Global justice networks

Global justice networks: Geographies of transnational solidarity

Paul Routledge
Andrew Cumbers
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Global justice networks
    Book Description:

    This book provides a critical investigation of what has been termed the ‘global justice movement’. Through a detailed study of a grassroots peasants’ network in Asia (People’s Global Action), an international trade union network (the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mining and General Workers) and the Social Forum process, it analyses some of the global justice movement’s component parts, operational networks and their respective dynamics, strategies and practices. The authors argue that the emergence of new globally-connected forms of collective action against neoliberal globalisation are indicative of a range of place-specific forms of political agency that coalesce across geographic space at particular times, in specific places, and in a variety of ways. Rather than being indicative of a coherent ‘movement’, the authors argue that such forms of political agency contain many political and geographical fissures and fault-lines, and are best conceived of as ‘global justice networks’: overlapping, interacting, competing, and differentially-placed and resourced networks that articulate demands for social, economic and environmental justice. Such networks, and the social movements that comprise them, characterise emergent forms of trans-national political agency. The authors argue that the role of key geographical concepts of space, place and scale are crucial to an understanding of the operational dynamics of such networks. Such an analysis challenges key current assumptions in the literature about the emergence of a global civil society.

    eISBN: 978-1-84779-340-9
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of tables
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. List of abbreviations
    (pp. vii-ix)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. x-x)
  6. 1 Neoliberalism and its discontents
    (pp. 1-27)

    A new global ‘movement’ has arisen over the past decade to confront global capitalism. The emergence of what has been termed the global justice movement (GJM) is the most significant development in counter-systemic politics (Wallerstein, 2002) since the end of the Cold War. In the wake of the ‘End of History’ pronouncements (Fukuyama, 1992), celebrating the collapse of the Soviet Union and the perceived victory of liberal democracy and market capitalism, the upsurge in global protest in response to the continuing realities of global uneven development served as a rude awakening to capitalist elites (Tormey, 2004a). Moreover, the genuine translocal...

  7. 2 Networks, global civil society and global justice networks
    (pp. 28-47)

    In this chapter our purpose is to fuse together recent theorisations about the resistance to neoliberalism with broader debates that seek to conceptualise changes in society more generally, stemming from processes of globalisation. The latter, typified by the work of Manuel Castells, perceive of a fundamental qualitative shift in both the organisation and relations of human society brought about by globalisation processes. The network concept has been at the forefront of such debates, where its use depicts what are seen as flatter, dynamic and more fluid forms of economic and social organisation, emerging under globalisation. Network ontologies have also been...

  8. 3 Global justice networks: operational logics and strategies
    (pp. 48-75)

    Given the aforementioned variety of political actors and strategic foci of GJNs, detailed in Chapter 2, it is perhaps unsurprising that they comprise a series of political, operational and geographical ‘fault-lines’. These include differences between ideological (e.g. Marxist, Feminist, Socialist, Social Democratic, Anarchist) and post-ideological (e.g. autonomist) positionalities; reformist and radical political agendas; the resource and power differences between movements from the Global North and the Global South; and different types of activism associated with NGOs, political parties, and direct action formations (Juris, 2004a; Tormey, 2004a). Here we draw significantly upon the recent work of Juris (2004a, b; 2005c), Tormey...

  9. 4 Global justice networks: geographical dynamics and convergence spaces
    (pp. 76-102)

    This chapter is concerned with analysing how the operational dynamics of GJNs are acted out across geographic space. The spatiality of GJNs concerns both the geographical context in which they operate (e.g. the conditions, opportunities and constraints that they face) and the strategies that they employ. It concerns the myriad ongoing connections that combine different parts of the world together (by connecting different place-based social movements) that are constituted through, and constitute, particular sites and places (Featherstone et al., 2007). Of course, as we discussed in Chapters 1 and 2, GJNs comprise particular social movements involved in a variety of...

  10. 5 People’s Global Action (Asia): peasant solidarity as horizontal networking?
    (pp. 103-138)

    People’s Global Action (PGA) represents a network for communication and coordination between diverse place-based (but not place-restricted) social movements, whose membership cuts across differences in gender, ethnicity, language, nationality, age, class and caste. The PGA network owes its genesis to an international encounter between activists and intellectuals that was organised by the Zapatistas in Chiapas in 1996. At the encounter, the Zapatistas’ Subcommandante Marcos declared that those present would construct an intercontinental network of resistance against neoliberalism. In Spain the following year, the idea of a network between different resistance formations was launched by ten social movements including MST (Landless...

  11. 6 International Federation for Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers: labour internationalism as vertical networking?
    (pp. 139-172)

    ICEM (International Federation for Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers) is one of the ten Global Union Federations (GUFs), formerly known as International Trade Secretariats, set up to represent and coordinate worldwide labour interests. It unites workplace-based branches of 408 trade unions in its sectors (essentially chemicals, oil, energy and mining) on all continents. It receives its core funding to carry out its operations through affiliation fees from national affiliates, so exists in a dependency relationship, particular to the more powerful national union centres. It is also dependent at the national level for funding for particular projects. It is heavily...

  12. 7 Social Forums as convergence spaces
    (pp. 173-195)

    The emergence of the World Social Forum (WSF), and its associated regional and local fora, is the most significant process of convergence for the diverse movements that have emerged to contest neoliberal globalisation. Beyond individual days of action, such as protests against G8, WTO, WB or IMF meetings, the establishment of the WSF signalled a step-change in the resistance to neoliberalism (Wallerstein, 2004), representing the transformation of a growing global protest movement into a forum to envisage alternatives, manifested in the slogan ‘Another World is Possible’. Critically, with the decline of alternative positions within mainstream politics, and the hegemony of...

  13. 8 Geographies of transnational solidarity
    (pp. 196-218)

    Our concern in this book has been to go beyond the simplistic and superficial gloss on the growing resistance to neoliberal globalisation as an emergent global civil society. In the preceding chapters we have done this by critiquing existing discourses and developing our own conceptualisation of Global Justice Networks (GJNs) which we have then grounded through three case studies: PGA (Asia), ICEM and the Social Forum process. We consider each of these examples of GJNs, comprising differentially-placed and resourced social movements, trade unions, NGOs and other political actors working together to articulate demands for social, economic and environmental justice. GJNs...

  14. References
    (pp. 219-234)
  15. Index
    (pp. 235-246)