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The World Says No to War

The World Says No to War: Demonstrations against the War on Iraq

Stefaan Walgrave
Dieter Rucht
Preface by Sidney Tarrow
Volume: 33
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    The World Says No to War
    Book Description:

    The World Says No to War studies the rally against the invasion of Iraq in 2003 to understand who spoke out, why they did, and how so many people were mobilized for a global demonstration. The contributors analyze how the new tools of the Internet were combined with conventional means of mobilization to rally millions around common goals and against common targets.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7338-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xii)
    Sidney Tarrow
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xiii-xxvi)
    Stefaan Walgrave and Dieter Rucht

    On February 15, 2003, following the global time zones from Australia in the East to Seattle in the West, a massive flood of protest conquered the streets throughout the world. Millions of people in more than six hundred cities worldwide protested against the imminent war on Iraq. This massive demonstration was the culmination point of a sustained protest wave against the Iraq War starting in late 2002 and lasting for several months. At that time, the United States and the United Kingdom were busy preparing for war with Iraq, but it seemed as though war could be avoided, as the...

  5. 1 February 15, 2003: The World Says No to War
    (pp. 1-19)
    Joris Verhulst

    On February 15, 2003, various slogans—“Not in my name!” “No war on Iraq!” “Don’t attack Iraq!” “No blood for oil!” “The world says no to war!”—were the unifying mantras that echoed on the streets of more than six hundred cities throughout the world, on the marching cadence of ten to fifteen million protesters. Diehard activists shared the streets with citizens of all kinds: students, teenagers, young couples with children, but also housewives, doctors, university professors, and senior citizens (Simonson 2003). February 15 was the day the world stood up against an imminent United States–led invasion of Iraq...

  6. 2 Political Opportunity Structures and Progressive Movement Sectors
    (pp. 20-41)
    Michelle Beyeler and Dieter Rucht

    It is widely argued that social movements are influenced by stable structural features of the political systems in which they are embedded. This is our starting point. We are interested in these nation-specific structures that, via a set of intermediary variables, ultimately may have an impact on the size, forms, and other properties of the antiwar protests that are at the center of this book. While it may be impossible to find a direct link between general political structures and specific protest incidents, we can at best explore a potential causal bridge between these general political structures and the structures...

  7. 3 Politics, Public Opinion, and the Media: The Issues and Context behind the Demonstrations
    (pp. 42-60)
    Joris Verhulst and Stefaan Walgrave

    February 15 was organized by a closely collaborating transnational network of social movements. Demonstrations in all eight countries studied in this volume shared the same action repertoires, frames, and goals (see chapter 1). Yet, each country’s protest was organized by specific national movements against the backdrop of specific national opportunities. It goes without saying that mobilizing against war in the United States, for example, was different than mobilizing in Germany. The protests were rooted in, or at least affected by, different national political and societal contexts. The UK government supported the war and sent troops to help the Americans get...

  8. 4 Legacies from the Past: Eight Cycles of Peace Protest
    (pp. 61-77)
    Bert Klandermans

    Although the protest against the war in Iraq can be studied in its own right, it is also a link in a much longer chain of protest events regarding issues of peace and war. Large protest movements proceed in cycles; periods of mobilization and demobilization alternate. That no mass mobilization takes place does not necessarily mean a movement has disappeared, because between periods of mobilization, movements might continue to exist in abeyance (Taylor 1989), and such abeyance structures appear important in later periods of mobilization (see Downton and Wehr 1998; Everts and Walraven 1984; and Kleidman 1993 for examples regarding...

  9. 5 New Activists or Old Leftists? The Demographics of Protesters
    (pp. 78-97)
    Stefaan Walgrave, Dieter Rucht and Peter Van Aelst

    This chapter analyzes the sociodemographic profile of the February 15 demonstrators. Who are they, in terms of age, sex, education, social class, and religion? Since this cannot be answered without a comparative yardstick, we can narrow down our quest to the specificities of the February 15 protesters when compared to other social groups. In more precise terms: Are the peace protesters typical new social movement supporters? Are they emblematic Old Left activists? Or do they, in contrast, mirror the population as a whole and, as such, represent an example of protest normalization? The comparative design of the book begs for...

  10. 6 Peace Demonstrations or Antigovernment Marches? The Political Attitudes of the Protesters
    (pp. 98-118)
    Bert Klandermans

    Why did so many people bother to demonstrate? The obvious answer seems to be that they were opposed to the war in Iraq, but is this all there is to it? Was it solely opposition to the war, or was it also greater dissatisfaction in general that made people protest against their government?

    Questions about dissatisfaction are the subject of grievance theory, which attempts to account for the grievances that motivate people to take part in protest. How did such grievances develop, and how are they embedded in the opinions and attitudes people maintain? For a long time, social movement...

