Global Revolt: A Guide to Alterglobalization

‘A guidebook helps those who search. In a time of “infinite war”, when we confront the infinite stupidity, lies and arrogance of power, we search for those values and practices that keep us true to our dreams and aspirations for another world. This book guides us into that search, and it does it beautifully.’
Massimo De Angelis, Editor of The Commoner

‘A demystifying roadmap of the ideas and events which have shaped the movement.’

Robert Ross, environmental activist

Exciting, heartfelt, eloquent. This is the most coherent elaboration so far of globalization-praxis. Its arguments should be taken on board by activists and intellectuals who are serious about social change.’
Patrick Bond, author of Against Global Apartheid


“Don’t Owe! Won’t Pay!”
“Get Rid of them All!”
“No Patents on Life!”
“Food Sovereignty”
“Another World is Possible!”

…The struggles against corporate power and the institutions of globalization grow more courageous and confident year by year. Millions of people have already become active in rejecting corporate globalization and developing alternatives to it. Millions more know that something is terribly wrong and are ready to begin taking action. This book is for them.

Amory Starr is author of Naming the Enemy, a precognition of the emergent anti-globalization network written in 1997. Here she provides, in concise and delightful style and with activist insight:

  • A history of the movements’ convergence.
  • A précis of their analyses and aims.
  • A digest of the ongoing controversies and dilemmas.
  • An inspiring compendium of popular tactics.

photos by Tim Russo, Independent Media Activist

zed books london 2005 . isbn 1-842-774-832 . distributed by palgrave usa

from the introduction

Global elites, their political henchmen, and media sycophants insist that economic growth, international trade, elimination of subsidies, and privatization will alleviate poverty. Activists’ blossoming confidence that another world is possible is well-rooted.

Analysis of the effects of structural adjustment and free trade policies reveal that their promises are flagrantly unfulfilled. Indeed their impacts have been perverse. Apparently, globalization only works for the rich. Even high-profile administrators of neoliberalism have deserted. Their insider revelations are hardly news to the non-governmental organizations which have been carefully collecting data for decades. Inequality has increased in nearly every country and internationally, the conditions of life for the poor and indigenous have steadily deteriorated, and the environment on which we all depend has been irrevocably damaged.

In what ought to be a crowning finale of its very existence, the World Bank admits that its programs undermine its core economic shibboleth, economic growth. Damning also is the collapse of the obedient “developing nations” of Southeast Asia and Latin America, as well as the failure of the command-capitalist South Korean regime (the only country ever to graduate from third to first world status). The evidence has accumulated to the point that, for those familiar with it, there is little further to be discussed. The holy trinity of export/trade/growth is exposed as a manipulative fraud and each new invocation of the dead and absurd promises of development — that it will bring peace, heal the environment, or end poverty —is more transparent than the previous. The economic and political system promoted by globalization is not only morally bankrupt, but no longer credible in economic practice.

This book is a guide intended to familiarize interested parties with the anti-globalization movement and to provide direction for further research and exploration of the “movement of movements”. Because many exhaustive analyses of the machinations of globalization have already been written (you have probably read several of them) and because this book is focused on the resistance to globalization, this introduction will provide only a rudimentary review of the basis for opposition.

welcome to the revolt against globalization
What follows is a guidebook intended as an accessible introduction to the movement, not an evaluation or quantification of it. The book is organized in four sections. You should read only the bits that look helpful, and in any order you please.

The first section is a history of the formative threads of the revolt. This history deflates the myth that the movement began in the Global North (the first world) in 1999 at a protest in Seattle. It traces the impetus of the current movement emerging from the Global South (the third world, postcolonial nations, or majority world) in a struggle underway for nearly two decades prior to Seattle.

The second section summarizes movement manifestos. While not exactly points of consensus, these are widely shared. Again, you will notice that most of the important manifestos were forged in the Global South. And you will notice that they take for granted neither the inevitability of globalization, nor the desirability of modernization, nor the forms of freedom pursued by postmodernists. This section presents these manifestos with respect and without external ideological litmus tests.

The third section examines the major controversies in the movement, both ideological and strategic. Some of these are well known outside of the movement, others are not. Some are high-profile debates, others are subterranean conflicts yet to be actively addressed.

The last section introduces some of the most popular tactics of collaboration. The movements are diverse, dispersed, and incredibly creative, so this is only a small sample of some of the more visible tactics. Please be aware that this tactical discussion is very basic and should not be used as a training manual, campaign blueprint, or activist handbook. (Please do seek out some training.)

table of contents

another world is possible: how do we know

it didn’t start in seattle & it didn’t stop on 911

we do know what we are for

the world social forum
reinventing democracy, redefining progress

don’t owe! won’t pay!
drop the debt

food sovereignty
farmers need access to local,
not global, markets

no patents on life!
reclaim the commons

no borders! no nations! stop deportations!
classical free trade theory confronts fortress europe

get rid of them all!
the importance of argentina and anti-elitism

solidarité& specifismo
we are going to work together

anti-globalization since 911

this is what democracy looks like

ya basta!
we are not only for,   we are also against

back in black
anarchism & autonomy

spikey vs. fluffy

consumption politics


village life
the subsistence perspective

we are going to take direct action

criminal reconnections

the streets  belong to the people

culture jamming

be the media!
independent media centers

spokes only
reinventing direct democracy

property crime
breaking the spell

diversity of tactics

black bloc

tute bianche
citizenship of the absurd

tactical frivolity
why we dance

like a lamp

we are winning