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The World Says No to War

Demonstrations against the War on Iraq

Stefaan Walgrave

Publication Year: 2010

On February 15, 2003, the largest one-day protest in human history took place as millions of people in hundreds of cities marched in the streets, rallying against the imminent invasion of Iraq. This was activism on an unprecedented scale.
The World Says No to War strives to understand who spoke out, why they did, and how so many people were mobilized for a global demonstration. Using surveys collected by researchers from eight countries—Belgium, Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States—The World Says No to War analyzes how the new tools of the Internet were combined with more conventional means of mobilization to rally millions, many with little experience in activism, around common goals and against common targets.
Contributors: W. Lance Bennett, U of Washington; Michelle Beyeler, U Bern; Christian Breunig, U of Toronto; Mario Diani, U of Trento; Terri E. Givens, U of Texas, Austin; Bert Klandermans, Free U Amsterdam; Donatella della Porta, European U Institute; Wolfgang Rüdig, U of Strathclyde; Sidney Tarrow, Cornell U; Peter Van Aelst, U of Antwerp.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

Series: Social Movements, Protest and Contention

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-xii

The first decade of this new century witnessed a number of events of global importance, from the World Trade Center bombing to the wave of terrorism that followed, from the attack on the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan to the war on Iraq, and from the electoral revolutions in the old Soviet bloc to the expansion into that area of the European Union, ...

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pp. xiii-xvi

On February 15, 2003, following the global time zones from Australia in the East to Seattle in the West, a massive flood of protest conquered the streets throughout the world. Millions of people in more than six hundred cities worldwide protested against the imminent war on Iraq. ...

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1. February 15, 2003: The World Says No to War

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pp. 1-19

On February 15, 2003, various slogans—“Not in my name!” “No war on Iraq!” “Don’t attack Iraq!” “No blood for oil!” “The world says no to war!”— were the unifying mantras that echoed on the streets of more than six hundred cities throughout the world, on the marching cadence of ten to fifteen million protesters. ...

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2. Political Opportunity Structures and Progressive Movement Sectors

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pp. 20-41

It is widely argued that social movements are influenced by stable structural features of the political systems in which they are embedded. This is our starting point. We are interested in these nation-specific structures that, via a set of intermediary variables, ultimately may have an impact on the size, forms, and other properties of the antiwar protests ...

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3. Politics, Public Opinion, and the Media: The Issues and Context behind the Demonstrations

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pp. 42-60

February 15 was organized by a closely collaborating transnational network of social movements. Demonstrations in all eight countries studied in this volume shared the same action repertoires, frames, and goals (see chapter 1). Yet, each country’s protest was organized by specific national movements against the backdrop of specific national opportunities. ...

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4. Legacies from the Past: Eight Cycles of Peace Protest

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pp. 61-77

Although the protest against the war in Iraq can be studied in its own right, it is also a link in a much longer chain of protest events regarding issues of peace and war. Large protest movements proceed in cycles; periods of mobilization and demobilization alternate. ...

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5. New Activists or Old Leftists? The Demographics of Protesters

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pp. 78-97

This chapter analyzes the sociodemographic profile of the February 15 demonstrators. Who are they, in terms of age, sex, education, social class, and religion? Since this cannot be answered without a comparative yardstick, we can narrow down our quest to the specificities of the February 15 protesters when compared to other social groups. ...

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6. Peace Demonstrations or Antigovernment Marches? The Political Attitudes of the Protesters

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pp. 98-118

Why did so many people bother to demonstrate? The obvious answer seems to be that they were opposed to the war in Iraq, but is this all there is to it? Was it solely opposition to the war, or was it also greater dissatisfaction in general that made people protest against their government? ...

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7. Paths to the February 15 Protest: Social or Political Determinants?

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pp. 119-140

This chapter analyzes the degrees and forms of participation among February 15 demonstrators. The questions of participants’ previous experiences in antiwar demonstrations is particularly relevant, because of the very characteristics of the peace movements—small nuclei of committed pacifists— ...

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8. Boon or Burden? Antiwar Protest and Political Parties

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pp. 141-168

The enormous size of the demonstrations on February 15, 2003, gives rise to the question of whether this marks a turning point in the relationship between protest and parties. Political protest has sometimes been seen as a challenge to representative democracy and the dominant role of political parties in aggregating political demands. ...

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9. Open and Closed Mobilization Patterns: The Role of Channels and Ties

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pp. 169-193

Mobilization can usefully be discussed in terms of the demand and supply metaphor. “Demand” refers to the will of (a segment of ) the population to protest and show its discontent, while “supply” refers to the offer of a certain collective action event staged by organizations and social movements. ...

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10. Promoting the Protest: The Organizational Embeddedness of the Demonstrators

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pp. 194-241

Although they have been frequently associated with peace movements (and understandably so), the February 15 demonstrations were, first of all, specific protest events, as large and impressive as they were. As we know, the relationship between protest events and social movements is a complex one. ...

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11. Crossing Political Divides: Communication, Political Identification, and Protest Organization

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pp. 215-238

The February 15 anti-Iraq War protests mobilized demonstrators from a wide variety of political backgrounds. For quite a few people, it was the first demonstration they had ever attended. Others were associated with single issues or social movements, most notably peace organizations and related protest activities. ...

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12. The Framing of Opposition to the War on Iraq

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pp. 239-260

Wording matters when it comes to influencing people’s hearts and minds. Many words and catchphrases are value-loaded. Because they have or evoke positive, negative, or ambivalent connotations and feelings, they are often carefully chosen by actors in a political struggle, thus becoming part of a contest over naming, blaming, and framing (Gamson 1992). ...

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Conclusion: Studying Protest in Context

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pp. 261-272

On February 15, 2003, an unprecedented mass of people publicly expressed their indignation in hundreds of cities around the globe. About one month later, the United States and its allies did what the demonstrators had sought to prevent: they invaded Iraq because of its alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction. ...

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pp. 273-274

This book studies collective action, and it largely draws on collective action. The volume is the result of efforts by many people, not only those authoring or coauthoring chapters. They were helped by a host of other people in their respective countries. ...

Appendix A: Methodology of Protest Surveys in Eight Countries

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pp. 275-284

Appendix B: Media Content Analysis

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pp. 285-288


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pp. 289-290


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pp. 291-304

Series Page

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pp. 332-333

E-ISBN-13: 9780816673384
E-ISBN-10: 0816673381
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816650965

Page Count: 312
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Social Movements, Protest and Contention