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Donatella della Porta†
The "return" of poor people movements encourages reflection on the impact of changes in the social structure, the availability of organizational resources, and political and discursive opportunities for collective action. Based on a quantitative and qualitative claim analysis in six European countries, this article maps unemployment-related protest actions in three areas: (a) long-term unemployment; (b) massive dismissals; and (c) unemployment and labor policies within more general cycles of protest. The article discusses the actors, the forms and claims of the protests, and the social and political opportunities for their development. Protests on unemployment tend to assume some similar forms, each oriented to stress the "absolute injustice" of the position of the unemployed. The framing of the issues of both labor changes and the evolution of the labor market restates the importance of social dynamics for political protest. Unions as well as other social movements and political actors play an important role in the protest against unemployment.
In the mid-nineties, France saw the “return of the social question,” with an (uneasy) alliance between public sector workers, the unemployed, and the marginally employed. In 1995, the extended strike of the cheminots (public transport workers) unexpectedly gained large support in the public opinion, as it
brought millions into the street in remarkable demonstrations of solidarity across the country, and forged direct organizational and symbolic links between the labor movement and various groups of excluded, including illegal immigrants, unemployed workers, and the homeless, as well as the lycée and university students and an intelligentsia that had been widely dismissed as apathetic and uninterested (Fantasia and Stepan-Norris 2004: 556).
Various marginal groups mobilized in the so-called “mouvements de sans” on behalf of the “have-nots”: migrants without legal residence permits, homeless people, and the unemployed. Analysts described a coalition between the “moral left” of the middle class that defended human rights, and the “social left” that mobilized the workers. In particular, the unemployed protested in 1997 against a reform that reduced the funding for unemployment compensation and centralized its management. Already in 1994, the group Agir contre le Chomage (AC! Act against Unemployment!) organized five marches converging on Paris from the provinces, asking for a reduction in work hours in order to create new jobs, as well as more investments “against exclusion.” During and after the marches, the unemployed mobilized at both the local and national levels. In the winter of 1995-96, groups of the unemployed staged a campaign of
* This analysis is based on data collected by the members of a project entitled “The Contentious Politics of Unemployment in Europe: Political Claim Making, Policy Deliberation and Exclusion from the Labor Market.” The project includes the following countries: Britain (Paul Statham, University of Leeds), Switzerland (Marco Giugni, University of Geneva), France (Didier Chabanet, University of Lyon), Italy (Donatella della Porta, University of Florence), Germany (Christian Lahusen, University of Bamberg), and Sweden (Anna Linders, University of Cincinnati and University of Karlstad). The project is financed by the European Commission (HPSE-CT2001-00053 UNEMPOL) and the Swiss Federal Office for Education and Science through the Fifth Framework program of research of the European Union. We thank all the members of the UNEMPOL research consortium for their contributions to the project.A previous version of this report was presented at the conference on The Contentious Politics of Unemployment, Geneva, April 1-2, 2005. † Donatella della Porta is Professor of Sociology at the Department of Political and Social Science at the European University Institute in Florence. Please direct all correspondence to email@example.com.
