Movements And Demonstrations

Anti-establishment Movements and Massive Demonstrations – What good have they done, what value do they have, and what have we learned from them?

Presenter: John Pope

April, 2016

The mass mobilization of people for political reasons has a long history. In most democratic nations, participation in social movements and peaceful mass demonstrations is a Constitutional right. As we know, it is brutally repressed in some other nations.

Three fairly recent mass movements, presented below, protest against economic inequality, and other universally important issues.

One part of our discussion will be about whether these movements have been successful, partly successful, or whether they were just exercises in futility.

Here is a bit of background on these three on-going movements.

1. Anti-globalization Movement started circa 2000

This movement is critical of the globalization of corporate capitalism.

They are in opposition to international financial institutions and transnational corporations which aim for an end to the legal status of “corporate personhood” and the dissolution of free market fundamentalism and the radical economic privatization measures of the World Bank, the IMF, and the World Trade Organization.

They are in opposition to Neoliberalism – Its advocates support extensive economic liberalisation policies such as privatisation, fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade, and reductions in government spending in order to enhance the role of the private sector in the economy.

They are in opposition to large, multi-national corporations having unregulated political power, exercised through trade agreements and deregulated financial markets.

Some believe that 9-11 deflated the anti-globalization movement.

2. Occupy Movement started 2011

Occupy has similar goals to, and a natural extension of the ‘Anti-Globalization’ movement.

They are against social and economic inequality worldwide.

Article: The Triumph of “Occupy Wall Street”

“Occupy’s chief accomplishment was changing the national conversation by giving Americans a new language—the 99 percent and the 1 percent—to frame the dual crises of income inequality and the corrupting influence of money in politics.”   June 10, 2015

3. Nuit debout  started April 1, 2016

Nuit debout protesters occupy French cities in revolutionary call for ‘change’

“For more than a week, vast nocturnal gatherings have spread across France in a citizen-led movement that has rattled the government”   April 8, 2016

France’s ‘Up All Night’ protests gather strength — and causes

“Participants may be fighting for the environment, against Islamophobia and homophobia, for better housing, against unhealthy food — or all of the above.”   April 9, 2016

Questions For Discussion

How do we measure the success of these movements?

What has changed as a result of these movements?

Why do so many autocratic governments around the world outlaw mass demonstrations?


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