Neo-liberal Governance and the Protest Politics of the Occupy Movement
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The 2008 Global Financial Crisis precipitated a new wave of antineo-liberal activism directed at exposing the injustices of finance capitalism and its perversion of representative democracy. Inspired by the Arab Spring revolutions and the protest encampments of the Spanish Indignados, this activism spilled onto the streets of New York in September 2011 with a call to occupy Wall St in protest against ‘the damaging influence of corporations on politics’ (Adbusters, 2011). A month later, the ‘Occupy movement’ had spread to over 90 cities around the world, capturing public attention with slogans condemning rising inequality, austerity, corporate bailouts and the general disempowerment of ‘the 99%’. It also captured the public imagination in many countries with experiments in direct democracy that created alternative political communities within prominent hubs of corporate power. Tolerated at first, by early 2012 the major occupations had been evicted by municipal authorities. Today, the movement’s post-eviction repertoire of resistance has shifted from mass occupations to decentralised campaigns and street protests on a variety of issues ranging from housing foreclosures in the US to minority rights and social welfare in Slovenia (Razsa and Kurnik, 2012). This post-eviction activism relies on social media networks to maintain the mobilisation, solidarities and public attention created during the mass occupations.
KeywordsWorld Trade Organisation Global Financial Crisis Direct Democracy Representative Democracy Social Media Network
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