From offence to defence : the Australian global justice movement and the impact of 9/11

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This thesis examines the trajectory of the Global Justice Movement (GJM) in Australia and the impact of the 9/11 attacks, in particular focusing on the period 1999- 2002. The questions of the dramatic rise and, as many argue, fall of the movement are assessed. While some have argued 9/11 was the death of the Australian GJM, others believe it didn’t constitute a significant setback. This thesis therefore inquires into the extent to which these arguments about a ‘setback’ provide an accurate account of conditions and circumstances of the GJM in Australia post 9/11. In this sense, the research is at once concerned with the question of the development of the movement in Australia and the wider neoliberal global context the movement was a part of. This thesis considers the complexity of factors that shaped the trajectory of the GJM in Australia and argues against the simplistic notion that the 9/11 attacks caused the collapse of the movement. Rather, it argues there are key internal and external factors that negatively impacted on the movement and fundamentally altered its shape in the period after the attacks. While these factors are not in practice separate, and are part of the global environment the movement found itself in, it is useful to delineate them analytically so their particular shape and impact can be clarified. Significant attention is paid to the activities and insights of the activists interviewed for this research, and their understanding of the course of the movement. It is argued that although there was a spread of views amongst the activists, their understanding of the impact of 9/11 crystallised as two tendencies (to be called Campaigners and Networkers). It is argued that the particular reflexive activity, or praxis, of the Networkers, provided them with a more holistic appreciation of the movement and the impact of the attacks. The thesis uses the work of Antonio Gramsci to analyse these two tendencies, arguing that his concept of an organic intellectual offers a useful way for understanding how such differentiation developed and its significance.
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