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The Movements Of Movements : An Introduction And
An Exploration
Jai Sen
The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ?
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Table of Contents
The Movements of Movements
MOMBOP Advance Pre-Final Movement Edition, 2016
Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ?
Proem :
Shailja Patel What Moves Us
Introduction :
Jai Sen The Movements of Movements : An
Introduction and an Exploration
1.1 David McNally From the Mountains of Chiapas to the Streets
of Seattle : This is What Democracy Looks Like
1.2 Fouad Kalouche and Eric Mielants Antisystemic Movements
and Transformations of the World-System, 19681989
1.3 André C Drainville Beyond
: Anti-Capitalist
Dialectic of Presence
1.4 Tariq Ali Storming Heaven : Where Has The Rage Gone ?
1.5 Taiaiake Alfred and Jeff Corntassel - Being Indigenous :
Resurgences against Contemporary Colonialism
1.6 Andrea Smith Indigenous Feminism and the Heteropatriachal
1.7 Xochitl Leyva Solano Geopolitics of Knowledge and the Neo-
Zapatista Social Movement Networks
The Movements of Movements :
Struggles for Other Worlds
2.1 Anand Teltumbde Anti-Imperialism, Dalits, and the
Annihilation of Caste
2.2 Jeff Corntassel Rethinking Self-Determination : Lessons from
the Indigenous-Rights Discourse
2.3 Xochitl Leyva Solano and Christopher Gunderson - The Tapestry
of Neo-Zapatismo : Origins and Development
2.4 Roma and Ashok Choudhary - Ecological Justice and Forest
Right Movements in India : State and Militancy - New
2.5 Emilie Hayes Open Space in Movement : Reading Three
Waves of Feminism
2.6 Virginia Vargas International Feminisms : New Syntheses,
New Directions
2.7 Lee Cormie Re-Creating the World : Communities of Faith in
the Struggles for Other Possible Worlds
2.8 François Houtart Mahmoud Mohamed Taha : Islamic Witness
in the Contemporary World
2.9 James Toth Local Islam Gone Global : The Roots of Religious
Militancy in Egypt and its Transnational Transformation
2.10 Roel Meijer Fighting for Another World : Yusuf Al-‘Uyairi’s
Conceptualisation of Praxis and the Permanent Salafi Revolution
2.11 Peter Waterman The Networked Internationalism of Labour’s
2.12 Cho Hee-YeonFrom Anti-Imperialist to Anti-Empire : The
Crystallisation of the Anti-Globalisation Movement in South
2.13 Emir Sader The Weakest Link ? Neoliberalism in Latin America
2.14 Daniel Bensaïd The Return of Strategy
2.15 Peter North and David Featherstone Localisation as Radical
Praxis and the New Politics of Climate Change
2.16 Guillermo Delgado-P Refounding Bolivia : Exploring the
Possibility and Paradox of a Social Movements State
2.17 Alex Khasnabish - Forward Dreaming : Zapatismo and the
Radical Imagination
Laurence Cox ‘Learning to be Loyal to Each Other’ :
Conversations, Alliances, and Arguments in the Movements of
Compiled, comprehensive Bibliography for The Movements of
Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ?
Part 2 : Rethinking Our Dance
Proem :
Shailja Patel Offerings
Introduction :
Jai Sen On Rethinking Our Dance : Some
Thoughts, Some Moves
Interrogating Movement, Problematising
3.1 Rodrigo Nunes Nothing Is What Democracy Looks Like :
Openness, Horizontality, and The Movement of Movements
3.2 The Free Association Worlds in Motion : Movements,
Problematics, and the Creation of New Worlds
3.3 Jai Sen Break Free ! Engaging Critically with the Concept and
Reality of Civil Society (Part 1)
3.4 Anila Daulatzai - Believing in Exclusion : The Problem of
Secularism in Progressive Politics
3.5 Josephine Ho Is Global Governance Bad for East Asian Queers
3.6 Jeffrey S Juris and Geoffrey Pleyers Incorporating Youth or
Transforming Politics ? Alter-Activism as an Emerging Mode of
Praxis among Young Global Justice Activists
3.7 Tomás Mac Sheoin and Nicola Yeates The Anti-Globalisation
Movement : Coalition and Division
3.8 Stephanie Ross The Strategic Implications of Anti-Statism in
the Global Justice Movement
3.9 Michael Löwy Negativity and Utopia in the Alterglobalisation
3.10 Rodrigo Nunes The Global Moment : Seattle, Ten Years On
3.11 Ezequiel Adamovsky Autonomous Politics and its Problems :
Thinking the Passage from Social to Political
3.12 John Brown Childs Boundary as Bridge
3.13 Chris Carlsson Effective Politics or Feeling Effective ?
3.14 Massimo De Angelis PR like PRocess ! Strategy from the
Bottom Up
3.15 Matt Meyer and Oussenia Alidou The Power of Words :
Reclaiming and Re-Imagining ‘Revolution’ and ‘Nonviolence’
3.16 Jai Sen Break Free ! Engaging Critically with the Concept and
Reality of Civil Society (Part 2)
Reflections on Possible Futures
4.1 Michal Osterweil “Becoming-Woman ?” : Between Theory,
Practice, and Potentiality
4.2 John Holloway The Asymmetry of Revolution
4.3 David Graeber The Shock of Victory
4.4 Kolya Abramsky Gathering Our Dignified Rage : Building New
Autonomous Global Relations of Production, Livelihood, and
4.5 Muto Ichiyo Towards the Autonomy of the People of the
World : Need for a New Movement of Movements to Animate
People’s Alliance Processes
4.6 Samir Amin Towards a Fifth International ?
4.7 Rodrigo Nunes The Lessons of 2011 : Three Theses on
4.8 François Houtart – ‘We Still Exist’
Lee Cormie - Another World Is Inevitable… But Which Other
World ?
Complied, comprehensive Bibliography for The Movements of
Movements, Part 2 : Rethinking Our Dance
MOMBOP Advance Pre-Final Movement Edition
made freely available for Discussion and Debate on a Not-for-Re-Publication / Distribution basis !
The Movements Of Movements : An Introduction And An Exploration
Jai Sen
Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.
--- Arundhati Roy
Movement, motion, is a fundamental facet, fact, of life; of all life processes. Indeed, in some ways it is
life itself. It is the most fundamental characteristic of change.
Movement intrinsically involves the flow of energy; of power in the sense of
Movement links points, in space and in time. Power radiates.
In a sense therefore,
all movement is about energy
- about energy harnessed, energy expressed, energy
experienced, energy directed and all movement is therefore about power, understood in a generic
I do not pretend to be a sage, but my sense is that at this moment in history, we are entering or
perhaps have already entered a period of another great transformation, where almost despite
ourselves, we as human beings are embarking on a profound search for truth and for meaning.
This book, and its companion volume The Movements of Movements, Part 2 : Rethinking Our
Dance, is about what I suggest is a fundamental expression not only of this moment in history but also of
the unfolding of human history, and of life itself : Social (and political) movement.
Unfortunately, as in too many fields in the contemporary world, these terms, and their meanings,
have come to be captured by particular and increasingly specialised disciplines, and as a result have
almost lost (or arguably, been made to lose) their generic meanings for us. At one level therefore, these
two books are also an attempt to allow these more fundamental meanings to come out and to live, and
to critically explore them.
This book, then, is about people in movement; about women and men who feel moved to do
something about the world around them, and about the social and political movements for justice and
liberation that they form. But in a way, it is more than this. It is an attempt to present, and to see and to
hear and to feel, the extraordinary drama of the flow of social movement taking place across the world in
our times, and that we are so privileged to be a part of or to be witness to, perhaps more than ever
before in history. It is also an attempt to take a look across the landscape of movement that is sweeping
the world in our times, towards understanding it.
In this Introduction, I argue that what we see and understand as ‘movement’ is not what we now
normally understand it to be crowds of people around an issue but is in fact a fundamental
expression of the human spirit, of life itself, and of the life of Mother Earth herself; and that perceiving it
in this way opens up many new doors.
Among other things, the fact that movement is so fundamental to our lives is reflected in the
simple fact that the term ‘movement’ occurs in so many different spheres of life the social, the
scientific, the creative (an ‘art movement’, or a movement in music), and also the intensely personal and
private (such as when we are moved by a poem or a song or a picture, or by a piece of music, and at a
very different level, the experience of what in some contexts is called a ‘bowel movement’) and where
this is perhaps true in all languages and cultures. Even the word ‘emotion’ which gives expression to
such a basic part of what makes us human - is rooted in motion; in moving and in being moved.
Accordingly, I suggest that that we need to try to see and comprehend what we otherwise understand as
‘social and political movement’ in this much wider and deeper sense, and that we can gain new
understandings both of movement and of the world around us if we can see them in this way.
In particular, and with this lens, I would like to invite readers to see this book not just as a space
where we, as outsiders, can view and read the work of the contributors, and/or where we can then
comparatively and critically present and discuss movements. Rather, I invite you to consider this book as
a space where movements themselves are speaking to each other, and where they can perhaps grow
through their interactions, learning from their exchanges, and where through this we all including those
of us in movement can perhaps move towards a more full understanding of the deeper meanings of
movement and of their potentials and limitations, individually and collectively, and of the worlds of
movement around us : Of worlds in movement.
As a contribution to this, I have also tried in these two books to go one step further. By
attempting to see the essays contained in them as the diverse and varying politico-cultural compositions
that they are, and by attempting to compose the book with the essays as movements in themselves
and here using the terms ‘composition’ and ‘movement’ here in the sense they are commonly used in
music -, I have tried to see the two books themselves as compositions, and to consciously compose them
(with the limited skills I have), and so to perhaps make manifest something of the dance and the music
and the movement - of movement, and of worlds in movement.
