Political reactions to globalization

International organizations of political opposition movements have existed for a long time. After the Second World War, however, they changed, slowly but surely. The old social movements had been unable to avert, or contributed to create, the catastrophes of the twentieth century. Mankind faced a number of entirely new problems, such as the threat of total destruction through nuclear warfare. Increasingly better means of communication became more widely available. In addition to the old, structured organizations, new types emerged that might be less rigid, locally based though in some cases with international ties, and indifferent towards longevity. This deeply affected collecting institutions such as the IISH. However difficult obtaining the records of German social democracy was during Hitler’s dictatorship, for example, it was facilitated by the fact that its organizations had an extended tradition of professional secretaries, librarians, and archivists. This was rarely if ever the case among the new movements.

Some older international organizations already had a special structure, because they concentrated on a single issue that occurred in many countries, such as conscientious objection (210). Some new ones embraced the international avant-garde traditions and expressed comprehensive criticism of life under all political regimes (211-212). U.S. involvement in Vietnam gave rise to an international network of action groups, which in the United States harshly criticized the liberal pretensions of the government (213) and in other countries hurled accusations of oppression and murder, which might refer to their own governments (214). In 1968 these protest forms appeared to be converging all over the world in a wave of uprisings and movements against the established order, regardless of the ideology (215-216). Globalization manifested as U.S. imperialism, against which new organizations of ‘urban guerrillas’ (217) or the jihad (221) were formed; or as the institutions of international capitalism, which systematically elicited international protests (218-220).