What Are the Possibilities and Limits of Radical Organizers’ Unthinkable Political Claims to Just Futures in a Politically "Progressive” City?

Authors: Kristy Copeland*, University of Washington
Topics: Political Geography, Social Geography, Cultural Geography
Keywords: social justice, activism, political geography, feminism, social movements, solidarity
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Directors Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper examines how radical organizers in the Seattle region advance claims for justice in the face of established political power which claims and co-opts progressive values for itself. Through participant observation and interviews with organizers, I examine how campaign framing, strategies, tactics, and participants change over time and in relationship to power plays by the establishment. I also analyze how the discourse of established politicians changes over time, co-opting movement language and values to give itself political cover for more regressive policies and budgets. Finally, I consider organizers' frameworks for solidarity, accountability, transformative justice, abolition, and liberation. I ask what are the possibilities and limitations of these unthinkable claims to justice?

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