As discussed later on this in this Introduction, these two books are the fourth and fifth in a series
titled the
Challenging Empires
Our aim - in this series and in these books - is to strengthen
movement by critically exploring its transformative power, and to widen and deepen a critical
understanding of movement by outsiders and by participants as not an auxiliary but core part of politics,
governance, democracy, and social transformation, and of life and of hope. In the case of these books,
we attempt to do this by presenting a range of analyses of and reflections on both the everyday praxis of
a wide range of movement and insistently, and simultaneously, also the wider worlds within which
movements take placeand of which they are an integral part.
This Introduction attempts both to sketch out this book and also contains some reflections on
what we are attempting by a book of this kind. It has the following sections :
o About this book
o Locating myself
o Worlds in movement
o Meanings of movement, the movements of movements, and this book
o Reading the essays
o Closing comments.
About this book
I feel I must make clear at the outset that although this two-volume book contains a large number of
essays (see the Table of Contents for details, and more on this below), it does not in any way attempt or
pretend to be a comprehensive encyclopaedia of movement today, or even an up-to-date reportage of all
movement that has recently taken place or that is taking place today. It goes without saying that no one
book can cover everything; nor, arguably, is it even preferable that any one book attempts this. Rather,
this book is merely one attempt to bring together some outstanding essays that in my editorial
judgement can, both individually and collectively, help us all to perceive the larger world of movement,
and to begin to understand it; and to the extent possible in the format of a book, to make this book a
space where conversations between movements begin to open up, at different levels.
In all, we have commissioned and/or collected some 50 essays for this book, as well as two
major Afterwords, one in each book.
As already mentioned above, in order to present and make
available as wide a range of movements as possible however, and to make these essays as accessible as
we can, we are publishing this book in two volumes, or parts. This present book is Part 1, and has three
Sections. It opens with a Section 0 titled Invocations, containing a Proem by Shailja Patel on ‘What
Moves Us’ and this Introduction, and then goes on to sketch out, in Section 1, certain key features of the
landscape of contemporary movement in the world from 1968 till about 2010. The sketches are by people
from different parts of the world, and intentionally include essays by both indigenous peoples and by
thereby offering fundamentally and structurally - different views of the landscape they inhabit
and see. The same world, but seen through different eyes, and different experiences.
In Section 2, we present a wide range of sensitive and reflective portraits of movement, several
of which are critical discussions of how different movements move (and/or have moved), in different
contexts. The essays, in this book and in its companion volume, are by authors both activists and
researchers - from many parts of the world, North and South, and from many different persuasions;
broadly speaking, though mostly written during and focussing on the period 2006-10, discussing
movements over the past fifty years. This book ends with a major, specially-commissioned Afterword by
Laurence Cox, co-author of We Make Our Own History : Marxism and Social Movements in the Twilight of
that reads across all the essays in this book and critically engages with several.
And finally, there is
a comprehensive bibliography of all the references cited by all the
contributors to this book, a major document by itself.
The Movements of Movements
Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ? Part 2 : Rethinking Our Dance
0 : Invocations 0 : Invocations
1 : Movementscapes 3 : Interrogating Movement
2 : The Movements of Movements 4 : Reflections on Possible Futures
Afterword Afterword
On the idea and composition of this book
Compiled Bibliography Compiled Bibliography
Part 2 of this two-part book titled The Movements of Movements, Part 2 : Rethinking
Our Dancealso has three sections, as above. Looking at movements as the dances of warriors and
here drawing on and inspired by the lives and cosmologies of aboriginal peoples across the world, and in
particular on the magnificent body of work by Taiaiake Alfred, a contributor to the book
-, the book asks
the question :
How can, and should, we rethink our dance ?
Here too, and following another stunning Proem by the same author as in this book, Shailja
Patel, and an Introduction as Invocations, Section 3 brings together a wide range of essays again, by
both activists and researchers from different parts of the world but in this case critically reflecting on
movement and drawing out fundamental issues that those in movement are concerned with. Part 2
closes with Section 4, composed of several rich and provocative reflections on movement and on possible
futures, and following this, a major Afterword by Lee Cormie - a researcher / teacher / writer and
sometime activist concerning social justice movements and coalitions, and a professor emeritus of
theology and interdisciplinary studies, who has published many articles on liberation theologies and social
movements and been involved in major church-based social justice initiatives over the entire span of
movement covered by this book - that reads across both the two Parts of this two-part book and reflects
on the meanings of this collection as a whole.
For an overview of the contents of each of the two Parts that make up this book, see the Table
of Contents in this book; and for a discussion of some cross-readings of the essays in this Part, see the
subsection further on in this Introduction titled ‘Reading the essays’.
Locating myself
Writing an introduction - just as much as producing a book, or taking part in a movement - is an act of power
(though where I use the term ‘power’ here not in its common sense, of power-over, but of power-to).
For an
introduction such as this then, and to a book (and book project) such as this, it is probably useful for me to introduce
and situate myself in relation to the book, as compiler and lead editor.
In short, I am not a disinterested observer,
nor a ‘scholar’ (understood in the sense of a well-informed person trained in academic skills who seeks to document,
report on, and analyse what she sees and understands, in the somewhat detached manner that the conventions of
scholarship demand). Rather, I have been deeply immersed in social movement - as a participant, organiser, and
strategist, and then more as researcher, commentator, convenor of gatherings, and facilitator (and as a compiler and
editor of books !) - for the past forty years. In the course of doing this, I have for some time now been trying to
nurture and build transnational and transcommunal exchange and reflection on it. I therefore come to this book with
a very subjective and committed position on movement and the subject of this book.
I have come to realise only recently that my first experiences of movement, and of resistance and struggle,
happened almost without my being aware of it : In school, and then in college, where in all cases I all but
unconsciously got involved in raising issues with those who ran the institutions, organising resistance, and fighting
my way through them. It was only after a first career through the 1970s as an architect and urban planner, however
first in Montreal, in Canada, then in Kolkata (then still Calcutta), in India -, that I moved, during the late 70s and
1980s, to actually working as a community organiser / activist, movement strategist, and campaignist based in
Kolkata, and where as an architect I came to be radically re-educated by this experience of working on the ground.
Although this was an enormously creative and productive period for me personally and, I think, for all of us
who worked and struggled together through this period, in different formations,
I also got burned out by
continuously being a frontline activistand also as an outsider, because I was not born in Kolkata but had moved
there, to what I have come to realise in retrospect was often a quite closed political environment that was often
suspicious of outsiders such as myself. It was only there that I became aware of ‘politics’ and where I cut my political
teeth, such as they are (and perhaps lost some of them).
My burnout led me to consciously move in the early-mid 1990s to research, and to studying the dynamics of
social and political movement. I did this in part as therapy, but also in the hope of making some contribution to
movement as an activist doing reflective research. Flowing out of my work as an activist for a couple of decades, my
research was on popular movements in India for a place to live in security and dignity, and took the form of depth
studies of 3-4 major movements in India, over the past fifty years. But doing this also led me, as my work took me
into also studying the globalisation of movement and campaigning that had started in the 1980s, into comparative
studies with the globalisation of movement around issues in Brazil and elsewhere in the world. These studies helped
me realise the importance and potentials of cross-cultural, transcommunal conversations between movements, which
was then still quite limited and just beginning to take place, and inspired me to try to create contexts and spaces
where this could take place.
As I was writing up my research, I learned in the early 2000s of the World Social Forum, got interested in it
(especially in relation to my studies into the globalisation of movement, to the spaces for critical discussion of this,
and to the work we had by then started at CACIM, an organisation some of us started at around the same time), and
began to write on it based both on my research and on my prior experience as a movement strategist.
of what I wrote, I was invited to join the WSF process that was then beginning in India. After briefly co-representing
the nascent process on the WSF’s International Council, and then being a member of the WSF India Organising
Committee, I dropped out of the formal organisational WSF India process, and therefore also from the formal global
WSF process. I did this partly because of a tragedy that took place in my life but more because I realised that I was
a misfit there and felt I might be able to contribute more to the WSF from outside than inside.
I have since then written widely on the WSF and on emerging global movements, edited books on them,
organised research and debate around them, moderated a listserve that was at one time specifically about the WSF
(WSFDiscuss), and taught courses on movement, all as a member of CACIM. I have done and do all this therefore
not as a scholarbut as a student of movement : As someone who is struggling to understand and communicate how
movements move, and what the nature and roots of their power are, and soperhaps - to help them move ‘better’.
What I say in this Introduction therefore, and also my contributions to conceptualising and editing this book,
naturally draws on my work over the years in organising, listening, editing, and writing - and from what my friend
and fellow-traveller Lee Cormie has reminded me is also a privileged vantage point, of having been located in the
South, at the crossroads of several networked (and transcommunal, transnational) dialogues, burgeoning solidarity,
and expanding collaboration, at an extraordinary moment in history”.
And, and as Cormie has helped me to glimpse
and to begin to grasp, perhaps largely as a result of this (my location with respect to emerging movement), this book
and the book project of which it is a part (more on this, below) is somewhat chaotic and emergent, just as the
world of movement itself is.
Finally, my demographic coordinates have surely also come into play. I am now an older, middle-upper
caste and class, relatively rootless cosmopolitan male from India, an important if sometimes overbearing part of the
political ‘South’, where I was born and have spent the past forty years of my life. This has both given me, especially
in India but also, I suspect, elsewhere, great privilege, but has also sometimes been a handicap, where my
motivations for doing what I have done in and through movement have been questioned, and sometimes challenged;
sometimes justifiably I think. And I think also because of this privileged background, I have tended to always, and
somewhat insistently, remain ‘independent’, sometimes to the extent of sometimes being a loner, which has not been
easy, in movement.
In all, my being immersed in movement for most of my adult life, as well as growing up in the famous
‘1960s’ in Britain and then in Canada, and therefore spending most of my life in India but also important, formative
parts of it in the North - all this has surely also had its own strong influence on what I say here and on the books I
have put together.
