ABSTRACTS, SLAGMARK #71
Andreas Beck Holm: A Cause Without Rebels? – On the Missing Subject of Emancipation
It was Marx who first formulated what later became known as the idea of the working class as an ‘emancipatory subject’. In his view, the workers alone were able to orchestrate a revolution that would put an end to capitalism. The purpose of this paper is to show that this line of thought is ideological by Marx’s own standards, and that while the working class never constituted the coherent political subject that Marx wanted it to become, its non-existence produced distinct theoretical effects not just in his work, but also (taking Lukács as an example) in the Marxist tradition. After a brief discussion of the different criticisms of the idea of the working class as emancipatory subject put forward by Hardt, Negri, Laclau, and Mouffe, an attempt is made to demonstrate how Althusser’s structural approach is better suited to formulate an alternative to the traditional view. Finally it is argued that this alternative stays within a general Marxist framework.
Keywords: Marx; Althusser; Subject; Working class; Revolution
Nicolai von Eggers: Democracy against Representation – Social Movements and the Theory of the ’imperative mandate’ in the French Revolution
This article investigates the theory of an imperative mandate as presented in the radical French revolutionary Jean-François Varlet’s text Project for a Special and Imperative Mandate from 1792. This text is taken as, and shown to be, representative for a widespread understanding of radical democracy during the French Revolution in which deputies were not understood as ‘representatives’ but as ‘mandataries’ who were legally bound to follow the instructions of their commettants. As an essential part of this radical conception of democracy, social movements were to be constantly mobilized and able to supervise the political system. This entails a shift in the balance of power from the state to the social movements, and as such it expresses a different conception of democracy than that of liberal democracy with its rule of law and state monopoly of violence.
Keywords: Radical democracy; Varlet; Imperative mandate; French Revolution; Direct democracy
Camilla Mørk Røstvik & Thomas Palmelund Johansen: Craftivism – Stitching Up a Political Protest
In this paper, we argue for craftivism as a form of social activism with a political depth reached through making. From Mary Wollstonecraft to the suffragettes, Betsy Greer to DIY, craftivism has had a place in feminist activism. The human tradition for making objects combined with the online possibility of documentation, has made craftivism a political weapon. But it is a soft weapon, where the power lies in the pain and suffering it reminds us off. This protest is often performed by women and history shows that this is why craft has been seen as something other than art, and as a form of political protest today. This article ties the history of feminist craft to the current movement of craftivism, arguing for this art herstory to be part of the canon and part of a political solution.
Keywords: Craftivism; Feminism; Art History; Activism
Flemming Mikkelsen: Political Protests, Social Movements and Democracy in Denmark, 1700-2000
Based on a dataset of more than 5,000 contentious collective actions from 1700-2000, this paper examines the relation between popular protest and democratization of the Danish political system. The first wave of protests began in the 1830s and culminated in 1848 with the fall of absolutism and the transition to constitutional monarchy. The next protest wave from 1885 to 1887 arose from the so-called ‘constitutional struggle’ and mobilized hundreds of thousands of ordinary Danes, and contributed to the parliamentarization and nationalization of the political system. The third wave unfolded around the end of World War II, while the hitherto last wave of popular struggle erupted in 1968 with the youth rebellion. The analysis show that ‘democracy’ was the central issue of contention in all four of these protest waves, and support the main thesis that periods of intense interaction between popular protest and the state have had a decisive formative influence on the genesis and further development of Danish democracy.
Keywords: Political protests; Protest cycles; Social movements
Mathias Herup Nielsen: The Critical Competences of the Social Assistance Recipient – The Civic, the Industrial and the Domestic Protest
This article investigates different acts of political protests currently floating from unemployed citizens who are being affected by recent retrenchment policy reforms. Whereas most of the existing literature tends to portray political protest as either collective and public or individual and private, this article attempts instead to shed light on the plurality of normative resources activated by the unemployed in a highly critical situation. Thereby the analysis moves between the collective and the individual as well as between the public and the private. Using the theoretical framework developed by Laurent Thévenot and Luc Boltanski in their joint work on justification, the article analyses a specific case, namely unemployed Danish recipients of social assistance who are affected by a new policy initiative meaning that their income has been lowered. Drawing on newspaper articles and qualitative in-depth interviews with affected citizens, the analysis unfolds and theorizes upon three very different forms of protesting: a civic, an industrial and a domestic form of resistance.
