Global Social Movement(s) at the Crossroads: Some Observations on the Trajectory of the Anti-Corporate Globalization Movement

  • Frederick H. Buttel University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Kenneth A. Gould Saint Lawrence University

Abstract

This paper examines the major structural characteristics of the anti-corporate globalization movement, its key bases and antecedents, its relationship with other global social movements (GSMs) and the key challenges it faces in the post-9/11 period. We suggest that despite the potential of the anti-corporate globalization movement to usher in major social changes, the movement faces a number of major crossroads in terms of ideology, discursive approach, and overall strategy. We argue that there has been coalescence of a good many GSMs, including the international environmental movement, under the banner of the anti-corporate globalization movement. We focus primarily on the interrelations of these two GSMs, noting that over the past decade there have been trends toward both the environmentalization and de-environmentalization of the anti-corporate globalization movement. While the defection of many mainstream environmental groups fromthe Washington consensus and the resulting environmentalization of the trade and globalization issue were critical to the Seattle coalition, there has been a signi?cant decline in the movements embrace of environmental claims and discourses, and a corresponding increase in its use of social justice discourses. One implication of our analysis is the hypothesis that while the current vitality of the anti-corporate globalization movement can be gauged by its having adopted an increasingly coherent ideological stance in which international inequality and global corporate dominance are targeted, to be successful the movement will need to coherently ideologically integrate social justice with environmental and sustainability agendas. The amenability of the environmental GSM to such ideological integration will have important rami?cations for the future trajectory of the anti-corporate globalization movement.
Published
2004-02-26
How to Cite
Buttel , F. H., & Gould, K. A. (2004). Global Social Movement(s) at the Crossroads: Some Observations on the Trajectory of the Anti-Corporate Globalization Movement. Journal of World-Systems Research, 10(1), 37-66. https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.2004.309
Section
Global Social Movements Before & After 9/11