Donatella della Porta

Social movements and political parties: A zero-sum game?

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: social movement, parties, Global Justice Movement, political attitudes, survey.

Social movements and political parties are perceived as more and more distant from each other. While in the past the emerging social movements tended to ally with existing parties (especially the "Old Left") and/or to create new ones (see the Green parties), the cycle of protest that became visibile at the turn of the millennium around issues of global justice testifies for an increasing mistrust between those two actors. This article documents - on the basis of survey data and focus groups - the attitudes and behaviors of European activists of the global justice movement towards political parties, explaining the growing criticism as motivated by a perceived organizational detachment of the (left-wing) parties from the society as well as their move towards the center. At the same time, there are however also evidences of overlapping memberships in social movements and political parties, as well as an interest by movement activists in addressing party politics. These evidences are explained on the basis of a comparative analysis of political and discoursive opportunities in six European countries.

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