Keywords: Pragmatic sociology; Unemployment; Welfare state; Luc Boltanski; Laurent Thévenot
Anne Engelst Nørgaard: The Rise of the Peasant – Peasant Politics in Between Social Movement and Parliament in 1848
This article investigates how a Danish peasant movement, united in the association ‘Bondevennernes Selskab’, became a social movement and therefrom developed into an early version of a parliamentary party. Established in 1846, it was the revolutions of 1848 and following political development in Denmark that triggered the movement’s entrance to parliamentary politics. In this process, the association challenged the bourgeois liberal concept of politics, as the association argued that it would represent one particular class – the peasants – in parliament. The argument of the article is unfolded in an analysis of a conflict between the peasant association and the dominating bourgeois, liberal opinion. As the conflict took place in the daily press, the article investigates both the arguments, the peasant movement had to face in the liberal newspaper Fædrelandet and its replies in the paper Almuevennen. Thereby the article touches upon how the association legitimized its actions as a social, political movement.
Keywords: Social movements; 1848; Peasant politics; The concept of politics; Representation
Benjamin Ask Popp-Madsen: The Ideal of Council Democracy and the Self-Organizing Protest
How should we evaluate the global protests against the financial crisis from 2011 and onwards? Do demonstrations on central squares such as Syntagma, Puerta de Sol and Zucotti Park point towards alternative democratic models beyond representative democracy? This article identifies a schism between the protests as events and the protests as self-organisation. Whereas the protests as events remains the dominant interpretation of the protests – delivered with negative connotations by Ivan Krastev and with positive consequences by Slavoj Žizek and Alain Badiou – this article will investigate the protests as self-organisation by emphasizing some of the many examples of autonomous political institution-building and creation of permanent structures of political participation, which have appeared as natural continuations of the protests. I argue that the protests as self-organisation can be seen as re-actualisations of the practices and ideals of council democracy as interpreted by Hannah Arendt and Cornelius Castoriadis. By interpreting the protests through the prism of council democracy, I argue that the manifold political and societal initiatives that have appeared in the wake of these protests attempt to realise a specific notion of democratic autonomy and political freedom.
Keywords: The council movement; Political protests; Democracy; Hannah Arendt; Cornelius Castoriadis
Bjarke Skærlund Risager: Precarity and Precariat – Sociological Discussion and Political Activism
This article reviews the theoretical and political history of the concept of precarity, used to describe various forms of insecurities, primarily those related to conditions of labor, employment, and wage. Precarity and the related neologism precariat have recently gained ground in Anglophone intellectual and political discussions. It is the premise of the article that, with an increasingly globalized economy, discussions and movement action based on precarity may be of growing importance in a Danish context. The aim of the article is to show how the history of these concepts has unfolded in sociological discussions and social movement practices since the turn of the century. I begin with the sociological discussion about the concept of the precariat, a class formation based on the conditions and experiences of precarity. I then show how the concept of precarity has a history in activist thought beyond these sociological discussions and how social movements, based on this thought, throughout the 2000s have mobilized around the concept, primarily in the so-called EuroMayDay parades. In the last section, I discuss how the economic crisis has affected social movement practices and how labor unions have begun paying attention to the predicaments of precarity.
Keywords: Precarity; Labour; Post-Fordism; Social movements; Class
Jenny Jansson & Katrin Uba: The Power of protests – Stopping the Construction of a Hydro-Power Plant in Sölvbacka Streams, 1978-79
This article describes and analyses how small protests against the construction of a hydropower plant at a local level took a national level and led to a rare occasion where Swedish parliament overran a governmental decision. This event in 1979 had significant consequences for the government, which had to pay 270 million kroner in compensation to the enterprise that was willing to build the plant in Sölvbacka in northern Sweden. With reference to the research on political consequences of social movements, we propose that this small group of local activists achieved their goals thanks to the continued protests, help of significant political allies at the local and national level, and the general political context which dominated in Sweden after the elections in 1979. The study demonstrates that even small groups of citizens in remote areas can have an impact on environmental or energy politics by sustaining their mobilisation and gaining support from important political allies.
Keywords: Protests; Consequences of social movements; Hydropower plant; Sölvbacka; Sweden
Linda Soneryd & Åsa Wettergren: Climate Change and Emotion Management – Institutionalization of the Environmental Movement in Denmark
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. The complexity of the issue, along with the breakdown of international negotiations of the UN Climate Change Conference in 2009, raise demands for new forms of mobilization and strategies. In this article, we discuss how strategies of environmental movements to combat climate change can be understood in relation to the ways in which the movement has been institutionalized in a national and global context. We base our analysis on environmental movement actors’ own reflections on their practices and organizational forms as well as previous research describing the history of environmentalism in Denmark. We conclude by discussing the implications in terms of the emotional strategies of the movement and whether climate justice as an issue has affected the strategies of the movement.
Keywords: Environmental movement; Institutionalization; Denmark; Climate change; Emotional strategies
Billedet er redigeret fra originalen "Black Lives Matter protest shuts down I-35 4 Minneapolis Minnesota December 4 2014"