The Struggle for the World: Liberation Movements for the 21st Century

The Struggle for the World: Liberation Movements for the 21st Century

The Struggle for the World: Liberation Movements for the 21st Century

The Struggle for the World: Liberation Movements for the 21st Century

Synopsis

What do Mexico's Zapatistas, the French National Front, Slow Food, rave subculture, and al-Qaeda all have in common? From right-wing to left-wing to no-wing, they all proudly proclaim their mission to defend their distinctive identities against modernity's homogenizing processes. This controversial book establishes fundamental similarities between anti-globalization "aurora" movements that aim to destroy the modern world and bring a radiant new dawn to humankind.

While these groups often despise one another, they nonetheless share many fundamental characteristics, goals, and attitudes. Drawing on the original writings and actions of various anti-globalist groups, the authors reveal a common tendency toward charismatic leadership, good versus evil worldviews, the quest for authentic identity, concern with ritual, and unbending demands for total commitment. These movements, however they pursue world transformation and personal transcendence, are a prominent and continuing aspect of our present condition. This book is a strong reminder that, no matter what the cause, revolution is not a thing of the past and the fervent search for another world continues.

Excerpt

This book is a collaboration between a European political scientist and an American anthropologist. Despite our different disciplinary backgrounds, each of us has a strong interest in the culture, history, psychology, and structure of social movements and political organizations. Zúquete has written about the “missionary politics” of populist movements and issues of identity and culture in contemporary times; Lindholm has written about charisma and authenticity and has made cross-national studies of power and compliance. in conversations about our own work, we realized that although the world-saving groups we were studying often present themselves as totally opposed to one another, they seem to share a great deal, structurally, ideologically, and experientially These similarities were ignored by most studies, so we decided to explore them. the resulting text is a truly cooperative endeavor. Each of the authors has substantially contributed to every chapter, and we have shared the burdens and pleasures of reading, commenting, and editing through many drafts. At times the labor did feel of worldwide proportions due to the abundance and enormous variety of material and sources at hand. “Yours in struggle!” soon became a common way of ending our many e-mail exchanges. Maybe the reader will appreciate the irony. We certainly do.

While the book was written, the world, at least according to the media, seemed to be on the verge of an abyss. Dark predictions about the future loomed everywhere. It looked as though the lonely bearded man standing on the corner of the street holding a sign proclaiming the imminent end of the world was right after all. Prophecies of disaster, of course, are as old as humankind.

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