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This section covers a range of protests against government policies (e.g. neoliberalism leading to greater inequality) and styles of government (e.g. corruption and misspending). It begins with the Chilean student-led challenge to the Pinochet legacy in 2011-12 and three mass movements that erupted in 2013 (and sometimes compared to each other) in Bulgaria, Turkey and Brazil. Secondly it focuses more specifically on campaigns for greater transparency and against corruption, using a number of examples from India, including the well publicized anti-corruption movement that arose in 2011. Thirdly, this section illustrates campaigns for just taxation and against overtaxing the poor.

The student-led protests in Chile in 2011-12 were hailed as the most significant movement in Chile since the resistance to General Pinochet in the 1980s, and were a direct challenge to Pinochet’s legacy of neoliberalism, involving privatization (including of higher education) and profound inequalities, enshrined in the 1981 Pinochet Constitution.

There were in 2013-2014 significant protests in terms of both duration and scale in three countries which are formally democratic (regular multiparty elections in which the conduct and outcome is not seriously challenged), but are in varying degrees corrupt, authoritarian, or both. In Bulgaria the protesters demanded the resignation of governments, and in Turkey targeted the role of the prime minister; in both protesters also challenged the nature of the political regime. But in Brazil protests were directed against aspects of the regime and socio-economic system, rather than the Socialist government in power.

Opposition to corruption was one of the important issues behind the Bulgarian protests and became a major focus in Turkey by 2014, and was also one target of the Brazilian demonstrations.

Poverty, deep social and economic inequalities and the power of big business, have been other motives for mass agitation. In Bulgaria the spark was the doubling of electricity bills in the city of Blagoevgrad; and anger at the impact of neoliberal economic policies and government support for corporations motivated demonstrators in Turkey and Brazil. In both these countries a related issue was government commitment to major urban or sporting projects, at the expense of the local inhabitants.

The protests in Turkey and, especially, Bulgaria, where students became central in the final stage, had similarities with the earlier Chilean resistance to neoliberalism.

An impressive student movement erupted in Chile in 2011 and maintained its activism for months, employing a wide range of tactics (including not only mass marches and temporary occupations of educational and political buildings, but also hunger strikes, ‘kiss-ins’ in public squares, bicycle rides and performances of pop songs). They also organized an informal referendum against the profit motive in which many thousands took part to show their opposition to higher education policy. The students challenged the neoliberal nature of higher education, where total privatization had linked high quality to high fees and state investment was very low. But they also criticized the impact of this ideology on society and the economy as a whole. So – after police violently attacked a student march through the centre of Santiago – the wider public began to join the protests. Students began to receive major support from trade unionists and workers, who went on strike, built barricades and took part in ‘carcerolazos’ (organized banging of pots and pans). A public opinion poll suggested three quarters of the population supported the students, and their demands received major media coverage for months. This challenge to the regime had been preceded in 2006 by the ‘penguin revolution’ of secondary school pupils (named for the colours of their school uniforms), which did manage to get the Pinochet law on education repealed, but the new law failed to promote real educational reform. The demonstrations of 2006 also failed to ignite wider social unrest.

The students in 2011 did manage to wring a series of concessions from the government, and leaders of the Student Federation negotiated with President Pinera; but the students rejected several attempts by the government between June and August 2011 to find solutions as superficial. Student protesters in April 2012 were still rejecting the government concessions. When elections took place in December 2013, against a background of widespread public activism, student leader Camila Vallejo stood for Congress and the socialist Michelle Bachelet became President, promising educational, constitutional and tax changes to promote greater equality. But the coalition government was then divided on reforms in 2014, and the debate took place primarily at the parliamentary level.

The developments in Chile were quite widely reported, but much of the literature is in Spanish. We list below a number of commentaries and analyses, mostly available online.

Cabalin, Cristian, Neoliberal Education and Student Movements in Chile: Inequalities and Malaise, Policy Futures in Education, Vol. 10, issue 2, 2012, pp. 219-228

Looks at 2006 and 2011 protests.

Contreras, Dan, Chile’s Educational and Social Movement: Quality Education for Everyone...Now!, The Broken Rifle, issue 90 (December), 2011

Briefly explains problem in higher education and how privatization promotes gap between rich and poor. Describes wide range of nonviolent direct action used by the students, but notes wider support and activism.

