://cyclesofhistory.com/saturnuranus-1988-2032/ – scroll down to the entries in RED
Unlike the 1960s the battle for Women’s rights is now focused on countries outside the West – especially patriarchal countries where religion and tradition have always denied women rights. On April 19 2009, shortly after the Out square starts hundreds of Afghans attack a demonstration of more than 100 women protesting against a new Afghan marriage law they say restricts wives’ rights. The women are pelted with small stones as police struggle to keep the two groups apart. At the same time in Saudi Arabia the head of the powerful religious police fires the chief of the Mecca force for advocating the mixing of the sexes. On May 11 Nigerian Senator Yerima, under fire for marrying a 13-year-old Egyptian girl, justifies his actions by saying he was following in the footsteps of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed, who allegedly had married a nine-year-old girl.
In August 2009 Afghanistan quietly passes a law permitting Shia men to deny their wives food and sustenance if they refuse to obey their husbands’ sexual demands. This is despite international outrage over an earlier version of the legislation effectively legalising rape within marriage – which President Karzai had promised to review. The law also grants guardianship of children exclusively to their fathers and grandfathers, and requires women to get permission from their husbands to work. “Simply put, this is a patriarchal society,” regretfully explains the Director of Women for Afghan Women, “Women are the property of men. This is tradition.” Forced marriages involving girls have been part of the social compacts between tribes and families for centuries, and they continue. Even beating, torture and trafficking of women remain common and are broadly tolerated.
From March 2010, the UN Commission on the Status of Women undertakes a fifteen-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action on Women’s rights – emphasis being placed on the sharing of experiences and good practices. On 2 July 2010 the UN General Assembly unanimously votes to create a single UN body – UN Women – tasked with accelerating progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment. In January 2011 UN Women becomes operational and in April 2012 a UN System-wide Action Plan (UN-SWAP) gets adopted. It has much to do. 30 years after the adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in many countries, women are not entitled to own property or inherit land. Social exclusion, “honor” killings, female genital mutilation, trafficking, restricted mobility and early marriage among other issues are common.
On June 7 2010 Iran’s first women-only bank branch opens, allowing women to manage their finances without dealing with unrelated men. At the same time an Iranian airport official says that 71 Iranian women “improperly” dressed were prevented from boarding flights in recent months, as a police crackdown intensifies. On June 22 a Saudi court convicts four women and 11 men for mingling at a party and sentences them to lashing and prison terms. In June 2010 a demonstration in Washington DC condemning ‘gender apartheid’ is held in advance of an official visit by Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz – there to meet with President Obama. The status of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia is one of the most repressive in the world. Laws demand segregation of women in public life, male guardianship rights are absolute, and there is inequality for women in education, employment, health, and before the law. Public lashing of women and abuse at the hands of the religious police is standard and the stoning to death of women in adultery, considered totally barbaric by most of the world, still continues.
On October 18 Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National reports that the UAE’s highest judicial body has ruled that a man can beat his wife and young children as long as the beating leaves no physical marks. On December 9 in less repressive Jordan a woman is appointed as chief district attorney of the country’s capital, marking the first time a woman has held a top prosecutor’s post in this pro-American Arab kingdom.
In March 2011 Human Rights Watch issues a report on Chechnya saying “The enforcement of a compulsory Islamic dress code on women violates their rights to private life, personal autonomy, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion, thought, and conscience.” This comment could have been made about many of the 19 countries with an Islamic population of over 20,000 but the dress code is surely not the worst denial of women’s rights in these countries. On March 23 2011 Amnesty International condemns the “shocking” treatment of 18 women protesters in Egypt after serious allegations that the army subjected them to torture and forced “virginity tests” – soon after this a Court bans such police actions. On May 11 2011 a new study released by the American Journal of Public Health states that 1,152 women are raped every day in Congo DRC, a rate equal to 48 per hour !
