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Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest


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The Struggle for Symbolic Dominance in the British Anti-Capitalist Movement Field
Joseph Ibrahim
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Department of Psychology, Sociology and Politics, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK Version of record first published: 20 Mar 2012.

To cite this article: Joseph Ibrahim (2012): The Struggle for Symbolic Dominance in the British Anti-Capitalist Movement Field, Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest, DOI:10.1080/14742837.2012.666396 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14742837.2012.666396

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Social Movement Studies, iFirst, 118, 2012

The Struggle for Symbolic Dominance in the British Anti-Capitalist Movement Field
JOSEPH IBRAHIM
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Department of Psychology, Sociology and Politics, Shefeld Hallam University, Shefeld, UK

ABSTRACT This article provides a study of ideological conict and competition between anarchist and socialists in the British anti-capitalist movement between 2001 and 2005. Using an ethnographic study, including 30 semi-structured interviews, observations of major mobilisations and documentary analysis, I argue that a symbolic struggle for ideological dominance over the anticapitalist movement took place. To understand and explain the dynamics of this movement struggle I conceptualise the anti-capitalist movement as a eld in the Bourdieusian sense of the term. Anarchist networks were the dominant players within this eld for over a decade; however, the emergence and actions of newly formed socialist organisations challenged their dominance. Both sides attempted to accrue different forms of capital to further their ideological agenda which brought them into conict with each other. This conceptualisation offers a new direction for understanding conict, not just for anti-capitalist activists, but also for the study of social movements generally. KEY WORDS : Anarchism, Bourdieu, capital, eld, socialism, symbolic struggles

Introduction Pierre Bourdieus concepts of habitus, capital and eld are useful for understanding and explaining the dynamics of competition, conict and power struggles between different agents and institutions within a given social, political and symbolic space (Bourdieu, 1984, 1993a,b, 1996; Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992). In this paper, I apply these concepts to analyse the struggle for symbolic dominance between anarchists and socialists in the British anti-capitalist movement (2001 2005). Historically speaking, struggles between these groups are not new (Gouldner, 1982). However, I wish to make a new contribution to the history of such struggles in two ways. First, these struggles took place during a new wave of resistance against neo-liberalism. Therefore, I provide a substantive empirical contribution that charts the emergence and actions of newly formed socialist organisations and their subsequent interaction and conict between anarchist rivals. Second, these struggles are conceptualised in a new way by applying Bourdieus concepts to understand and explain the ideological competition and conict between these groups, which provides an intellectual contribution to the study of social movements more generally. To make sense of these struggles between British anarchists and socialists, it is necessary to outline the wider political context from which they emerged. For over two
Correspondence Address: Department of Psychology, Sociology and Politics, Shefeld Hallam University, Collegiate Campus, Shefeld S10 2BP, UK. Email: j.ibrahim@shu.ac.uk 1474-2837 Print/1474-2829 Online/12/030001-18 q 2012 Taylor & Francis http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14742837.2012.666396

J. Ibrahim

decades an uneven and diverse coalition of political and social forces had been building against neo-liberalism. Since the 1970s a range of contentious political actors, initially from the global south, mobilised against supranational institutions and multinational corporations who they considered to be responsible for driving neo-liberal globalisation. These mobilisations grew into a veritable cycle of contention, which Tarrow (1998, p. 142) denes as: a phase of heightened conict across the social system: with a rapid diffusion of collective action from more mobilized to less mobilized sectors; a rapid pace of innovation in the forms of contention, the creation of new or transformed collective action frames; a combination of organized and unorganized participation; and sequences of intensied information ow and interaction between challengers and authorities. From this wave of contention emerged a movement or, as some would argue, a movement of movements that spread from the global south to the global north (Mertes, 2004). This movement mounted demonstrations, campaigns, boycotts, artistic culture jamming and a whole range of other political activities to express its discontent with the effects of neoliberalism. It was in the late 1990s that a crystallisation of grievances started to form and the world saw the emergence of an alternative globalisation movement (AGM), which made its global debut and came into the global consciousness during the Battle of Seattle protests in 1999, against the World Trade Organisation (Yuen et al., 2002). British anarchist anti-capitalist groups such as Earth First! and Reclaim the Streets were very much part of this burgeoning movement. In Britain they had established themselves as the dominant anti-capitalists using direct action tactics: mobilising ash mobs for street parties on motorways and carnivals against capitalism in London. Internationally, they participated in the two Intercontinental Encuentros For Humanity and Against Neoliberalism in 1996 (in Mexico) and 1997 (in Spain) after Subcomandante Marcos, the non-leader of the Zapatistas, put out a call to social movements to join them in their struggle. The encuentros were two meetings that offered a space for critical thinking and reection for like-minded political and social movements from all over the globe. The intention at these meetings was to build solidary connections and a network of communications and resistance between different political agents and movements across the globe. Even today British anarchist groups continue to carry out humanitarian work with the Zapatista communities in Mexico. These British anarchists were very much at the beginning of the struggle against neo-liberalism and initiated the wave of British anticapitalist protests from around 1991. Indeed, they dened and shaped the struggle against neo-liberal capitalism in Britain through their action repertoires (Plows, 2004; Wall, 2005). However, in 2001 newer socialist inuenced organisations, Globalise Resistance (GR) and the Stop the War Coalition (StWC) emerged, using different tactics to achieve political recognition. Although they are all anti-capitalists, they organise and mobilise themselves differently. Anarchists prefer consensus-based decision-making whereas socialists prefer majoritarian, democratic mechanisms and usually have a centralised steering committee structure. The aforementioned anarchist groups used direct action repertoires to try and halt capitalist expansion; a prime example was during the anti-road building actions throughout the 1990s (Plows, 1998). GR and StWC use mass mobilisations, for example,

