Associate professor, Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research, Stockholm University and Stockholm School of Economics
PhD, Södertörn University
Organizational innovation and political impact in the Swedish movement context: The case of the Anarchist and Autonomist movement
From the 1960s until the contemporary protests of the global justice movement, one can claim that the broader leftist movement milieu of many Western countries increasingly have been inspired by the general legacy of Anarchism and the libertarian Marxism of ’autonomia’, and their critique of capitalism, the state and modern social organization. As have been discussed by various scholars, parts of the libertarian and anti-hierarchical critique have also led to changes in both the public debate and society as such. For instance, new questions have entered the political agenda, political parties changed their mode of organizing, new models of work organization entered industry, cultural production, and ‘post-material values’ broadly impacted society (cf. Boltanski and Chiapello 2005; Inglehart 1990; Kitschelt 1993). However, despite this impact on values, forms of critique and modes of organization, some scholars (cf. Day 2005; Graeber 2007; Epstein 2001) note that the political claims and utopias of the traditional Anarchist legacy have not attracted the same degree of attention.
Analyzing the case of the contemporary Swedish Anarchist and Autonomist movement, using interviews and survey data, this paper scrutinizes the role of this movement context in Sweden during the last 20 years, regarding its impact on politics, the general debate, and the broader leftist movement milieu of the country. Despite Sweden’s traditions of consensus politics and integration of movements in the decision-making of the state, as well as the quite short history of the Anarchist/Autonomist movement in the country, it is argued that this movement context have had an impact on both intra-movement innovation and organizational values, and general debates and decision-making in society. Furthermore, it is discussed whether this ‘radical flank’ (eg. Haines) of the broader left milieu through this impact, and the reaction of the state and other actors, have left the original Anarchist legacy and adapted to the mode of traditional civil society politics, or rather introduced a new kind of contentiousness in Swedish politics.
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Inglehart, Ronald (1990) Culture Shift in Advanced Industrial Society. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Kitschelt, Herbert (1993) ‘Social Movements, Political Parties, and Democratic Theory’, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 528(1): 13–29.
2011. 1-30 p.