Worlds in movement
We live today in times of movement. We live in a world of movement; of surging movement, of churning
of worlds in movement
. And because of the onset of climate change, and of the new winds
that are blowing across the globe as a consequence, we live also at a time when, perhaps as never
before, we need to look at and face our future, individually and collectively and as a species. I
personally believe, and spell out in more detail below, that ordinary people everywhere are already
grasping this instinctively and biologically, as sentient living beings who are not yet totally alienated
from Mother Earth –, and that this internalisation is contributing in its own myriad ways to the
movement/s that we are witnessing.
Our world continues to be wracked by war, by greed, and by violence. It is wracked not only by
authoritarianism, fundamentalisms, and communalism, and by the social institutions of race, caste, class,
patriarchy, and heterosexuality, as well as ableism, but also by the rapacious impacts of so-called forced
‘civilisation’, ‘development’, and ‘democracy’ - all of which of course also interweave in vicious ways.
By and large, and especially from the point of view of the victims of these processes, this has
historically been as true under contemporary isms as under earlier ones, from feudalism, theocracy, and
monarchy through to capitalism, fascism, and authoritarian socialism, and all too sadly, also under social
Today, and I suggest increasingly only further impelled by the impacts of the global
warming that is a direct outcome of the massive over-‘development’ to which Mother Earth has been
subjected, irruptions and movements are taking place all over the world both in the South (the so-
called ‘developing countries’) and in the North (the ‘advanced’, ‘developed’ countries), in countries large
and small, in societies new and old, almost like volcanoes and storms. As I see it, all these movements
are organic surges that that are seeking to break past this phase of history, and to break out of the
worlds and the dynamics they feel trapped in : Movements of resistance, movements of hope,
movements of and for freedom, movements that are fundamentally challenging traditional leadership
(and both the more traditional authoritarian but also including by those who consider themselves
‘progressive’), and movements of other ways of seeing the world; movements also, among others, of
retreat to fundamentalisms, in the face of the onslaught that peoples all over the world are facing; and
equally, movements everywhere to democratise democracy. In some contexts, movement leaders are
even saying that the surge that is taking place today is much ahead of the leadership of ‘the
To paraphrase the historian Eric Hobsbawm,
our world today could well be said to be
going through an Age of Movement, including birthing new movement that increasingly is independent of
traditional social and political institutions (such as unions and political parties) and/or that is forging new
institutions; and that is, every day, taking new shapes and struggling to rebuild the world in new ways.
To be more specific and to name just a few and with the understanding that many of these
movements of course also overlap, intersect, and/or intertwine : Movements across the globe of refugees
and migrants, impelled by war, economic devastation, and now also the impacts of climate change, many
of which are challenging the “imperialism of national borders”;
movements among indigenous peoples
in so many parts of the world who seem, in our times, to be once again achieving a critical consciousness
and mass, and who are beginning to profoundly challenge the historical oppression and savagery of the
‘civilisational project’ by outsiders settlers -, and to reclaim their identities, powers, and lands, and to
put forward alternative visions of change;
movements among peoples of other sexualities towards
gaining and defending their freedoms; movements challenging the arrogance and criminality of
‘development’ and of neoliberalism and of the massive hyper-concentration of wealth that they have
created and continue to relentlessly create; movements challenging authoritarianism and also the
increasingly authoritarian and profoundly anti-democratic tendencies in supposedly democratic societies
under neoliberalism, such as intensifying surveillance; anti-capitalist and alterglobalisation movements;
movements against war; movements among structurally oppressed peoples such as the Dalits of South
Asia but who have been scattered across the globe over the past two centuries by the rape of
colonisation - peoples who are condemned by Hindu societal norms to literally being outside ‘civilised’
society and subjected to barbaric treatment, but who over this past century have been fighting back;
movements of faith, and today perhaps especially among peoples who believe that the values that are
integral to their beliefs are being corrupted and/or overwhelmed; and continuing movements among
women fighting for equality, justice, and respect.
All these movements, and more, have been building up over the past 2-3 decades. In addition,
and without wanting to single out only some, a whole set of new movements have also irrupted in a
series of spectacular and very visible explosions during 2011 and after, in several parts of the world. They
include the movements that toppled dictatorial regimes in Tunisia and then Egypt in 2011; the Occupy
movement in North America, also in 2011, and then across Europe; the
movement in Spain,
also in 2011; the massive rebellion against EU-imposed austerity programmes in Greece and the anti-
corruption movement in India, also in 2011; the massive students’ protest against fee hikes in Quebec, in
Canada, in 2012 on; the growing assertion by indigenous peoples across Turtle Island (‘North America’)
since 2012, including the Defenders of the Land and the Idle No More movements; democratisation
movements across Africa; right through to the movements that have rocked Turkey, Brazil, and Romania
during 2013 and Hong Kong in 2014. All this is aside from the countless continuing, sustained, and even
if less publicised movements all over the world by social movements, students’ organisations, trade
unions, and political formations, and locally, among ordinary peoples everywhere.
These ‘movements’ are of course not only social, political, and cultural but often also,
fundamentally and massively,
in nature such as the enormous migrations that are today taking
place across the world, and which are movements that will only greatly intensify under intensifying
conditions of climate change and what I argue will be accompanying conflict and war in the decades to
In addition however, I suggest as I have argued in an earlier essay
that these movements
are not only social, political, cultural, and/or physical
but fundamentally also
biological in nature
, and an
integral expression of the pulse and life of Mother Earth as a living being. On the one hand, they are
organic manifestations and expressions of the agonies and ecstasies that she is experiencing and are
therefore - literally ‘natural’ reactions, the organic reactions and expressions of nature, and where in a
way therefore (though one also has to be cautious when cross-applying specialised terms), movements
are angiogenic life-giving - in nature. In a very fundamental way, they are assertions and
manifestations of a natural, self-organising world, and indeed by their very nature they convey the
immanent potential that is always there in the living world that - and here echoing the slogan of the
World Social Forum – ‘another world is possible’. On the other hand, and just as angiogenesis plays a key
role in the transition of tumours from a benign state to a malignant state, so also in the case of
movements, which of course can also be ‘regressive’ in nature, however ‘organic’ they might be, and/but
where ‘regressive’ and ‘progressive’ always depend on one’s point of view.
A crucial further aspect of this phenomenon is that many of these movements are not only
exertions of power-over’ (which is the default frame given to them not only by traditional movement
leaders and strategists, but also by most academics and theorists) but also vehicles for vast numbers of
people both to engage with and to learn about the times we live in, and so to gain some degree of
control over their own lives. In short, they are critical spaces for the exercise of the power of ‘power-to’.
Through their very presence and occurrence and by their scale and which today is only further hugely
amplified (and perhaps also influenced and given shape to) through social technologies and the media ,
these movements are enormous contexts for the exchange of life experiences among participants. The
significance of this, and as I have suggested elsewhere, is that this kind of exchange takes place not only
in the more obvious sense but also through the exchange of pheromones trace chemicals -, where
whole databases of personal and social histories are exchanged.
In a larger picture, the occurrence and
human experience of movement therefore literally changes the world, in numerous subliminal and non-
linear ways.
Movements also contribute to, and manifest, what biologist Rupert Sheldrake has termed
‘morphic resonance’ across time and space.
This happened so dramatically, for instance, across North
Africa during 2011 hugely amplified, again, by the new world of social technologies that we, and
especially younger people, today not just ‘use’ but live; and where these technologies have now become
such an inseparable part of the web of the lives we lead. And through all this, movements seed,
contaminate, electrify, and change the world, and give new meanings to it, in many more ways than we
commonly know. As I argue in my essays as referred to above and elsewhere, drawing heavily on the
work of others, it is very much through all these processes that societies are today emerging and
evolving - through processes of emergence.
Increasingly, as the crises we are living through intensify, these movements these heavings,
these swellings, in the body of Mother Earth - are also being fed and even impelled by changes and shifts
that are taking place in the very structure and substructure of societies. These changes are also
‘movements’ but here of a fundamental, structural, and tectonic nature : Such as movements of capital;
movements of constantly evolving information and communication technologies (and of the historically-
new perception of the rise of a new commons, the web); movements in the sense of the rapidly rising
emancipatory awareness on the part of the historically marginalised, across the world; and movements
also of the even more recent perception, of planetary climate change; and where all these deep currents
and movements are today also increasingly intertwining, in virtuous and/or vicious spirals.
The consequence of all this is that the movements that we see or hear of are in fact quite
profound, and are leaving indelible marks on societies and on history; and indeed, where in many cases
they are scripting and rewriting history itself, as we are seeing in our own times.
Given all this, I believe and suggest that it is important to stop and think about the meanings of
movement in our lives. On the one hand, and as political scientist and movement sociologist Sidney
Tarrow and others have argued, movements act as the “carriers and transmitters” of cognitive meanings
and understandings and, among other things, are “actively engaged in the production of [new] meaning
for participants, antagonists, and observers”.
In other words, and where this is of profound significance,
movements render events and processes intelligible and meaningful not only for participants but also for
much wider audiences.
On the other hand, it is also well worth our while to consider the simple but radical thesis put
forward by transnational sociologist André Drainville that the world economy and the world order that
we are taught to perceive and to respect as permanently ordained - does not exist by itself, but only in
relation to social forces; indeed, that “The world economy is [only] wherever social forces meet world
In other words, that the world we know is made, and made real, not only by world
institutions or by the powerful, from above, and as we are educated and socialised by them and by our
teachers to understand, but as much and perhaps much more by the agency and actions of ordinary
peoples everywhere from ‘below’ -; and most specifically at the countless points of local, place-based
contact between these actions and the structures of world ordering that are erected by the powerful.
The meaning of this is that the movements that are taking place in our times and as has always
been the case are therefore nothing short of fundamental in giving shape to the world that is emerging
around us; they are literally, as Lee Cormie argues in his contribution to this book, “re-creating the
They are thus as important in giving meaning and order to the world we live in as all the
structures and institutions of world order that we are so domesticated and trained to believe in.