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marching and petitions to raise awareness of political issues. There is also a strong degree of suspicion on the part of the anarchist groups about the motives of GR and StWC since they have a connection with the long-established political group the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). It is the case that one part of socialist political strategy often involves compromises with electoral political groups, and indeed in 2001 the Socialist Alliance was set up (by a number of left-wing groups including the SWP) as an electoral alternative to the then New Labour government. It was for this and other reasons that tensions between anarchist and socialist groups started to emerge. Their respective political methods are different, yet their political foci as anti-capitalists invariably attract them to the same symbolic and sometimes physical sites of struggle. In this respect they began to compete and conict. However, the broader literature on the wider AGM suggests there is unity and cooperation between the diverse forces opposing neo-liberal globalisation. It has neglected to analyse the conict and struggles between anarchists and socialists in the smaller British anti-capitalist section of the AGM (Hardt & Negri, 2000, 2005; Starr, 2000, 2005; Bircham & Charlton, 2001; Neale, 2002; Callinicos, 2003; Held & McGrew, 2003; Mertes, 2004). Where there has been commentary, it consisted of a repetition of anarchist newsletters that are based on opinion against socialist organisations rather than any systematic academic analyses of the empirical reality (Carter & Morland, 2004). There has been no attempt to conceptualise the conict to understand or explain its emergence or origins. I have argued elsewhere that this is an avenue for further research (Ibrahim, 2009, 2011). I now wish to provide new empirical evidence that may be conceptualised to show, far from unity and cooperation, that these groups are engaged in ideological struggles for symbolic dominance of the British anti-capitalist movement. Bourdieus concepts have been developed for the service of social movement analysis previously (Crossley, 2002a, b, 2003). This was with the intention of providing a basis for further and more specic testing. This paper builds on and extends this previous usage by employing empirical evidence to test these concepts. I use these concepts in an integrated way and apply them to the main anarchist and socialist organisations and networks that are part of the British anti-capitalist movement. With this in mind, the agents within the British anti-capitalist organisations and networks are endowed with a habitus that they use to acquire resources and practice their politics in a movement eld. A Bourdieusian Approach to Movement Analysis Bourdieus concepts of habitus, eld, capital and illusio offer us a very powerful set of ideas with which to explain the political interaction between anarchists and socialists from 2001 to 2005. Bourdieu uses the concept of eld to explain the way in which society is differentiated into social worlds, e.g. the political eld, legal eld and educational eld (Bourdieu, 1998, 2000; Bourdieu & Passeron, 1996). In this respect, elds can be considered to be games and indeed Bourdieu does use this sub-metaphor when he discusses them (Bourdieu, 1990, 1993b). Like any game there are agents who are players, and there are rules, which are pre-established and taken for granted. Within such games there are resources that are considered to be valuable which players both individually and collectively compete for. These resources for Bourdieu are termed as capital, but his concept of capital goes much further than mere economic capital, it includes cultural, social and symbolic forms also. Cultural capital includes institutional forms such as

J. Ibrahim

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qualications, or objectied forms such as books, paintings, etc. and the embodied form, which are lasting dispositions of the mind and body (Bourdieu, 2007 [1986] ). Economic capital refers to goods and commodities that have a monetary value, which could be exchanged for cash. Social capital refers to social networks and the creation of valuable connections in order that they may lead to productive relationships, which in turn lead to the acquisition of further goods and resources. Symbolic capital refers to status and what is considered to be prestigious within a eld and the recognition or misrecognition derived from the acquisition of any of the other forms of capital. To understand how and what capital to acquire agents, as players, are endowed with habitus. Habitus organises predispositions; it is a sensuous structure that formats tastes, preferences and actions; it enables agents to recognise what is valuable and what is at stake within a eld or a particular game. This means agents, providing that they have the correct corresponding habitus and capital, are able to act intuitively and pre-reectively within certain environments without having to calculate the utility of every single action, since they are adequately predisposed to success. This is, of course, dependent on their experience, knowledge and skills, possibly money, social connections and status (forms of capital). In this regard, game playing in certain environments is reexive and is not to be confused with rational choice type moves, rather the habitus, in Bourdieus own words is referred to as a feel for the game whereby agents have developed a know-how. Of course certain agents are individually or collectively better predisposed than others because they better understand the game and posses one or more forms of capital than others in the same environment. Thus, agents are positioned in elds according to the resources and power they have and/or are able to access. Bourdieu (1993b) claims that differences in the overall distribution of capital inevitably leads to competition and conict between agents and that this is a common feature of all elds. The concept of illusio is useful here since it refers to belief in the game (Bourdieu, 1998). Agents have to believe in the game and know what is at stake for it to function. They are invested in the game and are willing to play it on the understanding that the rewards are worth competing for, in the hope that they will achieve recognised success. If agents did not believe in the game and refused to play along, it would simply cease to exist. I will now apply these concepts and demonstrate how they offer a new understanding of inter-movement competition and conict. The Anti-Capitalist Field Bourdieus concept of eld has previously been adapted and applied to the AGM by Crossley (2002a,b). He argues that the AGM may be considered to be a protest eld rather than a movement since the vast array of collectives involved differ in terms of size, objectives, ideologies and action repertoires. Crossley (2002b) provides a diagrammatic representation of the AGM using an iceberg metaphor that shows some of the complexity and diversity of some of the differing groups that comprise the AGM. The concept of eld rather than movement is more appropriate in this context since agents, institutions and organisations: stand in structured relations to one another and their actions mutually interfere with one another and interpenetrate, giving rise to an irreducible dynamic of interaction. Each responds and reacts to the actions of the others (or the effects of those actions),