© Mobilization: An International Journal 13(3): 277-295
German. In American social movement studies criticism of the breakdown theory has for a long time (and with few exceptions. various town halls. 1992) reduced the attention to structural grievances (Buechler 2004). The misery of the unemployed does more to deter protest than . Maurer and Pierru 2001: 388). with welfare state institutions focusing on the issue of unemployment (Fillieule 1993b). the unemployed succeeded in winning the support of public opinion: not only were the Christmas doles reintroduced. structural tensions do not directly translate into mobilization. Acting within an institutionalized field. The “return” of poor people movements thus pushes towards more reflection on the relationship between changes in the social structure and collective action. at least for a certain period. while the class cleavage—on which labor movements had mobilized—was declared to be pacified. the ASSEDICS. they provided a space for aggregation. since the 1970s. It may bring about the emergence of social groups with a specific structural location and potential specific interests. Spanish. Although the unemployed are considered politically apathetic. As the account of the French protest on unemployment indicates. winning a symbolic battle when their organization was invited to meet President Francois Mitterrand. and increasing their relational skills and savoir faire (Maurer and Pierru 2001). with a very low propensity for collective action. They encouraged the unemployed to express collective claims and convinced thousands of them to mobilize” (Royall 1998: 362). To begin with. During this cycle of protest. In 1997 the unemployed also protested at the European level: French. European social movement scholars have focused on new conflicts in Western democracy: the ecological movement and the women’s movement being the typical object of this stream of research. but sympathetic media coverage changed the public image of the unemployed from poor people queuing for charity to rebels struggling for their rights (Salmon 1998. Likewise. This account of a protest campaign on unemployment in France and beyond points to some of the factors structuring the debate over the interaction between societal characteristics and social movements. In fact. thirty thousand people mobilized on the same issues at the European Union (EU) summit in Cologne. The following winter there were weekly demonstrations and a series of occupations of local employment agencies . the Banque de France. Mobilization provided a challenge to both the image of unemployment as an individual problem and. However. there is no denying that the socioeconomic structure of a society still influences the types of conflicts that develop in it. in the French case they mobilized against what was perceived as “treason” by the left—in particular by the Socialist national government elected in May 1997. Piven and Cloward 1977. they marched into factories and commercial enterprises having job vacancies and left their résumés. consequently. as the shift from agriculture to industry and then to the service sector suggests. however. it indicates that a social group that is economically weak and politically isolated can still be mobilized for protest. Nevertheless. united in the European Network of Unemployed (ENU). and/or reduce the importance of existing ones. the movement organizations “succeeded in modifying. cf. While the unemployed have traditionally found supporters on the left of the political spectrum. the unemployed perception about their own mobilization potential. socializing often-isolated people (Mauer 2001). and exclusion. the unemployed gained broad social support. Social movements have been considered the bearers of post-materialistic values. the protestors addressed the issue of the political recognition of the unemployed themselves. demanding the special Christmas doles that a new law had abolished. to the social stigma attached to it. which was accused of having shifted from “a socialism with a human face to liberalism with humanitarian undertones” (Bourneau and Martin 1993: 172). and the headquarters of the Socialist Party. Moreover.278 Mobilization “job requisitions”: with well-publicized blitz actions. Two years later. the French unemployed formed collective resources for mobilization. as well as of the Ecole Normale Superieure. job insecurity. and Italian unemployed converged in the European marches against unemployment. Social change may affect the characteristics of social conflict and collective action in different ways.
First of all. laws increasing public spending in specific areas (such as the laws addressing the emergence created by a dramatic earthquake in Naples) can stimulate hope for changes.Transcending Marginalization 279 facilitate it. I shall mainly rely upon the data on claims making collected within the UNEMPOL project. repression. Franzosi 1994) and frame analysis (qualitative) (Snow et al. etc. 1986. national. while the claims of the most “powerless” are likely to be covered only if they resort to the most disruptive forms of protest. Unions have often been mentioned in previous research as the most important promoters of protest on issues of employment and unemployment. It consists of the expression of a political opinion by physical or verbal action. Given the lack of material and symbolic resources of the unemployed constituency. especially through the mobilization of allies. and opportunities for.). Gamson and Modigliani 1989). In this article. as well as on a secondary analysis of existing research. Degree and forms of protest at different territorial levels (local. The resource mobilization approach has considered social movement organizations as often formed by committed activists that take up the concerns of social constituencies to which they do not belong (McCarthy and Zald 1977). and regardless of the nature of the actor (media. More resourceful movement actors should be able to attract the attention of the mass media using less disruptive forms of protest. in order to single out the forms of. unionled waves of protest. By systematically coding discursive dimensions.). and therefore mobilization. we might expect that protests on related issues require broad networks of different social movement organizations. etc. movement organizations are important actors for protest. For the empirical data collection. it locates social movement organizations within a larger “multiorganizational field” by including institutional and noninstitutional actors. protest should be a preferred form of mobilization. court ruling. Framing political opportunities as conducive to the claims of the unemployed should also facilitate the emergence of protest. As a political resource for the powerless (Lipsky 1965). social position. governments. and the unemployed are usually not easily mobilized. both in terms of institutional assets and the availability of allies (see della Porta and Diani 2006. Societal conditions also have important influences upon the distribution of resources that are conducive to participation in collective action (such as education). including conventional and verbal actions. but towards which they act out of a sense of solidarity (Giugni and Passy 2001). civil society actors. 