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ECPR Virtual General Conference 2020

Breaks and Continuities in and between Cycles of Protest. Memories and Legacies of the Global Justice Movement in the Context of Anti-Austerity Mobilisations

Lorenzo Zamponi
Scuola Normale Superiore
Lorenzo Zamponi
Scuola Normale Superiore
Priska Daphi
University of Bielefeld

Where does the current wave of global mobilisation come from? How can we explain the last two years’ explosion of anti-austerity and anti-corporate contention? In this paper we aim at contributing in answering these questions, focusing on a particular aspect: the legacies and memories of the global justice movement (GJM).

Though large protests often surprise observers, they hardly start from scratch. Mostly, they are rooted in previous mobilisations with respect to their diagnostic framing, repertoires, and forms of organisation. The way in which these previous mobilisations are remembered plays a crucial role in this continuity: it determines which actions were helpful or successful and which were not. It preselects possible strategies of organisation and mobilisation.

This paper analyses memories of the GJM in Italy, in different phases of the anti-austerity mobilisations in2011 and 2012, in the context of two initiatives of commemoration: the 10th anniversary of the Genoa G8, organised in Genoa in 2011, on the one hand; and the “Firenze 10+10”, a set of workshops and activities organised in Florence in 2012, 10 years after the European Social Forum, on the other. Both events refer to fundamental moments in the history of the GJM, with different focuses on commemoration and on the organisation of debates and initiative linked with the contemporary political context.

We reconstruct the memories and legacies of the GJM through interviews with activists in the context of these two events of commemoration. The analysis reveals considerable changes in the memories of the GJM and in its perceived legacies, linked to the altered political and social context (before and after crisis) and constellations of actors. These considerations ask for further research on memory as a movement outcome and on the symbolic relationship between different cycles of protest.
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