At the other end of the scale on May 28 2011 thousands of people turn out for Australia’s first “SlutWalk,” protesting for women to be able to wear whatever they like without fear of being sexually assaulted. SlutWalk had begun the previous month in Canada after a Toronto police official said that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized” . Later in the year a similar but 2,000 strong demonstration takes place in Cape Town, South Africa where rape is seen as a national crisis as well as in tightly controlled Singapore. In June 2011 Malaysian lawyers, politicians and activists accuse the police of abusing their power in chaining up and marking the bodies of 30 foreign women detained for alleged prostitution. On Jan 20 2012 in Malawi hundreds of outraged girls and women, among them prominent politicians, protest the recent public stripping of women of their outlawed miniskirts and pants.
Progress on women’s rights in the West still has two areas to conquer – the difference between men and women’s pay and job prospects and women becoming priests – especially becoming bishops. On July 12 2010 the Church of England national assembly decides that women should be allowed to become bishops – yet later the Church’s ruling synod fails to pass this with the required majority. Two months earlier the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith orders an overhaul of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which had been citing radical feminist themes and questioning official positions on homosexuality and the ordination of women.
On April 21 2009 in Geneva over 100 countries agree on a declaration to combat racism and related forms of intolerance worldwide – yet gay rights outside the West have a long way to go. On May 16 in Russia riot police violently break up several gay rights demonstrations in Moscow, That same day the gay community in tightly controlled Singapore holds its first-ever rally. On June 13 in Italy tens of thousands of gay rights activists march through the streets of Rome demanding rights for same-sex couples. On June 17 President Obama, whose gay and lesbian supporters have grown frustrated with his slow movement on their priorities, decides to extend benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees but stops short of a guarantee of full health insurance. On June 26 Ireland recognizes the legal rights of same-sex couples for the first time in a civil partnership bill that gives people in long-term relationships many of the statutory rights of married couples. On August 1 Australia’s centre-left ruling party votes for national recognition of same-sex unions but stops short of lifting a ban on gay marriage.
On August 17 Human Rights Watch says Iraqi militiamen are torturing and killing gay men with impunity in a systematic campaign that has spread from Baghdad to several other cities. Ten days later Uruguay lawmakers approve a bill allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt. The law supported by socialist President Vazquez’s Broad Front coalition, which has already legalized gay civil unions ends a ban on homosexuals in the armed forces. On October 11 thousands of gay and lesbian activists march from the White House to the Capitol, demanding that President Obama keep his promises to allow gays to serve openly in the military and allow same-sex marriages. On December 12 Houston becomes the largest US city to elect an openly gay mayor.
While gay marriage gets authorised in six US states, in China on Jan 15 2010 police in Beijing shut down what would have been the country’s first-ever gay pageant. On March 4 2010 throngs of Mexico City gay and lesbian couples register for marriage licenses, the day Latin America’s first gay-marriage law takes effect. On March 24 Indonesian police order the cancellation of a conference of Asian gay activists The next day the US Dept. of Defense announces stricter guidelines for discharging gay and lesbian service members allowing only generals to approve discharges. On March 26 Zimbabwe state media reports that PM Morgan Tsvangirai has backed President Robert Mugabe’s stance against including gay rights in a new constitution.
On April 8 2010 the Philippine Supreme Court overturns a decision barring a gay rights group from contesting national elections. On April 15 President Obama instructs his Health secretary to draft rules requiring state supported hospitals to grant all patients the right to designate people, including gay and lesbian partners, who can visit them. On May 29 in Russia two Gay Pride parades are held in Moscow – for the first time without any arrests. On June 2 President Obama expands benefits for same-sex partners of federal employees. On June 7 in Portugal a lesbian couple wed in the country’s first authorised same-sex ceremony. On July 15 Argentina legalizes same-sex marriage, becoming the first country in Latin America to grant gays and lesbians all the legal rights, responsibilities and protections that marriage brings to heterosexual couples. In July 2010 in Derby, England, a group of Muslim men hand out leaflets calling for homosexuals to be “punished” and given the death sentence. On August 16 Mexico’s Supreme Court votes to uphold a Mexico City law allowing adoptions by same-sex couples. But while this liberalisation in the West spreads, on September 4 Iran executes three men for homosexuality.