Meanings of movement, the movements of movements, and this book
If we can agree that even some of this is the case, then we need to perhaps push the boundary further
and ask ourselves some questions about movement : For instance, if movements are in fact not merely
superficial and passing phenomena but arising from far deeper causes, and part of deeper dynamics,
what then are the deeper
of the movements that we are seeing around us, and of these
apparent ‘worlds of movement’ ? (What indeed, is the existential meaning of movementitself ?) What is
all this movement saying to us ? And crucially, what are movements saying to each other, not only in
terms of detail or even of say - strategy, but in existential terms ? What does the existence of one
movement ‘do’ for another movement ?
To address these questions, I believe we need to do at least three things : One, we need to step
back and come to terms with the fact that movement is not just a phenomenon ‘out there’ of idealistic
people waving flags and making demands, which is the common media-created image, only reinforced by
all too much social science. Rather, movement is a fundamental, commonplace, and everyday fact and
expression of life forces on earth welling up and taking shape in the forms that are familiar to us; and like
waves are, movements are only surface expressions of much deeper currents in the rivers and oceans of
our lives; and where I suggest, that we try to see and recognise that movements, just as much as the
oceans, or rivers, or the winds, are giving shape to the world that we know. In short, they are organic
forces, and an integral part of the web of life.
Second, I believe we need also to reflect on how and why the concept of movement, in one
sense or another but where all are interrelated, exists in so many spheres of human life and endeavour.
It is useful to reflect, for instance, on how and why in T’ai Chi philosophy stillness and motion are seen as
being fundamentally interrelated, and where the action of being still is understood as a part of moving, of
a journey; and where the counterpart of this in social and political movement, as in the martial arts and
in war, and in dance, might be that restraint and stillness is as important as action :
Stillness of motion is not true stillness, only when there is stillness within movement does the universal
rhythm manifest itself.
See also, for instance, the following diagram from the Visual Thesaurus,
and then below that, a
standard dictionary definition of the word ‘movement’.
Neither of these are complete definitions
limited as they are by the cultures within and by which they have been generated. Nevertheless, they are
stunning insofar as they immediately give us a much wider and more holistic picture of movement than
most of us normally have, and a far more organic one :
- n
a. The act, process, or result of moving
b. An instance of moving
The manner of moving
a. A group of people with a common ideology, esp. a political or religious one
b. The organized action of such a group
A trend or tendency in a particular sphere
The driving and regulating mechanism of a watch or clock
(Often plural) a person's location and activities during a specific time
a. The evacuation of the bowels
b. The matter evacuated
Music : a principal self-contained section of a symphony, sonata, etc., usually having its own
Tempo or pace, as in music or literature
Fine arts : the appearance of motion in painting, sculpture, etc
Prosody : the rhythmic structure of verse
A positional change by one or a number of military units
A change in the market price of a security or commodity.
And third, I believe that we individually and collectively - need to progressively build a larger
picture, or ‘map’, of the much wider world of the movement and churning that is taking place in the
world during our times (and that have taken place, historically), in order to ‘locate’ the movements that
we can see. But because such a picture or map, if done literally, would tend to reduce this extraordinary,
pulsating planetary phenomenon this live, worldwide web - to merely two dimensions, and because it
would moreover be we as outsiders (rather than those in movement) who would lead such a process and
determine what is portrayed and how it portrayed, we need a three- and four-dimensional simulation
which movements themselves play the central roles
To underline something I have already said, a simulation such as this must also of necessity not
be one where outsiders present and discuss movement social, cultural, political, physical, and socio-
biological - but a space where movements themselves can speak to each other. It must be a space where
people in movement can gain the possibility of growing through their interactions, learning from their
exchanges, and where the possibility also exists of new actors entering and joining the discussions.
Many argue that the World Social Forum was (and to some extent still is) precisely such a space,
and that in the decade and more since its formation in 2001, it has been an extraordinary lens through
which to perceive a great deal if not all of contemporary and emerging social and political
and where others argue that along with similar movements, the WSF has indeed been
something of ‘a movement of movements’.
These characterisations have been widely debated, and this
is not the place to debate how accurate they are; I mention this only to go on to say that as a part of a
wider process of our critical engagement with movement, my colleagues and I at CACIM, along with
several members in the wider CACIM community, have accepted this potential of the WSF, and have
collectively tried over the past decade to contribute to this deeper understanding of the WSF, by taking a
series of interrelated initiatives. These initiatives have included organising seminars and debates on the
WSF during successive WSF events and outside over nearly a decade; initiating a series of fellowships for
students and activists to reflect on the WSF; hosting a listserve for critical reflection and discussion on the
WSF (WSFDiscuss); organising and hosting a website for material on the WSF and the alter-globalisation
movement (and which also acts as an archive for all exchange taking place on WSFDiscuss),
OpenSpaceForum; and producing edited collections on the World Social Forum and related matters,
including the
Challenging Empires
series as already mentioned, and also the
Open Space
series of
Aside from ongoing discussion on WSFDiscuss, our most recent contribution in this area was the
book that has preceded the present one in the
Challenging Empires
series, titled World Social Forum :
Critical Explorations;
and where this present book, along with its companion volume titled The
Movements of Movements, Part 2 : Rethinking Our Dance, is thus one more contribution in this direction
but now going far past the WSF alone and looking at the much larger and wider galaxies of ‘global’ and
intergalactic movement, within which the WSF is just one star.
The movements of movements
There are of course many excellent books that have come out over the past decade or so on
movement, and in particular many that have presented, celebrated, and in some cases critically engaged
with the emergence of what has variously been called the ‘anti-globalisation movement’, the ‘alter-
globalisation movement’, the ‘global justice movement’, or what writer Naomi Klein at one point famously
referred to as “the movement of movements”
and which, indeed, is a phrase that several authors in
this book also use. This present collection however, titled and focused on
the movements
, takes a somewhat different approach : It firstly focuses on the verb ‘movement’, and not the
noun. This radical shift of focus opens up whole new worlds.
Second, this collection does not focus on the so-called alter-globalisation movementalone,
which is often used as a synonym for the so-called ‘movement of movements’. And third, rather than
suggesting that there is one single, larger, encompassing ‘movement’ taking place in our world, it accepts
that there are many (different) movements taking place in our world today, and differing perceptions of
justice, and many ways of moving, all of which we can learn from. By making visible at least a wide
range of the many movements of movements, and their multiple praxes, it tries to enable us readers,
activists, and editors alike - to see movements comparatively and to draw our own lessons from this.
Reaching back to the great sweeps and swells of movement that have taken place across the
world since the 1960s (see, for instance, the essays by Fouad Kalouche and Eric Mielants, by David
McNally, and by Lee Cormie
), and more specifically to some of the more iconic movements that have
taken place during this periodthe student-led revolt in France in 1968, the Zapatista movement in
Mexico since 1994, the Battle of Seattlein 1999, and also the emergence during this period of what
some today call ‘political Islam’
and also reaching forward in time to also looking at, for instance, the
Occupy movement from 2011 on, the essays in this book focus on the period 2006-2010. They range
from discussions and re-theorisations of struggle at and from the margins, to essays on feminisms,
queerdom, struggles of faith, and the struggles of workers, and on re-imagining the world and ‘forward
dreaming’; to ones reflecting on issues of division, marginalisation, and exclusion within progressive
movement; and more. By juxtaposing essays by a range of people that discuss how movements move, in
different ways and from different points of view each with its own cultural and political cadence and
rhythm , this book seeks to make more visible and comprehensible the movements and praxis
movements, and also of the larger world of movement within which individual movements take place. It
seeks to contribute to learnings and movements
between and across
movements, including in terms of
the language, grammar, and syntax of movement.
Conscious of difference and multiplicity, and committed to engaging across standpoints, the two
books together are an attempt at sketching out not ‘a grand meta-narrative of movement’ but rather a
landscape that begins to reveal the many intersectionalities of movements and their organic natureand
where each of us, from our positions in relation to what we are seeing, will have our own perceptions;
and through this they hope to contribute to readers developing their own meta-analyses of movement,
and in that sense, to becoming a part of movement and not only a spectator.
Along with other volumes in the series of which they are a part,
these books therefore aim to
make contemporary movement/s more meaningful to the observer - and perhaps also, in some ways, to
those who take part in movement. They hope to be spaces where multidirectional and transcommunal
conversations can open up, not only between and across movements but also between movements and
readers; where movements and their ideas speak to each other, and perhaps even begin to move
together; and where it also perhaps becomes possible for all to perceive and sense both the vastness of
the universe of movement and also, at the same time, the extraordinary range of tactics and rhythms in
movement - and just possibly, also some of the fundamental characteristics of movement as life force.
And through this, in turn, and by building on the diverse politico-cultural compositions that the essays
represent, they hope to make audible / visible / comprehensible the dance and the music of movement -
and of a world in movement.
Reading across the essays
Each of the essays in this book is individually fascinating; the movement of the human spirit radiates
from each one. And even though it would be difficult if not impossible to do full justice to them, I have
therefore been sorely tempted in the case of this book in particular, to attempt a reading of each of
them, and also across essays.
But I have not attempted this, not least because, as I have already mentioned earlier on, a very
welcome part of the emergence of this book has been the agreement of Laurence Cox, a fellow-traveller
in the worlds of movement, and a mover and teacher like few I know, to write an
Afterword for this book, and of Lee Cormie a good friend and fellow-traveller, a valuable discussant and
collaborator for these book as they have emerged, and also otherwise author of one of the essays
contained in them to write an Afterword for the companion book, The Movements of Movements,
Part 2 : Rethinking Our Dance, in which he has overviewed all the essays, in both books. Their essays
therefore, in their different ways, reflect on the meanings of this collection as a whole, offering
independent, detailed, and critical perspectives on points of divergence and convergence among these
movements and what they reveal about the dimensions, scales, and magnitude of changes that are today
sweeping the world; and also about the collections as collections.