Figueroa-Clark, Victor, The Meaning behind Protests in Chile, International Affairs at LSE, 10/08/2011,

Discusses context of protest, the school and university education system, extent of inequality in Chilean society, and implications if movement successful.

McIntyre, Jody, How to Grow a Student Movement, Chilean Style, New Internationalist, issue October, 2012, pp. 26-27

Stresses challenge to Pinochet legacy and links with workers’ unions. Includes timeline of protests from May 2011 – August 2012.

Muñoz-Lamartine, Ernesto, Chile: Student Leaders Reinvent the Movement, Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies, issue Fall, 2011

Account of talk by Giorgio Jackson, President of the Catholic University’s Student Association in Chile.

Salinas, Daniel ; Fraser, Pablo, Educational Opportunity and Contentious Politics: The 2011 Chilean Student Movement, Berkeley Review of Education, Vol. 3, issue 1, 2012, pp. 17-47

Considers the reasons for emergence of movement and its challenge to free market provision of education. Argues experience of this education provides both mobilizing grievances and resources for political mobilization.

Somma, Nicolas M., The Chilean Student Movement of 2011-2012: Challenging the Marketization of Education, Interface: a journal about social movements, Vol. 4, issue 2 (Nov), 2012, pp. 296-309

The author is assistant professor of sociology at the Catholic University of Chile. Examines causes of protests and educational system, ‘horizontalism’ of student organization, tactics, use of media and maintenance of internal unity.

Major protests took place in Bulgaria in three stages. The first stage, which began in February with the burning of electricity bills that had doubled in a month, involved resistance to unemployment and government austerity policies (similar to the protests in Greece, Spain and elsewhere in Europe in response to the economic downturn), but included anger about corruption. These protests, which involved a mass demonstration outside parliament and seven people setting fire to themselves, and mobilized the poor and many from the countryside, demanded the resignation of the centre-right government led by Boiko Borisov. This demand was successful and resulted in a general election. A new government led by the Bulgarian Socialist Party in coalition with the (largely Turkish) Movement for Rights and Freedom was formed in May reliant on parliamentary support from the far-right Ataka MPs. The new government, headed by Plamen Oresharski, aroused popular anger in June when the government was seen to be reverting to collusion with corporate oligarchs in nominating a ‘media mogul with shady connections’ to a key national security post. Demonstrators immediately and successfully demanded his resignation, but continued throughout the summer to demand the resignation of the government as a whole. These protests, primarily by the urban middle class, did not succeed in their stated aim and began to reflect divergent political ideologies. They did, however, gain some support from European governments and the EU. (See: Ivan Krastev, ‘Why Bulgaria’s Protests Stand Out in Europe’, Guardian, 30 July 2013}.

The third phase was initiated by students at Sofia occupying the main lecture hall in late October, prompting other student occupations round the country (with some support from their lecturers) and promoting an ‘Occupy Bulgaria’ movement against corruption and calling for electoral reforms, easier removal of MPs and greater transparency. The students also backed the demand for the resignation of the government and highlighted the gap between rich and poor. In November they joined with trade unions to demonstrate outside parliament. Despite apparent widespread popular support, the student protests began to lose momentum by December. However, observers noted that the protests in 2013 had been almost entirely nonviolent, and had involved a range of imaginative and artistic actions – for example the recreation on July 14 of the Delacroix painting ‘Liberty Leading the People’, but substituting the Bulgarian for the French flag – which might provide a hopeful precedent for future mobilization.

Drezov, Kyril, A Neighbour in Turmoil: Two Waves of Popular Protest in 2013 Bulgaria, In Gokay; Xypolia, Reflections on Taksim – Gezi Park Protests in Turkey (H.1.c.ii. Journal Articles and Substantial Assessments), Keele European Research Centre, Southeast Europe Series, Keele University, pp. 52-57

Gurov, Boris ; Zankina, Emilia, Populism and the Construction of Political Charisma: Post-Transition Politics in Bulgaria, Problems of Post-Communism, Vol. 60, issue 1 (Jan/Feb), 2013, pp. 3-17

Article published just before protests erupted in February.