8 for a summary). demonstration. The main actors of claim analysis are no longer “protesters” but claimants. protest has been linked to political opportunities. Finally. A claim is defined as an instance of strategic action in the mass media. waves of dismissals or cuts in the state budget for the unemployed (as in the French case) tend to produce reactive. The claim analysis approach aims at integrating the two methodological traditions of social movement research: protest event analysis (quantitative) (Tarrow 1989. etc. Also. age.) might support different types of mobilization on unemployment. different collective actors (voluntary associations. ch. Notwithstanding these difficulties in mobilizing the unemployed. the project used the methodology of political claim analysis (see Koopmans and Statham 1999). protest on unemployment can and does develop when opportunities and resources are available. claim analysis broadens the scope of attention from “protest” to all forms of claim making in the public domain.) of the unemployed strongly affect their potential to mobilize and their subsequent forms of mobilization. social movement organizations. regardless of the form this expression may take (statement. educational background. especially when faced with social bases that are more difficult to mobilize. However. protest on the issue of unemployment. For instance. We might also expect that protest will take different forms according to the characteristics of the actors who promote it. The specific characteristics (gender. and transnational) can be influenced by the opening (either real or imagined) of windows of opportunities: for instance. especially for those actors who are less endowed with institutional channels of access to policy makers. etc. decision. a quantitative method that takes individual political claims as units of analysis and uses newspapers as a source for the publicly visible part of this claim making. violence. namely the subjects of a strategic action .
more than causally explaining. others are instead more related to the cycle of issues. I tend not to use causal modeling—or statistical “explanations” in general—instead relying on more “interpretive” forms of understanding (della Porta 2008). verbal actions (e. and the way in which this was framed. the more protest tends to remain bounded at the local level.280 Mobilization (whether verbal or not) in the mass-mediated public discourse.. I will use the data mainly in a descriptive way. only a couple of the most radical ones gained the attention of the national public opinion (Baglioni 2003). First. Focusing on public discourse as represented in printed media does not imply that this is considered to be the only arena where claims are presented. sometimes reaching the regional press. the issue addressed. Taking all these caveats into account. In particular. While some of the selection biases (such as greater coverage for events that involve large numbers. the form of the claim.1 The weaker the actors. try to use it in order to make their views public. Additionally. This is due in part to the characteristics of the data: although the database is large. Of the weekly marches of the Neapolitan unemployed. The use of the daily press as the source of information on protest or public discourse has been criticized on the basis of the selection biases introduced by the rules of journalistic coverage. its target. The sampled issues were read and searched for claims on unemployment that were then coded along dimensions including the claimant. and Sweden for the eight years between 1995 and 2002. and that most actors will. France. Germany. I aim at: (1) conceptualizing the different forms that these protests can take. Other information gathered for the UNEMPOL project is presented throughout the paper. In fact. I shall focus on the protest on unemployment. Given the mentioned biases. the United Kingdom. or adopt innovative means) are systematic. I shall triangulate the information coming from the claim analysis with that coming from different sources. especially with regard to information on the most “powerless” actors. I present details coming from a qualitative reading of the articles we have coded in the UNEMPOL project.g. the number of protest claims is too limited for multivariate analysis. but much more rarely receiving national coverage. I refer to some interviews carried out in Milan with social movement organizations focusing on “precarious workers” (della Porta and Mosca 2006). the UNEMPOL project covered Italy. at one stage or another. I will refer to the small but significant social science literature on this mobilization. some actors are less dependent upon mass media. but as an image of those that succeeded in overcoming the threshold of media attention. distinguished according to their degree of disruptive- . use violence. I assume that the printed media is one of the most important arenas of public claim making. This means that we shall not consider the protest we find in our newspapers as a reflection of actual existing conflicts. in turn. and protest/direct democratic actions that were. and can therefore be taken into account in interpreting the results. and (2) developing hypotheses on their specific characteristics. as well as from case studies of some mobilization campaigns. My objective here is in fact mapping. Switzerland. we shall limit the risk of selection bias by explicitly focusing on public claim making. Additionally. as well as the relatively low number of protests in our database. The categories for “action forms” have been aggregated into the following broad categories: political decision/executive actions. In what follows. Finally. However. I thought this was a better strategy in order to control for the shortcomings of a source that is quite limited. Given the valuable but scattered information on the protest of the unemployed. others are less able to influence the mass media and therefore need to resort to alternative communication channels. This emphasis upon triangulation is also related to the aforementioned methodological choice in the use of the data. communication events such as press releases). as they enjoy direct access to decision makers. including data collected from interviews with actors active at the local and national levels on issues of labor and employment policies. Although dealing with a quantitative database. Selecting one quality newspaper per country.