While civil partnership for gay partners has been legislated for in many places only eleven countries at the time of writing (Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, and Sweden) and several sub-national jurisdictions of Brazil, Mexico and the United States have begun to allow same-sex couples to marry. The recognition of same-sex marriage however remains a strong political, social, and religious issue in many nations and it appears clear that in certain countries where civil partnership is already authorised and where there is strong albeit minority religious objections, that the battle will either be long or highly divisive.
Some religious groups around the world do sanction same-sex marriages; for example: Quakers, Episcopalians, the Metropolitan Community Church, the United Church of Christ, the United Church of Canada, Reform and Conservative Jews, Unitarian Universalists and some Native American religions. Yet some critics argue this new status is being sought not so much for equality’s sake (with heterosexuals) as for the freedom to redefine terms which have been used for generations – a re-definition the majority may well resist. Doubts about whether legislation could permanently exclude churches from being forced to offer gay marriage, if they remained against it, also remain strong. It looks as if neither side will let this issue go away. And to some it may seem as if individualistic liberalism is being pushed beyond its limits.
ANTI-WAR/ STUDENT ACTIVISM/ANTI-CAPITALISM
Just into the cycle out square two things appear abundantly clear. First with the American and British occupation of Iraq well and truly over and 2014 set for an exit of American/NATO forces from Afghanistan – with or without a peace deal with the Taliban – anti-war protests in the West are unlikely to feature strongly in the years leading up to 2020.
What does seem likely is that in the face of much harsher economic conditions and severe cutbacks to public spending in Europe (and even in the US if other means of dealing with its huge debt are not found) demonstrations against government austerity measures are likely and it may be that these get increasingly violent and desperate. We can already see from March 2009 to October 2012 in Eurozone countries afflicted by massive debt how riots have multiplied and spread.
There appear to be two related waves, The first directly relates to the economy – issues include austerity cuts, the raising of student tuition fees and the pension age. The second relates to both international protests against capitalism – targeted at financial centres or G20 summits – and violent street riots with no evident cause but which involve serious criminal damage. The first is continuous up to Autumn 2011, the second really dates from August 2011.
ECONOMY RELATED PROTESTS
We shall first look at protests, demonstrations and riots directly related first to jobs or the economy which prove violent, second to education cuts and tuition fees. From the moment the Uranus/Pluto Out square comes into orb we can see economy related riots spread across Europe as described below but later appearing in other countries – in Turkey in May to Oct 2009 –in Russia and Romania in March to May 2010, in Serbia in Feb 2011, in Nigeria in January 2012 and in Sudan in June 2012
The riots and the violence are most marked in Greece because of the country’s extreme indebtedness and the austerity measures needed to obtain a Eurozone rescue loan. On March 13 2009 rioters carrying sledgehammers and iron bars smash cars, banks and storefronts in an upmarket district of Athens. A similar attack occurs in the northern city of Thessaloniki. On April 2 a massive strike closes down public services. On Dec 6 masked youths hurl firebombs and jagged chunks of marble at police as violence erupted during a march in Athens. On May 1 2010 tens of thousands of protesters gather in Athens and other Greek cities for May Day rallies fuelled by anger at the expected harsh austerity measures – there are clashes with riot police. On May 5 three people die when an Athens bank goes up in flames as over 50,000 Greeks again take to the streets to protest the cuts. On December 2 and 15 police clash with students demonstrating against austerity measures outside parliament.
