Statement from the Dock from the child Joan Burton wants to lock up.

(NEW & EXCLUSIVE – READ JUROR 791’s response to her exclusion from the fake trial of Seanie Fitzpatrick here – Only on Bogmans Cannon, the home of sedition) I’m a 17 yea…

Source: Statement from the Dock from the child Joan Burton wants to lock up.

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On common sense, good sense, social transformation, and what happens when women argue for their right to political representation.

*Keynote presented at Birkbeck Institute for Social Research and Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities Graduate Conference 2015 “Reflections On Social Change” Original title: Unpacking common sense for social transformation

Thank you so much for inviting me here today to speak with you, it is an honor and a pleasure to be here.

I’m going to be talking to you today about common sense and good sense and since I know that you’re theoretically sophisticated graduate students you will have immediately clocked that these two terms put together are often associated with the work of Antonio Gramsci. But in fact I am not going to be using the term common sense strictly in the Gramscian sense of the term, as the spontaneous form of common sense arising out of the lived experience of the working classes, but rather in its much more prosaic and mundane sense: those types of arguments that are routinely put forward to justify and reaffirm the status quo.

The type of arguments that while often incredibly flawed logically and sometimes downright stupid nevertheless achieve a remarkable level of consensus in society.

The type of arguments that when put forward are often not questioned or submitted to refutation. But first I want to tell you why I think it’s important to talk about common sense in relation to social transformation.

Last year I was giving a talk about online and off-line activist communication strategies in the 15 – movement in Madrid. And after I finished my talk a learned professor asked me one of those questions that falls into the common sense arena in academia.

He said essentially “Well that’s all very well but what has it achieved? All of that effort and everything has stayed the same. Austerity politics are still in place and the same government is still in place.”

Of course this question already has within it a conception of social movements success and impact that is very narrowly focused on short-term political outcomes. In my own work, and indeed in my book social movements and globalization, this narrow conception of the political is something that I have argued strongly against.

My answer to the question essentially was that activist communication strategies have been used to relentlessly counter hegemonic narratives of the crisis of austerity of democracy and that this relentless contestation had in fact served to discredit and delegitimize the government and to reconfigure common sense in Spanish society around the very meaning of democracy. Of course, this is not all that activists in 15-M have done. They have also engaged in all sorts of direct actions, such as stopping evictions and re-occupying buildings, collective projects such as food banks and ethical banks, crowd-funding indictments against bank directors and so on.

But perhaps the most radical transformation has been to fundamentally question the widely shared consensual understanding of the meaning of democracy in Spanish society as being defined by the narratives that justified the political pacts made during the Spanish transition.

That transformation cannot be measured in short-term narrow political terms that can only be understood within an understanding of the transformation of the wider political culture, a transformation that has not only led to the questioning of the consensus around the meaning of democracy up to that point, but which has also laid the terrain for new institutional political projects such as PODEMOS and the many alternative municipal movement-based candidacies emerging right now in Spain.

The impacts of this transformation are only beginning to be felt and it’s impossible to know what form they will take or how long they will last. What is clear however is that contesting and breaking down commonsense understandings of the culture of Spain’s democratic transition was– and is —absolutely crucial to this process of transformation.


I was recently in Cairo at an event that brought together activists, filmmakers, translators, academics, and artists many of whom had been actively involved in the Egyptian revolution.

In the current context of brutal repression and the closing of political space in Egypt it was quite heartbreaking to witness the post revolutionary collective depression that has descended on so many people who gave so much and lost so much and so many for something they believed passionately in.

But the post revolutionary context in Egypt, like all post revolutionary contexts, also forces into the open differences that may have been suppressed in the midst of revolutionary fervor.

One of my fellow keynote speakers Khalid Abdalla, who you might know as one of the founders of the Mosireen collective or alternatively from his films such as United 93, the Green Zone or the Kite Runner, spoke about feeling of disorientation and void that comes from the realization that what you thought you shared with others in those moments of intensity and passion may later prove to be —in some cases anyway —an illusion.

And this realization leaves you struggling to reevaluate everything you thought you knew. And while I personally can’t share directly this ontological crisis with reference to a post revolutionary scenario as he can and as the other activists in Egypt could, I found myself very much relating to the feeling of disorientation, forced reevaluation, and depression for a completely different reason, a different shock to the system.

So what was this moral shock to the system that I experienced? What was this shock that left me feeling that I have been walking around assuming that I had been speaking the same language as other people and then realizing that that wasn’t the case in many instances.

Well it happened right after Syriza got elected in Greece and Tsipras’ second move (right after aligning with a xenophobic homophobic party) was to appoint an all-male Cabinet.

That decision, deplorable and disappointing as it was, was not a shock to the system. After all, out of 28 EU countries only two have more women than men ministers (Finland and Sweden) and two more have the same number of male and female ministers in the cabinet (France and Holland). The remaining 24 have unequal representation of men and women to varying degrees, with no women at all in the ministerial cabinets of Greece Hungary or Slovakia, and about 10 to 30% in the remaining cabinets. So that wasn’t the shock to the system.

What was the shock to the system was the slew of common sense arguments that were deployed to justify and excuse that decision. As journalist Ignacio Escobar put it in a tweet:

There is something that has surprised me more than the disappointing decision of Tsipras not to name a single woman minister and that is how many people justify it.

Now I am not talking about justifications from the people who roll their eyes and sigh every time they hear the word feminism, as if in bringing up gender and equality, systematic violence against women, and feminism you were somehow personally responsible for creating the problem in the first place.

You know the people I mean, the ones that seem to be saying “everything was fine until you had to bring up women’s oppression and feminism!” You are the reason things can´t Be nice!

Or the ones who keep insisting – – despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary – – that gender inequality is a thing of the past because women have equal rights under the law now so get over it.

No. I’m talking about the people who, as long as everything is rolling along smoothly and no one is complaining, will be in support of feminism and might even call themselves the F word. The ones we might assume were talking about the same thing we are. They might be our friends, our family, our colleagues. The ones who are full of common sense.

Why was this a shock to the system? After all common sense is all around us isn´t it?

My problem is that I do not spend a lot of time with so-called normal people. I spend a lot of time with progressive activists for lack of a better word.

And in the activists spaces I frequent there has been a lot of progress over the past 20 years or so in terms of women’s political participation. The scene I am most familiar with his Madrid, and where is Madrid have always been very active in done loads of organizing, 20, 15 or even 10 years ago they did not often assume positions of leadership within assemblies to the same degree that men did, in terms of acting as de facto leaders, spokespeople, or even voicing their opinions as often or as confidently.