Given this and which I believe is a marvellous privilege -, I will therefore keep here to a few
overall comments and explanations, and do just a partial reading of the text of this book as a whole, as it
Plurality, diversity, transcommunality
As will be evident from the Table of Contents of this book and from the Notes on the Contributors, we
have towards achieving our objectives as laid out in the previous sections tried to make the book
truly international, intercultural, and transcommunal,
both in terms of the contributors as well as in
terms of the essays included, and in terms of how they have been arranged.
In particular, for me it is a very special privilege that we have been able to include in this
collection several essays by women and men who come from and work on the structural margins of
society, and - as will be evident from their essays, and even from their titles - who offer perspectives that
are at many levels radically different : Anand Teltumbde (on ‘Anti-Imperialism, Dalits, and the
Annihilation of Caste’), Andrea Smith (on ‘Indigenous Feminism and the Heteropatriachal State’), Taiaiake
Alfred and Jeff Corntassel (on ‘Being Indigenous : Resurgences against Contemporary Colonialism’, and
Jeff Corntassel alone on ‘Rethinking Self-Determination : Lessons from the Indigenous-Rights Discourse’),
and Xochitl Leyva Solano (on ‘Geopolitics of Knowledge and the Neo-Zapatista Social Movement
Networks’, and with Christopher Gunderson, on ‘The Tapestry of Neo-Zapatismo : Origins and
Development’); and where in the companion book, among others, we have Anila Daulatzai (on ‘Believing
in Exclusion : The Problem of Secularism in Progressive Politics’) and Josephine Ho (‘Is Global Governance
Good for East Asian Queers ?’).
In addition, and because of who they have written about, I also mention here the essays in this
book by François Houtart (‘Mahmoud Mohamed Taha : Islamic Witness in the Contemporary World’) and
by Roel Meijer (‘Fighting for Another World : Yusuf Al-‘Uyairi’s Conceptualisation of Praxis and the
Permanent Salafi Revolution’).
Each of these authors and/or actors bring to us substantially different points of view, and
therefore different lenses through which to comprehend the worlds we live in; and different headphones
- as it were - to hear the languages and the music of movement !
For me, it is for instance - not a minor issue that in Taiaiake Alfred and Jeff Corntassel’s essays,
almost all their citations and references are to works by indigenous peoples; which only serves to make
their essays that much more outstanding. In my limited experience, this fact itself is all too unusual, and
constitutes a loud reminder to all of us, indigenous or settler, ‘marginal’ or mainstream, that there is a lot
of excellent work out there by indigenous peoples and crucially, by both women and men at the
margins - and so where reading, internalising, and citing this ‘knowledge from below’ is indeed now
possible, if we are only willing to make this our priority. Depending on where one is located socially, this
is a question of pride in ourselves and/or respect for such peoples and their knowledges; and though
seemingly only a small step, this practice has profound epistemological and political meanings and is
therefore a vital contribution to building other politics and other worlds : Because it has the possibility of
changing where one locates oneself and how one sees things, and because it demands that we make this
shift consciously, as a political act.
I have personally also found it fascinating and instructive, in particular, to read certain essays in
relation to each other, such as in Part 1 - the ones by Taiaiake Alfred and Jeff Corntassel, and the one
by Andrea Smith, together with the essays by, say, André Drainville, or by Roel Meijer, François Houtart,
and Roma and Ashok Choudhary as above, and also with the ones by Xochitl Leyva Solano (on the
Zapatista movement), Virginia Vargas (on international feminisms), James Toth (on the rise of the Muslim
Brotherhood), Peter Waterman (on ‘labour’s others’), Cho Hee-Yeon (on the transformation of the
perspective of movements in South Korea), Guillermo Delgado-P (on the idea of a social movement state,
in this case in Bolivia), and Alex Khasnabish (on the resonance of the Zapatista movement) among
others. In short, as I see it Alfred, Corntassel, and Smith very consciously and skilfully use the power of
the positions that they have by virtue of their identities in relation to the movements they write on and to
larger society, and that there is much to be learned from how they have done this.
As another aspect of this diversity and plurality, I think it is also worth pointing out that we also
have - among the contributors to this book -, five streetfighting activists and strategists : Tariq Ali, the
late Daniel Bensaïd, Ashok Choudhary, and Roma, and the late Yusuf al-‘Uyairi (whose life and struggles
are presented and discussed by Roel Meijer); and also, at a different level the late Mahmoud Mohamed
Taha (whose life struggle is presented by François Houtart). I single these essays out for the obvious
reason that the location of these individuals the authors or the individuals written about, respectively
in movement is structurally different from those of scholars and observers, as are the perspectives that
they offer us on movement and on the world in movement. Each of these activists draws on his or her
wide experience under different conditions and in different parts of the world, North and South, and
crucially each engages in deep and intense polemical struggle, both through their writings but even
more so, by the conduct of their lives.
The essay by Tariq Ali for instance, thinks back to 1968 and raises angry questions about
contemporary movement. In some ways, this essay and the questions it puts forward are strongly
complemented by the essay by the late Daniel Bensaïd another veteran of 1968 and who also
challenges contemporary approaches to movement strategy. I have therefore found it provocative to read
these essays in comparison with the ones in this book by, say, André Drainville and by Roma and Ashok
Choudhary, and in Part 2 (the companion book) by David Graeber, John Holloway, Rodrigo Nunes, and
Michal Osterweil; and to read all these essays on strategy against the essay by Roel Meijer on the late
Yusuf al-‘Uyairi as a strategist of a movement (al-Qaeda) who had a radically different understanding of
modernity. These essays all challenge each other, but they also jam with each other and dance with each
other. In a way, it becomes a fascinating display that reminds me of
, “[the] Brazilian martial art
and popular street dance that combines elements of dance, acrobatics, and music, and that is sometimes
also referred to as a game”.
Time-wise, and while the collection focuses on movement during the period 2006-10, to put this
wave in perspective it also includes essays on movement at different time periods and crucially – set in
different cultural contexts. Mentioning here only those essays that deal with more specific places and
time periods, we have essays ranging from the rise of an articulation of an alternative interpretation of
Islam from the 1930s through to the 1980s in Sudan (by François Houtart), to ‘1968’ and after in France
and Britain (Tariq Ali), to a discussion of movement strategy in Europe and Latin America from the 1970s
through to the 2000s (the late Daniel Bensaïd), to sweeps across the world from 1968 right through to
1989 (by Fouad Kalouche and Eric Mielants) and from 1994 through to the 2000s (David McNally). We
also have essays ranging from the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt during the 1970s through to
the 2000s as an aspect of a renewed rise of a global Islam (James Toth), to the rise of the Zapatista
movement in the jungles of Chiapas, Mexico, during the 1980s and 90s (Xochitl Leyva Solano and
Christopher Gunderson); through to critical readings of - and reflections on - feminist movement/s during
the 1980s through to the 2000s in Canada (Emilie Hayes) and in Latin America and globally (Virginia
Vargas), from a discussion of the rise of indigenous peoples’ social movements during the 1980s through
to the 2000s in Bolivia (Guillermo Delgado-P), and to the 1990s and 2000s in the forests of India (Roma
and Ashok Choudhary), in rural and urban South Korea (Cho Hee-Yeon), and in the ‘clash of civilisations’
emerging in West Asia (Roel Meijer); and to the new movements against neoliberalism in Latin America
during the 2000s (Emir Sader); and through to the 2010s, looking at the politics and dialectics of anti-
capitalist movements (André Drainville), the rise of new movements around labour (Peter Waterman),
and in the context of climate change the emergence of new movements for radical localisation (Peter
North and David Featherstone).
A glance at the Table of Contents will make clear we have a different but similarly dramatic
spread of essays in the companion book.
Why 2006-10 ?
I should perhaps explain why we have chosen to focus in these books on the period 2006-2010 and
not, for instance, from earlier on, and why we have not tried bringing them right up to date. On the one
hand, the start date 2006 emerged from very particular circumstances. As mentioned elsewhere, this
book is a part of the
Challenging Empires
series that was conceived in 2006-7 by Contributing Editor
Peter Waterman and myself, together with my then colleague at OpenWord, Nishant.
During the years
before this (2003-2007), Peter and I had intensively collected and edited material for essays up to 2006-7
for our first two books in the series, the first two editions of World Social Forum : Challenging Empires.
At that point, at a political as well as a more personal and experiential level, it seemed natural to both of
us to move on from that earlier period and to focus on the contemporary and the emerging.
The ‘end’ date for the material in this book however came to be defined by two coincidental and
conjunctural events. As lead editor, and after working and re-working the material we had collected
through 2007-10 (and during which time, as mentioned above, our book project burgeoned from one to
two to three books), I finally took a call in late 2010 on how we would organise and bring out the
material we had. Just at that moment however, ‘2011’ irrupted on the world (and on us !) from the very
next month, January 2011, with the Tunisian revolution in December 2010
and Tahrir Square and the
start of the Egyptian uprising in January 2011;
and following these, the amazing irruptions in Spain,
Greece, and then the Occupy movement in North America and then Europe.
Even as we along with millions of others, across the world - were swept up in the swirling
spirals of tumult that progressively unfolded across so much of the world during that year and the next,
and however tempted we were to try to also embrace in our books what was happening, it became clear
to us that attempting to do this would further delay books that already taken a long time to put together.
We therefore elected at that point, December 2010, to organise the material we already had in hand into
three books : One as a direct sequel to our previous two books, focussing exclusively on the World Social
and the other two on movements in the world beyond the WSF (but also, at points, impinging
on and including it). We subsequently and finally decided to put most of the non-WSF material we had
collected into the second volume in the informal trilogy we had conceived of, which is this book; and to
collect fresh material for the third book on the period 2011 on. We subsequently added two essays that
look at and draw lessons from the Occupy movement, but in the belief that there is much to be learned
by focussing on 2006-10 as a kind of crucible, we kept away from also trying to embrace and explore the
almost entirely new landscape that subsequent and more contemporary has created.
