Anti-globalization movement is a disputed term referring to the international social movement network that gained widespread media attention after protests against the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle, Washington, in late November and early December 1999. Activists and scholars debate whether it constitutes a single social movement or represents a collection of allied groups, a "movement of movements." Including diverse constituencies with a range of ideological orientations, the global movement is broadly critical of the policies of economic neoliberalism, or "corporate globalization," that has guided international trade and development since the closing decades of the 20th century. Varied communities organizing against the local and national consequences of neoliberal policies, especially in the global South, connect their actions with this wider effort. Movement constituents include trade unionists, environmentalists, anarchists, land rights and indigenous rights activists, organizations promoting human rights and sustainable development, opponents of privatization, and antisweatshop campaigners. These groups charge that the policies of corporate globalization have exacerbated global poverty and increased inequality.
Internationally, the movement has held protests outside meetings of institutions such as the WTO, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, and the Group of Eight (G8) heavily industrialized nations. Its own annual gathering, the World Social Forum, serves as a site for activist networking and transnational strategizing. Movement participants have also launched campaigns targeting multinational corporations, such as Nike and Monsanto, and have mobilized resistance to U.S.-led military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan.
While opposing neoliberalism, the anti-globalization movement advocates participatory democracy, seeking to increase popular control of political and economic life in the face of increasingly powerful corporations, unaccountable global financial institutions, and U.S. hegemony. A focus on democracy is reflected in many of the movement's organizational structures. These tend to emphasize grassroots participation, cooperative decision making, and "horizontalism" over hierarchy. Rather than promoting a single model for social reorganization, anti-globalization activists defend diversity and, adopting a slogan of the Mexican Zapatistas, envision a world in which many worlds fit.
The term anti-globalization movement has more often been imposed by movement critics and by the media than used for self-identification. Many activists reject the label, arguing that the term falsely implies a stance of isolationism. A hallmark of the movement is its use of advanced communications and Internet technology to unite activists across borders. In some cases,...