Alter-globalization (also known as alternative globalization or alter-mundialization—from the French alter-mondialisation—and overlapping with the global justice movement) is the name of a social movement whose proponents support global cooperation and interaction, but oppose what they describe as the negative effects of economic globalization, considering it to often work to the detriment of, or not adequately promote, human values such as environmental and climate protection, economic justice, labor protection, protection of indigenous cultures, peace and civil liberties.

The name may have been derived from a popular slogan of the movement, namely "Another world is possible", which came out of the World Social Forum.[1] The alter-globalization movement is a cooperative movement designed to "protest the direction and perceived negative economic, political, social, cultural and ecological consequences of neoliberal globalization".[2] Many alter-globalists seek to avoid the "disestablishment of local economies and disastrous humanitarian consequences". Most members of this movement shun the label "anti-globalization" as pejorative and incorrect since they actively support human activity on a global scale and do not oppose economic globalization per se.

Instead they see their movement as an alternative to what they term neo-liberal globalization in which international institutions (the World Trade Organization, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the like) and major corporations devote themselves to enriching the developed world while giving little or no attention to what critics say are the detrimental effects of their actions on the people and environments of less developed countries, countries whose governments are often too weak or too corrupt to resist or regulate them. This is not to be confused with proletarian internationalism as put forth by communists in that alter-globalists do not necessarily oppose the free market, but a subset of free-market practices characterized by certain business attitudes and political policies that they say often lead to violations of human rights.

Manifestation anti-G8 au Havre - 21 mai 2011 - 025 v1
Alter-globalization slogans during the protests in Le Havre against the 37th G8 summit in Deauville, France


The term was coined against accusations of nationalism by neoliberal proponents of globalization, meaning a support of both humanism and universal values but a rejection of the Washington consensus and similar neoliberal policies. ("Alter" is Latin for "other", as in "alternative" and French "autre".) The "alter-globalisation" French movement was thus opposed to the "Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe" on the grounds that it only advanced neoliberalism and an Anglo-Saxon economic model.

Originally developed in French as altermondialisme, it has been borrowed into English in the form of "altermondialism" or "altermondialisation". It defines the stance of movements opposed to a neoliberal globalization, but favorable to a globalization respectful of human rights, the environment, national sovereignty and cultural diversity.

Following the French usage of the word altermondialist, the English counterpart "alter-globalist" may have been coined.

The term "alter-globalization" is derived from the term "anti-globalization", which journalists and others have used to describe the movement. Many French journalists in particular have since ceased using the term "anti-globalisation" in favor of "alter-globalisation". It is supposed to distinguish proponents of alter-globalization from different "anti-globalization" activists (those who are against any kind of globalization, namely nationalists, protectionists, communitarians and so on).


Economic integration via trade, financial flows, and investments had been occurring for many years, but the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference of 1999 brought significant attention to the outcry against neoliberal economic integration through media coverage, support groups, and activists. Though this opposition first became highly popularized in the 1999 Seattle WTO protests, it can be traced back prior to the 1980s when the Washington Consensus became a dominant development in thinking and policy-making.[3] The movement was later helped by Internet communications.[4]

The 1970s and Southern resistance

The 1970s saw resistance to global expansion by both government and non-government parties. U.S. Senator Frank Church was concerned with the role multinational corporations were beginning to play in global trade, and created a subcommittee that reviewed corporate practices to see if they were advancing U.S. interests or not (i.e. exporting jobs that could be kept within the United States). The results prompted some countries in the Global South (ranging from Tanzania to the Philippines) to call for rules and collective action that would raise or stabilize raw material prices, and increase Southern exports.[3]

Issues and activities

Alter-globalization activists fight for better treatment of developing countries and their economies, workers rights, fair trade, and equal human rights.[5] They oppose the exploitation of labor, outsourcing of jobs to foreign nations (though some argue this is a nationalistic rather than alter-globalist motive), pollution of local environments, and harm to foreign cultures to which jobs are outsourced.