As mentioned in the presentation of the French protest against unemployment. this coalition perceived the emerging debate on the social dimension of the EU as a window of opportunity. I will look first at the actors involved. First. holding hands (girotondi). A low number of protests led by the unemployed themselves is no surprise. different actors (from workers against dismissals to the long-term unemployed. in Italy we recorded: • 20. takes various forms of action. transnational coalition involving Trotskyite and Catholic groups. the unemployed are said to have low self-esteem. encircle the Fiat buildings in Turin in order to protest against the dismissals of Fiat workers • A representative of the Italian union CGIL marching in Barcelona with other European unionists against a proposal that would increase flexibility in the labor market • The Disobedients. against dismissals • The Neapolitan No Globals marching in solidarity with the Fiat workers • Fiat-Mirafiori workers blocking the Tangenziale road of Turin • The Disobedients launching a boycott campaign named “Robin Hood” against Fiat • The European metal workers proclaiming a Fiat European Day of Action • The Committee of Fiat workers’ wives occupying the Termini railway station in Rome • The mayor of Termini Imerese starting a hunger strike. and trade unions—among the latter.000 Fiat workers marching in Rome against dismissals • Six casual workers in Termini Imerese occupying a Fiat building. Additional illustrations of the broad range of actors mobilized against unemployment can be found in our UNEMPOL database. from the moderate vigils to the road blocks) to put forward the cause of different categories of the unemployed (from the long-term unemployed to those at risk of dismissal). followed by the forms and content of claims. Notwithstanding the high costs of mobilization. the French Confederation General du Travail (CGT). “most research converge in indicating that the loss of a job is translated into a perception of a . asking to be hired • Fiat workers in Melfi picketing the factory in order to protest against dismissals • 150. Focusing on the first months of the most recently covered year.Transcending Marginalization 281 ness. the mobilization of the unemployed is traditionally considered particularly difficult. new social movements. to be continued until Fiat will rehire the fired workers • The Ivrea bishop calling for a vigil of praying and fasting in order to avoid the dismissals at Fiat • Workers of Termini Imerese blocking the activities of the Melfi Fiat factory In these events. which involves various actors. WHO PROTESTS AGAINST UNEMPLOYMENT? The French wave of protest on unemployment can be taken as an illustration of the complex nature of protest on unemployment. and targets different institutions. The resources for the mentioned European marches came from a heterogeneous. 2002.000 workers marching in Naples against the proposed reform of a labor rights law that would make dismissals in small factories easier (article 18) • Demonstrators. and the German Deutsche Gewerkschaftsbund (DGB)). a coalition of self-managed youth centers in squatted spaces marching in Rome. Our quantitative data (see table 1) report on a small percentage of protests—the most radical—organized by the unemployed themselves. from the mayors to the bishop) use various forms of action (from traditional union strikes to boycotts. and therefore to be less inclined to build a collective identity around a condition perceived as stigmatized. and finally at the political opportunities for the development of protest on unemployment. the Italian Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro (CGIL). As Olivier Fillieule (1993: 128) reminds us. side-by-side with Fiat workers. or at least by groups that represent the unemployed.