But now they do for the most part, at least in the assemblies I have taken part in, which cover a pretty wide spectrum of what we could call 15 M related spaces. Not only that, but the work of feminists in the movement has resulted in some very interesting advances. Men and women openly declare themselves, their assemblies, and their social centers, as feminist.

This does not mean a paradise on earth has been achieved but let’s just say that things are way better than they were before, and that I think it’s fair to say that feminism is considered a central tenet of the 15-M movement.

So to be confronted with justifications for Tsipras’ decision was extremely disconcerting and frankly, deeply depressing.

The fact that once again it was necessary to dismantle so-called common sense arguments made me feel as though I had been inhabiting a false reality and made me realize that once again it was necessary to unpack common sense arguments that justify maintaining a status quo in which women occupy an inferior and marginal political space vis-à-vis men.

So what are some of these arguments? What happens when we unpack them? And what are the underlying themes that connect them to each other?

One of the deep ideas that underlie most of these arguments is that women’s participation in politics is legitimate only when it satisfies certain conditions.

The essential idea that women should be allowed to participate fully in politics based solely on their human condition— without any other kind of condition being placed on that participation —shines by its absence.

Let’s have a look:

The first set of arguments goes something like this :

Syriza is a progressive leftist party– isn’t that what’s important? Isn’t overturning austerity and sticking it to the troika what should be the primary concern?

There are many many ways we can answer these questions. The first is that if you think it is possible for a governing party to be simultaneously progressive and leftist and not have any women whatsoever in the cabinet clearly your definition of progressive and leftist differs radically from mine.

If you think that social transformation and democracy are possible without the full participation of women you have understood nothing about democracy or social transformation.

This argument sets up a series of objectives in a hierarchical order where the inclusion of women in the cabinet takes a lower position in the order of priority. Historically on the left, when these kinds of hierarchies have been established, women’s inclusion or women’s demands have always been downgraded on that list.

First we need to solve world poverty, first we need to end global capitalism, first we need to overthrow the government, first we need to win the revolution, first we need to win the elections, first we need to “Please insert your favorite goal here” and then we can liberate women, and then we can talk about women’s full participation in politics.

How is that working out for you?  Not only is capitalism still doing pretty well for itself, but women continue to be severely underrepresented not only in politics but in positions of leadership throughout society.

The reality is we would need to reverse this logic: there is no revolution without women’s full political participation, there is no democracy worth its name without women’s full participation. As the HASHTAG that was the trending topic in Spain the day after Tsipras’ decision was taken put it so cleanly and simply: without women there is no democracy- period. On one level it really is that simple and we could leave the argument there.

But the real trap in this kind of argument is it sets up a false opposition that opposes women’s political participation to the other political priorities as though these were really our only two options:

Sorry folks EITHER we win the revolution OR we include women, you can´t have it both ways!

Ignacio Escolar wrote a wonderful article using tweets he got about the Tsipras decision and his replies called “the justifications for sexism”.

So, someone tweeted:

“Tsipras needs to save millions from poverty. But hey, they better wait until they have a gender balanced government.”

Escolar replied: Are these two things incompatible? Do we need to choose between having women ministers and saving the Greeks from poverty?

Indeed, can´t you pursue a leftist or progressive or anti-troika pro-poor people politics and include women in the cabinet? Why are these incompatible in any way? Unless, and only if, what you are really arguing is that women are not capable of bringing these political changes about.

I love the sense of urgency in this one too, “he needs to save millions of people from poverty right now! He can´t wait around all day thinking up women to include in his cabinet!”   As if in the 5 minutes following the swearing in ceremony, Tsipras was going to eliminate poverty in Greece.

Someone else tweeted: What about the ratio of bald to non-bald ministers or ugly to good-looking ones? Is the government well balanced?

And Escolar replied: You need only look at the Greek parliament-or any other- to see that a lack of hair has never been the cause of discrimination in politics.

Another commonsense tactic is to draw a false equivalence between two acts, in this case celebrating all the wonderful things Syriza did or will do. As if a good action in any way alters or mitigates a different bad action. This is the kind of but Hitler was nice to his dog argument. Or one of my favorites that you hear about Bill Gates whenever anyone criticizes Microsoft’s monopoly of software: Oh but he gives billions to charity! Oh, so that’s OK then!

One version of this was for people to write long articles about Syriza and how much better their policies and inclusion were for women than other parties.

Let’s be clear: we can commend Syriza for having a more inclusive party than any other in the Greek parliament, and still hold it to account when it acts in such a way as to not further a democratic agenda.

One tweet said: What a to do with SYRIZA, no women ministers. Let’s not be sexist, all will be well if they do a good job.

And Escolar answered:

“The decision to not name any women ministers is a bad one and merits criticism irrespectively of any other good decisions Tsipras or his government might take. Your use of the term sexist is also curious in this context: sexist is that which discriminates against women, not that which criticizes sexist appointments.”

And let’s not forget the cultural arguments! These are often invoked in a very well-meaning way even from committed feminists. One person actually suggested that because women have no authority in Greece it wouldn’t be possible to appoint women ministers because they would just have to have a man ratify any decisions that that woman took.

The great thing about this argument is its total commitment to the status quo– even if it were true– is the appropriate response then to say “okay then, thanks for explaining that to me, Greek women have no authority so they really can’t be given any authority, which means they will never have any authority…. Ever.”


Then there is the argument about qualifications: the discussion about qualifications only arises we are talking about the appointment of women to ministerial positions. Men’s qualifications to lead or to govern are taken for granted.

Women on the other hand are stuck in a double-bind:

If there are women ministers appointed then immediately the qualifications are questioned and people argue that they have only been appointed because they’re women to satisfy a quota system or an ideological principle of equality

or if they’re not appointed as in the case of SYRIZA then the argument is that there were no women qualified for the job.

Result of either of these arguments? Women are not qualified to lead or to govern.

Here is another tweet from Escolar’s article that is typical of this kind of argument:

“and what if the women in Syriza are less qualified? is it better to put them in government? You have to put the most qualified people in the job whether they are men or women

And Escolar replied: And coincidentally the 12 best ones are all men? Is there really anyone who believes that there’s not a single woman that’s qualified to be a minister? Not a single one?

