This article engages in a spatial analysis of the link between protest and voting during the Wende, East Germany’s revolution of 1989. Are the same places that protested more also the places that decided the revolution’s fate by supporting CDU’s ticket of quick reunification? The revolution is approached through the conceptual metaphor of Thermidor, a conservative backlash to the revolution’s initial radical impulse. Spatial methods are used to investigate the local-level relationships between protest and voting. The article finds a weak link between protest and voting, which suggests that something akin to Thermidor occurred in East Germany. While certain towns initiated the revolution with their protests, other localities stepped in at a later stage and finished the revolution by voting for reunification, the revolution’s main outcome. The article pays special attention to the divide between East Germany’s north (Berlin, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-West Pomerania) and south (Saxony and Thuringia).
On the Form and Temporality of Protests among Left Radical Activists in Europe
During the past 10 years, protests timed to coincide with international summits have become a recurrent phenomenon in Europe. The present article describes the protests of left radical activists during NATO's sixtieth anniversary summit in Strasbourg in 2009, paying attention to the particular relationship between form, body, and time. The article establishes a dialogue between the performative theory of Victor Turner, Viveiros de Castro's theorization of Amerindian perspectivism, and newer theories of time and the body. It is argued that during confrontations between activists and the police, a moment of bodily synchronicity emerges among activists. A skillful performance makes a temporal bodily perspective appear that overcomes the antinomies between immanence and transcendence, between the present and the future, that characterize much thought on social change.
Isaías Barreñada Bajo
The popular demonstrations triggered by the so-called Arab Spring can be explained by a combination of the multiple reasons of political, social, cultural, and economic orders. But previous mobilizations become relevant as a precedent to the Arab Spring protests given their scope; in several countries in recent years, an unusual intensification of the protest was experienced. The massive character of the protests would not have been possible without the intervention of certain experienced actors that served as catalysts and facilitators of these dynamics. Regardless of their achievements and singularities, the 2011 demonstrations have to be regarded as part of a protest continuum, being the inheritors of previous resistance, and protest movements, as well as of preceding organizational experiences and constituting a turning point in collective action. This continuum goes on.
Spanish Las movilizaciones populares que desencadenaron las llamadas “primaveras árabes“ se explican por la combinación de múltiples razones de orden político, social, cultural y económico. Pero las dimensiones adquiridas por las protestas ponen de relieve cómo éstas tenían antecedentes; en varios países en los últimos años se vivió una intensificacioacute;n inusitada de la contestación. El carácter masivo de las protestas no hubiera sido posible sin la intervención de determinados actores que contaban con experiencia y que lograron actuar como catalizadores y facilitadores de esta dinámica. Independientemente de sus logros y de sus singularidades nacionales, las manifestaciones del 2011 se inscribieron así en un continuum contestatario, siendo herederas de experiencias de resistencia, protesta y organización previas, y constituyeron un punto de inflexión en el proceso. Este continuum prosigue en las transiciones políticas en curso.
French Les mobilisations populaires déclenchées par les dénommés “printemps arabes“ s'expliquent par la combinaison de multiples raisons d'ordre politique, social, culturel et économique. Mais les dimensions a eintes par les protestations me ent en relief leurs antécédents; dans plusieurs pays, durant ces dernières années, a eu lieu une intensification inusitée de la contestation. Le caractère massif des protestations n'aurait été a eint sans l'intervention de certains acteurs qui comptaient avec de l'expérience y qui purent jouer un rôle de catalyseurs et de facilitateurs de ce e dynamique. Indépendamment de leurs réussites et de leurs singularités nationales, les manifestations de 2011 se sont ainsi inscrites dans un continuum contestataire, étant héritières d'expériences de résistance, de protestation et d'organisations antérieures, et elles constituèrent un moment d'inflexion dans le processus. Ce continuum se prolonge dans les transitions politiques en cour.
Some Observations on Motives, Strategies, and Their Consequences on the Reconfigurations of State and Media
Audrey Laurin-Lamothe and Michel Ratte
The first part of this article reports the main events of the 2012 student protest in Quebec leading to the government’s adoption of Bill 12. It highlights the major ideological conflict generated through the liberal managerial mutation of the academic institutions as a key to understand more clearly the student’s claims. Rapidly, the standard strike was transformed into a massive mobilization that produced many protests and other forms of resistance. The response given by the government to these unprecedented acts of resistance was Bill 12, to be understood as a symbolic coup d’état with voluntarily disruptive media effects whose aim was to make people forget the massive rejection of a pseudo tentative agreement in relation to Higher Education reform. The bill was also supported through the abusive and twisted use by the government of a series of buzzwords, like “bullying” and “access to education”, which were relayed by the media. The authors also discuss the issues surrounding the traditional conceptions regarding the analysis of discourses, mobilizing Orwell’s concept of doublethink and the notion of selfdeception inherited form Sartre.