Junes, Tom, Students Take Bulgaria’s Protests to the Next Level. Can They Break the Political Stalemate?, Transit. Europaische Revue, issue 44, 2013

Useful and well referenced analysis of student phase of protests, in context of earlier student protests in 1997 and wider national demonstrations in 2013.

Lipkis, Sarah, 2013: The Year of Bulgarian Protest, World Policy Journal Blog, 17/12/2013, pp. -2

Nikolov, Nikolay ; Kurzydlowski, Dessislava Hristova ; Merkova, Sonya ; Simeonova, Tanya, Bulgaria: lost in transition,, 10/12/2013,

Stresses that Bulgaria’s corrupt and incompetent governments are result of the nature of the 1989 transition, the opportunities created then for members of the security services to seize economic, social and political power, and lack of public debate about the past.

Authoritarianism was a major focus of the Turkish 2013 protests, which gathered momentum after brutal police reaction to a small peaceful sit-in from May 28-31 in Gezi Park, Taksim Square, Istanbul. Although the prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had won three successive elections since 2002, could claim significant political achievements – curbing the army and (despite repression of Kurdish militants) promoting a peace process with the Kurds – his style was increasingly autocratic. Under his government artistic and media freedom were suppressed – Reporters Without Borders placed Turkey no. 154 out of 180 countries in its 2014 Press Freedom Index. Secondly, although the Turkish economy had prospered under neo-liberal policies, anger about the gap between rich and poor was a second element in the Turkish protests (as it has been in many popular uprisings). The government has fostered close links with big business, including construction and mining companies, at the expense of workers, as the deaths of 282 miners in May 2014 (against a backdrop of government refusal to impose stronger safety rules in mines, which according to the ILO are the third most dangerous in the world) dramatically illustrated. A third factor in the Turkish protests was the government’s policy of rapid urban development overriding local concerns – resistance to the destruction of Gezi Park in central Istanbul began the May-June 2013 movement. The government planned to replace the park with a rebuilt Ottoman barracks and a shopping mall, and it was one of the last public parks in the city. Another concern for many demonstrators was the government’s attack on secular lifestyles, for example tighter rules on sales of alcohol.

The rapidly growing demonstrations from 1 June 2013 included a much larger occupation of Gezi Park and protests across the country, mobilizing over 3 million people in 50 towns and cities. Erdogan ordered a crackdown in mid -June: in the violent police operation eight died, 104 had serious head injuries and about 8,000 were hurt; many who showed sympathy (even by tweets) lost their jobs, and a year later hundreds were still on trial. The repressive response was met initially by individuals mounting solitary ‘standing’ protests in public places. Although after June there was not a sustained movement, there have been frequent protests since on varied issues, including corruption, in late 2013 and in 2014. The funeral processions in March 2014 for a 14 year old boy who died after nearly months in a coma (induced by being hit by a gas canister fired by police during the Gezi Park protests) was attacked by the police, triggering new demonstrations across the country. Corruption allegations had surfaced in December 2013, there were leaks on social media, and Erdogan was being accused of removing police and prosecutors in order to delay investigations which might incriminate his family and business and political allies. The mine disaster in May 2014 (noted above) prompted angry street protests in major cities.

Although a majority of Turkey’s 80 million population has continued to support Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) – for example in voting in the municipal elections in 2014 – the Gezi protests and their aftermath brought about a more critical attitude by many to government and the subservient mainstream media. In the view of some activists the protests also promoted greater tolerance among those with diverse attitudes to Islam and differing lifestyles, and brought together very diverse groups: Turks and Kurds, Kemalists and conservative Muslims, Greens, Marxists, anarchists, feminists and LGBT activists. The protesters were predominantly young – those who flocked to Gezi Park to protest against police violence included young liberals and members of the activist pro-democracy Young Civilians – but included older men and women and gained support from many white collar and professional groups, including doctors who tended the wounded. Businesses in Istanbul also offered some support.

Erdogan did receive a setback in the June 2015 parliamentary elections – despite being elected president in 2014 – when his AKP party failed for the first time in 13 years to win a majority in parliament. He had campaigned for a constitutional change to strengthen presidential powers, and some voters apparently wished to curb his authoritarian ambitions.

