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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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The Unintended Consequence of the Struggle for Independence: The transition to democracy in the Baltic Countries

Federico Matías Rossi

Type: Working Paper
Year: 2012

The Baltic countries’ struggle was for independence more than any other thing. The achievement of democracy was a by-product of the secessionist project of increasing autonomy from Moscow. A possible explanation for this could be that representative democracy became an implicit and obvious ideal regime for the elites and local populations. As for the successes of the independence movements in the Baltic countries, five crucial events paved the way for independence as the only exit strategy for the Baltic SSRs. First, Gorbachev promoted the mobilization of civil society, expecting support for his reform program, but miscalculating the relevance of nationalism for the Soviet Republics. Second, after mobilization had become widespread, Gorbachev lost the opportunity to build the USSR as a confederation because he refused to accept that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was illegal. Third, this issue, plus the failure of attempts to repress mobilizations, led to increased unification among all the mobilized sectors, in turn leading to a two-million-strong human chain protest. Fourth, the first multiparty elections in the Baltic countries saw a clear majority support the pro-independence groups, allowing for a quick and institutionalized process of secession. Finally, after the failed coup against Gorbachev the project of a voluntary federation collapsed, making independence a de jure fact since the correlation of power favoured Yeltsin’s decentralization model.

EUI SPS - Cosmos Working Paper 2012/11

2012WP11COSMOS

News

16/06/2018

Martin Portos wins the Juan J. Linz Prize to the Best thesis in Political Science 2017

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Martin Portos was just awarded with the Juan J. Linz Prize to the Best thesis in Political Science 2017 with his tesis “Voicing outrage, contending with austerity. Mobilization in Spain under the Great Recession”, realized under the supervision of prof. Donatella della Porta.

18/05/2018

Donatella della Porta at the Belleuve Forum in Berlin - May 23, 2018

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On May 23rd, 2018, the Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier talks with Donatella della Porta, Christoph Möllers and David Van Reybrouck about anti-politics, anti-establishment and the dangers of indifference to the political to address the 2018 topic of the Forum "Society without Politics - Testing Liberal Democracies".

08/04/2018

Austeridad, capitalismo y conflicto social. Nuevas tendencias en el estudio de los movimientos sociales - An interview with Donatella della Porta

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An interview with Donatella della Porta realized by COES - Centro de Estudios de Conflicto y Cohesión Social

Publications

Edited Volume - 2018

Solidarity Mobilizations in the ‘Refugee Crisis’. Contentious Moves

Donatella della Porta (ed.)
This edited volume ddresses a gap in research on social movements that has disregarded the origins of discontent and overlooks protest as a resource of the powerless; it offers insight into how the movement of refugees across the European Union and elsewhere activates political opportunities; it explores claims to citizenship made by refugees within processes of knowledge production and the mobilization of emotions

Journal Article - 2018

The Passage from Hierarchy to Horizontality: The Self-managed Factory of Vio.Me, Greece

Haris Malamidis
Through fieldwork research conducted in Vio.Me between January and April 2014 and in July 2015, this article examines the self-managed factory of Vio.Me in Greece, one of the most popular examples of these alternative forms of resistance during anti-austerity mobilizations in the country.