Symbolic Dominance in British Anti-Capitalism Movements generating, in turn, situations, opportunities and provocations to which the others must respond. And as they do this they lure other agents and groups into the fray, indicating by their actions that this is where the action is; that is to say, their actions and interactions create perceived opportunities for other groups and generate a general framework of meaning which sufces to incite other groups into action. (Crossley, 2002b, p. 674)

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Drawing on Crossley (2002a,b), I argue that we can use this concept to claim that there is a sub-eld of the protest eld: an anti-capitalist movement eld. I further argue that akin to all elds, game-like scenarios take place. In this case, it involved ideological conict and competition between anarchists and socialists. These agents, as players in this game, fought over the symbolic dominance and ideological control of this eld. Throughout the 1990s, anarchist anti-capitalist groups such as Earth First! and Reclaim the Streets were the dominant agents in this space. This dominance was challenged by new entrantsthe socialist anti-capitalists. The very fact that new socialist organisations such as GR, StWC and Socialist Alliance emerged demonstrates the appeal and recognition this space has to those who became involved. Although I argue that the anti-capitalist eld is a sub-eld of the wider alternative globalisation protest eld, the boundaries between these are not xed, they do move and change. What is more, other activists wanting to claim certain symbolic recognition may enter the sub-eld and possibly change the dynamics. It is also the case that such elds are inuenced by political activities as part of the wider cycle of contention which may be ongoing (Tarrow, 1998) and as Plows (2004, 2006) has stated, protest knowledge and skills including action repertoires of previous generations of activists are diffused down. It is certainly the case that British anti-capitalist anarchist activists were part of the cycle of contention against neo-liberalism during the 1990s, during both encuentros (in Mexico and Spain) and the UK road protest movement (Wall, 1999, 2005; Plows, 2004, 2006). The action repertoires that these activists possess and subsequently bring to the eld are constitutive. They are embodied forms of cultural capital, which are lasting dispositions of the mind and body that may be applied as and when necessary when an agent is in a particular eld. Over time, repertoires build, adapt and transform. These skills form part of the movements habits. Whittier (1995, pp. 247 248) explains how skills, knowledge and ideologies are passed on from one generation to another: Political generations are rooted in shared structural circumstances and formative experiences. Through interaction in social movement contexts, participants transform their shared experiences, structural constraints, and opportunities into the enduring system of beliefs, actions and relationships that is collective history. It is this enduring system of beliefs, or illusio (belief in the game), which could be applied to anarchists and socialists that perpetuates their political game playing. They know what is at stake and are politically invested in the role that they play within their collectives, the rules and skills of which have been passed down from previous generations of activists. Within this episode of conict and competition, there were various forms of capital that were acquired and utilised to the advantage of these activists. The entrance of newly formed socialist organisations threatened the dominant status (symbolic capital)

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of anarchist occupants, especially as the socialists started to build up their cultural, social and symbolic capital. It was this that anarchists became aware of, although this was not conceptualised in Bourdieusian terminology. As I demonstrate later, the use of the eld concept is timely and has much to offer in terms of furthering our understanding of conict and symbolic struggles between anarchists and socialists who are part of the same anticapitalist movement eld. Why Bourdieu? Bourdieus concepts of habitus, eld, capital, illusio better capture the political motivations and interaction between these players and how they play the game to forward their ideological agenda. His conception of resources goes well beyond the rational and economistic treatment of political action as explained by theorists from the resource mobilisation and the political process approaches. Key proponents of resource mobilisation theory (RMT), such as McCarthy & Zald (1977), put forward a model of social movement activism based on three main levels of analysis. They claim that social movement organisations (SMOs) full social and/or political demand, and that SMOs are part of a wider constellation of social movement industries, which in turn forms the social movements sector. SMOs within their respective industry and as part of a wider social movement sector are able to mobilise according to what economic resources they can capture. This model suggests a structured eld of action whereby economic competition occurs at every level, inevitably bringing agents into conict with each other. The model is rooted in rational choice theory and as such is problematic, as it does not allow for a consideration of moral and political-collective action or more focused ideological action to take place. Crossley (2002a,b, p. 176) has pointed out, for Bourdieu, agents actions are not rooted in abstract logical calculations of utility but in a feel for the game which they have acquired through involvement in the social world. In this respect, cultural and symbolic capital are embodied as predispositions within the habitus of agents, allowing them to draw on relevant action repertoires and recognise what is at stake within a eldparticularly in a symbolic sense, which goes beyond the maximisation of self interest but towards a greater collective ideal. Moreover, Bourdieus concepts help us recognise that social movements and political action is a collective endeavour; as such, they provide a wider, more subtle reading of resources than the methodological individualistic approach articulated by proponents of RMT. Although attempts to incorporate culture in social movement theorising have been made within these approaches (Johnson & Klandermas, 1995), they are still underpinned by rational choice theory (Della Porta & Diani, 2006, p. 16). This is especially problematic since anti-capitalist activists do not seek economic rewards, and often do not possess signicant amounts of economic capital to assist with their campaigns. Further, anticapitalists are driven by their moral and political conscience not by maximisation of selfinterest. Anti-capitalist actions are ideologically motivated, which does not t with the instrumental rational underpinnings of RMT and the Political Process Approach (PPA). A further problem with the PPA is its central focus which is the relationship between institutional political actors and protest. In challenging a given political order, social movements interact with actors who enjoy a consolidated position in the polity (Della Porta & Diani, 2006, p. 16). This central focus has no bearing on conict between anticapitalists, neither are part of the polity, they are both antagonistic towards it and are