The questioning about qualifications is one of those common sense arguments that fits in with a meritocratic ideal.

And of course this is another common justification, one used by Tsipras himself, that he needed to choose the most qualified people.

Even if we do assume that there is a single best person for the job -a very questionable assumption indeed -and that Tsipras or anyone can figure out who that person is,

if we accept that the reason all of the ministers are male is because they are the most qualified people for the job, then we are also being asked to accept that the reason men dominate in positions of leadership through virtually every sector of society is because they too are the most qualified for their jobs. Which means we need to accept that that, despite women making up over 50% of the population, and contrary to all the empirical evidence in Europe as to women’s qualifications, women are simply not as qualified as men. Which means that we accept that women are inferior to men.

But the argument about qualifications brings us back to conditioning and justifying women’s participation, instead of refusing to accept women’s non-participation or non-inclusion.

And this even happens from well intentioned people arguing for womens’ qualifications. These people show with empirical evidence that women are as qualified as men, that in most European countries more women than men have university degrees etc.. but on a very fundamental level these kinds of arguments are also missing the point, because the simple fact of the matter is this: It actually does not matter how qualified women are. In democracy everyone is supposed to have the right to participate in politics.

So, if we are committed to equality and democracy, in a world were 50% of the population are women, we should expect to see roughly that percentage in all positions, regardless.

The hashtag says it all “without women there is no democracy”

.Let’s do a little exercise of thinking in reverse, inverting the kinds of questions and statements that are made to question women in positions of power or to justify their exclusion.

Are the male cabinet ministers really qualified or are they just there because they are men?

For example, let’s imagine that a woman was elected prime minister of a country, say Greece. And she appointed an all female cabinet.

What do you think would happen? Honestly, imagine it for a moment. How do you react emotionally to this? Do you think it is unfair? Unreasonable? Ideologically driven? Artificial? Does the thought of it make you uncomfortable?

Now imagine the kinds of arguments that might be used to justify it. Let’s try some of the ones we heard to justify the all male cabinet:

Gender is irrelevant.

They were the most qualified people in the country for those jobs.

Does gender really matter? Isn´t what is important is solving the nations’ problems? First, let’s get on with solving urgent problems, then we can talk about men’s political inclusion in the cabinet.

Men are already well represented in the party rank and file, more men than in any other party in fact, so really, this should not be a issue.

Do we really think for one moment that anyone would be making these kinds of arguments if the situation were in reverse?


There is another really common justification that is probably one of the stupidest and yet one of the most frequent and you hear this from all kinds of people. Once again it places particular conditions on women’s political participation and it goes like this:

I believe in women’s political participation but just look at Margaret Thatcher.

Or as one tweet featuring the photos of two right-wing women ministers in Spain put it in the debate over Tsipras’ decision:

Only two photos. And now keep criticizing Syriza’s government for not having women.

Escolar answered: The fact that one female minister does a bad job doesn’t mean that all women are going to do a bad job. You could repeat the exact same argument with a photograph of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Culture as proof of masculine incompetence and it would still be a fallacy.

These kind of argument are also about placing conditions on women’s participation: the underlying logic is you can participate as a woman, but only if you satisfy particular criteria only if you’re not like Margaret Thatcher, only if you’re not like women politicians who don’t share my ideology. And it’s kind of amazing how many people on the Left fall into this kind of argument.

Some years ago I was listening to a woman give a talk about women’s political participation and she was really decrying the situation of the underrepresentation of women in politics and so on.

And everything was going along fine until she said “but not any woman will do. We need women who will do X and Y, who will be feminist, etc. etc.”

and I said Hey wait a minute– what are you doing? It doesn’t work that way. Either women can participate fully in politics and that means that they can do that with any ideology that they want, just as men can, or else they can’t, it’s not for you or for me or for anyone to put special conditions on their participation. Because that is precisely what people tried to do to women all the time: Place special conditions on their participation.

So it seemed like this woman was really delivering a progressive argument because she was arguing for a feminist agenda but she was falling into this trap that so many people with their commonsense arguments fall into.

At its root that argument falls into the same logic as that used by the Egyptian military when they performed virginity tests on women in Tahrir square: you need to satisfy these conditions which I will determine for you before you can participate in the public political sphere. Conditions that are never applied to men when they enter into that same arena.

Placing conditions on women’s political participation or even denying it has a long history on the Left. During Spain’s second Republic women’s suffrage was greatly debated. Arguments against women’s suffrage were mobilized on the Left but interestingly less so on the Right.

Many Leftists argued that women’s ignorance due to their lack of education, their scant interest in politics, and for other reasons didn’t qualify them to decide for themselves. And given that most women were religious, the argument was that they would just end up voting whatever their priests told them to vote. Some conservatives doubted that women would be so compliant and so were against giving women the vote because they might vote differently from their husbands and this would cause tensions within the family.

Arguments in favor of women’s suffrage which were put forward by some women feminist groups and conservative political groups stated that the vote is a citizen’s right, and that women, just like men, as citizens, should be able to exercise this right.

This may seem like a very basic argument to you today. But it’s worth remembering that in Switzerland women didn’t get the right to vote in federal elections until 1971.

And underlying many of these commonsense arguments that we hear to justify TSIPRAS’ decision, there is an essential rejection of the idea that women have a right to full and equal participation in politics with no conditions whatsoever, just because they are citizens.

There are many other illogical, empirically refutable, and downright stupid justifications that we could unpack, but I want to think about just one more.

And that’s the question what difference does it make? Does it really matter?

Here we are supposedly talking about social transformation and I just spent the last half hour dismantling arguments about gender mainstreaming. What’s transformative about that? What’s radical about gender mainstreaming and talking about women ministers?

I think this brings us right back to the question of how we can evaluate the importance or impact of certain political acts. If we only consider narrowly defined political goals and short-term impacts it’s easy to fall into the types of false hierarchies and false oppositions such as women ministers versus solving poverty in Greece that we’ve seen in this debate.

But I think if we look at the scope and possibility of change we could actually pose the question of which action would have a greater and more long-lasting impact.

If we were forced to choose between women ministers and sticking it to the troika, which would be likely to be the more revolutionary act that would be within the grasp of Tsipras?

Did anyone really thinks Syriza was going to single handedly bring the troika or global capitalism to its knees? They haven´t yet in case anyone was still wondering. So their all male super qualified cabinet probably didn’t make a big difference in this regard because they were up against forces that even 12 male superhero ministers would probably not be able to overcome.

