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In the Shadow of the Iron Curtain

Central and Eastern European Alterglobalists

Grzegorz Piotrowski

This book examines the alterglobalist activists in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. Based on lengthy ethnographic fieldwork and numerous in-depth interviews with key figures of the movement, it covers mobilizations and actions between 1998 and 2011 and analyzes the process of adapting the alterglobalist way of thinking, claims and organizational modes in post-socialist countries. By pointing out the main challenges the movement faced, the author discusses the ways it tried to overcome these. The main argument is that the post-communist legacy (expressed in low levels of mobilization, in rejection of leftist ideals and discourse and in deep mistrust towards political life) had a tremendous impact on the formation and the shape of the alterglobalist movement in the region.

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Table of figures


Figure 1. Mural in Poland showing Zapatista insurgents as revolutionary heroes, photography shot around 2007 by the author

Figure 2. A political slogan on the walls of Prague in 2008, during the peak of the Ne Zakladnam campaign, spotted close to the castle by the author

Figure 3. Pictures taken at the anti-radar demonstration in Prague, the 5th of May (2008). Photograph by the author

Figure 4. A group of protesters at the anti-radar demonstration in Prague, the 5th of May, 2008. Photograph by the author

Figure 5. A flyer prepared by the Polish ACK (Anarchist Black Cross) intended for the WA29 demonstration

Figure 6. At the left, the activists’ newspaper with the slogan ‘Poznań nie jest firmą’, which was the slogan of their campaign, on the right is the regular edition [issue from November 26th 2005, source]

Figure 7. Black-block styled activists on the run during the COP14 demonstration, December 6th, 2009. Photographed by the author

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