How should we evaluate the global protests against the financial crisis from 2011 and onwards? Do demonstrations on central squares such as Syntagma, Puerta de Sol and Zucotti Park point towards alternative democratic models beyond representative democracy? This article identifies a schism between the protests as events and the protests as self-organisation. Whereas the protests as events remains the dominant interpretation of the protests – delivered with negative connotations by Ivan Krastev and with positive consequences by Slavoj Žizek and Alain Badiou – this article will investigate the protests as self-organisation by emphasizing some of the many examples of autonomous political institution-building and creation of permanent structures of political participation, which have appeared as natural continuations of the protests. I argue that the protests as self-organisation can be seen as re-actualisations of the practices and ideals of council democracy as interpreted by Hannah Arendt and Cornelius Castoriadis. By interpreting the protests through the prism of council democracy, I argue that the manifold political and societal initiatives that have appeared in the wake of these protests attempt to realise a specific notion of democratic autonomy and political freedom.
|Number of pages||15|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|