When did anti-globalization become anti-capitalism?

At previous international summits, the unruly protesters tended to be widely referred to as “anti-globalization.” This time around, however, the media seems to have settled on “anticapitalist” as an umbrella term for the marchers currently bringing London to a standstill and forcing bankers to wear sneakers to work. This is, it must be said, probably ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
587234_090401_anticap32.jpg
587234_090401_anticap32.jpg
Demonstrators take part in the "Put People First" march through central London, on March 28, 2009. Tens of thousands of trade unionists, environmental campaigners and anti-globalisation activists took to the streets of London on Saturday to start five days of protests before the G20 summit. AFP PHOTO/SHAUN CURRY (Photo credit should read SHAUN CURRY/AFP/Getty Images)

At previous international summits, the unruly protesters tended to be widely referred to as "anti-globalization." This time around, however, the media seems to have settled on "anticapitalist" as an umbrella term for the marchers currently bringing London to a standstill and forcing bankers to wear sneakers to work.

This is, it must be said, probably a more accurate term. Groups that use the Internet bring together marchers from all over the world to rally for interests of the global poor or global environmental issues can hardly be described "anti-globalization."

(Of course, one could point out that they'd never have access to these tools without capitalism, but that's another debate.)

At previous international summits, the unruly protesters tended to be widely referred to as “anti-globalization.” This time around, however, the media seems to have settled on “anticapitalist” as an umbrella term for the marchers currently bringing London to a standstill and forcing bankers to wear sneakers to work.

This is, it must be said, probably a more accurate term. Groups that use the Internet bring together marchers from all over the world to rally for interests of the global poor or global environmental issues can hardly be described “anti-globalization.”

(Of course, one could point out that they’d never have access to these tools without capitalism, but that’s another debate.)

So why, for the most part, do people not talk about an anti-globalization movement anymore? A few possibilities:

1. It never was an anti-globalization movement and the media’s just figured that out.

2. After the Bush-era wars and the economic crash, trade is no longer a top priority for activists and the media needed a broader term.

3. The activists have gotten more radical, moving from a critique of trade and lending practices, to an objection to capitalism itself.

4. Globalization won. (See the gentleman to the right.)

SHAUN CURRY/AFP/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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