The Pandemic is a battlefield. Social movements in the COVID-19 lockdown

10 August 2020 – Geoffrey Pleyers

This article examines ways in which social movements have been impacted and responded in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Between March and May 2020, lockdown measures put a halt to mass protests for democracy, and the virus spread became the only political focus and news headline. Far from disappearing, social movements have adapted to unexpected circumstances and been particularly active during this challenging period. The first section of the article provides an overview of grassroots movements initiatives to complete five roles. The second section focuses on the struggle over the meaning of the crisis. While progressive intellectuals and movements consider the COVID-19 pandemic opened opportunities to build a fairer world, they compete with reactionary, capitalist and state actors to shape the meaning of the crisis and the world that may come out of it. The intensity of social justice movements’ initiatives during the lockdown may show the outlines of a global wave of movements, embodied in countless decentralized reactions to a global event that affected has shaken billions of human lives.

Read the full article at the Journal of Civil Society