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Possible Futures: Occupy Wall Street in ‘glocal’ perspective

Yesterday, Waging Nonviolence launched our first post published in collaboration with Possible Futures, an exciting new website and book series organized by the Social Science Research Council: “Women in Occupy Denver” by Chad Kautzer. In addition to choosing really great collaborators, however, Possible Futures has also gotten a start on launching an important discussion in various academic disciplines about what the Occupy movement represents. Most of all, taking advantage of the SSRC’s international orientation, the project is approaching the movement in global terms—as few are, and as all of us should be.

Political theorist Adrian Pabst, for instance, in an essay on “The Resurgence of the Civic,” examines the movement’s “glocal dynamic”:

The fusion of the global with the local is equally evident in relation to the specific objects of protest and the goals of the individual Occupiers. On the one hand, those activists who had previously been involved in international campaigns have recognized the need to engage with the concerns of the local community on whose territory they are now encamped. But on the other hand, as participants in a global protest movement, the Occupiers cannot be concerned with local issues alone. Protests, in order to be effective, must have a specific local object that nevertheless has global resonance: Tahrir Square exemplifies resistance against political oppression; los Indignados (the outraged) in Madrid and the demonstrators in Athens have mobilized against the austerity policy of debt-deflation; Occupy Wall Street and the St. Paul’s camp express a deep-seated anger about the impact of global finance on the local, real economy, which is shared by ordinary people and certain elites alike.

Another essay, Saskia Sassen’s “The Global Street Comes to Wall Street,” focuses on the role of streets themselves.

In addition to actual print books, the Possible Futures project’s website is divided into three sections: Essays (reflection and analysis), Dispatches (reports from the field) and Digest (commentary and news from other sites). Roam around!