However, the situation in Turkey rapidly worsened in the second half of 2015. The government effectively abandoned the peace process with the Kurds when it launched air strikes against Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) bases in July in response to a car bomb attack attributed to them, and publicly bracketed the KPP with ISIS as a threat to Turkey. Erdogan appealed to popular feelings of insecurity to secure a majority in parliament in new elections on 1 November 2015, and immediately proceeded to step up his repression of political opponents and the media.

Turkish politics became more repressive and obscure after a failed military coup in mid-July 2016. Erdogan did receive widespread popular support in resisting the coup, but immediately began an extensive purge of alleged coup plotters, which extended not only to the army and police, but also to the judiciary, the civil service, university staff, dismissed from their posts, and jails were being emptied to receive new political prisoners. The accusation was that they owed allegiance to an exiled Muslim cleric (a former associate of the President), who Erdogan named as the head of a conspiratorial movement.

There have been more significant protests, for example about the new Constitution, which extends the length of time Erdogan can remain President and the scope of his powers. The referendum in April 2017 was very narrowly won and its conduct was criticised by OSCE. A march by tens of thousands from Istanbul to Ankara started on June15, 2017 calling for the rule of law and justice against mass imprisonmen as a result of state emergency.

Therefore, at some point there may be a case for further updating to cover developments in Turkey if there are solid enough sources (e.g. academic articles; whole sections in movements periodicals; well anlysed .PDFs or, of course, books).

The Gezi Park protests gained international media coverage, as did their brutal suppression in mid-June. The reports below are all from Turkish commentators.

Bechev, Dimitar, Turkey, a people-power tide,, 02/06/2013,

Gokpinar, Ali, Neither Turkish spring nor velvet revolution,, 05/06/2013,

Shafak, Elif, The view from Taksim Square: why is Turkey now in turmoil?, The Guardian, 03/06/2013,

Tocci, Nathalie, A u-turn in Turkish politics? Gezi Park in perspective ,, 03/06/2013,

Abbas, Tahir, Political Culture and National Identity in Conceptualising the Gezi Park Movement, Insight Turkey, Vol. 15, issue 4 (Fall), 2013, pp. 19-28

Arat, Yeşim, Violence, Resistance and Gezi Park, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 45, issue 4 (Nov), 2013, pp. 807-809

Examination of violence from a gender perspective by academic specializing in women’s political participation in Turkey.

Cansun, Şebnem, The Gezi Park protests and youth in Turkey: Perception of Hürriyet Columnists, International Journal of Social Sciences and Humanity Studies, Vol. 6, issue 1, 2014, pp. 92-105

Article discusses why, despite major role of young people using social media in the first three weeks of protests, columnists in the major Turkish daily Hurriyet (Liberty) often failed to mention, or underplayed, the significance of the young demonstrators.

Cook, Steven A., Turkey’s Democratic Mirage: The Powerbrokers Ankara Back, Foreign Affairs, 08/01/2014,

Assessment of Turkey’s progress towards being a consolidated democracy since the Justice and Development Party came to power in 2002, arguing that despite some significant gains there are still ‘profound’ problems as the corruption allegations against Erodgan illustrate.

Gokay, Bulent ; Xypolia, Ilia, Reflections on Taksim – Gezi Park Protests in Turkey, Keele European Research Centre, Southeast Europe Series, Keele University, 2013, pp. 80

Includes a range of brief essays on the Taksim protests, but also includes Immanuel Wallerstein on ‘Turkey: Dilemma of the Kurds’, and chapters making comparisons with Mexico 1968 and with Brazil, plus an analysis of ‘Two Waves of Popular Protest in 2013 Bulgaria’.

Gül, Murat ; Dee, John ; Cünük, Cahide Nur, Istanbul’s Taksim Square and Gezi Park: The Place of Protest and the Ideology of Place, Journal of Architecture and Urbanism, Vol. 38, issue 1 (March), 2014, pp. 63-72

Discusses the protests and their symbolism and the ideological conflicts evoked.

