They Can’t Represent Us! – New Global Movements and Democracy

Dario Azzellini, Johannes Kepler University Linz (Austria) & Marina Sitrin, CUNY Graduate Center, New York City (USA)

2011, 2012 and 2013 have been years of uprisings, movements and moments  – all against an economic crisis and the politics of representation. Kefya! Ya Basta! and Enough! are shouted by millions against an untenable situation – and simultaneously they are met with Democracia Real Ya! and We are the 99%! - powerful affirmations. There have been numerous historical epochs where something massive and “new” sweeps the globe – moments such as the Revolutions and revolts of the mid 1800s, the massive working class struggles of the early 1900s, and the massive political and cultural shifts and anti-colonial struggles of the 1960s, to name only three. We believe we are in another significant historic epoch. This one is marked by an ever increasing global rejection of representative democracy, and simultaneously a massive coming together of people, not previously organized, using directly democratic forms to begin to reinvent ways of being together.

In this panel we will set a focus on common forms and practices of the “new” movements. In view of the fact that these movements have often diverse social compositions, we want to explore and interrogate whether and how their commons forms and practices are shaping a new collective journey for radical social change beyond capitalism, what processes of radical transformation are envisaged by their practices, what forms of commons they set in place that enable the reproduction of life on new ground, and how these alternative forms of sociability and production can become hegemonic and mainstream.


Dario Azzellini is assistant professor in sociology at the Johannes Kepler University Linz (Austria). He is the author of several books and documentaries on movements, workers control, Private Military Contractors and Venezuela. He served as Associate Editor for The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest, he is part of the founders collective of the web site

Marina Sitrin is a sociologist, lawyer and fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York (USA). She has both participated in, as well as has been writing about, the new global movements. She is the author of Everyday Revolutions: Horizontalism and Autonomy in Argentina and the co-author, with Dario Azzellini, of Occupying Language and the forthcoming They Can’t Represent Us! Reinventing Democracy from Greece to Occupy.

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