Beyond this, it has all along been our approach to locate contemporary movement within a
historical and cross-cultural perspective, and so we first decided to include four essays here that
specifically took broad sweeps across movements over the past 40-50 years. The ones we decided to
include are the ones here by David McNally, Fouad Kalouche and Eric Mielants, Tariq Ali, and Lee Cormie.
Each essay provides a unique perspective.
Aside from these four essays however, we decided that we would also commission and/or
harvest material that specifically related to major movements of the past whose resonance carried
through to the period we were looking at, and including movements that had ‘anniversaries’ falling during
the period we were focussing on, 2006-10. On this count therefore, we have essays on ‘1968’, with its
fortieth anniversary in 2008 (the essays by Tariq Ali and Daniel Bensaïd); the Zapatista uprising in 1994,
with its fifteenth anniversary in 2009 and twentieth anniversary in 2014 (in this Part, the essays by
Xochitl Leyva Solano, by Xochitl Leyva Solano together with Christopher Gunderson, and by Alex
Khasnabish; and in Part 2 / the companion book by François Houtart and also by Kolya Abramsky); and
the Battle of Seattle in 1999 with its tenth anniversary in 2009 (Rodrigo Nunes).
(It is perhaps worth also mentioning here that there were some significant other movements
from the past that we also tried to commission and/or collect material on, but where we weren’t
successful, in large part because of limited time and other resources. These included the great Naxalite
uprising in India of 1967,
the resonances of which continue to reverberate widely in the country and
region, forty years and more later,
and PGA (People’s Global Action), founded in 1998 as an outcome of
the Zapatista encuentros in 1995-96 and that had strong impacts on Seattle and on the anti-capitalist and
alter-globalisation movements that subsequently emerged in the 2000s.)
The Zapatistas
I feel I should also explain how and why I have included as many as four major essays on the Zapatistas
in this book three in this book (by Xochitl Leyva Solano, by Leyva Solano together with Christopher
Gunderson, and by Alex Khasnabish) and one in the companion book (by François Houtart, and also
another that draws inspiration from the Zapatistas, by Kolya Abramsky).
The first reason for this strong concentration is the strong resonance of this movement among
activists and other young people in the North. (Though it is also interesting, and perhaps not
unimportant, that the movement is perhaps much less known across the South - other than in Abya Yala
(Latin America) - and does not seem to have had the same significance and resonance with activists
there; I come back to this point below.)
Secondly, the range, depth, and sensitivity of writing that has emerged on the Zapatista
movement, that in my experience is perhaps unsurpassed in relation to contemporary writing on
movements, and that I believe speaks widely to all kinds of movement, and so needs to be made
available more widely, and especially in the South.
And third, I have also included as many as four essays across the two books because each essay
focuses on a different aspect of the Zapatista movement : Xochitl Leyva Solano and Christopher
Gunderson on its genesis, cosmology, and meanings; Alex Khasnabish on the movement as it took place
and on the imaginations it has fired transnationally (and where indeed, Kolya Abramsky’s essay in the
companion book is itself a case in point); François Houtart on its present form; and Xochitl Leyva Solano,
writing alone, on how the movement provoked the empire to conceive of the concept of ‘netwar’ as
countermovement and, it seems, to itself embark on such netwar.
Finally, I have included all four essays simply because of the brilliance and radiance of each of
the essays and where each essay speaks to so much else in the book - and where it has therefore been a
rare privilege for me to gather together four such essays in one collection.
‘Global resonance’ ?
Having said this however, I feel I must add some comments here on the question of the ‘global’ nature
and scale of what is called Zapatismo,
and more generally of what is called the ‘alter-globalisation
movement, the ‘global justice and solidarity movement’, etc. In many ways, I am also reflecting here on
my writing over this past decade.
On the one hand, there is no question that deep-rooted ferment has broken out across much of
the world in the North as well as the South. As mentioned above,
from 2011 on there have been
upsurges and irruptions in North Africa, Greece, Spain, across much of western Europe, the US, Canada,
India, Brazil, Turkey, and Hong Kong, as well as across Africa; and elsewhere on the globe. These are
fairly well known, because of media attention. Less known have been the irruptions that have been
taking place right across Africa throughout the 2000s,
and perhaps because of the language divides
that continue to colonise and divide us the English-speaking world also perhaps knows less of the
movements that have also been taking place throughout South and Central America and that have in
many ways politically transformed that continent.
And in Asia, and aside from what is happening in India, irruptions have taken place and are
continuing to take place in West Asia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, and elsewhere.
But to my understanding at least, and despite that fact that I too have argued along with
Nunes and others that there is a new ‘massification’ taking place in movement worldwide;
that there
are many, many movements in the North that have been inspired by the Zapatistas; and that there are
many activists as well as researchers who use terms such as ‘the alter-globalisation movement’, I believe
that there is good reason for not seeing or characterising what has emerged out of this as being
movement (which is what happens when it is characterised either as
alter-globalisation movement’,
‘anti-globalisation movement’, or
‘global justice and solidarity movement’, and especially as
‘movement of movements’). Equally, there is reason too for not too easily characterising such movements
as ‘global’ or referring to their ‘global resonance’, simply because they are not, in reality, ‘global’ in scope.
(Here, as in so many places, it also makes so much more sense to refer to ‘movement’, generically,
rather than to ‘a movement’ or ‘the movement’.)
The reasons for this caution are fairly straightforward. One is simply the epistemological
implications of asserting this, for by doing so we assert that Zapatismo and/or, say, the ‘global justice
and solidarity movement’ carries a similar worldwide resonance as, say, 1968, or Mao and the Chinese
Revolution, or Che Guevara, or Mahatma Gandhi; this only leads to iconising them. In short, should we
use the term ‘global’ for movements whose resonance seems more limited to particular regions of the
world ?
Second is that to my knowledge at least, almost all the authors who use these terms are from or
located in the North, whereas and again, within the limited range of my knowledge these terms are
hardly used in the South, or at least are used much less. If so, then we need to ask ourselves why this is
the case. But if this is indeed the case, then writers in the North surely need to reflect on this, and on the
consequences of using such terms. To take a leaf from Maia Ramnath’s argument that there is a certain
coloniality about formal (and western, Northern) capital-A Anarchism,
there is equally reason I think to
consider the possibility that something similar can happen if we over-generalise the globality of particular
strands of movement, and if we singularise ‘the movement’.
None of this is to deny the reality of the resonance of the Zapatista movement or of the so-called
‘global justice and solidarity movement’; it is only to suggest caution when describing movements or
resonance as global and/or singular.
The rise of political Islam, and the importance of faith in movement
This said, the relevance in our times of including three essays in this book on political Islam, and one an
overview of faith in movement, is perhaps already evident from what I have said above : The essays by
François Houtart, Roel Meijer, and James Toth, and by Lee Cormie. In addition, we also have in the
companion book a directly related, powerful and challenging essay by Anila Daulatzai that critiques the
fundamentalism of progressive secularism and of (western) feminism.
For all the differences that the secular world may have with it and its underlying concepts,
political Islam sees itself as being equally contemporary, insurgent, and in its own terms, anti-systemic in
nature. By its scale alone, it has perhaps an equal if not much greater claim to being global, in relation to
other currents of contemporary ‘global’ movements for social justice. On the other, and as Lee Cormie
demonstrates in his essay in this book
(and as most readers are perhaps already somewhat aware),
movements of the faithful in all faiths continue to have huge followings, throughout the world, and
continue to make and re-make the world.
Beyond this, while the rise of political Islam over the past 2-3 decades is perhaps a phenomenon
that most young Muslims are today aware of, across the world, it is deeply unfortunate that until
recently, the subject and to some extent that of faith in movement more generally has seemed to be
almost excluded from social movement scholarship and activism in the self-professedly ‘secular’ and
advanced parts of the world. As a result, and because of the hegemonic power of the knowledge and
publishing industries of the North, the subject has been all but invisibilised and/or demonised as being
uncivil. This is in sharp contrast to the reality that the scale, breadth, depth, and sustained intensity of
this movement is far wider than any other in recent history, including the alter-globalisation movement,
and our lack of knowledge of this other world again speaks only for our insularity, and again, of
tendencies towards coloniality and hegemony.
This simple reason of this absence (or more bluntly put, invisibilisation) is along with the
brilliance of the individual essays themselves enough for their inclusion in this book. Of the three on
Islam, two are on what are among the most powerful currents within the now well-known stream known
as political Islam (by Roel Meijer on al-Qaeda and by James Toth on the Muslim Brotherhood). The third
(by François Houtart), giving us perspective on the first two, is on an extraordinary but very different
current of political Islam in Sudan.
Although I am all too aware of the poverty of my own understanding of the subject, I believe
that together these three essays perhaps give us a rich understanding not only of political Islam but also
of movement, generically. This is all the more the case because - aside from the differing subject matter -
the style and rhythm of the three essays is also so different : One, a very material, ethnographic analysis
of the development and growth of what in time has become a very major movement, the Muslim
Brotherhood, and that is at the epicentre of struggle over meaning and power in one of the major
societies in the world, Egypt; another, a detailed ethnographic presentation and discussion of the life,
beliefs, and actions of a key activist and strategist within a profoundly militant movement, al-Qaeda; and
the third a tantalisingly brief account of the life, philosophy, and practice of someone who formulated a
radical new interpretation of his religion, and who was martyred as a heretic precisely for this by others
of his faith.
