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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Reform or Radicalism: Left Social Movements from the Battle of Seattle to Occupy Wall Street


We examine two recent cases of relative Left success—the Battle of Seattle and Occupy Wall Street—and argue that in each case an effective dynamism between radical and reform wings drove gains. This analysis is not meant to deny political difference and hawk false unity. Instead we want to challenge the luxury of mutual dismissal with the actually existing benefits of movement dynamism. By dynamism we mean contributions arising from different activist wings and productively interacting to increase overall movement power. Our ultimate claim is that the North American Left will yield greater success by becoming more self-conscious about the concrete benefits of movement dynamism.

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