On the other hand in the context of women’s severe underrepresentation in politics in Greece and in Europe let alone the world, and the autonomy of action Tsipras had available to him indeed one of the very few areas of autonomy of action that he would have available to him, appointing women to the cabinet would’ve arguably been one of the most transformative actions and one with the longest lasting impact.

Why do I say this? Because the symbolic power of appointing women cabinet ministers cannot be overstated. I am certainly not a person who will hold up the Spanish Socialist Party as an agent of radical social change. Yet it’s a curious fact that in discussions with young activist women in Spain, Zapatero’s decision to appoint 50% of women to his cabinet comes up as something that had an impact regardless of their own personal ideology.

The frequent appearances in Spain of women ministers in the press and on TV had an important influence on transforming Spanish culture and Spanish political culture. Because on one level it doesn’t really matter what those women are doing or saying, the larger message that those images transmit is that women have the authority to speak, to decide, to lead, to represent.

Gender mainstreaming is often dismissed among the theoretically sophisticated as not being transformative. It is not radical.

But I would argue that in a world where women still do not feel empowered to speak in public even in the most progressive arenas, where women’s leadership in all areas of society is still a fraction of that of men’s, that in fact gender mainstreaming is still transformative, even radical.

Does it solve the issue of women’s oppression? Of course not. But without it there is no hope of ever doing that. Appointing women ministers defies all the commonsense justifications that are mobilized for not including them.

What I hope I’ve shown you is that none of the justifications offered, not history, not culture, not ideology, not strategy, can stand up to what is unjustifiable. And although I’ve use a concrete example to unpack particular arguments that are invoked to condition women’s political participation I hope you can see that I’m talking about all the arguments that are invoked in our common sense every day that serve to justify the status quo, be it patriarchy, racism, classism, homophobia and heteronormativity and so on.

More than that I hope I have shown you how easy it is to fall under the sway of common sense. There is a great saying that says “common sense is the least common of all the senses”.

There is another saying that goes ” If you do not want things to change, keep doing what you’re doing.”

I started off by arguing that 15-M transformed Spain’s political culture and political landscape in great part by relentlessly dismantling common sense about democracy and the crisis. But there are still so many forms of common sense that need to be transformed into good sense.

So, next time you hear an argument that seems commonsensical ask yourself this question: does this argument serve to justify the status quo or to transform it? If it justifies it, then it is time to start unpacking.

Thank you for listening.


Ignacio Escolar: Los argumentos para el machismo

Una versión parecida (aunque no idéntica) de este discurso en castellano:

El sentido común, lo “político”, el feminismo y el 15M

Cristina Flesher Fominaya



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Understanding Spain’s Historic General Elections

Explainer: the Spanish general election

Cristina Flesher Fominaya, University of Aberdeen

Spain is on the brink of a general election that looks set to change its political system for good. How come?

To understand what’s going on, we need to look back at the protests that filled the squares of Spain in May 2011 and triggered one of the most dynamic and sustained episodes of citizen mobilisation the country has ever seen.

Initially youth-led but ultimately galvanising citizens of all ages, the protesters demanded “Real Democracy Now!”, calling for an end to a political system that alternated power between two parties that both served the interests of political and economic elites rather than the Spanish people. Given the acute effects of the economic crisis and ensuing austerity policies, these demands were met with widespread support from an astonishing 80% of the population one year after the May 2011 protests.

Although the so-called 15-M was at first a staunchly anti-partisan pro-democracy movement, everything changed when a party “project” was created that aimed to combine elements of participatory social movements with an electoral challenge to the parties in power. Although not convincing all 15-M participants, many decided to put their energies into the new party – Podemos. Just four months after forming in 2014, it managed to win 1.2m votes and five seats in the European Parliament, heralding a radical shift in Spain’s political landscape.

These results spurred the setup of an array of municipal platforms that managed to take control of some of Spain’s major cities, including Madrid, Barcelona and, in a historic upset in May 2015, Valencia.

Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias on the hunt for votes.
EPA/Nacho Gallego

The support of these coalitions for Podemos in the national elections (where Podemos is presenting on coalition lists in some regions, notably Catalonia), and especially Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau, has also been important.

Podemos’s ability to capture political ground rested on two key strategies: defining itself as a party of ordinary citizens that was neither left nor right, and attacking the political establishment as representing a corrupt “caste” that refused to listen to the demands and needs of ordinary citizens.

But the blows Podemos dealt to the established parties’ credibility and legitimacy presented an opportunity for other “new” political actors and just such a force has emerged in the form of upstart Ciudadanos.

Competing upstarts

Following a spectacular entrance onto the political scene, which saw Podemos shoot to the number one position in the polls in January 2015, it has been somewhat upstaged by a “new” challenger, the right-wing party Ciudadanos.

Despite not really being new – it has existed in Catalonia for more than ten years – the party, with its young leader Albert Rivera, has managed to sell itself as a more centrist alternative to Podemos. It has made anti-corruption a key part of its rhetoric, and even adopted a slight modification of Podemos’ campaign slogan in the European parliamentary elections for its campaign slogan in the general elections: “¿Cuándo fue la última vez que votaste con ilusión?” (when was the last time you voted with hope/excitement?) became Ciudadanos’ slogan “Vota con ilusión” (vote with hope/excitement).

But despite being perceived as fresh new alternatives that hope to capture the political centre, the two parties remain profoundly different.

Ciudadanos is a socially and fiscally conservative party with an ideology close to the ruling Popular Party, although it uses primaries for candidate selection and has written anti-corruption measures and restrictions on party donations into its “commitment to democratic regeneration”. Podemos, on the other hand, is a socially and fiscally progressive party, close to the main opposition Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) on many issues, with decentralised and participatory mechanisms for internal party decision-making, solely crowdfunded finances, and a general commitment to transparency.

Most citizens see Ciudadanos as a centrist party that scores well across a wide range of social and economic issues and Podemos as a left-wing party that scores very high in social issues but lower on economic issues. The support they have garnered has changed the profile of both the PSOE and the Popular Party (PP), who are now moving further left and right respectively.

Albert Rivera preaching the Ciudadanos gospel.
EPA/Jorge Zapata

Whereas Podemos is taking votes from the PSOE, Ciudadanos has managed to take votes from both the PP and the PSOE. Both receive support from young voters.

