Anti-globalization movements

From critiques to alternatives

Authored by: Tom Mertes

The Routledge International Handbook of Globalization Studies

Print publication date:  December  2015
Online publication date:  December  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415718813
eBook ISBN: 9781315867847
Adobe ISBN: 9781317964919


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“Anti-globalization movements” are a misnomer for the wide-ranging and, at times, splintered social movements that principally grew in response to the imposition of neo-liberal economic policies beginning in the late 1970s. Most scholars of the movements prefer more precise labels such as the “global justice movement,” “global social movements,” “global solidarity movement,” or “alter-globalization movements.” The term “anti-globalization” began to appear in the English language by the mid 1990s but did not gain currency until the last years of the decade. It was deployed early on to discredit opposition to economic restructuring and trade liberalization as being merely anachronistic. New York Times editorialist Thomas Friedman complained that “the anti-globalization movement, led by Pat Buchanan [sic], is still with us, arguing that free trade and global integration cause stagnating wages” (Friedman, 1997). Most of the movements’ activists do not identify with the label because they do not necessarily oppose other forms of globalization such as commodity trading, cultural exchanges, social solidarities, free movements of peoples, and knowledge transfers. These social movements have hoisted their sails to the winds of planetary solidarity, nonviolence, true sustainable development, and radical democratization. For the purposes of this chapter, this movement of movements will be referred to as the global justice movement (GJM).

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