  11. 7 Paths to the February 15 Protest: Social or Political Determinants?
    (pp. 119-140)
    Donatella della Porta

    This chapter analyzes the degrees and forms of participation among February 15 demonstrators. The questions of participants’ previous experiences in antiwar demonstrations is particularly relevant, because of the very characteristics of the peace movements—small nuclei of committed pacifists—and the capacity to at times mobilize very large and heterogeneous networks rooted in various movements; and the involvement of citizens with mainly ethical or religious stances who are not (or not yet) politicized (see chapter 4). The issues of diversity in participants’ backgrounds as well as the presence of large numbers of first-timers were particularly relevant for the 2003 demonstrations...

  12. 8 Boon or Burden? Antiwar Protest and Political Parties
    (pp. 141-168)
    Wolfgang Rüdig

    The enormous size of the demonstrations on February 15, 2003, gives rise to the question of whether this marks a turning point in the relationship between protest and parties. Political protest has sometimes been seen as a challenge to representative democracy and the dominant role of political parties in aggregating political demands. Others regard protest behavior as just one of a range of forms of political behavior that also includes voting and working within political parties. The question thus arises of whether the unprecedented mobilization over the Iraq War has provided political parties with a new challenge or a new...

  13. 9 Open and Closed Mobilization Patterns: The Role of Channels and Ties
    (pp. 169-193)
    Stefaan Walgrave and Bert Klandermans

    Mobilization can usefully be discussed in terms of the demand and supply metaphor. “Demand” refers to the will of (a segment of) the population to protest and show its discontent, while “supply” refers to the offer of a certain collective action event staged by organizations and social movements. Mobilization brings demand and supply together. To be sure, this economic metaphor does not apply entirely to collective action events—both “parties” are not exchanging different types of goods, they essentially want the same (collective action), and there can be demand without supply, in the case of spontaneous collective actions. Yet, it...

  14. 10 Promoting the Protest: The Organizational Embeddedness of the Demonstrators
    (pp. 194-214)
    Mario Diani

    Although they have been frequently associated with peace movements (and understandably so), the February 15 demonstrations were, first of all, specific protest events, as large and impressive as they were. As we know, the relationship between protest events and social movements is a complex one. Regardless of whether we define them as “sustained interactions between power holders and authorities,” à la Tilly (see, e.g., 1995, 369; 1994), or as “informal networks linking individuals and/or organizations, engaged in a conflict on the basis of a shared collective identity” (Diani 1992, 13; Diani and Bison 2004), social movements are usually associated with...

  15. 11 Crossing Political Divides: Communication, Political Identification, and Protest Organization
    (pp. 215-238)
    W. Lance Bennett, Terri E. Givens and Christian Breunig

    The February 15 anti–Iraq War protests mobilized demonstrators from a wide variety of political backgrounds. For quite a few people, it was the first demonstration they had ever attended. Others were associated with single issues or social movements, most notably peace organizations and related protest activities. Large numbers of demonstrators had been involved in global social justice protests against organizations such as the World Trade Organization (Walgrave and Verhulst 2003; and see chapter 10 in this volume). Within this broad context, there were many demonstrators with complex political histories that crossed multiple issue and movement lines; these activists may...

  16. 12 The Framing of Opposition to the War on Iraq
    (pp. 239-260)
    Dieter Rucht and Joris Verhulst

    Wording matters when it comes to influencing people’s hearts and minds. Many words and catchphrases are value-loaded. Because they have or evoke positive, negative, or ambivalent connotations and feelings, they are often carefully chosen by actors in a political struggle, thus becoming part of a contest over naming, blaming, and framing (Gamson 1992). It seems that the more morally loaded a conflict is and the higher the stakes, the more the actors engage in a framing contest to win support and discredit their opponents. Just consider the discursive struggles over abortion, in which each side deliberately chooses terms and slogans:...

  17. Conclusion: Studying Protest in Context
    (pp. 261-272)
    Stefaan Walgrave and Dieter Rucht

    On February 15, 2003, an unprecedented mass of people publicly expressed their indignation in hundreds of cities around the globe. About one month later, the United States and its allies did what the demonstrators had sought to prevent: they invaded Iraq because of its alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction. At least to the invaders, it seemed that this war would soon come to an end. On May 1, 2003, aboard the aircraft carrierAbraham Lincoln, President Bush declared “one victory.” Behind him hung a banner reading “Mission Accomplished.” However, as we write these lines in April 2008, the...

  18. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 273-274)
  19. Appendix A: Methodology of Protest Surveys in Eight Countries
    (pp. 275-284)
    Stefaan Walgrave and Claudius Wagemann
  20. Appendix B: Media Content Analysis
    (pp. 285-288)
    Joris Verhulst
  21. Contributors
    (pp. 289-290)
  22. Index
    (pp. 291-304)
  23. Back Matter
    (pp. 305-306)