In every country the process is different, although the content is the same. And the content is the crisis of the ruling class’s hegemony, which occurs either because the ruling class has failed in some major political undertaking, for which it has requested, or forcibly extracted, the consent of broad masses … or because huge masses … have passed suddenly from a state of political passivity to a certain activity, and put forward demands which taken together, albeit not organically formulated, add up to a revolution. A ‘crisis of authority’ is spoken of: this is precisely the crisis of hegemony, or general crisis of the state.
Each country has had its own movements, and a particular character to how they have responded to the neoliberal project. For some time many have observed that these campaigns, initiatives and movements are not isolated occurrences, but part of a wider global movement for justice in the face of the neoliberal project. In this issue of Interface we explore how social movements have responded to contemporary crisis and in particular the acute crisis that global capitalism entered into from late 2008. In order to contextualise this focus, it is useful to reflect on how crises and social movement struggles have coalesced to produce the current conjuncture.