. . highway. especially in protest against mass dismissals versus protest against longterm unemployment or even juvenile or female unemployment. in France in the 1930s the union CGTU (Confédération Génerale du Travail Unitaire)—which claimed to organize 10% of the French unemployed—called in 1933 for the 60. sense of guilt. but also giving a sense to it: participation has indeed been defined as more social than political (Maurer 2001). .” Being that the status of the unemployed is stigmatized and stigmatizing. I was angry. founded in 1978 in Marseille after a wave of dismissals of harbor workers. activism offers an occasion for not only occupying the “empty” time. took part in the mentioned wave of protest in the 1990s. Usually.282 Mobilization personal identity considered as shameful. Nevertheless. In order to mobilize. well we showed them that we exist . In a comparison of protests in the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1930s. In this sense. the very existence of those protests has been explained by the willingness of the unions to mobilize (Richards 2002). it is usually in periods of sudden massive unemployment that they appear more active on the issue. airports. but also in Argentina.000 people “hunger march” from Lille to Paris (Tartakowski 1997). but did not know what to do with it and there I saw other angry people that put their anger together. even in groups of the unemployed. and even if we were unemployed. In these cases. our data indicate a strong presence of unions. therefore. Marginal until 1989. after the wave of protest against the closure of the docks of the Bouche-du-Rhone. who are perceived as an element of weakness of the occupied labor force. then becomes an instrument to transform desperation and anger into action: This is what the movement gave me. The representation offered by the organized unemployed group has a “direct impact on the conditions for the formation of collective action. of their sociability” (Galland and Louis 1981: 175). Also our database shows that coverage of unemployment protest peaks when there are waves of mobilization against dismissals. . well. you could do both . lacking previously existing schemes” (Maurer 2001: 39). In 2002 it was especially the Italian Fiat workers that made news by blocking traffic to a number of locations (the harbor. if not as potential strikebreakers. had nothing to do in the society. and this jeopardizes the possibility of a collective identification with unemployment (individualizing strategy) as well as the political representation of unemployment (fatalism. The mobilization of the unemployed thus requires the development of a collective identity that “is based exclusively on the symbolic and cognitive work developed during the mobilization. who have a low propensity to join unions. and that we could organize a movement (Maurer 2001: 101). that they told us again and again. The Comités chomeurs of the union CGT. For instance. etc). Unions. The difficulty in constructing resources for mobilization among the unemployed accounts for the important role played by potential allies. the unemployed perceive themselves to be virtual workers. . the CGT unemployed committees numbered 500 in the beginning of the 1990s. Mobilization. Indeed. when unions do get involved. and responsibility for unemployment has to be assigned to a political authority. as noted by one unemployed individual. sense of being powerless). with a return to door-to-door mobilization as well as actions beyond the factory. leaders of the unemployed were often former industrial workers with experience organizing (Petras 2003). Unions have been an important actor in some waves of protest on unemployment. First of all. former unionized workers play an important role by promoting a work ethic. are potentially more available to mobilize against mass dismissals and factory closings than in favor of the long-term unemployed. Not only in France (Maurer 2001). and this is even more true for unemployed for whom the question of identity stays at the heart of their social situation. identifying with their previous condition as workers (Fillieule 1993). During these struggles there was often a change in the unions’ strategy. social relations in their environment. especially from large factories or important companies. they lack that positive self-definition of the us that facilitates the development of a collective identity (Galland and Louis 1981: 177). unions have an ambivalent attitude towards the unemployed. however. an injustice frame has to be created.