(I want to take the liberty of adding a footnote here. While two of the essays are edited versions
of already published essays (by James Toth and Roel Meijer), and two were specially written for us (by
François Houtart and Lee Cormie), it was perhaps precisely my own lack of knowledge of the subject that
led me to perhaps demand the most of these four authors in particular in terms of revising and editing
their essays, in order to make their essays as comprehensible as possible to as wide an audience as
possible. While this characterisation may not be literally true because I have to confess to also being
pretty demanding of several other authors ! -, I want to very specially thank each of them for their
patience in putting up with me, and for what I believe is the resulting comprehensibility of their essays
for those of who are reading about such movements in depth for the first time.)
As a consequence of this, these essays individually and collectively therefore also read so
richly in relation to so many other essays in this collection, and in different ways. At the risk of excluding
other equally interesting examples, this includes the essays that I have already mentioned, by David
McNally, by Fouad Kalouche and Eric Mielants, by André Drainville, by Taiaiake Alfred and Jeff Corntassel,
and by Xochitl Leyva Solano and Christopher Gunderson; and the essays in Part II by Anila Daulatzai and
by Michal Osterweil.
This said, I am all too aware of the fact that all the three essays on Islam have been written by
people and all men originating from places other than the areas in which these movements
germinated and grew, however intimately they clearly know their respective subjects. In an ideal world,
and with no disrespect at all intended for any of the three, I would have liked to have included
additional/complimentary essays by people women as well as men from the region..
I however have to face the fact that this absence is not coincidence but a function of 3-4 factors
: One, as already mentioned, has been the impact of the very limited financial and human resources
available to us in this ambitious book project. This has been only amplified greatly by the reality that we
at CACIM are outside the increasingly intellectual property-conscious academy, and where, given the
nature and structure of the knowledge and publishing industries, most of the knowledge that I as an
English-speaking person could access is generated by people in the North and published in the North
(and at increasingly unaffordable prices !); three, my even more limited knowledge of the worlds of
Islam; and four, and in contrast to my relative ease of access to material from the North, I realised that I
hardly knew or had easy access to individuals or institutions in the West Asian / North African regions and
therefore to their networks, and ultimately my limited if fairly sustained attempts to get somewhat similar
material from such people ultimately failed. Within these constraints however, I succeeded in finding
these marvellous essays and individuals whose work I have now included, and I finally went with what I
By saying the above, I do not mean to be apologetic for what we have been able to include here
in order to open up this vital subject. Quite the opposite, I feel fortunate to have met and/or found these
authors and deeply privileged to be associated with them and their essays. But this experience has once
again reminded me of the uneven terrain on which we all move and of the relentless struggle to also
make this terrain level.
Closing comments
For those who are interested in knowing more about this book, I refer you to the Annexure as already
mentioned above. Here, I want to close this Introduction by more personally acknowledging the
contributions to this book of many people and without whom, this book / these books could never have
been what they are.
First, Peter Waterman, as co-founder and co-editor of the
Challenging Empires
series and
Contributing Editor to this book, and on the other, a range of old and new colleagues comrades and co-
conspirators who have really made this book possible.
As summarised above, Peter and I, along with my colleague at OpenWord Nishant, conceived of
Challenging Empires
series in 2006-7, and all three of us then worked together on the first book that
came out of that project, World Social Forum : Critical Explorations, published in 2012 (Peter and I on the
editorial side, and Nishant on the production).
In the course of working on this present book however,
and of conceptualising its subject and focus, we agreed that Peter would be more appropriately described
here as Contributing Editor. Notwithstanding this small change however, Peter’s contributions to this
book, and to the evolution of my thinking through these books, has been huge, ranging from sourcing
essays from his seemingly limitless networks to his always challenging comments on concepts. I deeply
appreciate the generosity of his always-critical embrace and his friendship.
Second, I want to most warmly thank all the authors for all their many contributions to this book,
not least their essays, but also their patience in staying with this long-emerging book project and its
somewhat chaotic emergence. There are of course too many names to list out here, and where this is
also a little unnecessary since they have pride of place in both the Table of Contents and in the List of
Contributors !
A small footnote to this is that as some readers might notice, I think I have in all cases taken the
step of ‘especially thanking’ authors of the essays for which we had to get permission for re-publication
specifically, for their help in getting the permission, and in some cases where they managed to get their
prior publishers to reduce or even to waive their fees. In short, my not doing this in the case of the
authors who have written for us, or who we requested permission to publish something that they had
written but not yet published, does not at all mean that I am not grateful to them. To the contrary, I am
of course even more deeply grateful to each one of them for writing for us and/or for bearing with the
fairly intense content editing that we did on their writing, and also and especially to them for their
patience in bearing with the long delay that has taken place in our publishing their original work.
I would also like to warmly thank Ramsey Kanaan and Craig O'Hara of PM Press for
accepting the challenge of bringing out these two books in co-publication with OpenWord - and therefore
also making them part of their own, rich collection of powerful books on movement.
And finally, I also want to warmly acknowledge the contributions to this book of certain old and
new colleagues : Adityan M, the conceptualiser and designer of a concept for the covers of the
Challenging Empires
series, including for the first, rough version of the cover of this book, and also for
designing CACIM’s forthcoming revised website; Christina Sanchez, for helping me think through this
Introduction and for generating the Wordle and other diagrams that we have tried using in our books for
the first time, and more generally for her enthusiasm and her creative and critical engagement with my
work; Giulio Maffini, an old friend and college classmate I have had the privilege of rediscovering
recently, for nudging me into the use of diagrams to unpack and open up the meanings of the sometimes
dense content of such a book (and of my writing !); Lee Cormie, fellow traveller and friend, for thinking
through with me both this book and its likely sequel, and as already mentioned, for agreeing to write an
Afterword for these books; Madhuresh, my colleague at CACIM, for his contributions to the
conceptualisation of this book and its predecessor back in 2010, and for his constant fellowship over
many years; Nishant, my colleague at OpenWord, for his constant companionship till the end of 2014 in
helping me think out and then bring out this book; Yih Lerh Huang, a new friend and colleague, for
joining Giulio Maffini in nudging me into the use of diagrams in the book, and for infusing fresh energy
and professionalism into our work at OpenWord; and Matt Meyer, someone I have come to know
through the struggle for peace and also a contributor to these books
-, for introducing us to Ramsey
and Craig at PM Press and for being the midwife for the birth of these two books. Thank you, all !
Jai Sen
New Delhi and Ottawa, December 2013, revised December 2015
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I want to acknowledge, right from the outset of this essay, my profound debt to so many others for the
conversations and exchanges we have had in the course of compiling these books, and that have in many ways
inspired me and shaped the thoughts that I try and express here in this Introduction. In particular, I warmly thank
Lee Cormie, Madhuresh, Matt Meyer, and Peter Waterman, and more recently, Laurence Cox. In addition, I also
thank all the contributors to this book and its companion volume The Movements of Movements, Part 2 : Rethinking
Our Dance, for the great privilege of working with them on their contributions to these books; for all that I have
learned from their writings and their reflections, and for the role the many roles - that their work and their
thoughts, individually and collectively, have played in pushing my own thoughts forward and for inspiring me in so
many ways. It is not at all an overstatement to say that I cannot thank them enough.
, a term in Sanskrit, Hindi, and other Indian languages, means power or empowerment, but referring to
primordial cosmic energy. See
Sen, November 2005.
I should clarify that I am referring here not to the great work by Karl Polanyi of this name (The Great
Transformation : The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time; Polanyi 2001 [1944]), but to another work with the
same primary title, by Karen Armstrong, The Great Transformation : The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions
(Armstrong 2006).
For the idea of using music as a metaphor to understand social movement in this case, the World Social Forum -,
see Wainwright 2004 and Keraghel 2005. But here I try to take the next step, of dancing with the essays that we
collected for the book and of composing (or attempting to compose !) a larger composition, with its own harmonies,
rhythms, and riffs.
For information on the
Challenging Empires
series, see the Note in this book from the original publisher, OpenWord,
A Note on the
Challenging Empires
I use the term ‘we’ variously to refer both to the initial team responsible for conceiving this book in its original form
as a follow-up to the earlier volumes in the
Challenging Empires
series (see OpenWord’s Note on the
series), Peter Waterman and myself, and also to the broader team that came together over time, in different
combinations at different times, to think out this book : In particular, Madhuresh at CACIM, and Nishant at
OpenWord. But ultimately I have to take responsibility for what the books are now.
I use the term ‘settler’ here as it is used in certain but not all contexts of colonisation, as referring to those who
come later to a land and ‘settle’ in and on it, usually in the first some waves displacing and sometimes decimating the
indigenous populations that had lived there for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years prior. See
This historical situation has however become a lot more complicated over the past century or so in structural terms,
and all the more during the post-colonial period from the 1950s onwards and then since the 1980s and the ravages
of neoliberalism, where structurally oppressed and often internally colonised peoples from other parts of the world,
such as refugees, have in certain contexts become the major immigrants. And where the second generation the
children - of such immigrants are today asking themselves, can, and should, they also be categorised together with
the original colonisers - as ‘settlers’ ? Is that how they see themselves ? And most importantly, how should they
relate with the indigenous peoples of their new home ?
(For an example of such reflection, see ‘South Asians in Solidarity with Idle No More’, @
For details on the contributors to this ebook, see ‘Notes on the Contributors’.
Cox and Nilsen 2014.
Cox 2016.
Ed (Note - This note in the uploaded, individual-file version of the book contents only) : As also explained in the
uploaded version of the Table of Contents, the Compiled Bibliography was removed from the book as published, for
reasons of length. So, and as of the time of writing, the uploaded version is the only ‘published’ version of this major
Alfred and Corntassel 2016.
Cormie 2017.
For a very interesting discussion of this crucial question, see John Holloway’s book Change the World Without
Taking Power (Holloway 2005), and especially Chapter 3, ‘Beyond Power’ (Holloway, May 2002). Following Holloway,
I also tried engaging with this question in an introduction to an earlier book, Interrogating Empires (Sen 2011a).
