Movements for Global Justice

The Global Justice Movement, often misnamed the anti-globalization movement, is less one movement than a network of movements focused on various interlinked dimensions of the current world system, including poverty, environmental degradation, racism, sexism and neo-imperialism. The network is not anti-globalization but it is deeply critical of the current mode of corporate neo-liberal globalization that maintains and in many respects deepens the gap between the global north and the global south resulting from centuries of colonialism fueled by racism. It is equally critical of inequalities between elites and ordinary citizens within nations of the north and south, inequalities in many ways exacerbated by the present era of globalization.

For a unique introduction to the economic processes of globalization, see Neo-Liberalism as a Water Balloon.

Featured Site

  • WTO Battle of Seattle History Project. Excellent site containing much information on protest actions against the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its ministerial meeting in Seattle in November/December 1999, events that brought greater US awareness of and involvement in the global justice movement.

Some Key Organizations & Activist Sites

Books and Articles on Culture, Globalization and the Global Justice Movement

Appadurai, Arjun. Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1996.

Appelbaum, Richard. P., and William I. Robinson, eds. . Critical Globalization Studies. New York: Routledge, 2005, Collects many of the best essays focused on globalization theory and practice, including some from the perspective of grassroots activists.

Aronowitz, Stanley, et al. Implicating Empire: Globalization and Resistance in the 21st Century World Order. New York: Basic Books, 2003. Surveys a range of issues in the cultures of globalization and resistance to neoliberal globalization.

Bandy, Joe, and Jackie Smith, eds. Coalitions across Borders: Transnational Protest and the Neoliberal Order. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield,2003. Collection of case study essays examining the possibilities and difficulties of organizing movements across national boundaries.

Brecher, Jeremy, et al., eds. Globalization from Below: The Power of Solidarity. Boston: South End Press, 2000. Best general introduction to the forces of globalization and the movements arrayed against them. Especially good on practical organizing.

Della Porta, Donatella, ed. The Global Justice Movement: Cross-National and Transnational Perspectives. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Press, 2007. Rich empirically grounded collection of essays by prominent social scientists.

Fisher, William, and Thomas Ponniah, eds. Another World Is Possible: Popular Alternatives to Globalization at the World Social Forum. London: Zed Books, 2003. Excellent set of documents exemplifying some of the many alternatives to neoliberal globalization arising out of the World Social Forum meetings.

Grewal, Inderpal, and Caren Kaplan, eds. Scattered hegemonies: Postmodernity and Transnational Feminist Practices. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994. Traces the travels of feminisms around the global.

Kidd, Dorothy, and Bernadette Barker-Plummer, eds. “Social Justice Movements and the Internet.” Special issue of Peace Review 13.3 (September 2001). Collects a number of fine studies of how the Internet has been used for and against global justice movements.

Lloyd, David and Lisa Lowe. eds. The Politics of Culture in the Shadow of Capital. Chapel Hill, NC: Duke University Press, 1997. Traces multiple resistances to neo-liberalism in a variety of local, national and regional settings.

Mertes, Tom, ed. A Movement of Movements: Is Another World Really Possible? London and New York: Verso, 2004. Collection of articles by grassroots activists dealing with practice and theory of the movement for global justice.

Opel, Andy, and Donnalyn Pompper, eds. Representing Resistance: Media, Civil Disobedience, and the Global Justice Movement. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003. Various essays assessing the pros and cons of mainstream media coverage of the global movement and the alternative media work done by the movement itself.

Reed, T.V. "Will the Revolution Be Cybercast: New Media, the Battle of Seattle, and Global Justice," in The art of Protest: Culture and Activism from the Civil Rights Movement to the Streets of Seattle. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005. Tells the story of WTO demonstration at the turn of the 20th century and the use of the Internet and other new media in creating the global justice movement.

Sassen, Saskia. Globalization and Its Discontents. New York: New Press, 1998. Excellent analysis of the socio-economic processes of globalization.

Shepard, Benjamin, and Ronald Hayduk, eds. From ACT UP to the WTO: Urban Protest and Community Building in the Era of Globalization. London: Verso, 2002. Excellent essays by grassroots activists tracing the coalescence of progressive groups in the United States from the 1980s to the early twenty-first century.

Smith, Jackie, and Hank Johnston, eds. Globalization and Resistance: Transnational Dimensions of Social Movements. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002. Academic case studies surveying global movements from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century.

Tsing, Anna. Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005. Fascinating study of global/local environment interactions in southeast Asia.

Tucker, Kenneth. Workers of the World, Enjoy!: Aesthetic Politics from Revolutionary Syndicalism to the Global Justice Movement. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2010. Unique take on the relation of cultural politics, dramatic action and social change.

Veltmeyer, Henry, ed. Globalization and Antiglobalization: Dynamics of Change in the New World Order. Aldershot, Hants, UK; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2004. Focused especially on Asia and Latin America, this collection lays out the economic, political, and cultural dimensions of the current global system and its resisters.

Yuen, Eddie, et al., eds. The Battle of Seattle: The New Challenge to Capitalist Globalization. New York: Soft Skull Press, 2001. Collection of essays by activists debating issues surrounding the Seattle demonstrations and subsequent ones in Prague, Genoa, and elsewhere.

Multimedia

"Another World Is Possible." Moving Images, 2002. Directed by Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young. Short, lively documentary on the World Social Forum 2002.

"Fourth World War." Big Noise Films, 2003. Directed by Richard Rowley and Jacqueline Soohan. Explores the global justice movement at the grassroots on four continents.

"Kilometer 0: The WTO in Cancun." A Global Indymedia coproduction, 2003. Collectively directed and edited documentary on the WTO protests in Cancun, Mexico, in September 2003.

"Showdown in Seattle." Big Noise Films, 1999. Five half-hour films shot and edited on location in downtown Seattle during the WTO protests; provides a day-by-day, street-level view of the actions.

"This Is What Democracy Looks Like." Big Noise Films, 2000. Directed by Richard Rowley and Jacqueline Soohan. Battle of Seattle coverage synthesized from the longer Showdown in Seattle series.

"The Whole World Watching: The WTO, 10 Years Later." Bullfrog Films, 2010. Originally produced for KCTS PBS. Looks at the lasting impact of 1999 WTO demonstrations, using archival footage and interviews with major players in the event.

"Zapatista." Big Noise Films, 1998. Directed by Richard Rowley and Jacqueline Soohan. Documentary on the rise and evolution of the Zapatista rebellion and movement for indigenous rights in Chiapas, Mexico, that did much to inspire the global justice movement.