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examples of anti-systemic collectives. Concepts such as cycles of contention are useful for understanding the wider political context, as I have explained, but the problem is that the focus of this approach is on elites and opponents. In my study here, I shall analyse conict between those who would be in one campthe oppositional camp. The PPA does not allow for an analysis of conict between anti-capitalist activists. A nal criticism of these approaches is that ideology is treated as a background feature of protest (Buechler & Cylke, 1997, p. 198), whereas in my accounts ideology is the very reason for political contention amongst these activists. My application of Bourdieus concepts helps explain political motivations and actions within a particular context that relate to struggles of a symbolic and ideological nature. These activists are driven by their ideology, which is rooted in a vision for a need to create a better world. However, they compete to put their vision on the political map, which in turn develops into a symbolic struggle. Or put it another way, they struggle for recognition, to be perceived as the ones who have the most appropriate ideological vision. They both believe in and play this political game. That said, Bourdieus concepts do not have universal applicability within social movement studies. They are problematic since they are only useful for analysing symbolic struggles of political and ideological competition and conict. As Callinicos has argued, Bourdieus vision is one of unremitting struggle: The struggle which is the very principle of the distributions is inextricably a struggle to appropriate rare goods and a struggle to impose the legitimate way of perceiving power relations manifested by the distributions, a representation which, through its own efcacy, can help to perpetuate or subvert these power relations. (Bourdieu, 1990, p. 141, cited by Callinicos, 2007, p. 290) This is problematic within the eld of social movement studies, since I would ask: what of solidary connections and cooperation in social movements? In these circumstances Bourdieus concepts do not prove useful and this is a large aw since much of what social movement activists do involves camaraderie, agreement and even consensus. In different time periods UK socialists and anarchists have been part of the same political coalition. A case in point was during the Liverpool Dockers strike in the UK in 1996, when both Reclaim the Streets and the SWP were part of a larger social movement union coalition supporting the strike action. However, for this paper I am focusing exclusively on an episode of a symbolic struggle and for this purpose Bourdieus concepts work well. As Bourdieu reminds us: The eld undergirds and guides the strategies whereby the occupants of these positions seek, individually or collectively to safeguard or improve their position and to impose the principle of hierarchization most favourable to their own products. (Bourdieu, cited by Wacquant, 1989, p. 40)

Methodology To understand and explain the dynamics of this movement eld, I carried out an ethnography of some of the main events British anti-capitalists were involved in between

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2001 and 2005. This included attendance at anti-war and May Day demonstrations in London, activist meetings, conferences, the European Social Forum (2004) and its counter forum, Beyond the ESF (2004; the latter two were parallel events held in London at the same time), and the Edinburgh and Gleneagles protests against the G8 in 2005. I carried out 30 semi-structured interviews, 14 of the respondents identied themselves as anarchists and 16 identied themselves as socialists. In addition, I consulted a range of documents from the direct action newsletter, Schnews, and the activist journal, Do or Die, both of which printed articles that claimed GR and StWC were front groups for the SWP. These documents marked the beginning of the ideological conict between anarchist and socialist organisations. During the research I recorded the following: When and where an event took place? Who was there? What happened? These questions shaped the interview protocol since it was clear there was an ideological schism between anarchists and socialists, they met, organised and carried out their respective actions completely separately and differently in respect of their action repertoires. It was at this point that I started to form questions concerning what they considered to be valuable knowledge or know how (cultural capital), what social connections (social capital) they had acquired and what they considered to be legitimate knowledge and political practices (symbolic capital). Respondents were selected through a combination of snowball and purposive sampling techniques, either by email from websites, meeting them at events (e.g. European Social Forums) or asking previous interviewees to help put me in touch with their fellow activists. I then subsequently arranged to meet the activists to conduct the interviews. During the interviews I asked questions concerning their activist history and political experiences; what action repertoires they tended to use; and who they considered their political allies to be. The ndings in the following section demonstrate that the anti-capitalist movement eld is a differentiated social world. Within this eld there are denite recognised forms of capital: knowledge and skills, social connections and status. Therefore using the concepts of eld, illusio, and capital enable an understanding and explanation of the competitive and conictual dynamics between anarchists and socialists. The Symbolic Struggle Begins Throughout the 1990s, anarchists were the dominant players within the anti-capitalist movement eld. The socialists were nowhere to be seen and were latecomers in respect of this protest wave against neo-liberalism. Anarchist activists and academics have stated: There was an impression in the 1990s that as the ACM began to grow and mobilize, the SWP had become gures of fun. Still banging on about socialism and the planned society, still seeking to build the party and still strike chasing, the SWP seemed to be following tactics of an earlier era. Alongside this was a vibrant and growing [direct action anarchist] movement that saw no need for a party at all. (Carter & Morland, 2004, p. 16) However, the direct action anarchists were not the only players for long and their dominance began to be challenged by new entrants into this movement eld. Certain socialist groups including GR and StWC tapped into a certain anti-capitalist contingent that the anarchists did not. It was after the emergence of these groups that tensions started

