The Mobilization and Demobilization of Middle-Class Revolt Comparative Insights from Argentina
Adopting Argentina’s popular uprisings against neoliberalism including the 2001-02 rebellion and subsequent mass protests as a case study, The Mobilization and Demobilization of Middle-Class Revolt analyzes two decades of longitudinal research (1995-2018), including World Bank and Latinobarómeter household survey data, along with participant interviews, to explore why nonpolitically active middle-class citizens engage in radical protest movements, and why they eventually demobilize. In particular it asks, how do they become politicized and resist economic and political crises, along with their own hardship?
Theoretically informed by Gramsci’s notions of hegemony, ideology and class consciousness, Ozarow posits that to affect profound and lasting social change, multisectoral alliances and sustainable mobilizing vehicles are required to maintain radical progressive movements beyond periods of crisis. With the Argentinian revolt understood to be the ideological forbearer to the autonomist-inspired uprisings which later emerged, comparisons are drawn with experiences in the USA, Spain, Greece UK, Iceland and the Middle East, as well as 1990s contexts in South Africa and Russia. Such a comparative analysis helps understand how contextual factors shape distinctive struggling middle-class citizen responses to external shocks.
This book will be of immense value to students, activists and theorists of social change in North America, in Europe and globally.
"This is an essential book for those who want to understand the processes of mobilization and demobilization of the ever-slippery middle classes. In it Daniel Ozarow analyzes the case study of Argentina during the last two decades. Ozarow, a great expert and scholar of this South American country and the book has two virtues: First, it does not simply reflect a snapshot of a moment in time, but carries out a rigorous historical study of the mobilizations and demobilizations of the Argentine middle classes, since the 2001-2002 revolt, covering the Kirchner period and the opening years of Macri's right-wing government. Secondly, it presents a comparative perspective and proposes hypotheses and analytical tools to comprehend such processes in other contexts and countries."
Maristella Svampa, Argentine Researcher at CONICET, writer and sociologist, La Plata National University
"Ozarow skilfully analyses Argentina’s 2001 uprisings, where horizontalism, direct democracy, the occupation of public space set a blueprint for the tactics and strategies adopted a decade later by global movements like Occupy, the occupation of the squares in Greece and Spain, and the Arab Spring. By tracing citizens’ political trajectories over the following two decades, he asks what lessons Argentina’s experience can provide for contemporary movements today in their respective contexts."
Paul Mason, Author of Postcapitalism: A Guide to our Future and former Economics Editor, Channel 4 News
"This book offers an alert reader much to learn and reflect upon, and its overall conclusions are complex, enriching and thought-provoking rather than simplistic."
David E. Hojman, Bulletin of Latin American Research
"… an important resource for middle class self-understanding in the context of an escalating global economic and political crisis. Instead of universalizing moments of middle class progressive politics, it shows how these can give in to systemic pressures, and gives practical recommendations for how to avoid such effects by building autonomous structures of solidarity."
Agnes Gagyi, Interface: a journal for and about social movements
"The Mobilization and Demobilization of Middle-Class Revolt successfully examines the struggling middle class in Argentina, particularly middle-class mobilization during the crises in 2001–2002 and subsequent demobilization. It also offers some ideas about how social movements might harness the power of this group to change society."
Evan C. Rothera, Capital and Class
"Daniel Ozarow’s book is an ambitious, resourceful study concerning the last two decades of Argentina’s political life, beginning with the massive public demonstrations of 2001which made famous the watchwords Que se vayan todos ("get rid of them all"). Despite the book’s title, it is essentially a knowledgeable and thorough deep dive into one country and its travails. No doubt, it is the most definitive study in English of that well known Argentine uprising that goes deeper into its beginnings and its denouement than all previous books and articles that focused on the original outpourings denominated as "horizontalism." It is based on Argentine survey data of "middle class" citizens in 2007 and Ozarow did follow up interviews in 2011 and 2016. His frequent returns to Argentina over a decade and a half enriches this book. It makes this Argentine case study of a major rebellion both unique and revealing since it depicts the original huge mobilization and the subsequent normalization of the Argentine liberal political-economy. It is well documented and it is complemented by Ozarow’s friendships with his extended family and friends. It is a labor of love in that regard."
Peter Ranis, Journal of Labor and Society