Generational split

The polls show a marked generational split, with Podemos as the favourite party among voters younger than 35 and especially with first time voters, and Ciudadanos occupying the top spot with voters aged between 35 and 44.

PSOE and PP supporters, on the other hand, are significantly older: the PP is in fourth place among voters under the age of 45, but shoots up to first among voters over 65, from whom it has 53% of its support.

This generational split will have a lasting significance well be beyond these elections. The PP depends on a base of voters much older than the rest of the electorate, while Podemos and Ciudadanos are getting a lot of support from first-time voters. That means they’re probably here to stay, since Spanish voters seem to dependably stick with the party they choose the first time they vote.

What the polls say

All the major polls indicate a win for the PP, but by a very small margin, with 41% of voters still undecided as of December 14. The range offered by the eight major polls indicate 103-128 seats for the PP, 76-94 seats for the PSOE, 52-72 seats for Ciudadanos, and 45-63 seats for Podemos.

The last polls that can legally be published came out on the same day as a televised debate between current president Mariano Rajoy (PP) and PSOE candidate Pedro Sánchez. Post–debate feeling seemed to indicate “win” for the PSOE and a “loss” for the PP, but in the absence of hard data, it is impossible to say what effect the debate will have on the elections.

Whatever the outcome, it’s clear that the era of two-party rule is over, and that no party can expect to win an absolute majority. Forming a government will probably require pacts between more than two parties – and according to the CIS pre-electoral survey, 58.2% of Spanish voters would be happy with that.

The Conversation

Cristina Flesher Fominaya, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, University of Aberdeen

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Contemporary resistance to crisis and austerity: some reflections on dynamics, challenges and opportunities

*Keynote delivered to the Willi Münzenberg First International Congress “Global Spaces for Radical Solidarity: Transnational Movements, Social, Cultural and Humanitarian Ideas, Networks and Media of the 20th Century” in Berlin, September 20, 2015

Good afternoon. It is a real honour and a privilege to be invited here to provide the closing address for what I hope has been for each of you a wonderful conference. I hope you will forgive me today for speaking mostly about Spain and Europe in a conference on global solidarity but I hope that what I have to say will have relevance for you wherever your personal sphere of action may be.

We are living through a really fascinating moment in politics. On the one hand the panorama is very depressing as we witness the ravages of austerity politics and the rise of discourses and practices that dehumanise and criminalise poverty and continue to justify the increasing wealth inequality that characterises even the most prosperous of countries.

But we are also witnessing a greater perception of the failure of neoliberal policies to address the real needs of the majority of citizens, and the development of a grassroots re-politicization accompanied by the emergence of social movements that demand a regeneration of democracy.

Europe, the idea of it and the reality of it, is also being put the test and Europe’s citizens are being forced to rethink what they want Europe to be and if and how they want to be a part of it. For many, the Greek negotiations stripped bare any illusions about the democratic or participatory nature of the EU power structure, beholden and enmeshed as it is with the Troika and its dictates, which in turn serve the interests of specific banks and specific national and international elites. In the face of those interests and the real power of neoliberalism over national economies, Greek democracy was consigned to window dressing rather than a player with rights in that negotiation. This is a tragedy for Greece, and a crisis of course but also an opportunity, as all crises are opportunities.

Europe now faces another crisis, that of the influx of refugees, which certainly is a crisis for the refugees, but probably much less of a crisis for Europe, despite the hyperbole. The identity crisis for Europe will depend on how we ultimately respond to the people who are appealing to us for help.

In July, David Cameron characterized the crisis as a localized migrant crisis in Calais. According to him and his ministers, swarms of migrants were trying to break into Britain because access to new technologies had given them a glimpse of how much better life was here. He spoke then very proudly of French and UK cooperation in more effective policing and in building higher fences. In September he pledged to let thousands of refugees into Britain. Now it was a refugee crisis, now there was some recognition of the fact that these people were humans fleeing a conflict.

But what happened between July’s “swarm of economic migrants” and September’s pledge to take in refugees? Continue reading

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Videos and Podcasts

Here are some videos and podcasts of some talks over the past year or so on hologram protests, austerity protests and politics, transnational diffusion and more….will update as I track down more links.

Translation of Protests Across Time and Space/Keynote Cairo Translating Dissent (video) January 2015:

Presentation of Podemos in London (video):

Keynote Birkbeck London 2015 “Unpacking Common Sense for Social Transformation” (Podcast)

Interview on world’s first hologram protest for Australian National Radio (podcast):

“What constitutes the Political?” Feminism, Social Transformation, Social Movements Keynote (video) Roskilde, May 2015

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Netiqueta de e-mail para colectivos virtuales:

 Nota de la autora:

Recientemente publiqué un artículo llamado:

Unintended Consequences: The Negative Impact of Email Use on Participation and Collective Identity in Two “Horizontal” Social Movement Groups. (Consecuencias inesperadas: El impacto negativo del uso del e-mail en la participación y la identidad colectiva en dos grupos de movimientos sociales “horizontales”). (The European Political Science Review doi:10.1017/S1755773914000423)

La gente me ha pedido que escriba algo sobre cuáles son las implicaciones prácticas de esto para los grupos, especialmente para colectivos virtuales, que intentan trabajar horizontalmente. He escrito este breve texto de abajo. Sin embargo, ¡recomiendo que leas el artículo para entender cómo y por qué suceden estos procesos a pesar de nuestras mejores intenciones! Si no puedes acceder a una copia sólo ponte en contacto y te enviaré una.