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to occur. Conict and tensions are common within elds, especially between established occupants (anarchists) and newer entrants (socialists) since the former may feel threatened by new arrivals, either because they may be directly competing for the top spots or because they may undermine their position by capturing different forms of capital that could displace their position. The following section highlights the intentions of the new entrants and how they saw potential in the movement eld. Globalise Resistance: Building Alliances The GR was formed from a series of conferences in 2001 with the same name. Activists have stated that they were inspired by the direct action groups such as Reclaim the Streets, but wanted to build the anti-capitalist movement to extend to other groups arguing for an alternative globalisation. From interview evidence it was claimed that there were many other political groups that were not part of the popular summit mobilisations, but who wanted to be, for example, British left of labour party members and trade unionists. GR sought to bring these groups together, as one of the organisers states: GR was formed as an attempt to bridge different parts of the movement. Also at the time the main characteristic of the anti-capitalist movement was summit hopping. It was going to Prague, to Genoa, to Gothenburg, whatever, and every time one of these things came up, thered be another group set up, the S26 collectives to organise for Prague. And basically, it was like reinventing the wheel every time, and all the same arguments they had every time. So what we had to do was go and get in there, if we were going to do it. So thats how we came about. (GR1, Interview, September 2004) Another GR activist explains the attempt to create alliances that reected broader grievances than were suggested at the earlier protests by direct action activists: I think the idea was to create quite a broad coalition, I mean I think initially quite a wide spectrum of organisations were involved, the SWP, Workers Power, the greens as well as trade unions. So it was quite a broad steering committee so the idea was to create a coalition that reected the different strands of the movement as it was beginning to crystallize in Britain. (GR2, Interview, February 2005) Another GR steering committee member states how working with unions is very important to bring about change: Basically, the idea is to try and bridge gaps between parts of the movement. Like we discussed at the meeting last night, the trade unions and the anti-capitalist movement, thats what were very keen on at the moment, because thatll be political dynamite if we get them together, so thats what were moving towards, but we dont want to narrow down to that, we want to keep it general and inclusive. (GR3, Interview, September 2004) This is a strong indication of how UK trade unions were not involved in the new wave of anti-capitalist protests. Carter & Morland (2004) acknowledge that the direct action

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anarchists of the 1990s tended to work outside of formalised political structures (p. 12) and newer socialist groups such as GR and the older ones such as SWP have used May Day protests to connect with organised labour and the anti-Blair trade unionists; whilst direct action anarchists of the 1990s have often neglected these essential links (p. 16). This is precisely the political gap that GR1 was referring to. Or put it another way, the newer socialist organisations began to occupy the space within the anti-capitalist movement eld which ts and aligns better with the political practices of socialism and includes working with organised labour and trade unions. Although anarchist organisations have a long history of working with organised labour, during the 1990s there was a political shift of focus from class-based to environmental activism. The following quotes from interviews I conducted with anarchists, formerly involved with Class War, are evidence of this:

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In the late 1990s I was involved in Class War [ . . . ] we were going nowhere, so we all agreed to disband our group. At the same time there was this vibrant environmental direct action scene [Earth First! and Reclaim the Streets], so I got involved in that. (Former Class War activist 1, Interview, March 2005) I think anarchism had to change, class is not where all the power lies. We have to consider consumption and the environment. (Former Class War activist 2, Interview, March 2005) This approach left an opening for socialist to come into the eld and build connections with class-based groups. The following activists explain why they joined GR. In Bourdieus terminology these activists attempted to build their social capital, which translated into networking with other political groups: I wanted to help to bring parts of the anti-capitalist movement together. I wanted to unite people who do not necessarily agree with each other. To help build the biggest broadest base possible. (GR 4, Interview, May 2005) I think GR is one of the best organisations to be in [ . . . ] it is an umbrella group, there are people that may be members of a different political party or organisation and still be in GR. So you know, we often have people who are a lot more liberal, kind of NGO types. (GR 5, Interview, October 2004) I joined because GR is multi-faceted. I feel that GR attempts to globalise resistance through creating links with other groups, e.g. NGOs [ . . . ] and all this creates awareness of globalisation and oppression. (GR 6, Interview, October 2004) I found it a very open organisation, quite a loose network. And I found that GR tried to bridge the gap between more organised top down type organisations and bottom up grass roots networks. (GR7, Interview, May 2005) This networking with broader political groups creates a multiplier effect in terms of capital. By connecting with a wider range of groups, more resources are brought to bear on the issues that GR and others are campaigning about. The skills and knowledge and action

