Vincenzo Ruggiero


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Attac: A Global Social Movement?

Ruggiero’s essay on Attac, an organizational acronym that in French stands for “Association for the taxation of financial transactions to help citizens” (in reference to the Tobin tax), addresses social movements attempting to counter hegemonic globalization. He argues that the term “globalization” has served mainly to legitimate the deregulation of financial markets, and has justified the decline of state powers to regulate capital flows. This process seemed as inevitable as the disempowerment of social movements, which were consequently advised to circumscribe their political possibilities, reducing them to a politics of conserving and in some instances downright conservative resistance. Attac is perhaps an embryonic example that other types of resistance are possible. This essay discusses the ideas, structure, and action of Attac, and attempts to locate this association, or movement, on the theoretical map of social movement theories. First, a chronology of its establishment and growth is provided, then the key ideas underpinning its activity are analyzed, and finally, some theoretical issues elicited by that activity are discussed.

social movements, France — Attac [organization], globalization — anti-globalization movement, globalization — economic aspects, social movements, Tobin tax

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 29, Nos. 1-2 (2002): 48-60