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A.6. Global Justice Movement

Volume Two -> A. Campaigns for Social and Economic Justice -> A.6. Global Justice Movement

The demonstrations at the December 1999 WTO summit at Seattle launched the ‘Anti-Globalization’, ‘Anti-Capitalist’ or ‘Global Justice’ Movement into the western media (resistance had been taking place much earlier in the Global South). Although this movement was publicized in particular through its demonstrations at summit meeting of key international financial and economic institutions (see Introduction to A), it was also directed against the neoliberal international policies imposed by these institutions, in particular privatization of national resources and services. As noted under A.4., resistance to specific projects by multinational corporations was also seen as part of the broad movement, and internationally endorsed neoliberal policies strongly favoured these companies and weakened the power of national governments to restrict their activities.
After December 1999 there was an explosion of publications both by participants in the movement and by mainstream publishers. A lively theoretical debate also ensued between critics and proponents of neoliberalism, which is not covered here. Well known critics include Benjamin Barber, Walden Bello, Alex Callinicos, Susan George, Naomi Klein and George Monbiot. An important contributor to the general debate was former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz , who became very critical of aspects of neoliberal policies, and who published Stiglitz, Joseph , Globalization and its Discontents London, Penguin, , 2002, pp. 320 and Stiglitz, Joseph , Making Globalization Work London, Penguin, , 2006, pp. 384 .
The Global Justice Movement brought together many from other social movements, who saw their own goals threatened by neoliberal policies. It also embraced the struggles of many indigenous peoples and exploited workers and poor communities round the world. Although the focus is social justice, the World Social Forum, and its European branch the European Social Forum, which provide a platform for participating groups, also played a role in coordinating protests against the 2003 Iraq War. But diversity of groups and campaigns has also meant diversity of ideologies and attitudes to nonviolence. For counter-summit protests there has been an agreement on tactical diversity, which meant respecting nonviolent actions but not imposing an overall nonviolent discipline.