Since little has changed in my life since the time when I first wrote these words, this section of the Introduction is
a somewhat revised version of a similar note in the Introduction to an earlier book I edited, World Social Forum :
Critical Explorations (Sen and Waterman, eds, 2012).
For those interested, most of my more recent work since about 2002 has been with and through CACIM, [the
India Institute for] Critical Action : Centre in Movement.
Throughout this period, I was a member of Unnayan (meaning ‘development’ in Bengali, in the sense of ‘unfolding,
self-realisation’), a social action group in Calcutta-then-Kolkata that I helped form in 1977. And through Unnayan, I
helped build first, the Chhinnamul Sramajibi Adhikar Samiti (‘Organisation for the Rights of Uprooted Labouring
People’), a mass organisation in Calcutta, and then the NCHR the National Campaign for Housing Rights an all-
India platform for a wide range of social movements, trade unions, and political parties and entities for campaigning
to make a place to live in security and dignity a Fundamental Right. In the course of this, and of the kind of
organisation Unnayan was and the work it did, I also came to be closely associated with several other struggles and
campaigns for social justice in different parts of India.
Sen, January 2002a and January 2002b.
Summarised briefly, most people on the WSF India organising body became - perhaps for understandable reasons
- increasingly interested in getting the event done, whereas I was as (and even more) concerned with the social and
political potentials of the organising process, and in particular with addressing the potentials and contradictions - of
organising something like the WSF in India. I had earlier written on this (Sen, January 2002a and 2002b), and
agreement on this - addressing these concerns was why I had agreed to join the organising body. Although there
was some agreement with this approach among some members of the WSF India Organising Committee, the
organising process came to be progressively dominated by one big organisation, and when the experience of the
process became increasingly difficult, and the tragedy occurred in my life, I dropped out, and then came back to the
WSF later but now working from outside. I reflected on this experience in Sen, January 2003c, which was published
in edited form as Sen 2004c.
Personal communication.
Along with Lee Cormie, I am here using the terms ‘chaotic’ and ‘chaos’ not in its popular sense, of randomness or
with an apparent lack of intelligible pattern or combination, but in the way the term is used in emerging theory in
mathematics and physics and now also social sciences that deals with the behaviour of nonlinear dynamical systems,
as a particular open-ended form of order. Similarly, the term ‘emergent’ also comes from new theory in biology,
which is now being applied by some to explain social behaviour; processes that learn from what they do, and
through this progressively develop (‘emerge’) into new forms. For a breakthrough discussion of the World Social
Forum in terms of emergence, see Escobar 2004; and for something that tries to build on Escobar’s work, see Sen
2007 and Sen 2012c.
Several paragraphs in this section are based on the Introduction to the Sampler to the earlier book that I co-
edited, as above (Sen and Waterman, eds, February 2011). Since the Sampler, in the form of a CD, was circulated
only in limited numbers at the World Social Forum held in Dakar, Senegal, in 2011, and not in any other form, the
Introduction there (Sen, January 2011c) remained all-but-unpublished. I am therefore taking the liberty here of
drawing extensively from that essay. Just as a footnote, I also completely re-wrote the Introduction for the final
version of that book, which was published in 2012 (Sen 2012b).
Just as one example among many, at last count more than sixty million women, men, and children have been
forcibly uprooted, ‘displaced’, and discarded and devastated - in supposedly socialist and democratic India since the
country gained independence in 1947, in the name of ‘development’ and ‘democracy’. This number is greater than
the populations of most countries in the world. Millions more continue to be displaced, today. See the essay by Roma
and Ashok Choudhary in this book, for just one aspect of this disaster (Roma and Choudhary 2016).
I am indebted to my comrade and fellow traveller Ashok Choudhary, of the NFFPFW (National Forum of Forest
People and Forest Workers) and now the AIUFWP (All India Union of Forest Working People) in India, for helping me
to begin to see this.
Hobsbawm 1962, on ‘The Age of Revolution’.
Walia 2013. See also and At the
time of writing (October 2015), the critical situation in and around Europe which is challenging the very core of the
modern European project, and with its waves of resonance across the North Atlantic North is just one more
indication of the enormous significance of this issue.
See, for instance, the work of Taiaiake Alfred, a contributor to this book, such as in Alfred 1999; and also as
discussed in one of his two contributions to this book, Alfred and Corntassel, 2016.
See, for instance, Divakar Namala, 2011, on ‘Making Caste a Global Issue’.
Sen, January 2011a.
Sen 2012c.
I would like here to express my thanks to my daughter Jayita Sen for helping me think through this point and for
introducing me to the biological terms and concepts ‘angiogenic’ and ‘angiogenesis’ which I think express and
address what I am trying to say here -, and for explaining them to me.
Sen, March 2006; Sen, January 2007; also in Sen 2012c.
Sheldrake, February 2005.
Sen, March 2006; Sen, January 2007.
Tarrow 1992, quoting Snow and Benford 1988.
Drainville 2012, and where I have also drawn in this paragraph from my preface to that book, Sen 2012e.
Cormie 2016.
See, for instance, George and Sabelli, 1994.
40 I have however also found
an interesting and slightly different statement of this maxim :
"The stillness in stillness is not real stillness. Only when there is stillness in movement does the Universal Rhythm
manifest itself"; see
41 Image from the Visual Thesaurus ( Copyright
©1998-2014 Thinkmap, Inc. All rights reserved.
- We warmly thank Thinkmap Inc for their permission to reprint
this image.
Source : Collins World English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition 2009 © William Collins Sons & Co.
Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009.
See, for instance, Whitaker 2004 (which is an edited version of an essay written in 2003), and then a decade later,
Caruso 2012, and Caruso, November 2013.
Mertes, ed, 2004.
For more details on CACIM’s engagement with the WSF, see
and also; and for our major publications, also
Sen and Waterman, eds, 2012.
Naomi Klein perhaps first used this term in 2002; see Naomi Klein interviewed by Michelle Chihara for AlterNet,
September 2002. For more discussion of the movement as it emerged, see Klein 2004; Mertes, ed, 2004; Notes From
Nowhere, eds, 2003; Pleyers, 2010; and for a very different view on the phenomenon, Drainville 2012, and also
André Drainville’s essay in this book (Drainville 2016).
I would like to warmly acknowledge here my introduction to this conceptual shift, first by reading the seminal work
of John Turner on housing back in the 1970s, and then by the great privilege of getting to know John and of working
closely with him, through to the early 80s. In particular, see John F C Turner, 1970 - ‘Housing as a Verb’.
This shift that I made in how to see things was also greatly liberated, and further inspired, by the equally seminal
work of John Berger, for instance his book Ways of Seeing (Berger, 1977 [1972]).
Indeed, if we for instance look at the essay in the companion volume to this book by Tomás Mac Sheoin and Nicola
Yeates, they argue that “Overall, then, there is no one unitary AGM to be described, and diversity is the essence of
the AGM. It is highly diverse in composition, organisational features, targets, and tactics; it expresses itself at local,
national, regional, and global levels in very different ways”; and that even in the case of the ‘AGM’ itself, “the AGM
has been able to maintain its unity through inclusiveness” and that “the development of what della Porta calls
‘tolerant identities’ : “The self-definition as a ‘movement of movements’ … emphasises the positive aspects of
heterogen[eity]”. (Mac Sheoin and Yeates 2017.)
Kalouche and Mielants 2016; McNally 2016; and Cormie 2016.
Though I use this phrase in this Introduction, I remain uncomfortable with it for obvious enough reasons; see the
opening sections of the essay in this book by Roel Meijer for a rich discussion of this world of movement. (Meijer
As above, for information on the
Challenging Empires
series see the Note in this book from the original publisher,
OpenWord, ‘A Note on the
Challenging Empires
I use this term ‘transcommunal’ in the sense developed by John Brown Childs in his wonderful book,
Transcommunality : From the Politics of Conversion to the Ethics of Respect (Childs 2003). See also
Again, for some reflections on the idea and composition of this book, see the Annexure (Sen 2016b).
I discuss our book project in more detail in my Introduction to the book before this in the
Challenging Empires
series, World Social Forum : Critical Explorations. See Sen 2012b.
Sen, Anand, Escobar, and Waterman, eds, 2004, and Sen and Waterman, eds, 2009.
“The Tunisian Revolution, also known as the Jasmine Revolution, was an intensive campaign of civil resistance,
including a series of street demonstrations taking place in Tunisia. The events began on 18 December 2010 and led
to the ousting of longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011.” For one summary, see
As mentioned above, World Social Forum : Critical Explorations (Sen and Waterman, eds, 2012).
Even though we didn't manage to include an essay specifically on this movement, we are privileged to have an
essay within this book that gives some of that history and comments on its contemporary form. For a critical view on
current resonance of the Naxalite movement, see the essay by Roma and Ashok Choudhary (Roma and Choudhary
See the essays in this book by Alex Khasnabish (Khasnabish 2016) and by Xochitl Leyva Solano (Leyva Solano
2016) for discussions of Zapatismo.
See the book by Firoze Manji and Sokari Ekine, African Awakenings : The Emerging Revolutions (Manji and Ekine,
For a summary discussion, see the essay by Emir Sader in this book (Sader 2016).
Sen 2010b, citing Nunes 2005b.
Again referring to the Mac Sheoin and Yeates essay in the accompanying volume to this book, it becomes quickly
clear from the survey they do, and from the evidence they cite, that aside from the reality of the diversity and
plurality that they stress the ‘anti-globalisation movement’ that they analyse largely took place only in the North.
(Mac Sheoin and Yeates 2017.)
Ramnath 2012.
Daulatzai 2017.
Cormie 2016.
For critical discussions of such issues within the World Social Forum and the global justice movements, see the
essay by Anila Daulatzai in the accompanying volume to this book (Daulatzai 2017), and the book by Janet Conway
(Conway 2012).
Sen and Waterman, eds, 2012.
Meyer and Alidou 2017.