On Feb 23 2011 young demonstrators hurl rocks and fire bombs at riot police as clashes break out in Athens during a mass rally against austerity measures, part of a general strike that cripples public services around the country. On May 26 police in Athens use pepper spray to disperse protesting doctors and hospital staff. On June 5 2011 in Greece tens of thousands gather to protest the government’s austerity policies later resulting in violent clashes with police. On June 28 Greek riot police fire tear gas at youths hurling rocks near the finance ministry in Athens. On October 19 new austerity measures get parliamentary approval as hundreds of youths smash and loot stores in central Athens during a massive anti-government march. On Feb 10 2012 violence erupts again as over 15,000 people take to the streets of Athens after unions launch a 2-day general strike. On Sept 26 Greek police clash with hooded rioters hurling petrol bombs as tens of thousands take to the streets of Athens in a general strike.
SPAIN & PORTUGAL
On March 29 2009 in Spain tens of thousands of demonstrators crowd Madrid, chanting anti-government slogans. On Dec 18 2009 tens of thousands of workers stage strikes in 40 cities to protest state plans to up the retirement age. On Dec 29 2010 Spanish workers shut down trains and buses. On March 12 2011 in Portugal some 30,000 young people rally in Lisbon to vent their frustration over grim career prospects. On May 19 2011 thousands of Spaniards mount a protest camp in the heart of Madrid to express anger at the staggering 21.3% unemployment rate. On June 19 2011 Spanish protesters again march in Madrid over high unemployment. On Feb 17 2012 in Spain hundreds of thousands of protesters march in 57 cities to angrily protest new labour reforms that make it easier for companies to fire workers and pull out of collective bargaining agreements. On May 12 in Spain masses of chanting activists pour into 80 city and town centres across the country in a vast show of strength. On June 28 in Madrid thousands of angry protesters demand new elections.
FRANCE & ITALY
On March 19 2009 in France hundreds of thousands of people begin protests denouncing President Sarkozy’s handling of the economic crisis. Between April and August workers at largely foreign owned factories hold management captive over plans to close down the plants – an adhesives factory, a tire plant and a cigarette-paper mill. On May 27 2010 thousands of French workers stage strikes across the country to protest government plans to raise the retirement age past 60. On June 25 thousands of Italians take to the streets to protest public spending cuts. On Oct 12 and Nov 6 2010 hundreds of thousands of workers, students and junior officials stage protests at the new law requiring people to work until 62 before receiving their pensions.
On March 25 2009 in Edinburgh, Scotland, vandals attack the home of former Royal Bank of Scotland chief Fred Goodwin, smashing windows at his house to protest his $1.2 million annual pension from a bank rescued by and largely owned by the British taxpayer. On March 28 thousands of demonstrators march through London to demand action on poverty and jobs. On April 1st 2009 protesters clash with riot police in central London, breaking into the heavily guarded Royal Bank of Scotland and smashing its windows. On May 20 in Britain hundreds of protesters block roads near an oil refinery, as other sites are hit by a second day of wildcat strikes in a dispute over hiring foreign workers. On March 26 2011 some 250,000 Britons march through London in a demonstration against the government’s austerity measures – more than 200 people are arrested. Rioters go on the rampage after the rally, attacking police and smashing up shops in a night of violence
On May 1 2009 protesters clash with riot police in Germany – angry at their government’s response to the global financial crisis. On May 16 in Germany tens of thousands of workers from across the country march through Berlin to call for increased government measures to protect their jobs.
On September 24 2009 in California thousands of students, professors and workers at UC campuses across the state rally against deep educational cuts. On Nov 10 some 52,000 people march through London to oppose plans to triple university tuition fees – repeated on a smaller scale on Nov 30. On November 17 in San Francisco some 300 students and UC employees protest at a planned repeated increase in tuition fees. On Nov 25 Italian students occupy the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Rome’s Colosseum to also protest planned education cuts. On Nov 30 police in riot gear block access to Rome’s historic centre to keep out thousands of student protesters. Similar protests disrupt Genoa, Milan, Turin, Naples, Venice, Palermo and Bari. On Dec 9 2010 in Britain a heavy police presence holds off angry student protesters marching to London’s Parliament Square as MPs debate a controversial plan to triple university tuition fees in England. On Dec 22 in Rome tens of thousands of students take to the streets to protest planned changes in the university system. Similar protests in Palermo and Milan turn violent.