Protest and daily life in poor South African neighborhoods
This article is based on research conducted in various South African cities, in contact with organizations involved in demonstrating against poor living conditions. It aims to grasp these collectives outside of their interactions with the political sphere, by moving away from the traditional definitions of a “social movement.” The protesters are here examined in terms of their relationships with their immediate surroundings: the neighborhoods. The point is thus to emphasize the continuities that may exist between protest and daily life. Indeed, one may find elements in the ordinary and the everyday that shed light on some of the logics that structure mobilization and certain practices of protest.
Journalist Perspectives and Patterns in Coverage of Occupy Wall Street
Considerable research has demonstrated that protesters often receive critical coverage of their actions and events. However, questions still remain about the reasons why journalists cover protests in the way they do. This study utilizes a thematic analysis of news coverage and interviews with journalists at two Occupy Wall Street sites (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Madison, Wisconsin) to explore patterns in coverage and reasons behind those patterns. The findings suggest that protest group characteristics such as level of organization and focus of message as well as community norms such as history of protest activity can have an impact on both the success of protest activity and the nature of resulting coverage. Implications for theory, journalists, and protesters are discussed
The Popular Front Francisco Villa’s Media Diffusion Articulation of Political Subjectivities among Workers
Edgar Everardo Guerra Blanco
This article draws on social systems theory to explore a key phenomenon in social movements: organizations. The Frente Popular Francisco Villa (PFFV)—an organization related to the Urban Popular Movement in Mexico—is used as a case study. The research focuses on the internal dynamics that have steered this organization and propelled internal changes in some of its key aspects, especially media diffusion and propaganda strategy. Indeed, the media strategy employed by the organization have changed during the 30-yearhistory of the PFFV, not only on the basis of the programmatic goals and objectives of the organization, but also as a consequence of internal and external dynamics beyond the control of members and leaders. The main objectives of this analysis are threefold. First, I intend to uncover the main processes and structures that regulate the PFFV´s internal dynamic and changes over time. Second, I aim to analyze the relationships between these changes and the requirements of several organizations and actors in the environment of the PFFV. Finally, I aim to explore the impact of broader processes (such as the political system or the culture) on the organization's internal changes.
The Role of Visual Methods in Analyzing Union Protest Strategy
Janis Bailey and Di McAtee
This article reports on an unusual participant observer study of a union campaign. The researchers are an academic with an interest in union strategy and a visual artist/community arts trainer. We used a multi-method approach, with a focus on ethnography. Visual mater- ial (including many photographs) and ephemera were collected as part of the study. The essay examines how the use of visual repre- sentations contributed both to the unfolding methodology of the study and the theoretical analysis. It enabled us to develop a complex cultural materialist framework to analyze the campaign, bringing together a variety of theoretical approaches that have not hitherto been used in the ﬁeld of study of industrial relations. We began the research with a 'simple' desire to collect illustrative material of a col- orful and interesting campaign. The research led us to conclude, however, that visual data can contribute in important ways, in the words of Stallybrass and White (1986), to a deeper understanding of “the politics and poetics of union transgression.”
In this article I explore the concept of the rebellious girl by examining the cases of three different girls: an HIV activist in South Africa; a young feminist in Finland; and a topless on-line protester in post-revolution Tunisia. Although their contexts and messages vary greatly, there are marked similarities between and amongst them. I suggest that, in general, the media, political movements, and research agendas often appear to have difficulty taking girls' protests seriously. The rebellious girl is ridiculed, shunned, shamed, and disciplined. The protests explored here can, however, be read as important visual interruptions that attempt to invoke an epistemic mutiny that does not beg for inclusion on preexisting terms but, rather, challenges the boundaries of acceptable bodily integrity. They also gesture towards the social in a way that demands recognition, acceptance, and support, not a simplified acceptance based on the notion of neoliberal individual freedom.
Sacred Money and Islamic Freedom in a Global Sufi Order
Global protest is changing. In the 1980s and 1990s, single-cause forms of protest to save the whale, protect the rain forest, or advocate indigenous rights increasingly replaced the lifelong loyalties that people had previously demonstrated through class-based, unionized forms of protest. This article argues that we may now be seeing a second shift in global protest that combines personal sub-politics with a collective, religious vision. I will illustrate how twists in political geo-politics and modernity have allowed for the emergence of not only religious forms of social movements but also religious forms of global protest. An analysis of the paradoxical links between faith and finance in the Murabitun movement, a global Sufi brotherhood of converts to Islam from Europe, Africa, and the United States, provides the basis for the argument.