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Young Activism, Alter Globalization Movements Essay

1458 words - 6 pages

This extract from the article The Politics of Assembly: Building an Urban Ecology from A16 is talking about the eve of the April 16th (A16) protests in Washington DC against the IMF and World Bank meetings in 2000. On A16 a large number of people, which included artists, environmentalists, feminists, anti-neoliberalists, gay activists, dancers, etc. assembled at the Capitol “(…) as part of a polyphonic refusal of globalization without representation” (Doan, R. The protest was filled with music, art, scenery, and dancing. A large number of people were arrested for protesting, but that didn´t stop the protest to continue.
This specific protest helps as an example of the new trend of ...view middle of the document...

al. point out in their paper The Cultures of the Economic Crisis: An Introduction, capitalism was called into question after “(…) the combined influence of three independent, but interrelated, developments: a new technological paradigm, a new form of globalization, and the new cultures that emerged from the social movements of the 1960s and 1970s” (2012: 1). In this sense, politically, most former Soviet and communist countries began to adopt liberal policies and to transform into democracies; and the United States became the `leader´ for these transformations. Economically, free-markets began to truly open and be adopted in most countries, whether for individual choice or by pressure put forward by institutions such as the IMF and the WB –specially in third world countries-; sovereignty and its boundaries began to be questioned because of the lack of barriers that this economic regime brought about –such idea became even more popular after the Housing Bubble economic crisis in 2008-. Socially, individualism began to rise, as well as social protests, populist movements, and in an extent also xenophobia, racism, hostility, and extreme-right feelings and parties –as in France with Jean-Marie Le Pen and its party the Front National, or in Hungary with Gabor Vona and his party Jobbik-. Culturally, since the 1960s and 1970s, a culture of freedom, and an emphasis on lived experiences –individualism as stated before, where people incorporate their ideals in their day to day- began to strengthen, especially in younger generations.
But the key to comprehend this new generation –and its uniqueness from past movements- is through the understanding of the upsurge of Information and Communications Technology (ICTs) in daily life. All parts of human activity (social, political, economical, even cultural) began to be controlled and shaped by the ICTs and the Internet. This is an unprecedented phenomena: never before had universality been so true and of easy-access.
Protestors, activists, and the overall youth culture began to organize and recruit like-minded individuals through the Internet –especially through social networks as Facebook and Twitter-. Through this, they were able to set up meetings, protests, debates, and forums locally and internationally; and the exchange of ideas, images, news, and videos grew into an unparalleled state where large masses of people with internet access were able to see, read, and comment on such media.
As a result of this new Internet and networking phenomena, activism and protests have changed both their organization as well as their forms of action. For the former, the organizational forms have shifted from the typical vertical structure to a horizontal one; with autonomous yet collective processes within the protests and organizations; they use direct democracy as a means of organizing and debating, where participation among all members is exhaled; and because of the use of ICTs, such movements have become global as a...

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