Letsch, Constanze, A Year after the Protests, Gezi Park Nurtures the Seeds of a New Turkey, The Guardian, 29/05/2014,

Tugal, Cihan Ziya, Democratic Janissaries? Turkey’s Role in the Arab Spring, New Left Review, issue 76 (Jul-Aug), 2012, pp. 5-24

Criticizes the western view of Turkey as model for the Islamic world and analyses the Erdogan government’s domestic and foreign policy. Written the year before Gezi Park , but provides relevant background.

Yaila, Atilla, Gezi Park Revolts: For or Against Democracy?, Insight Turkey, Vol. 15, issue 4 (Fall), 2013, pp. 7-18

Critical examination of the multiplicity of the Gezi movement, the underlying factors and its repercussions . The author stresses the degree of violence and claims ‘the broader Gezi Park agenda represented a fundamentally Kemalist reaction against democracy’, citing the role of the Republican People’s Party as supporting evidence.

The mass demonstrations that broke out in Brazil on 6 June 2014 began as a protest against a rise in bus and metro fares in Sao Paolo (organized by the leftist and anarchistic Movement for Free Passes), but a brutal police response prompted the demonstrations to swell rapidly in numbers and spread across the country. As a movement erupted the demands also grew, including improvement in social services such as transport, health and education, calls for electoral and constitutional reform and opposition to corruption. Another central focus for protests was the lavish government expenditure on preparations for holding the World Cup in the summer of 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. This expenditure should, demonstrators asserted, have been directed instead to improving the welfare of ordinary Brazilians.

The protests drew on students and young people alienated by the link between government and corporations and the role of money in politics, the poor from the slums, but also many from the middle classes. This diverse constituency and the largely spontaneous nature of the protests meant that the demonstrations lacked a clear sense of political priorities and had no organizational focus. The movement arose outside the party political system and although some protesters indicated support for small leftist parties and support for the ruling Workers’ Party waned during June 2014, there was no concerted call for President Dilma Roussef, who made a number of promises in response to the protests, to resign.

Demonstrations continued periodically in 2013 and into 2014 against the World Cup, and slum clearance and demolitions in preparation for the Olympics aroused anger in the favelas. But a movement on the scale of June 2013 did not reappear.

Postscript 2016: There were further protests up to the opening of the Olympic Games in August 2016 against the cost of the Games and the impact on the poor. But the central political issue from March to September 2016 was the impeachment of President Roussef. The impeachment campaign in Congress, on the charge of manipulating budgetary accounts, led by the Speaker of the Lower House, was backed by right wing parties and mass middle class demonstrations. It has understandably been interpreted by the left in Brazil as a right wing coup, especially as Roussef was replaced by the relatively right wing Vice President. But Roussef, voted out of office by the Senate in September, had also lost general public support (her approval rating falling as low as 10 per cent in the polls in 2016) due to the economic slump and the massive bribery scandal centred on the state-owned oil company Petrobas. This scandal implicated almost all parties, including the Workers’ Party. Roussef herself, however, has never been accused of personal corruption, unlike a large number of her Congressional opponents (including the Speaker of the Lower House).

Branford, Sue ; Wainwright, Hilary, Ructions in Rio, Red Pepper, issue Aug/Sept, 2013, pp. 40-41

Campos, Nauro F., What drives protests in Brazil? Corruption, ineptitude and elections, VOX, 23/07/2013,

Economics professor suggests three main causes of the protests.

Dent, Alexander S. ; Pinheiro-Machado, Rosana, Protesting Democracy in Brazil, Hot Spots. Cultural Anthropology website, 20/12/2013,

Series of 22 posts covering numerous aspects of protests, their cause, and issues of policing.

Gatehouse, Tom, Copa de Cash: saying this is a World Cup for everyone is a cruel joke, Red Pepper, issue Jun/Jul, 2014, pp. 38-39

On the negative impact of preparations for the World Cup and increasingly repressive police tactics.

Saad-Filho, Alfredo, Mass Protests under “Left Neoliberalism”: Brazil, June-July 2013, Critical Sociology, Vol. 39, issue 5 (Sep.), 2013, pp. 657-669

Examines causes, range of demands, social base and ‘contradictory frustrations’ of the mass protests. Discusses political dilemmas and proposes ‘constructive alternatives for the left’.

