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BOOK-REVIEW: Geoffrey Pleyers Alterglobalization

Bloged in Allgemein by friedi Donnerstag September 27, 2012

Geoffrey Pleyers Alterglobalization- Becoming Actors in the Global Age

Book-Review done by H.Dworczak

Who is interested in the alterglobalization-movements and specially in the development of the World Social Forum should read this interesting book. It gives in spite of some limitations a good summary of the history, stucture and problems of these movements.

Since the nineties of the past century we can see the emergence of movements against the „Washington consensus“: the Zapatistas in Mexico , the big mobilisisations against the WTO meeting in Seattle 1999( with a strong participation of the trade unions)and finally the first World Social Forum 2001 in Porto Alegre (Brazil). Movements who challange neoliberal globalization and have a clear internationalistic spirit.

The author is analyzing the development of the World Social Forum with two fundamental „idealtypical“ (Max Weber) categories: the „way of subjectivity“ and the „way of reason“. The two categories reflect the two poles within the WSF-movement: participants who want to express and realize alternatives hic and nunc and activists with a high theoretical approach who want to go beyond the present- capitalist- society.

Geoffrey shows the development of the activity of these two poles. And he is stressing the fact that the WSF was extraodinary successful when these two strings came together and fertilized each other.

Though Geoffrey mentions the stagnation of the WSF-process in some regions (f.e. in Europe) he is far away from positions that the WSF is „coming to an end“. In contrary: he stresses that the WSF can have an even greater importance than in the past when it corrects failures and makes „refigurations“.

Some limitations of the book should not be ignored: it has sometimes an „academic“ character, is coming „from outside“- without sufficiant inside-knowlegde. So the development of the WSF-process is not analyzed deeep enough: it started „very theoretical“ but today it has often a practical outlook too (internationale mobilisations; international „action days“;…). And there has also be a development of the contents: at the beginning for above all „neoliberalism“ was critisized. Today capitalism itself is attacked- see the the final texts of the WSF in Belem 1999 and Dakar 2011 or in Copenhagen at the „altersummit“ 2010 when the central slogan was „Change the system- Not the climate“.

Hermann Dworczak ( Vienna / Austria- activist in the World, European and Austrian Social Forum-0043/ 676 / 972 31 10 ))

Geoffrey Pleyers Alterglobalization

Polity Press
350 Main Street

Malden, MA 02148, USA

reprinted 2011 (first published 2010 by Polity Press)

316 pages

ISBN-13: 978-0-7456-4676-3(pb)

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