Beyond Local Self-organization: A Call for a Reinvigorated Defense of Liberal Democratic Institutions

In times of the social and economic injustice, environmental degradation and fascist upheavals, it is easy to forget the resistance and mobilization this development nourishes. In the face of systemic injustices, which often entail the dominance of neoliberal ideals of economic growth and the exclusion of values such as solidarity and community, we can observe the growth of new forms of popular mobilization, such as self-sufficient collectives on the Portuguese countryside and self-organized camps employing direct democracy on the stairs of Wall Street.

There is a romantic shimmer around these popular projects, glorified by both journalists and academics who see an amazing renewal of democracy, whether they refer to the projects mentioned above, Chavista communes in Venezuela or revolutionary villages in Zapatista territory in Mexico. Please do not misunderstand me now; there is something politically significant about self-organized popular mobilization, but it also shows what is believed to be possible to challenge and change in an era of economic, social, ecological and political injustice. Therefore, I want to discuss why these forms of resistance risk not being a radical demand for change, but instead something that not challenges status quo. I want to call this resistance the “inward resistance”.

Let me start with a short discussion on what I believe are the primary inspirational sources for this kind of resistance. In 2004, Antonio Negri and Michael…

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