Singer, André, Rebellion in Brazil, New Left Review, issue 85 (Jan/Feb), 2014, pp. 19-38

Analyzes varied class, age and political beliefs of the protesters (sometimes resulting in conflict between them).

Winters, Matthew S. ; Weitz-Shapiro, Rebecca, Partisan and Nonpartisan Protests in Brazil, Journal of Politics in Latin America, Vol. 6, issue 1, 2014, pp. 137-150

Uses evidence of two surveys to examine effects of protests on party-alignment and suggests a drop in support for the ruling Workers’ Party, but that no other party gained in support.

Anger about government and business corruption is frequently one theme in popular movements, as the studies of Bulgaria, Turkey and Brazil illustrate, and has prompted protests in many parts of the world: for example the ‘Million People March’ in Manila in 26 August 2013. A valuable recent study of how popular organization and nonviolent action (taking many forms) has challenged corruption in many countries, from Italy to Korea, India, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Brazil and Uganda, is:

Beyerle, Shaazka, Curtailing Corruption: People Power for Accountability and Justice, Boulder CO, Lynne Rienner, 2014, pp. 261

It is impossible in this Guide to cover all anti-corruption protests. The focus here is on India, where an internationally well-publicized Anti-Corruption Movement arose in 2011 and had repercussions on Indian politics. However, this significant but controversial movement should be seen in the wider context of many earlier and varied forms of struggle in India to promote greater government transparency and to prevent corruption.

This sub-section gives references for the role of civil society bodies, and in particular the work of the radical Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (Association for the Empowerment of Workers and Farmers), which waged a campaign including direct action in the state of Rajasthan in the 1990s for a Right to Information Act. This Act became law in Rajasthan in January 2001. The MKSS encouraged campaigns in other parts of India, and a national Right to Information Act was passed in 2005. The Act now provides a basis for campaigners to seek out examples of corruption.

Jenkins, Rob, Democracy, Development and India’s Struggle Against Corruption, Public Policy Research, Vol. 3, issue 3 (Sep-Dec), 2006, pp. 155-163

Jenkins, Rob, Civil Society versus Corruption in India, In Ganguly, Sumit ; Diamond, Larry ; Plattner, Marc F., The State of India's Democracy Baltimore MD, John Hopkins University Press, , 2007, pp. 161-167

Jenkins, Rob ; Goetz, Anne Marie, Accounts and Accountability: Theoretical Implications of the Right-to-Information Movement in India, Third World Quarterly, Vol. 20, issue 3, 1999, pp. 603-622

Examination of the grass roots work of the MKSS in developing campaign for right to information as part of their wider campaigning and their use of jan sunwals (public hearings) in communities where official documents regarding public works, anti-poverty programmes etc. are read out and people are encouraged to add their own testimony about diversion of funds and fraud. The article also covers the MKSS use of public protest, such as a 52 day sit-in in the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur, in 1997. See also:  Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Right to Information. State Level: Rajasthan [2005] , 2005 . Brief elaboration and update on work of MKSS and Right to Information Acts up to 2005.

Kumar, Raj C., Corruption and Human Rights in India: Comparative Perspectives on Transparency and Good Governance, New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 234

Analyzes corruption as a violation of human rights and proposes a multi-pronged approach to tackling corruption, including a greater role for civil society. A postscript takes account of the 2011 Anna Hazare movement against corruption.

Webb, Martin, Disciplining the Everyday State and Society? Anti-Corruption and Right to Information Activism in Delhi, Contributions to Indian Sociology, Vol. 47, issue 5, 2013, pp. 363-393

On use of legal mechanisms under the 2005 Right to Information Act by anti-corruption and right to information groups.