Aspects of the movement include:

  1. Attempts at an alter-globalization movement to reform policies and processes of the WTO include: "alternative principles of public accountability, the rights of people and the protection of the environment" through the theoretical framework of Robert Cox.[6]
  2. Labor movement and trade union initiatives have begun to respond to economic and political globalisation by extending their cooperation and initiatives to the transnational level.[7]
  3. Fair trade initiatives, corporate codes of conduct, and social clauses as well as a return to local markets instead of relying too heavily on global markets.[8]
  4. "Alter-globalization activists have promoted alternative water governance models through North-South red-green alliances between organized labor, environmental groups, women's groups, and indigenous groups" (spoken in response to the increase in privatization of the global water supply).[9]
  5. "The first current of the alter-globalization movement considers that instead of getting involved in a global movement and international forums, the path to social change lies through giving life to horizontal, participatory, convivial and sustainable values in daily practices, personal life and local spaces. Many urban activists cite the way that, for example, the Zapatistas in Mexico and other Latin American indigenous movements now focus on developing communities' local autonomy via participatory self-government, autonomous education systems and improving the quality of life. They appreciate too, the convivial aspect of local initiatives and their promise of small but real alternatives to corporate globalization and mass consumption."[10]

Groups and conferences

Opening walk of 2002 World Social Forum
Opening walk of 2002 World Social Forum, held by participants in the movement

Advocates of alter-globalization have set up an online global news network, the Independent Media Center, to report on developments pertinent to the movement. Groups in favor of alter-globalization include ATTAC, an international trade reform network headquartered in France.

The largest forum for alter-globalization activity is the annual World Social Forum. The World Social Forum is intended as a democratic space organized in terms of the movement's values.[11]

See also


  1. ^ Hinkelammert, Franz Josef; Ulrich Duchrow (2004). Property for People, Not for Profit: Alternatives to the Global Tyranny of Capital. Progressio. pp. vii. ISBN 1-84277-479-4.
  2. ^ Krishna-Hensel, Sai (2006). Global Cooperation: Challenges and Opportunities in the Twenty-first Century. Ashgate Publishing. p. 202.
  3. ^ a b Broad, Robin; Zahara Heckscher (August 2003). Before Seattle: The Historical Roots of the Current Movement against Corporate-Led Globalisation. Taylor & Francis, Ltd. pp. 713–728.
  4. ^ Russia, Lagin. "Towards The Theory of Alter Globalism Ghost of Alter Globalization" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  5. ^ Razsa, Maple. Bastards of Utopia: Living Radical Politics After Socialism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015
  6. ^ Paterson, William (December 2006). Before Seattle: The Historical Roots of the Current Movement against Corporate-Led Globalisation. University of Stirling.
  7. ^ The Construction of a Trans-European Labour Movement, Capital & Class, February 2011, by Daniel Jakopovich
  8. ^ Broad, Robin; John Cavanagh. Development Redefined: How the Market Met its Match.
  9. ^ Bakker, Karen (2006). "The Commons Versus the Commodity: Alter-globalization, Anti-privatization and the Human Right to Water in the Global South". Antipode. 39 (3). doi:10.1111/j.1467-8330.2007.00534.x.
  10. ^ Pleyers, Geoffrey (March 2009). "WSF 2009: A generation's challenge". OpenSpaceForum. Retrieved 2009-04-09. Pleyers, Geoffrey (December 2010). "Alter-Globalization". Polity Press.
  11. ^ Scerri, Andy (2013). "The World Social Forum : Another World Might Be Possible". Social Movement Studies. 12 (1): 111–120. doi:10.1080/14742837.2012.711522.

Further reading

  • Razsa, Maple. Bastards of Utopia: Living Radical Politics After Socialism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015
  • Graeber, David. Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2004
  • Klein, Naomi. No Logo. London: Fourth Estate (2010)

External links

Cerna (political organization)

Cerna (Heartwood in English) is a Galician political party. Cerna was founded in 2014 and has an ideology based in Galician nationalism, direct democracy, anticapitalism, feminism and alter-globalization. Cerna was created to organize the critical sector of Anova-Nationalist Brotherhood that focuses on highlighting the nationalist and assembly-based character of the party.

Encontro Irmandiño

Encontro Irmandiño (EI, Irmandiño Meeting in English) is a political organization that is part of Anova-Nationalist Brotherhood in Galicia, Spain. It used to be an internal current in the Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG). EI was founded in 2007 and has an ideology based in Galician nationalism, direct democracy, anticapitalism, feminism and alter-globalization.

Eskalera Karakola

Eskalera Karakola is a squat in Madrid, Spain, which is held by feminists and works on autogestion principles. It was situated in the Lavapiés barrio from 1996 to 2005, and is now in Calle Embajador. Eskalera Karakola organizes activities focussing on domestic violence and women's precarity in post-industrial capitalism. In 2002, it created a Female Workers' Laboratory (Laboratorio de Trabajadoras), and has carried out anti-racist activities, in particular with female immigrants, since 1998. Eskalera Karakola also took part in the organization of the GLBT Pride and the forum "Women and Architecture". It participated in alter-globalization events such as the European Social Forum and is part of the European nextGENDERation network. It publishes a review, Mujeres Preokupando ("Concerned Women").

