When People Fight By Themselves. Anarchist Practices and Values In Grassroots Groups

Friday, July 18, 2014: 3:30 PM
Room: 411
Oral Presentation
Tommaso GRAVANTE , Compoliticas, Seville University, Seville, Spain
From the early 21st century, protests in Argentina led by the slogan ‘They all must go’ opened the door to a new cycle of mobilizations, both in Latin America and other places around the world, which were led by social subjects excluded from the analyses and definitions of collective action traditionally centered on the institutional and structural dimension of protest. Recently, increasing attention to the cultural and subjective dimensions in the study of social movements has raised the academic and political visibility of grassroots groups, characterized by a social and self-managed organization and proposals where social discourses and practices of anarchism can be observed.

In this paper we wish to contribute to the comprehension of these experiences by putting forward an analysis of the anti-authoritative and self-managed practices inspired in the ethical values of anarchism, based on a piece of research work regarding movements such as NOTAV and NOMUOS in Italy, los indignados in Spain and the insurgency in Oaxaca in Mexico. We aim to highlight that the anarchist values and practices do not arise ‘abruptly’ or as the ‘ultimate’ possibility for change after the failure and the cooption carried out by the ‘civil society’ and leftist organizations, but consist of a cultural and practical repertoire of protest that has always been present in grassroots organizations.

Based on the direct experience of more than twenty years in the anarchist movement in different countries, such as Italy, Spain, UK and Mexico, and also on ethnographic work, we will show that this interconnection between anarchism and grassroots struggles are not new. As for the anarchist subjects who make themselves present in many of these protests, whether local or national, they have always valued the space of daily practice as a room for struggle and social change.