In Feb 2011 in Chile some 80,000 students and teachers demonstrate for more money for state education. On Oct 18 2011 they clash with police on the first day of a national strike to demand that the government reform the education system. On Nov 9 2011 in London thousands of students march through London in a further display of anger against the government’s cuts. On Nov 10 in Colombia tens of thousands of students march through Bogota in an ongoing struggle over the future of higher education. On May 22 2012 in Canada thousands march through Montreal to protest tuition fee increases. On June 28 in Santiago, Chile, tens of thousands of students take to the streets again.
ANTI CAPITALISM & VIOLENT BUT NON POLITICAL RIOTS
On August 6 2011, a riot tears through parts of north London’s deprived Tottenham neighbourhood. The riots soon spread to Birmingham and other British cities involving as many as 15,000 people – over 500s are arrested. British PM Cameron goes on to recall Parliament from its summer recess and nearly triples the number of police on the streets of London. Using social networking sites the police are able to expose many of the rioters who had been on the rampage for four nights and huge raids in London take the number of arrests to over 1,000. Only 10 days later in Germany over several nights vandals set fire to dozens of cars parked in residential Berlin neighbourhoods. In neither country is there a political or economic cause for the riots. – some label them ‘criminal riots’. However there is a clear political rationale behind the anti-globalisation ‘Occupy’ movement that sweeps across North America and Europe – that comes close to echoing in its spread the anti Vietnam war protests at the cycle conjunction in 1965.
On Sept 17 2011 the Occupy SF movement begins outside a bank in San Francisco at the same time as a protest camp is set up near Wall St in New York. More than 700 protestors get arrested. Then on Oct 15 six events with the same inspiration take place at far flung locations. They are listed by size not time of day. First, in the US thousands gather at the Washington Monument and Times Square decrying the gulf between rich and poor. Second, in London 800 people rally in London’s financial district moving on to occupy the front of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Third, in Hong Kong some 500 people gather in the heart of the financial district to express their anger at the inequities and excesses of free-market capitalism. Fourth, a rally in Madrid’s central square sparks a protest that spreads nationwide. Fifth, in Italy rioters in Rome hijack a peaceful protest and smash bank and store windows.
On Oct 23 2011 anti-Wall Street demonstrators of the Occupy Chicago movement clash with police prompting 130 arrests. On Oct 28 in Tennessee dozens of Occupy Nashville protesters are arrested in a pre-dawn raid. On Nov 2 in Oakland, California police use tear gas and flash grenades on a large crowd of demonstrators who block the city’s port. On Nov 12 in Germany some 9,000 people rally in Frankfurt near the EU’s Central Bank offices calling for an end to excesses of financial speculation. On Nov 13 in Portland, Oregon, several hundred march to protest riot police forcing Occupy Portland demonstrators out of weeks-old encampments.