this group had the support of various charity-based and depoliticized religious groups. the poor. in particular the youth squatted centers that had indeed networked with the Disoccupati organizzati (groups of the long-term unemployed) in and around Naples (see Baglioni 2003). Mouchard 2000). living at the periphery of the large city. even in the vocal forms of protest. but reflecting also a positive attitude towards creative work and nonworking time. more or less allergic to the capitalistic productive discipline. however. these groups preferred helping poor people through charity. Members of the Italian group The Disobedients would indeed subscribe to the declaration of one of their French counterparts: “We know some lazy people. An example of this type of organization is the French Syndacat Chomeurs. Activists of the New Left parties and groupings have indeed often offered resources of militancy to the mobilization of the homeless (Pechu 1996) and migrants (Simeant 1998). capable of strongly committing themselves to associational. In the example quoted earlier. these organizations have increasingly resorted to advocacy. The list of the Italian protest around the Fiat controversy in 2002 points to the convergence.2 Nevertheless. New Left groups started to focus on “powerless” groups. and organizing mass sit-ins (for instance. Jobs are not the only source of social existence” (quoted in Mouchard 2000: 103). namely. NGOs. founded in 1982 by Maurice Pagat. Asking in the beginning for a reduction of working time (to a weekly 32 hours).” presented as a way to adapt to a new phase of production characterized by high levels of unemployment. By 1996 AC! had 150 local collectives. In the beginning. during the wave of protest.Transcending Marginalization 283 occupying factories. Third-sector organizations. left-libertarians started to mobilize against xenophobia as well as various forms and degrees of “marginality” in the large cities. intellectual activities . other civil society organizations mobilized by left-wing social movement organizers. simply. AC! moved toward a claim for a “guaranteed salary” after the entrance of the group CARGO (Collective d’Agitation pour une Revenue Garantie Optimal). In this area. the organization would join the more politicized AC! AC! represents the emergence of yet another type of actor on unemployment issues. With the welfare state restructuring. himself unemployed and with experiences in religious associations. Mouriaux and Vakaloulis 1998. these types of actors emerged especially in the 2000s. among which are migrants. . single mothers. much first-help relief to poor people has been contracted out (or. The Italian protesters in 2002 blocked railways and highways. in the Colosseum in Rome). such as Emmaus. Unions are not the only actors that mobilize in solidarity with the unemployed. and charities are often involved in the support of marginal groups: immigrants. as well as occupied harbors and airports. Similar examples emerged in our coverage of other countries as well. FORMS AND CONTENT OF CLAIMS: HOW DO PEOPLE PROTEST? There is the expectation that—in protests of the powerless—the forms of action tend to be quite disruptive. militant. imitating the piqueteros of Argentina where.3 Later. or that help to mobilize them. in the 1990s. not generic solidarity (see also Maurer 2001). left) to a more and more organized third sector. coming from the autonomous groups of the 1970s and rooted especially among the precariously employed youth. . Traditionally. of the traditional union-led anti-dismissal mobilization with protests led by the activists of the global justice movement. In our research. a group founded in 1993 by CFDT unionists that had been expelled by or left that union after its recentrage in 1986 (Béroud. . Squeezed between the needs of their constituency and the frustration of budget cuts. Since the 1960s. etc. political mobilization is motivated by political consciousness. Another important organizer of protest against unemployment is nonstate welfare organizations and groups. the “shift to the left” is present especially in AC!. artistic. The activists of the movement for “another globalization” brought into the protest on unemployment the demand of a “guaranteed salary. in August 2001.
As for Germany.3 1840 Actor Unemployed 1.4 1.2 96. at an Italian database with a similar research design but comprised of different topics (Europub. but also to build upon a long past tradition.3 91. monetary policy (1.6 10.000 unemployed shut down 300 highways (Petras 2003).2 23. Mobilization of the unemployed follows in part the tradition of direct-action unionism (Chopart et al. While they represent the minority of claims (the majority being verbal statements). com).2 0. The more symbolic forms of protest are also quite innovative. This form of action— copied by the French unemployed who distributed their résumés in the FNAC. asking to be hired—follows the tradition of land occupation by jobless peasants.1 15.8 5.5 3.1% as violent forms of protest. symbolically representing the hardships of the unemployed and at the same time sensitizing people at the local level. 1998: 72): they chain them-selves to the gates of major institutions.6%).0 6.3 3.7 7.1 4. converging on Paris from the provinces. for instance.3 3380 2.5 1023 0.9 11.3% as confrontational protest. 