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repertoires (cultural capital) from certain organisations are pooled to some extent. The social networks (social capital) that are built and created extend to a larger audience; when this occurs the status and recognition (symbolic capital) of these groups increases. The connections with other groups meant that GR utilised and acquired cultural, social and symbolic capital within the socialist space of the anti-capitalist movement eld. This was with the intention of building a more inclusive anti-capitalist movement, which includes a range of other social and political forces that may have been neglected by the direct action anarchists during the 1990s. This helps us understand the reasons for the ideological competition and conict that ensued between the socialists and the anarchists, since it could be argued that GRs acquisition of capital meant they were now becoming recognised as the anti-capitalists. Thereby displacing the anarchistswho had for nearly a decade occupied the dominant position within this eld.

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Ideological Competition and Conict The competition, conict and struggle for dominance over this eld started after GR had started to gain a certain amount of success. They were no longer perceived to be gures of fun, rather, they were taken seriously as political rivals. As Carter & Morland (2004, p. 17) argue, their political tactics and presence suggest that the direct action anarchists could have been displaced: It might be added that the SWP strategy has had a certain success of late. Most notably, it could be argued that May Day has partially been reclaimed: that is wrestled back from the frisky direct action protests [ . . . ] Globalise Resistance has managed to reinvigorate an A to B trade union march which has perhaps drawn some of the sting from the anarcho protests taking place in central London on the same day. It was after certain successes that the direct action newsletter, Schnews and the journal, Do or Die published critiques of the SWP and GR, for example: Soon after the global day of action on June 18th 1999, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) started to take a keen interest in the direct action movement generally and anti-globalisation issues specically. Obviously pissed off that theyd let 15,000 people smash up the City of London without any of their paper sellers around to tell people about the socialist alternative, they targeted the action on November 30th (N30) as the next big thing. (Anon, 2001, pp. 134 135) They wish to draw attention to SWP tactics, suggesting that the SWP attempts to join popular social and political movements in the hope of infusing then with Trotskyist socialism. The Vampire metaphor refers to the SWP tactic of sucking the lifeblood out of a movement and then moving on to the next popular political protest or issue. The next quotation from the article sums up Do or Dies view of the SWP: Its hardly surprising for the SWP to latch on to the next issue to try and take it over and recruit who they can before moving on to the next passing bandwagon, after all, theyve been doing it long enough. Whats more surprising, and quite worrying, is

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J. Ibrahim that they felt they could behave like that with us lot. Seeing a growing anticapitalist movement, they saw an opportunity to ll the other half of the equation sure, were all anti this, that and the other, but what are we for? The SWPs answer to this is that we should be for building a centralised, hierarchical party, making it as big as possible and then hopefully taking over the state in the name of the working class. Once weve done that we can centrally plan the economy (i.e. work) and expand production (i.e. industry). (Anon, 2001, pp. 134 135)

Like GR, the StWC has been a focus of attack from anarchists. The British direct action anarchists are clearly against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, however, they have failed to build alliances with other like-minded organisations to anything like the same extent on this issue. As such, GR, StWC and SWP have successfully lled this space in the anticapitalist eld, since between them they helped mobilise two million people on to the streets of London on 15 February 2003. In fact, the socialist contingent published two signicant edited books, appealing to a mass and popular market hoping to learn more about the wave of protests against capitalism and war. One entitled Anti-Capitalism: A Guide to the Movement and another Anti-Imperialism: A Guide to the Movement. These books explain and outline socialist, green and other political ideologies, with the hope of helping people understand what the anti-capitalist and wider AGM is about. These works explicitly draw on authors who have a signicant amount of cultural, social and symbolic capital. They are organic and public intellectuals who are respected and are well placed in the eld, authors such as George Monbiot (author and Guardian Columnist), Tony Benn (former MP, and President of StWC) and Susan George (Vice President of ATTAC France). All of the contributors to these books have signicant amounts of cultural capital in terms of knowledge, skills and experience of political campaigning. They have social and political connections with other politicos through their political work and almost all have signicant symbolic status that brings a certain political credibility to any movement they become involved with. Far from being gures of fun, socialists are now real contenders and rivals within the anti-capitalist movement. These works and the campaigns they mount ultimately furthers the socialist ideology of the organisations they are part of within the structured socialist anti-capitalist space. It was the building of the socialist movement that was displacing the anarchists. Further conict and competition is evident in academic and activist writings arguing that GR and StWC are front groups for the SWP (Schnews, 2001a,b; Carter & Morland, 2004; Plows, 2004). Evidence is drawn from Schnews, the direct action newsletter, which reports on the activities of Earth First! and Reclaim the Streets. These writings clearly indicate a strong discontent with the SWP, GR and StWC; in applying Bourdieusian concepts and analysing these comments, it is possible to identify how the acquisition of capital by the socialist organisations is the root cause of the conict and competition between anarchists and socialists. These anarchist writings suggest that socialist groups have threatened their symbolic status as anti-capitalists and that the socialist space has expanded at the expense of the anarchist space, thereby challenging and reducing their dominance. Schnews (2001a,b) has produced two particular contentious articles: Monopolise Resistance? How Globalise Resistance would hijack revolt, a critique of the SWP, which claims GR is nothing more than a Trotskyist front group; and a follow up article, Monopolise Resistance, The SWP try to hijack anti-war protests, which claims

