Since the last peak of the ongoing global economic crisis in 2008, capital has been forging its survival through “accumulation by dispossession” (as both David Harvey and Ananya Roy have been discussing), using uneven power geometries in order to impose changes in labor legislations, to privatize banks, heavy industries, energy generation mills, dams and lines, to secure property over oil and water sources, or to simply evict and/or displace entire powerless communities from their land and take ownership of their resources. In June 2009 The Iranian Green Movement started a new series of popular actions especially focused on occupying public spaces and public installations , which are very similar to the practices of the so called Occupy movements that emerged throughout the world in2011. Those dissident practices were mostly calls for justice and democracy, against large corporations and the global financial credit system. At first tolerated, these territorialized movements ended up being crashed by government forces and were thus forced to turn to non-territorialized strategies. This gave rise to initiatives of global activism struggling against displacements and evictions, racism, police violence, climate change policies and the lack of urban democracy. A new wave of territorialized “occupy actions” seems to be developing in this context as numerous movements have been emerging since April 2016 in Europe, Asia and the Americas – the French “Nuit Debout” which specifically calls for territory occupation is one of the most prominent examples. Other examples include the “Mortgage Victims Platform” (PAH) in Barcelona, the refugees “Occupy Turin”, the students “Ocupa Chile”, and the high school students led occupations in Brazil.
This session proposes to explore this new “Occupy” wave around the world and seeks to critically compare those recent movements and to explore their differences and commonalities in aims, strategies, participants, successes and failures, as well as their relations to governments and society at large. Their challenges to the pensée unique seem to be of utmost importance in a period in which global forces find their way to the local arenas and central administrations are adopting right wing neoliberal policies, (no matter how leftist the dominant rhetoric of “progressive” governments appear).
Lucia Capanema Alvares, Universidade Federal Fluminense email@example.com
Stavros Stavrides Manasis