European Social Forum

The European Social Forum (ESF) was a recurring conference held by members of the alter-globalization movement (also known as the Global Justice Movement). In the first few years after it started in 2002 the conference was held every year, but later it became biannual due to difficulties with finding host countries. The conference was last held in 2010. It aims to allow social movements, trade unions, NGOs, refugees, peace and anti-imperial groups, anti-racist movements, environmental movements, networks of the excluded and community campaigns from Europe and the world to come together and discuss themes linked to major European and global issues, in order to coordinate campaigns, share ideas and refine organizing strategies. It emerged from the World Social Forum and follows its Charter of Principles.

Global citizens movement

In most discussions, the global citizens movement is a socio-political process rather than a political organization or party structure. The term is often used synonymously with the anti-globalization movement or the global justice movement."Global citizens movement" has been used by activists to refer to a number of organized and overlapping citizens groups who seek to influence public policy often with the hope of establishing global solidarity on an issue. Such efforts include advocacy on ecological sustainability, corporate responsibility, social justice, and similar progressive issues.

In theoretical discussions of social movements, global citizens movement refers to a complex and unprecedented phenomenon made possible by the unique subjective and objective conditions of the planetary phase of civilization. The term is used to distinguish the latent potential for a profound shift in values among an aware and engaged citizenry from existing transnational citizens movements, which tend to focus on specific issues (such as the anti-war movement or the labor movement).

Global justice movement

The global justice movement is a network of globalized social movements opposing what is often known as the “corporate globalization” and promoting equal distribution of economic resources.

Green Left Party

Green Left Party (Turkish: Yeşil Sol Parti) is a left-libertarian and green party in Turkey. It was founded on 25 November 2012 with the name Greens and the Left Party of the Future (Turkish: Yeşiller ve Sol Gelecek Partisi) as a merger of the Greens Party and the Equality and Democracy Party. The party changed its name in April 2016.

Prominent members include Murat Belge, left-liberal political author and columnist for Taraf; Kutluğ Ataman, filmmaker and contemporary artist; and Ufuk Uras, former Istanbul deputy and president of the Freedom and Solidarity Party.

The party is one of the participants in the Peoples' Democratic Congress, a political initiative instrumental in founding the Peoples' Democratic Party in 2012.

The party has formally acknowledged the Armenian Genocide.


Génération.s, le mouvement (English: Generation.s, the movement) is a French political party created on 1 July 2017 by Benoît Hamon who, according to its founder, aims to "Refound and gather the left" in France. Sometimes rendered Génération-s or Génération·s, it was formerly named Mouvement du 1er Juillet (1st July Movement), and has also been known by the short name M1717.

Its foundation follows the sharp decline of the Socialist Party in the 2017 presidential election, where Benoît Hamon was a candidate, and the legislative elections, in which he lost his seat as a deputy.

The movement presents itself as an initiative to assemble the forces of the left in France. The political ideologies it supports are European federalism, ecosocialism, and democratic socialism.

José Bové

Joseph (José) Bové (born 11 June 1953 in Talence, Gironde) is a French farmer, politician and syndicalist, member of the alter-globalization movement, and spokesman for Via Campesina. He was one of the twelve official candidates in the 2007 French presidential election. He served in the European Parliament as a member of the European Greens in the 2009-2014 term, and also for the 2014-2019 term.

Keny Arkana

Keny Arkana (French pronunciation: ​[keni aʁkaˈna]; born 20 December 1982 in Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris) is an Argentine-French rapper who is active in the alter-globalization and civil disobedience movements. In 2004 she founded a music collective called La Rage du peuple, in the neighborhood of Noailles in Marseille.

La France Insoumise

La France insoumise ([la fʁɑ̃s ɛ̃.su.miz]; variously translated as "Unbowed France", "Unsubmissive France", or "Untamed France") is a democratic socialist, left-wing populist political party in France, launched on 10 February 2016 by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, then Member of the European Parliament and former co-president of the Left Party (PG). It aims to implement the ecosocialist programme L'Avenir en commun (English: "A Shared Future").

The party nominated Mélenchon as a candidate for the French presidential election of 2017. He came fourth in the first round, receiving 19.58% of the votes and failing to qualify for the second round by around 2%. After the legislative elections of 2017, La France Insoumise formed a parliamentary group of 17 members of the National Assembly, with Mélenchon as the group's president.