A significant popular movement against corporate and government corruption was ignited on 5 April 2011, when Anna Hazare, a 73 year-old former soldier, and campaigner against corruption in Maharastha state since 1991, embarked on a ‘fast to death’ to secure a national ombudsman to fight corruption. His action mobilized many thousands of supporters in different cities, who flocked to the streets, undertook candlelit processions or fasted in sympathy. The Congress-led government, which was embroiled in a 24 billion pound telecoms fraud and allegations about bribery over the 2010 Commonwealth Games, hastened to respond. After the Prime Minister promised to bring a bill into the Lower House of Parliament, Harare called off his fast on 9 April, but set a deadline for 15 August for bringing the bill into parliament. The government brought in an anti-corruption ombudsman bill which Hazare and his supporters argued was wholly inadequate; Hazare demanded that the draft drawn up by his advisers should be put before parliament instead. In order to prevent a further public hunger strike, the government on 16 August 2011 imprisoned Harare in Delhi’s Tihar jail and arrested hundreds of his supporters. Hazare began his fast in jail, whilst supporters protested across India. The government rapidly ordered his release, but Harare refused bail until allowed to fast in public, which he did until 28th August, when parliament passed a ‘sense of the house’ resolution endorsing his demands, and thousands celebrated a ‘people’s victory’.

The government brought in a bill which passed in the lower house in late December 2011, but in the view of Hazare and his supporters it did not give the ombudsman sufficient powers, such as the right to prosecute offenders, and he embarked on another fast on 27 December, but on doctors’ advice ended it three days later. The proposed ombudsman was not finally voted into law until two years later, when the lower house approved amendments to the original bill endorsed by the upper house. Anna Hazare, who had been undertaking another fast, ended it and announced the setting up of ‘watchdog bodies’ to monitor how the new law was enforced. The creation of the national ombudsman was the culmination of eight previous unsuccessful attempts to set up such a body since the 1960s. However, some leftists critics of Hazare’s campaign argued a national body would be unwieldy and was contrary to the Gandhian approach he claimed to adopt.

Harare began his national campaign by a statue of Gandhi and used the tactics of fasts and disobedience, and comparisons with Gandhi were promoted by his supporters and the media. One strand in negative comments on his campaign has queried the validity of this comparison. But the major criticisms on the left have been that the campaign was predominantly middle class and not focused on issues facing the poor, and that Hazare leaned towards the Hindu right, who were represented among his campaign team. Coverage of his movement did tend to be more favourable in Hindu language media, and the rightwing Hindu party the BJP supported his anti-corruption demands, in part to embarrass the Congress-led government. However, others have argued that the significance of the movement Hazare helped to mobilize should not be ignored. Indeed, a newly-created anti-corruption party the Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party (AAP), formed by a former Gandhian activist and key associate of Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal, received spectacular support in elections to the Delhi assembly in December 2013. Kejriwal resigned as Delhi’s chief minister 49 days later with his colleagues because, he claimed, the two major parties (Congress and the BJP) had blocked his anti-corruption measures. Hazare has, however, refused to support the AAM, citing his distrust of party politics.

The 2011-13 movement has been quite well covered in the international media, especially during the fasts and protests in April, August and December 2011, and some reports in Indian newspapers, such as the Times of India, are available online. Substantial journal articles and commentaries are so far more sparse.

Baisakh, Pradeep, We will give people a political alternative: an interview with Arvind Kejriwal,, 08/03/2013,

Jayaram, N., Frenzied argument in India ,, 29/08/2011,

Article written at peak of Hazare movement, noting the divided views on the movement and criticisms of it, including the dangers of ‘messianic campaigns’ for parliamentary democracy.

Mishra, K.P., Gandhian Views on Democracy, Gandhi Marg, Vol. 34, issue 2-3 (Jul-Dec), 2012, pp. 205-216

Primarily an exposition of Gandhi’s theory of democracy, but commenting on Hazare’s anti-corruption movement as a starting point.

Nigam, Aditya ; Menon, Nivedita, Anti-Corruption Movement and the Left, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 46, issue 37, 10/09/2011, pp. -4

Comments on the potential of a large and nonviolent movement and criticizes hard line leftist criticisms.

Patnaik, Prabhat, Anna Hazare and Gandhi - Whatever devalues Parliament strikes at the root of democracy, The Telegraph, Calcutta, 21/06/2011,

Criticizes coercive nature of a ‘fast to the death’ and dangers of civil society activism that bypasses parliament.

Sengupta, Mitu, Anna Hazare and the Idea of Gandhi, Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 71, issue 3 (Aug), 2012, pp. 595-601

Originally published in Dissent.

Raises caveats about comparisons with Gandhi, discusses Hazare’s diagnosis and prescriptions for corruption and comments on the nature of the Hazare movement. Argues against claims that it is a pawn of the extreme right RSS and/or CIA, noting the extent of mass protests and the depth of anger about corruption.

