Swinging Back: Violence in the Anti-Corporate-Globalization Movement

By Brown, Stacia M. | Sojourners Magazine, July-August 2002 | Go to article overview

Swinging Back: Violence in the Anti-Corporate-Globalization Movement


Brown, Stacia M., Sojourners Magazine


Kadd Stephens, 24, longs for "a world free from violence." An anarchist from Washington, D.C., Stephens numbers himself among an increasingly visible group of anti-corporate-globalization activists whose dreams of world peace coexist--critics say illogically--with strategies of violent resistance.

The upswing of anarchist sentiment within the anti-corporate-globalization movement has nonviolent religious activists uneasy. While supporting the aims of the movement--whose concerns range from animal rights to corporate reform and environmentally responsible trade--persons of faith are questioning the assumption of the new anarchists that peaceful ends justify violent means. Some feel the movement has been "hijacked by street tactics," says Robert Collier, who has covered international trade policy for the San Francisco Chronicle.

In criticizing violent activists, however, religious and other nonviolent protesters are coming under fire for their refusal to welcome a "diversity of tactics." Many perceive themselves in a no-win situation. If they embrace the anti-corporate-globalization movement without qualifiers, they compromise their nonviolent commitments; but if they take a stand against violent protests, they risk splintering a transnational coalition for economic, social, and environmental justice.

In response to this dilemma, some nonviolent activists are taking a closer look at the militant new face of activism, hoping to educate themselves and the public about the costs of a pro-violence stance. What motivates some anarchists' rejection of nonviolence in favor of what critics see as little more than random acts of vandalism?

THOUGH ANARCHISM HAS historical roots in the 17th century, when Englishman Gerrard Winstanley established an anarchist village and called for the abolition of government and property, 21st century anarchists point to the "Battle for Seattle" as the launching point for their own aggressive activism. In November 1999, masked demonstrators calling themselves the Black Bloc helped wreak havoc, on Seattle during protests against the World Trade Organization. Nonviolent activists denounced their black-clad counterparts for destroying property and inciting public animosity.

But the Black Bloc--which cited police brutality as the precipitating cause of violence--argued that radical maneuvers turn more heads than conventional ones. One anarchist boasted online that "window-smashing" had inspired Seattle's oppressed people "far more than any giant puppets or sea turtle costumes ever could."

Concern over violent resistance only increased following demonstrations in Quebec, Gothenburg, and Genoa. In April 2001, peaceful protests in Quebec against the extension of the North American Free Trade Area devolved into violent confrontations. Two months later, in what the BBC called the worst civil disorder in Sweden's recent history, police found themselves outmaneuvered in a rock-throwing melee during demonstrations against the European Union summit in Gothenburg.

In Genoa, Italy, the tensions only increased. Before nonviolent protests against the Group of Eight economic summit could commence in July 2001, demonstrators set cars on fire throughout the city. The Tute Bianche ("White Overalls"), an international resistance group rooted in the history of the Mexican Zapatistas, used a homemade barricade of steel bars to push through police lines. When the smoke cleared, 23-year-old Italian protester Carlo Guiliani was dead, shot twice in the head by a police officer. Property damage reached $4.5 million, according to some estimates.

WHATEVER MOMENTUM anarchists--and the anti-corporate-globalization movement in general--might have gained in recent years seems diminished by the events of Sept. 11. The World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks have "spun this movement around," says Carol McChesney, a Green Party representative for the Atlanta Mobilization for Global Justice.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Swinging Back: Violence in the Anti-Corporate-Globalization Movement
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.