On Nov 15 2011 in Berkeley, California some 10,000 activists establish a small camp in defiance of the university’s edict. On the same day in New York hundreds of police officers in riot gear raid Zuccotti Park, evicting dozens of Occupy Wall Street protesters from what has become the epicentre of the worldwide movement protesting corporate greed and economic inequality. On the same day in Seattle, Washington, a march and rally in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement turns chaotic as police scatter protesters, with blasts of pepper spray – a similar method is used close up on protestors at the University of California. On Nov 17 police arrest over 200 protesters who block traffic in New York City’s financial district. On Nov 22 Occupy Wall Street protesters arrive in Washington, DC, following a 231-mile trek. On Nov 23 in Canada police clear tents from the Occupy Toronto protest. On Dec 6 the Occupy movement enters a new phase with a day of marches and rallies in over 20 US cities nationwide
On January 28 2012 in Oakland, California riot police fight running skirmishes with anti-Wall Street protesters, firing tear gas and arresting more than 200 people. On Feb 28 British police clear the anti-capitalist camp from outside St Paul’s Cathedral. On March 17 police break up an Occupy Wall St rally. On May 19 in Germany some 20,000 hold a rally of the local Occupy movement in Frankfurt to decry austerity measures and “untamed capitalism.” Then on August 13 in northern France months of tension between police and young people explode in Amiens, with dozens of youths facing off against 200 riot police in a night of violence. On Sept 17 New York police arrest 185 protesters to prevent them from forming a ‘People’s Wall’ around the New York Stock Exchange. Will this pattern either of anti-capitalism or ‘criminal’ riots repeat itself over the years leading up to 2020 ?
There are certain aspects of Individual freedom, many of which first emerged during the 1960s at the cycle conjunction, that have started to be challenged on the grounds that they are now being pushed unnecessarily far – either because they have started to seriously encroach on the rights of the majority or because they are perceived to have simply gone to excess, that is they have reached the point where the benefit achieved by the freedom appears to be outweighed by the potential societal cost. The argument is that there have to be limits to individual freedoms otherwise society’s rights are themselves denied. Is Society now getting ready to set clearer limits ?
The freedom to tell the truth about the lack of black rights and women’s rights, about the realities of an overseas war, to demand that sexuality be openly discussed and written about, indeed the freedom for everyone to voice their own take on almost any subject of personal significance – all these needed a succession of battles to achieve. Over the years many have been threatened, many arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned in this battle. This was a time when society, especially the government and the press, were so hostile to this kind of freedom of expression they would summon all their resources to make sure that the existing limits to what people could say or write were adhered to.
The Sixties changed all that and the intervening years saw a massive turn around to the point now where the government, the media and the establishment feel obliged to at least pay lip service to the rights of anyone to say what they wanted providing it is 1) within the laws of criminal libel 2) as long as what was said or expressed did not vilify a person or group on the basis of one or more characteristics (e.g. colour, disability, ethnicity, gender, nationality, race, religion, and sexual orientation) or incite violence against such a person or group.
THIS SECTION ON INDIVIDUALISTIC LIBERALISM WILL BE UPDATED IN MARCH 2018
In the meantime see posts on www.facebook.com/cyclesofhistory
The Uranus/Pluto Out square (2009-20) is happening now. – it is also the subject of a US documentary series ‘Changing of the Gods’ which takes a quite different view as to the meaning of this cycle > http://changingofthegods.com/the-movie/
Both this site and the movie project look back in this cycle to the 1960s to project what is happening now at this cycle quarter stage – but this site takes an inductive not a deductive approach. The events and developments that occur 10 degrees before or after the cycle’s main stages determine what is forecast here. In our view the world is actually meeting a number of “revolutionary transformations” and while this is certainly a major shift in a paradigm that emerged in the 1960s it is difficult to describe it as a “planetary emergency” or putting “the very fate of human civilization” at risk. With our insistence on the principle of Sequentiality we see the “turning point” happening to an existing paradigm. However we share the perspective that “Each time this planetary configuration has recurred over the centuries we see how a zeitgeist has manifested on Earth in concentrated periods of revolution, paradigm shifts, breakdown and breakthrough that have irrevocably changed the course of the world” and applaud this major project to bring planetary cycles to a very wide audience. The topic is also the subject of a book ‘Uranus square Pluto’ by Wendy Stacey > http://www.amazon.co.uk/Perspectives-Current-Planetary-Line-Up-Astrology/dp/1903353289
We remain confident that major extensions of and/or challenges to both Computers and Postmodernism are the core of what this cycle stage signifies. However it may not be till the end of the cycle in 2020 that these changes can be clearly defined. Any interpretations must take account of the massive length of this cycle – 139 years.