How can citizens and civil societycontribute to the building of a fairer, sustainable and moredemocratic co-existence of human beings in a global world? The actors in the alter-globalization movement were not up to this, until a new generation of activists appeared, to get the debate onto the front pages of the financial press. This should appeal to all students of Sociology and the Social Sciences. Skickas inom vardagar. Journal of Democratic Socialism Utterly convincing and theoretically robust Welke opties voor jouw bestelling beschikbaar zijn, zie je bij het afronden van de bestelling.

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This is a good point from which to look back over the history of the alter-globalization movement, from the s to The World Social Form gathered some Although the number of participants was well short of the records set by the recent Forums held in Brazil , people in , and , in , attracting tens of thousands of Tunisian and international activists shows that the WSFs remain appealing events in various regions of the world.

The Forum aimed to encourage exchanges between progressive citizens from every continent and progressive activists involved in the Arab spring. The s: The Formation of a Worldwide Movement The short history of the alter-globalization movement can be divided into four periods. The first one, in the mids, reflected a proliferation of local and national protests against neoliberal policies, in every region of the world.

They all denounced the growing influence of the World Trade Organization, the burden of third world debt, and the power of the multinationals. Small farmers movements were particularly active. In , they founded the global network Via Campesina, which today boasts million members across the world. The emergence of this global movement highlighted and brought together a number of local and national struggles which up to then had been seen as isolated, and had been inconspicuous in the outside world.

Activist intellectuals from North and South played a fundamental role at this stage; they turned the attention of public opinion to the damage inflicted by neoliberal policies, developed arguments against the Washington Consensus, and increased the number of international meetings. Over the next five years, hundreds of social forums were organized at the local, national, continental and global levels. In contrast to the counter-summits with their central focus on opposition to one particular international organization, these Social Forums are geared up to encouraging exchanges among activists from different parts of the world about the alternatives that they are implementing.

The first European Social Forum, in Florence uniting 50, people and the World Social Forums in Mumbai , people and Porto Alegre , people are some of the greatest success stories of alternative globalization, both in terms of the popular mobilization and the exchanges created on various themes, and in terms of organization, which was more open and horizontal than in previous versions of the social forums. In spite of predictions made by many intellectuals, the alter-globalization movement did not decline after September 11th ; in fact, in the years since then it has had its greatest popular successes, and has had a significant impact on public opinion and the media.

Between and , opposition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was a major component of the movement. For example, the European and World Social Forums launched the initiative for the global protest that united between ten and twenty million people on February 15th It was in this period that progressive governments were coming to power in Latin America, many of whom attended the World Social Forums as candidates and then as elected presidents.

There was a significant decline in the number of participants between 15, and 50, for each , and the inclusion of popular organizations often met more complications. Paradoxically, the alter-globalization movement seemed to be facing difficulties at the very time when neoliberal ideology was more frequently being questioned. However, during this time the movement was successful in at least three ways: geographical extension into regions considered to be symbolic or strategic Africa, the United States, and the Arab world , convergences on environmental issues, and delegitimization of the Washington Consensus.

Firstly, Social Forum dynamics has extended into regions deemed to be symbolic or strategic. Fifteen thousand mainly working-class activists participated in each of the United States Social Forums at Atlanta in and at Detroit in , in which the main discussions focused on racism, domestic workers, migrants, the right to the city, and movements concerned with food issues.

But it is in the Arab world that social forums have especially proliferated. For example, no fewer than seven international forums were organized there in October and November The economic and financial crisis that began in delegitimized neoliberal ideology.

The return of the state to save the banking sector was followed by austerity policies. Such change depends on the abilities of social actors to give it meaning, to raise the questions presented by the historical situation, and to put forward alternative political visions and economic logics. The actors in the alter-globalization movement were not up to this, until a new generation of activists appeared, to get the debate onto the front pages of the financial press.

Since A New Generation Between and , the region with the largest number of international social forums was the Arab world. In a global wave of movements came out of this region, denouncing austerity policies and reminding us that it was not the excesses of the welfare state but those of finance that caused the crisis.

For these protesters and the Occupy activists, democracy is not just a claim, it is also and above all a practice. The heart of their camps and little local assemblies was experimentation with direct democracy, participative and horizontal, in debates and in the processes and the organization of daily life.

These camps were highly publicized, but also sporadic. However, they constitute only the tip of the iceberg. Confronting the crisis, thousands of citizen initiatives against austerity policies are developing ways to overcome the structural limits of representative democracy, especially in Europe. Rapidly expanding alternative and local food networks are converging with other solidarity economy initiatives.

Networks of committed experts try to influence certain European policies, and pursue the long task of educating people about complex issues. Demonstrations against austerity are increasing in Europe, but although the movements have been coordinated at the continental or global level for a decade, demonstrations against austerity do continue but they remain mostly organized at the national level.


Geoffrey Pleyers

Scholar associations[ edit ] From to , he was the president of the Research Committee 47 "Social classes and social movements" of the International Sociological Association. During this period, he organizes conferences on social movements in different countries including Mexico, Romania, Hong Kong, France, Belgium and Palestine [3]. Since , Geoffrey Pleyers and Breno Bringel are the editor of the web journal " Open Movements: for a global and public sociology of social movements ". His research interests include social movements , youth , food movements , and social movements in Mexico. The underlying argument of his main book Alter-Globalization.



It is a conceptual tool that has been of great help me in group facilitation and positive management of conflicts, both online and in assemblies as it allows overpassing tensions among positions that seem irreconcilable and developing an empathy based on mutual understanding. By showing us a movement grappling continuously with the Pyramid Dilemma over top-down versus bottom-up approaches, this book helps us think about the most basic issues of democracy and social change. This highly original analysis of the way the movement is constructed around the tension between its two logics - subjective experience and expertise based on reason - helps us to understand not only the movement itself but also the role that the movement plays in inventing global citizenship. This book presents a movement both truly global and adapted to the economic context of each country and region. This kind of scholarship is what the alter-globalisation movement and indeed the world deserve. This book proposes to discuss it starting from concrete experimentations by social actors who have contested globalization in its neoliberal form, implemented participatory organization models and promoted a nascent global public space.

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