Netiqueta de e-mail para colectivos virtuales:
Las investigaciones muestran que la comunicación por e-mail, incluso en “grupos horizontales” está a menudo muy sesgada, reproduce desequilibros informales de poder, está influenciada por el género y puede ser usada para dominar discusiones y distorsionar los procesos de toma de decisiones (Cronauer 2004, Kavada 2007, 2009, 2010, Flesher Fominaya 2015).
El e-mail tiene ciertas ventajas pero también reproduce ciertas patologías. Aquellas personas que están siempre conectadas o son siempre las primeras en responder a los e-mails pueden dominar la discusión, mientras muchos factores inhiben la participación, incluyendo falta de confianza, la deferencia hacia la experiencia o autoridad percibida de alguna otra persona (con frecuencia esto está influenciado por el género, siendo los hombres quienes simultáneamente se presentan a sí mismos y son percibidos como la voz de la autoridad), no sentirse partícipe en la discusión, no tener tiempo para leer toda una larga cadena de e-mails, etc.
En la mayoría de listas de correo es una minoría la que participa mucho, el resto muy poco. Los hombres tienden a intervenir hasta 3 o 4 veces más que las mujeres. Otro patrón común es la comunicación binaria en la cual la gente sólo responderá a ciertos individuos y entre sí pero no a los demás de la lista. Todo esto varía, por supuesto, dependiendo de la clase de lista y grupo.
Además, debido a la rotura del espacio/tiempo en la comunicación, aquellas personas que llegan primero pueden dar forma a la discusión alejándola de su objetivo inicial, y aquéllas que se unen más tarde pueden encontrarse con que o bien sólo responden a la última formulación del asunto o bien que en la discusión parece que el “consenso” ya ha sido alcanzado, aun cuando en realidad sólo hayan participado unas pocas personas.
El e-mail también puede ser muy útil pero no debería ser el único medio de comunicación, y es por eso que otras herramientas como los Titan Pads pueden ayudar a crear espacios donde cualquiera puede entrar en una discusión,  ver cómo ésta ha progresado y obtener una visión global del asuntoAun así los Titan Pads son buenos sólo para tareas específicas y el e-mail sigue siendo excelente para comunicaciones breves y coordinación. El e-mail es particularmente problemático como medio para tomar decisiones porque facilita el problema del “falso consenso”. Para todo aquello que no sean asuntos simples de coordinación se deben buscar otros mecanismos.
El e-mail funciona muy eficazmente en organizaciones jerárquicas o en grupos con roles y tareas claramente definidas, pero plantea más problemas a los grupos que intentan trabajar colectiva y horizontalmente sin mecanismos claramente definidos para tomar decisiones, roles claramente definidos, etc. Mientras que en una asamblea todo el mundo está ahí junto, puede haber una persona moderando, puedes leer el lenguaje corporal y animar a la participación, el e-mail no permite ninguna de esas cosas. Así pues conlleva un esfuerzo añadido intentar dialogar bien en listas, que rápidamente pueden ser dominadas por unas pocas voces.
Consejos para evitar las patologías del e-mail y no reproducir sus desequilibrios de poder y distorsiones:
  • Evita ser siempre la primera persona que interviene en las discusiones
  • Intenta que tus intervenciones sean breves. Los e-mails largos dan la impresión de que eres la autoridad y envían una señal de que te apropias del tema. También generan largas cadenas de e-mails que hacen aún más difícil que otras puedan ponerse al día.
  • Si ya has intervenido no vuelves a hacerlo a menos que simplemente estés aclarado tu propia opinión, hasta que otras hayan tenido una oportunidad de intervenir. No uses la excusa de la clarificación para simplemente volver a exponer tu propia postura. Clarifica si sientes que no te han entendido bien o te han malinterpretado.
  • No escribas e-mails clarificando las posturas de otras personas o reformulando debates o discusiones comenzadas por otras. Una vez más esto señala que “te pertenece” el tema o que tienes la autoridad para plantear preguntas al grupo que otras personas no tienen. Es paternalista, a
  • pesar de bienintencionado.
  • Si sientes que debes reformular una discusión asegúrate de incluir todos los puntos de vista presentados por los demás, no sólo puntos simbólicos para enlazar con tu propia opinión sobre el asunto.
  • Ten en cuenta el género. Es un hecho muy triste que tanto hombres como mujeres (incluso feministas) perciban las voces masculinas como más autorizadas que las de las mujeres. Reflexiona sobre si estás cayendo inconscientemente en ese patrón. Haz un esfuerzo para validar conscientemente, en tus intervenciones, todas las voces. Ten en cuenta los desequilibrios de género en la comunicación.
  • Haz un esfuerzo para participar. Aunque simplemente respondas muy brevemente eso ayuda a otras personas a sentir que están siendo oídas, que otras están escuchando y participando. (Esto se aplica sólo para aquéllas que no han intervenido. La gente que siente que necesitan validar / responder a la voz de cada una de las demás personas están de hecho ejerciendo un predominio sobre el grupo. Se trata de comunicación por e-mail, no la terapía Rogeriana).
  • Evita responder siempre o sólo a ciertas personas.
  • Evita que las conversaciones deriven en discusiones entre 2 personas. Imagina que estás en una asamblea.
  • Date cuenta de cómo la comunicación reproduce relaciones de poder en el grupo. Si eres de esas personas que tiende a dominar o participar mucho, reflexiona sobre tus propias intervenciones. Hay una fina línea entre resultar de ayuda y dominar/controlar la comunicación. Si participas poco, pregúntate por qué eso es así. Sugiere formas de mejorar la comunicación. Ten en cuenta los desequilibrios de poder y tu propio rol en su reproducción.
  • Considera seriamente abrir un Titan Pad y trasladar a ese espacio la discusión y las propuestas. Envía notificaciones por e-mail acerca de los nuevos PADS y recuérdale a la gente que participe.
  • Recuerda que tener más experiencia (o pensar que la tienes) no te confiere automáticamente más autoridad.
  • Ten en cuenta los diferentes estilos retóricos. Los hombres, por ejemplo, a menudo hablan con la voz de la autoridad (ej: Os puedo asegurar que… Pienso que tendríamos que hacer X… Deberíamos hacer X… Como alguien con X años de experiencia en X, puedo decir que…). Las mujeres a menudo adoptan un estilo más reflexivo/abierto (Me pregunto si podríamos… A lo mejor podríamos… Tal vez podría ser una buena idea…). Recuerda que sólo porque algo sea dicho con autoridad no lo hace más válido. Decir algo con más vacilación o reflexivamente no lo hace menos válido. Diferentes culturas a menudo adoptan diferentes estilos discursivos, algunos más directos, otros mucho menos.
  • Ten en cuenta las diferencias de zona horaria y las muy reales diferencias en la habilidad de la gente para tener tiempo que dedicar al e-mail. Tener más tiempo para invertir en el e-mail confiere más poder para influir en las discusiones (no debería pero lo hace). Sé consciente de que tu habilidad para dedicarte a una discusión no te confiere automáticamente más autoridad en un grupo, e intenta reflexionar más sobre la frecuencia y extensión de tus intervenciones.
  • En el e-mail la gente que “llega tarde a la fiesta” a menudo siente que el consenso ya ha sido alcanzado o que se han perdido la parte de la discusión en la que podían realizar intervenciones útiles. Por esta razón, entre otras, a menudo un Titan Pad es una mejor idea.
  • Busca activamente alternativas al e-mail para los procesos de toma de decisiones de cualquier importancia, especialmente aquéllos relacionados con la manera en que el grupo trabaja internamente, aquellos que tengan que ver con elementos de la estrategia del colectivo,  o asuntos donde realmente tendría que darse un quórum.
  • Comienza con la premisa de que el e-mail plantea barreras reales para la participación por múltiples razones. Muchos grupos operan bajo el supuesto de que el e-mail es inheréntemente democrático, horizontal y participativo, y tienen una capacidad de reflexión sobre ello realmente escasa. Esto es un error. Debido a que el e-mail está tan integrado en nuestras prácticas cotidianas,  a menudo no logramos ver los impactos negativos que tiene o puede tener.

