- Radical Ground: Israeli and Palestinian activists and joint protest against the Wall
- Social Movement Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 8 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This paper will seek to address a new and vibrant development within the field of Israeli-Palestinian socio-politics and social movement studies. By interrogating the received wisdom surrounding social movements as agents bearing collective claims as expressed by Charles Tilly (2004), this paper will suggest that the joint activism around the building of the Wall sees Israeli and Palestinian activists move beyond the traditional liberal/Marxist paradigm of counter-hegemonic action (Gramsci, 1971). Instead, understanding the activism of these activists belongs more within the field of post-structuralism where power is contested from all angles and its networks, extensions and connections identified (Foucault, 1980, p. 145). The activists' actions and motives revitalise the theories of protest-anarchism (Braidotti, 2002) with their insistence on creating change through direct action. They do not act to be granted emancipation by their oppressors (Day, 2005, p. 89), but their actions seek to bring about their own liberation. The Palestinians act on their own terms to ensure the survival of their communities while the Israelis, since they share nationality with the more powerful and repressive actor, the Israeli state, through their actions break down the theoretical barriers that see grass-roots activism as the preserve of the ‘have-nots’. By combining post-structuralist notions of networks of power with anarchist ideas privileging pre-figurative forms of struggle over the politics of demand; the Israeli and Palestinian activists of the ‘intifada of the fence’ offer a break with traditional methods of theorising social movements and asks the question how relevant is much social movement theory today?
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