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that the StWC is also a front group for the SWP. The latter article also claims that both organisations are wholly owned subsidiaries of the SWP. The political competition between the sections has led directly to the production of these articles. The anarchist direct action networks realise they are not the only players in the anti-capitalist movement eld. Further, they clearly have embodied a different political ideology in their habitus, which is at odds with the socialist organisations: The anti-capitalist movement is at a key point in its development. Three years ago it hardly existed. The next three years will be crucial. This is why we have decided to make public our fears that all this good work could be undone by people who have nothing to do with resistance but instead want to take it over for their own ends. This pamphlet is an attempt to show why the SWP and GR are trying to do just that. (Schnews, 2001a) There are also signs of an attempt to inuence the anti-capitalist space and change outcomes, as the socialist strategy that advocates building wider alliances may displace anarchist groups: Over the last year the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and its front organisation Globalise Resistance (GR) have been attempting to fundamentally change the nature of the anti-capitalist movement in Britain. The SWP have got involved in the anticapitalist movement for very different reasons to the rest of us. Their main aim is to take control of the anti-capitalist movement and turn it into an ineffective, proLabour pressure group so as to increase the inuence and membership of the SWP. Theyre not mainly interested in working with others, they completely disagree with the politics of just about everyone else involved. As they put it in Genoa, Remember, were the only people here with an overall strategy for the anticapitalist movement. So I want ve people to go out with membership cards, ve to sell papers and ve to sell bandanas. (Schnews, 2001a) This quotation clearly suggests that for anarchists, working with electoral political groups is unacceptable; whereas, ideologically speaking, for socialists it is acceptable since they could gain more social capital. This key point of contention between anarchists and socialists has led to ideological competition and conict. As one anarchist explains, Globalise Resistance and the SWP organise differently to us [anarchist groups]. They have steering committees, they work with different organisations, politicians etc. We dont. (Anarchist 3, Interview, July 2005) This is a key difference between anarchists and socialists and a reason for the ideological clash between them. Specically in this case anarchists argued that socialists, as part of their action repertoire, will try to capture political power in the hope of gaining a strategic political advantage with which they can then direct the wider anti-capitalist struggle. Anarchist activists expressed their concern through the newsletter Schnews (2001a) about how GR have been able to advance their political position and how they need to organise better or that they may lose control over the direction of the wider anti-capitalist struggle:

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J. Ibrahim If we are gonna stop the SWP/GR from blunting the impact of anti-capitalist politics, we need to examine what were up to. Globalise Resistance advertised and organised transport for hundreds of new people to Genoawe did not. They organised dozens of public meetings within days of coming back from Genoawe failed to. Globalise Resistance have organised large conferences designed to raise their prole within the movementwe have organised direct action conferences in the past but nowadays while rightly concentrating on actions, seem to act as if these conferences dont matter. They do. (Schnews, 2001a)

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The cultural capital of using activist skills to organise for large-scale mobilisations and conferences is something that GR have been able to achieve. They invited headline speakers (Kevin Danaher from Global Exchange, and Walden Bello from Global South), key people involved in previous (symbolic) protests in Seattle and Latin America, who have published informative books on the AGM (Danaher, 2001; Bello, 2002). From the very outset GRs intention has been to enter the anti-capitalist eld and build up their capital to further socialist anti-capitalist ideology. As Monbiot (2001) states, GR brought people and groups together who were previously unaware of each other and new alliances have started to ourish. It is this that has increased capital for organisations such as GR. Tapping into groups that were perhaps not part of the initial wave of direct action anticapitalism: The meetings we [GR] held around Britain in February (2001) were the most inspiring I have ever attended. They brought people together who had never spoken to each other before, and in vast numbers. Everywhere we went there was a sense of excitement then of exultation, as people began to recognise their natural allies in campaigns they had formerly disregarded. (Monbiot, 2001, p. 6) It is arguable that activists such as Monbiot (2000) are more attracted to the tactics of GR than other groups such as Reclaim the Streets. This is because he is unconvinced of the ethics and efcacy of direct action in achieving political change, preferring instead a more democratic approach to political organising. Some of his views on this were published in the Guardian after the May Day mobilisations in 2000, where he singled out Reclaim the Streets for critics. I suggest the stance and tactics of GR: mass mobilisations, demonstrations, lobbying and capacity building have a wider popular appeal, whereas some direct action anarchist tactics do not. GR and StWC have competed on ground which the anarchistsbecause of their politicscannot. The effect of which has drawn attention away from their actions, and at the same time has raised the political prole of GR, SWP and StWC as alternative anti-capitalists. A related line of argument needing examination here is the evident confusion over the use of the terms front group and united front. It needs to be made clear that these terms do not have the same meaning, yet, the writings appear to conate the two (Schnews, 2001a; Carter & Morland, 2004; Plows, 2004). Being a front group does not equate to being a united front and vice versa, yet, some authors suggest that when members of GR are claiming to present as a united front, they are a front group. What is key here is that the above authors argue that GR is controlled by and run in the interests of the SWP, which would equate to the common sense understanding of a front group, not a united front.