The party uses the lower case Greek letter phi as its logotype.

Left Party (France)

The Left Party (Parti de Gauche, PG) is a French democratic socialist political party founded on 1 February 2009. Launched by parliamentarians Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Marc Dolez on 12 November 2008, after their departure from the Socialist Party (PS) 8 Following the Congress of Reims, the PG brings together personalities and groups from different political traditions, and claims a socialist, ecologist and republican orientation.

Politically located between the Socialist Party and the French Communist Party, the Left Party intends to federate all the sensitivities of the anti-liberal left - which he also calls "the other left" - within the same alliance. In 2008, the PG joined forces with the Communist Party of the United Left and six other left-wing and far-left organizations in the coalition of the Left Front, of which Jean-Luc Mélenchon is the candidate for the presidential election.

The PG is co-chaired from the Le Mans Congress in November 2010, by Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Martine Billard. In April 2016, the Left Party has 8,000 members. At the end of August 2014, Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Martine Billard resigned, and the party leadership was then collectively ensured by the national secretariat.

His weekly newspaper, L'Heure du peuple (formerly Left) is sent to all members but also to simple subscribers. It is printed at more than 15,000 copies a week.

In 2016, in view of the presidential and legislative elections of the following year, Jean-Luc Mélenchon formed a new movement, La France Insoumise, that the Left Party helped to animate.

New Anticapitalist Party

The New Anticapitalist Party (French: Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste [nuvo paʁti ɑ̃tikapitaˈlist], abbreviated NPA) is a far-left French political party founded in February 2009.

The party launched with 9,200 members and was intended to unify the fractured movements of the French radical Left, and attract new activists drawing on the combined strength of far-left parties in presidential elections in 2002, where they achieved 10.44% of the vote. (Being 7% in 2007 and 13% in 2012).

The party is closely associated with postal worker Olivier Besancenot, the main spokesman of the former strongest far left party, the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR). In March 2011, Myriam Martin and Christine Poupin were elected the main spokespersons of the NPA. In May 2012, Myriam Martin supported the candidate of the Left Front, Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the 2012 presidential election against the candidate of the NPA, a worker and union activist at Ford's car plant in Bordeaux Philippe Poutou, who came eighth in the first round with 411,160 votes, 1.15% of the total votes. She left the NPA in July 2012.

No Logo

No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies is a book by the Canadian author Naomi Klein. First published by Knopf Canada and Picador in December 1999, shortly after the 1999 WTO Ministerial Conference protests in Seattle had generated media attention around such issues, it became one of the most influential books about the alter-globalization movement and an international bestseller.

Option citoyenne

Option citoyenne was an altermondialist, sovereigntist and feminist political organization in the Canadian province of Quebec. The group was created by Françoise David in 2004; David and François Saillant were its official spokespersons. Option citoyenne gave official support to the left-wing Union des forces progressistes, and in 2006 the two groups merged to create Québec solidaire.

Québec solidaire

Québec solidaire (QS; locally [ke.bɛk sɔ.li.daɛ̯ʁ]) is a democratic socialist, social-democratic and sovereigntist political party in Quebec, Canada. The party and media outlets in Canada usually use the name "Québec solidaire" in both French and English, but the party's name is sometimes translated as "Solidarity Quebec" or "Quebec Solidarity" in foreign English-language media.

Revolutionary spontaneity

Revolutionary spontaneity, also known as spontaneism, is a revolutionary socialist tendency that believes the social revolution can and should occur spontaneously from below by the working class itself, without the aid or guidance of a vanguard party and that it cannot and should not be brought about by the actions of individuals such as professional revolutionaries or political parties who might attempt to foment such a revolution.

In his work What Is to Be Done? (1902), Vladimir Lenin argued fiercely against revolutionary spontaneity as a dangerous revisionist concept that strips away the disciplined nature of Marxist political thought and leaves it arbitrary and ineffective. Rosa Luxemburg and the Spartacist League which had attempted to overturn capitalism during the 1919 German Revolution would become main targets of Lenin's attacks after World War I.Spontaneism remained a popular theory in opposition to the Third International's democratic centralism and influenced the autonomist movement in the 1970s. Its influences can be felt in some parts of today's alter-globalization movement.

Union des forces progressistes (Quebec)

The Union des forces progressistes (UFP) was a left-wing political party in Quebec, Canada from 2002-2006.


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