Shabnoor, Sultana, Dig Deep into Corruption in India,, 24/08/2011,

Brief summary of key disagreements between government and Hazare camp on role and powers of proposed ombudsman.

Opposition to taxes seen as unjust or illegitimate has long been a spur to popular resistance, as in the English Peasants’ Revolt and in the preludes to the English Civil War and the American Revolution. Taxes may also be withheld to demonstrate opposition to particular policies, for example military budgets and preparations (see D.2.b.), or as part of a wider revolt against state policies, as in the Poujadist movement among small farmers in France in the 1950s. An important example of widespread resistance to a tax on the grounds it was unjust was the British poll tax movement of 1989-90, sparked by Mrs. Thatcher’s introduction of a ‘poll tax’ – a new flat rate local government tax on all individuals, regardless of their income. This movement, which led to the tax being revoked and helped to undermine Mrs. Thatcher’s tenure in office, has inspired a significant literature.

Unfair targeting of the poor is one form of tax injustice. The other side of the coin, which has come increasingly into focus in recent years, is the failure of the very rich (individuals and in particular corporations) to pay their fair share of tax. Sit-in campaigns on this issue were promoted by UK Uncut, which targeted companies making large profits in Britain, but used accounting mechanisms to avoid paying any (or sufficient) tax to the UK exchequer (see A.8.d.). UK Uncut tactics and demands spread to some other countries, and were part of wider public, media and parliamentary criticism of the social irresponsibility of banks and large corporations. Tax avoidance and evasion is a global issue – particular important for poorer countries – and a range of civil society bodies in different countries have combined since 2011 to demand an end to secrecy on tax havens. The Tax Justice Network published a report in 2012 suggesting that 13 trillion pounds in financial wealth (excluding property) was hidden in secret tax havens. A whistleblower in the UK Revenue and Customs department in 2011 drew the attention of two parliamentary committees to another potential source of unfairness – tax authorities failing to enforce taxes of millions of pounds on major companies. Although there is potential for forms of direct action such as sit-ins and boycotts targeting companies (as Uncut demonstrated) much of the campaigning involves ‘tracing the tax’ and symbolic protests of the kind promoted by Christian Aid.

Bagguley, Paul, Protest, Poverty and Power: A Case Study of the Anti-Poll Tax Movement, Sociological Review, Vol. 43, issue 4, 1995, pp. 693-719

Examines social base, organization and tactics of the anti-poll tax movement and relates it to theoretical debates about new social movements and poor people’s movements. See also: Bagguley, Paul , Anti-Poll Tax Protest In Kennedy, Paul ; Barker, Colin , To Make Another World: Studies in Protest and Collective Action Aldershot, Avebury Press, , 1996, pp. 7-24

Hoggett, Paul ; Burns, Danny, The Revenge of the Poor: The Anti-Poll Tax Campaign in Britain, Critical Social Policy, Vol. 11, issue (Dec), 1991, pp. 95-110

See also reply by Lavalette, Michael ; Mooney, Gerry , The Poll Tax Struggle in Britain: A Reply to Hoggett and Burn Critical Social Policy, 1993, pp. 96-108

Lavalette, Michael ; Mooney, Gerry, ”No Poll Tax Here!”: The Tories, Social Policy and the Great Poll Tax Rebellion, 1987-1991, In Lavalette, Michael ; Mooney, Gerry , Class Struggle and Social Welfare Abingdon, Routledge, , 2000, pp. 199-227

Murgatroyd, Richard, The Popular Politics of the Poll Tax: An Active Citizenship of the Left, London, Brunel University (published PhD thesis), 2000, pp. 338

Detailed case study of poll tax protest in the London Borough of Ealing.

Ramsey, Kanaan, How One Small Anarchist Group Toppled the Thatcher Government, (Interviewed by David Solnit), In Solnit, Globalize Liberation: How to Uproot the System and Build a Better World (A.6.a. General Titles), San Francisco CA, City Lights, pp. 397-410

Discusses how the poll tax campaign spread beyond its origins in Edinburgh to the rest of Britain and describes its main tactics.