Cronauer, K. (2004), Activism and the Internet: A Socio-Political Analysis of How the Use of Electronic Mailing Lists Affects Mobilization in Social Movement Organizations, Vancouver, British Columbia: University of British Columbia.

Flesher Fominaya, C. (2015) Unintended Consequences: The Negative Impact of Email Use on Participation and Collective Identity in Two “Horizontal” Social Movement Groups. The European Political Science Review  doi:10.1017/S1755773914000423

Kavada, A. (2007), The European Social Forum and the Internet: A Case Study of Communication Networks and Collective Action, PhD, University of Westminster, London.

—— (2009), ‘Email lists and the construction of an open and multifaceted identity: the case of the London

2004 European Social Forum’, Information, Communication & Society 12: 817–839.

—— (2010), ‘Email lists and participatory democracy in the European Social Forum’, Media, Culture & Society 32: 355–372.

*** Los Titan Pads han sido adoptados por muchos grupos activistas en España como una forma efectiva de comunicación y coordinación que también supera muchas de las patologías del e-mail. Es una de las revoluciones digitales menos reconocidas en la práctica de la coordinación activista. Para saber más sobre los Titan Pads y cómo usarlos, ver:

**** Aunque aquí me he centrado en los colectivos virtuales estos consejos también se aplican a asambleas/colectivos que tienen encuentros virtuales y presenciales. Para saber mucho más sobre la relación entre las esferas virtual y presencial y el impacto en el e-mail, léase el artículo “Unintended Consequences” (referenciado arriba)

Traducción del colectivo Traducciones Indignadas. ¡Mil gracias!

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Email etiquette for virtual collectives:

I recently published an article called:

Unintended Consequences: The Negative Impact of Email Use on Participation and Collective Identity in Two “Horizontal” Social Movement Groups. (The European Political Science Review  doi:10.1017/S1755773914000423)

People have asked me to write something about what the practical implications of this are for groups, especially virtual collectives, trying to work horizontally. I have written this short piece below. However, I do recommend you read the article to understand how and why these processes happen despite our best intentions! If you cannot access a copy, just get in touch and I will send one along.

Email etiquette for virtual collectives:

Research shows that email communication even in “horizontal groups” is often very skewed, reproduces informal power imbalances, is gendered, and can be used to dominate discussions and distort decision making processes (Cronauer 2004, Kavada 2007, 2009, 2010, Flesher Fominaya 2015).

Email has certain advantages, but also reproduces certain pathologies. Those people who are always online or always the first to respond to other’s emails can dominate discussion, whereas many factors inhibit participation, including lack of confidence, deferring to another’s perceived expertise or authority (often this is gendered, with males both presenting themselves and being perceived as the voice of authority), not feeling invested in the discussion, not having time to read through a long string of emails, etc.
On most email lists, a few people participate a lot, the rest very little. Men tend to intervene up to 3 or 4 more times than women.  Another common pattern is binary communication where people will only reply to certain individuals and to each other but not to others on the list.  All of this varies of course depending on the kind of list and group.

In addition, because of time/space rupture in communication, those who get in first can shape a discussion away from its original focus, and those who come in later may find that either they only respond to the last formulation of the issue, or that the discussion feels like “consensus” has already been reached, even if in reality only a few people have taken part.

Email can also be very useful, but should not be the sole means of communication, which is why other tools like Titan Pads can help create spaces where anyone can come in to a discussion and see how it has progressed and get the whole picture. Titan pads are only good for specific tasks though and email is still great for short communications and coordination. Email is particularly problematic as a means of decision making, because it facilitates the problem of “false consensus”. For anything but simple issues of coordination, other mechanisms should be sought.

Email works very effectively in hierarchical organizations, or in groups with clearly defined roles and tasks, but runs into more problems for groups trying to work collectively and horizontally and which do not have clearly defined mechanisms for decision making, clearly defined roles, etc.. Whereas in an assembly everyone is there together, there can be a moderator, you can read body language, and encourage participation, email affords none of those things. So it takes extra effort to try to make a good exchange on lists, which can quickly become dominated by a few voices.

Top tips for avoiding email pathologies and reproducing power imbalances and distortions:

