This is the fifth contribution in the series Thesis Pieces featured on For the Desk Drawer written by my past and present doctoral students. This contribution from Cemal Burak Tansel starts with a focus on the discontent with global capitalism from the perspective of the alter-globalisation movement. He then moves on to explore the development of capitalism itself with a call to move beyond Eurocentric visions of modernity.
The spectre of a radical social revolution is still haunting the world two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall and much to the dismay of those who have far too eagerly proclaimed the end of history. From austerity-struck, inequality-ridden ‘developed’ countries to the Global South wherein a vicious cycle of developmental catch-up has been implemented via colonialism, imperialism and brutal capitalist competition, the twenty-first century world map is riddled with incipient, yet markedly vivacious moments of such upheavals. Despite differences in the specific historical, social and political backgrounds from which they emerge, a common theme that crosscuts the recent wave of mass mobilisations and popular struggles is an unmanageable discontent with global capitalism. Recall the various currents of the alter-globalisation movement, peasant and indigenous struggles in Latin America and East Asia, anti-austerity protests and occupations in Syntagma, Puerta del Sol or ‘repossession by occupations’ in the US. Thus it is not unsurprising that we are witnessing a proliferation of debates revolving around the seemingly difficult question of how to envision a ‘life after capitalism’.