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Trotskys united front, rather, is about different social groupings coming together and retaining their separate identity, and is best summed up by Trotskys famous quote: March separately, but strike together (Trotsky, 1931, 1933). To elaborate, it is about forming a necessary alliance at a pivotal moment, and striking when the time is right. GRs intention is to build a broad anti-capitalist alliance, which may equate to a united front. It is not clear how the evidence provided by the said authors equates to a front group, that is, a group masquerading as an independent organisation, but really being controlled secretly by another organisation. This is especially the case when the political afliations of Steering Committee members of GR and StWC are displayed on their websites and these organisations are run democratically. Since this matter was a source of contention between anarchists and socialist sections, I asked several members of GR what they thought about the accusation of being a front group for the SWP:

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I think its a tactic used by people. Theres a power struggle, theres a constant struggle in politicswhat nature this demonstration will take, what speakers will get the big talks this year, all this type of stuff is a discussion that is constantly ongoing, and I nd it a bit of a shame that when people may be havent got the politics to argue or may be theyre in a weak position, they resort to kind of attacking us about things, that GR is a front group for the SWP, sorry, its not. We stand on our track record, we stand on the people that are part of GR. On the steering committee you can see very well, clearly what goes on, and are willing to say, no, this is not. I am part of this organisation and quite happy with it. And that is what you see people doing it constantly. Its a diversion, sad, but true, there you go. (GR4, Interview, October 2004) Another member of the steering committee explains: Nobody is saying that the SWP wasnt involved in setting up GR, of course it was. But it is much more than that, the aim was to create something different, some of us were quite inspired by the likes of Reclaim The Streets. To overturn capitalism we wanted to create the biggest broadest movement as possible. No one group can represent the movement, we never thought that we could. We just had the idea that we must get more of a range of groups, and organisations involved. (GR7, Interview, July 2005) I also discussed with one member the tensions between anti-capitalist groups and her reasons for joining GR: Every one has a better idea of organising things [ . . . ] the fact is globalisation is causing so much misery [ . . . ] in the anti-capitalist movement there seems to be a lot of tension because of the fact that it brings people together with a lot of different political ideologies, so I am involved in GR because I can see that there is a lot of different groups working together. I like the diversity. (GR8, Interview, October 2004) Linked to political competition and conict there are issues of renewal and mobilisation. Between 2003 and 2005, Earth First! and Reclaim the Streets reformed into the Dissent! network in readiness for the G8 summit meeting planned for 2005 in Gleneagles, Scotland, UK. Meanwhile the SWP, GR, and StWC, along with other groups, such as the Scottish

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Socialist Party, formed another political coalition called the G8 Alternatives. These political networks and coalitions mobilised separately as parallel events. From my observations there were no instances of conict between them, although their presence did indicate a degree of political competition to be recognised as the network or coalition with the anti-capitalist vision who could direct the struggle. Since 2005, there have been little or no episodes of conict between these groups within the British anti-capitalist movement eld. Conclusion This article has used an integrated set of Bourdieusian concepts to provide a sustained theoretically informed analysis of ideological competition and conict between two political anti-capitalist groups. This political competition and conict was a symbolic struggle for dominance over the anti-capitalist eld. Both anti-capitalist groups drew on their relevant capital to further their position to increase their standing within the symbolic space. Documenting this period of political competition and conict is important since I provide a hitherto untold narrative of symbolic struggle between these groups, which is not documented in the literature on the wider AGM. This is a signicant omission as narratives on the AGM suggest there is unity between the diverse forces opposing neoliberal globalisation, when clearly the empirical evidence I provide shows that ideological differences do exist between groups that are part of the same struggle. In this respect, I offer an opportunity for further research beyond the general narrative tropes of solidarity concerning the AGM phenomenon. This article also makes an important theoretical contribution by applying Bourdieus concepts to the study of social movements, which has a wider applicability beyond the empirical material presented here. The concepts allow for an integrated analysis of how agents within a diverse social movement environment understand how to draw on their resources to further their political agenda, and why this might lead to competition and conict as different groups struggle for dominance over their environment. This reading of resources goes further than mere economic types since status is key and winning the struggle over who is to be the recognised group, in this case, the dominant anti-capitalist group wishing to gain control to direct the struggle. There are many other instances of inter- and intra-movement conict, applying Bourdieus concepts to understand them, offers an opportunity to further our knowledge of competitive and conictual social movement dynamics. When it is necessary to understand struggles to give a more detailed analysis of social movements, the eld and associated concepts of habitus and capital offer much clarity. As Bachelard (2002) has claimed, elds have social and political forces that draw and repel certain groups in a magnetic style, certain groups are attracted to certain positions of power, which results in conict between existing members and new entrants. Thus elds are elds of struggles (Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992, p. 101), and diverse movements that constitute elds always struggle for recognition and symbolic power.

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Acknowledgements
The author would like to thank the social movements research group at the University of Manchester, in particular Nick Crossley and Gemma Edwards, three anonymous reviewers and Maxine Ibrahim and Lorne Wolf for their very helpful and encouraging comments on an earlier draft of this paper.

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Joseph Ibrahim is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Shefeld Hallam University. His research interests are in social theory, political and social movements, ideologies and social network analysis. He has carried out research projects on student activist networks in the UK, and the British anti-capitalist movement. He is the author of numerous articles in these and related areas and he is currently writing a monograph on 21st century British anti-capitalism.