Twenty years ago, a global protest movement revolted against neoliberal globalization. After the defeat of really existing socialism, neoliberal ideologues celebrated global victory. Institutions like the G8, European Union, World Bank and International Monetary Fund thought they had a mandate to ruthlessly push privatization and free trade policies around the world. But when they convened their summits, in cities like Seattle, Gothenburg and Genoa, they were confronted by mass protests. Inspired by the Zapatistas and other struggles in the Global South, a movement demanding a globalization of social justice challenged the self-declared rulers of the world.
The alter-globalization movement was diverse but united, and characterized by confrontational non-violence. But the more powerful the protests became, the more repressive became the state’s response.