  • Avoid always being the first person to weigh in on a discussion
  • Keep your interventions short if possible. Lengthy emails convey the impression that you are the authority and sends a signal that you own the issue. They also create large email strings that make it even harder for others to catch up on.
  • If you have already intervened, do not do so again unless you are merely clarifying your own point, until others have had a chance to weigh in. Don’t use the guise of clarification to simply restate your own position. Do clarify if you feel you have been misunderstood or misinterpreted.
  • Do not write emails clarifying other’s positions, or rephrasing debates or discussions started by others. Again this signals that you “own” the issue, or have the authority to pose questions to the group but others do not. It is paternalistic, however well intentioned.
  • If you do feel you must rephrase a discussion make sure to include all the points presented by others, not just token points, which you then link to your own take on the issue.
  • Be aware of gender. It is a sad fact that both men and women (even feminists ) perceive male voices as more authoritative than women’s. Think about whether you are unconsciously falling into that pattern. Make an effort to consciously validate all voices in your interventions. Be aware of gender imbalances in communication.
  • Make an effort to participate. Even if you just respond very briefly it helps others to feel they are being heard, that others are listening and taking part. (This applies only to those who have not intervened. People who feel they need to validate / respond to every other person’s voices are in fact exerting dominance over the group. This is email communication not Rogerian therapy).
  • Avoid always or only responding to certain people.
  • Avoid carrying on conversations back and forth between 2 people.  Pretend you are in an assembly.
  • Be aware of how communication reproduces power relations in the group. If you are one of the people who tends to dominate or participate a lot, think about your own interventions. There is a fine line between being helpful and dominating / controlling communication. If you participate little, think about why that is. Suggest ways to improve communication. Be aware of power imbalances and your own role in reproducing them.
  • Seriously consider  setting up a Titan Pad and then move discussion and proposals over to that space. Send email notifications about new PADS and remind people to participate.
  • Remember having more expertise (or thinking you do) does not actually confer you with more authority
  • Be aware of different rhetorical styles. Men for example often speak with the voice of authority (e.g. I can attest that… I think we should do X…We should do X… As someone with X years of experience in X, I can say that…). Women often adopt a more reflexive/open style (I wonder if we might…Maybe we could…Perhaps it might be a good idea to…). Remember just because something is said with authority does not make it nay more valid. Saying something more hesitantly or reflexively does not make it any less valid. Different cultures often adopt different discursive styles, some more direct, some much less so.
  • Be aware of time zone differences and very real differences in people’s ability to have time to engage in email. Having more time to spend on email confers more power to influence discussions (it shouldn’t but it does). Be aware that your ability to engage in a discussion does not actually confer you with more authority in a group, and try to be reflexive about the frequency and length of your interventions.
  • In email, people arriving “later to the party” often feel that consensus has been reached already or that they have missed the part of the discussion where they can usefully intervene. For this reason, among others, often a Titan Pad is a better idea.
  • Actively seek alternatives to email for decision making processes of any importance, especially those involving how the group works internally, items relating to strategy, or issues where a quorum really should be in place.
  • Start with the premise that email poses real barriers to participation for many reasons. Many groups operate on the assumption that email is inherently democratic, horizontal and participatory, and have remarkably little reflexivity about email. This is a mistake. Because email is so engrained in our daily practices, we often fail to see the negative impacts it has or can have.


Cronauer, K. (2004), Activism and the Internet: A Socio-Political Analysis of How the Use of Electronic

Mailing Lists Affects Mobilization in Social Movement Organizations, Vancouver, British Columbia:

University of British Columbia.

Flesher Fominaya, C. (2015) Unintended Consequences: The Negative Impact of Email Use on Participation and Collective Identity in Two “Horizontal” Social Movement Groups. The European Political Science Review  doi:10.1017/S1755773914000423

Kavada, A. (2007), The European Social Forum and the Internet: A Case Study of Communication

Networks and Collective Action, PhD, University of Westminster, London.
—— (2009), ‘Email lists and the construction of an open and multifaceted identity: the case of the London

2004 European Social Forum’, Information, Communication & Society 12: 817–839.
—— (2010), ‘Email lists and participatory democracy in the European Social Forum’, Media, Culture & Society 32: 355–372.

*** Titan Pads have been adopted by many activist groups in Spain as an effective way of communication and coordination that also overcomes many email pathologies. It is one of the least recognized digital revolutions in activist coordinating practice. For more on Titan Pads and how to use them, see

****Although I have focused here on virtual collectives, these tips also apply to assemblies/collectives with both on and offline meetings. For much more on the relation between on and offline spheres and the impact of email, read the article “Unintended Consequences” (Ref above)


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Upcoming Events

May 7 2015 Keynote Address: “EU Anti-Austerity protests: impacts and challenges”,  University of Roskilde

May 15 2015 Keynote Address, Birkbeck Institute Graduate Conference, 43 Gordon Sq, London “Unpacking common sense for Social Transformation”

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Resources from The Only Thing Worth Globalizing is Dissent Conference Cairo March 6-8 2015

I was honoured and delighted to be invited to deliver a keynote address at this conference in Cairo. Given the current levels of repression, the conference was nothing short of a minor miracle. This is due to the incredible efforts of the organizers, including  Professor Mona Baker, who has circulated the message below, which I reproduce here so that anyone who could not attend can have access to some of the keynotes and workshops, programme and other resources. Hopefully you will find something inspirational there, as I did.

Message from Mona Baker:

Translation and the Many Languages of Resistance

With the support of the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Centre for Translation & Intercultural Studies at Manchester, I am pleased to offer free access to some of the highlights of the hugely successful conference held in Cairo on 6-8 March. A resources section has been created on the conference site (, with links to the full delegate booklet for those who did not attend the conference or arrived after we ran out of copies, a link to a review of the conference published in Mada Masr, and 8 downloadable videos:

Trailer, with highlights of the event:…/

Plenary 1
Samah Selim: Text and Context – Translating in a State of Emergency…/

Plenary 2
Mada Masr: Journalism as Translation…/

Plenary 3
Leil-Zahra Mortada: Translation and Solidarity in Words of Women from the Egyptian Revolution…/

Plenary 4
Khalid Abdalla: Changing Frames and Fault-lines…/

Plenary 5
Brandon Jourdan: Translating Rebellion – From Local Protests to Global Uprisings…/

Plenary 6
Cristina Flesher Fominaya: The Translation of Protests and Movements Across Time, Space and Culture…/

Plenary 7
Amro Ali: Alexandria and Activism – Translating Memory, Mythology and Utopianism…/

Alisa Lebow: Filming Revolution – A New Media Experiment in Translating Complex Experience

Please note that all these resources are free to download, circulate, and post on blogs and other web sites, provided the source is acknowledged.

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Review of Social Movement Studies and Globalization in Social Movement Studies Journal

Social Movements & Globalization: How Protests, Occupations & Uprisings are
Changing the World
Cristina Flesher Fominaya
Hampshire, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, 248 pp., front matter, index, £65.00, ISBN
9780230360860 (hardback); £24.99, ISBN 9780230360877 (paperback)
Social Movements & Globalization is a timely volume on global protests and movements that brings together rich description of current events with acute analysis. The beginning chapters of the book offer a conceptualization of the two key themes – social movements and globalization – and their intersection. This is an effective theoretical skeleton for the rest of the book. Next, the reader will find an in-depth discussion on the Global Justice Movement. This is followed by three chapters with numerous examples addressing how activists take part in cultural resistance (as is the case of global SlutWalks); how they utilize media (as do Global Indymedia and Anonymous); and how they build the current global wave of protest (as it happened in Iceland’s Saucepan Revolution, in the Arab Spring, via Indignados to Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Boston). How the global wave would develop, however, the book does not say; as the author puts it, the wave ‘is by no means over’ (p. 193). Obviously, while much remains to be observed and analyzed in these movements, a solid starting point in understanding global protest has been laid here.

Continue reading

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