Radical Left Movements in Europe
When the Iron Curtain lifted in 1989 it was seen by some as proof of the final demise of the ideas and aspirations of the radical left. Not many years passed, however, before the critique of capitalism and social inequalities were once again the main protest themes of social movements. This book provides an account of radical left movements in today’s Europe and how they are trying to accomplish social and political change. The book’s various chapters focus on social movement organizations, activist groups, and networks that are rooted in the left-wing ideologies of anarchism, Marxism, socialism, and communism in both newly democratized post-communist and longstanding liberal-democratic polities. The questions addressed include: How are radical left movements influenced by the political and social contexts in which they are situated? How do they interact with other political actors? How does contemporary radical left activism differ from “new” and “old” social movements on the one hand, and radical left parliamentary parties on the other? And what does it mean to be ”radical left” in liberal-democratic (or semi-democratic, or even semi-authoritarian), capitalist European societies today after the fall of state socialism.
This paper is concerned with patterns of mobilization of the radical left-libertarian movement (RLLM) groups in contemporary Russia and how these patterns correspond to general features of the country’s political sphere. On a theoretical level, the concept of political opportunity structures (POS) will be engaged and critically discussed in order to understand the relationship between the state’s approach to non-institutionalized, contentious politics and the contents and forms of protest action by RLLM groups. Empirically, the chapter analyses data on protest events in order to produce insights into mobilization patterns of radical left-libertarian actors in contemporary Russia.