1. protests on unemployment are still more prominent than protest events in other domains.5 20.284 Mobilization 100. protest accounts for 9. in order to capture the attention of distracted mass media.7 9.26*** (*** = significant at 0.5% of those on Table 1. If we look. protest on unemployment should not necessarily be considered as a rare event—at least not in all countries and in all periods.3 5.1 88.1 0.7 3. conduct flash interventions against eviction.7 56. While the data do indicate that most of the action on unemployment is quite conventional.7 84. In fact. As mentioned by Herbert Reiter (2002) in his analysis of the protest of the Florentine unemployed after the Second World War. with a slightly higher 3. it can be seen that claim makers used protest very rarely on European integration (1.7 0. All these forms tend to break with the tradition of modern industrial action by bringing the conflicts outside the factory and involving the community in solidarity strikes and boycotts (Piven and Clowards 2000).5 1473 0.3% in the form of conventional protest. Forms of Action by Type of Actor (%) Action State Actors Parties Labor Employers Political Decisions Verbal Statements Conventional Protests Demonstrative Protests Confrontational Violent Protests Total Protests (all forms) Total N 16.6 0. the protestors resorted to a “self-creation of jobs” (or “collocamento simbolico”).5 4.9% of the events coded on agricultural policy and 3.1% of all claim making: 4. and only 0.8 75. are reminiscent of the hunger marches of the pre-war period: processions walked long distances. and pension (1.3 4.9 33.4% as disruptive protest.4 9. hold demonstrations.1 8930 Cramer’s V = 0. entering into factories and firms and starting to work.2 3.5 0.4 1.2 5.9 127 0.6 64.2 15.3 890 6.0 79.7 78.6 82 Welfare Other Civil Total Associations Society Groups (all actors) 1. As can be observed in table 1.8 0.001 level) Source: UNEMPOL database on claim making .0 5.0 3.2% of the coded claims). it has been noted “the main form in which unemployed actors enter the debate compared to other actors is via protest” (Zorn 2004: 6). The “star marches” of the French unemployed and the Europe-wide marches.5%). and occupy public buildings. our activists also mimic some repertoires of action of a quite distant past. 3.
and transportation are often voiced during protest marches or sit-ins.26***) testifies to a statistically significant and relevant association between the two variables.9% of their reported claims are made as protest).7 4.2 3.5% of their claims are of this type).0 72.7 989 3.3%.3 165 Others 8.001 level) Source: UNEMPOL database on claim making .0 109 Total (all issues) 6.7 12. on Germany. We can add that the form of claim making changes together with the specific issues addressed in the claims. Demonstrative forms of protest especially address issues that relate more directly to the constituency of the unemployed: claims for doles. but also parties): employers and parties focus almost exclusively on verbal statements (respectively. Thus. training.8 4.4 5. there is relatively significant protest.3 6.6 5.3 80.8% and 33. Baglioni 2003. and judicial action). although.2%) on education (della Porta and Caiani 2005).4 1. protests by the unemployed are “far from only mentoring only mentioning the material well-being of the unemployed” (Zorn 2004: 18. demonstrative (such as marches or sit-ins). on Naples).9 11. Issues of individual insertion into the labor market (active measures. and also use disruptive forms of action.5 3.4 9. referendums.5 0.8 949 12.0 63. moreover. • More powerful actors do not need to protest in order to have their claims covered in the press (see business associations.2 1. they also use the most disruptive forms of action (at least among the covered events). respectively). as well as the very broad field of socioeconomic issues.2 1. formation.Transcending Marginalization 285 immigration with a more significant jump (11. are Table 2.5 8.3 4. housing. issues of welfare and social benefits—that is more those issues that are more directly related with the unemployed constituency—are those on which protest forms are more widespread (12.7 84.0 3.6 87. confrontational (such as occupations).6 33.8 3.8 81. protest accounts for by far the most important part of their claims (75. using forms of action with different degrees of radicalism.12*** (*** = significant at 0.0 4. • Although protests conducted by the unemployed are rarely covered in the media. Forms of Claim Making by Issue of Claims (%) Form Issue SocioIndividual Issue Related to economic Welfare and Insertion into the Unemployed Issues Social Benefits Labor Market Constituency 4. • Unions are very relevant actors in protest on unemployment (20. and even violence. A quick look at table 1 shows that different actors tend to use different forms of actions: the correlation coefficient (Cramer’s V = 0.). Additionally: • The contention on unemployment reported in the press is mainly symbolic: verbal statements dominate with 84.0 0.5 4. in comparison with other policy issues.1 1. • Third-sector associations often act as advocates for the unemployed (33.3% of all claims.2% of their claims have this form). protest takes different forms: conventional (such as petitions. 96.2 25. etc.5% and 91.6%).0 8930 Political Decisions Verbal Statements Conventional Protests Demonstrative Protests Confrontational and Violent Protests Total (all forms) Total N Cramer’s V = 0. we can say that.4 6718 15. Moreover. As we can see in table 2.
Additionally. often of juvenile unemployed. who demanded a 32hour workweek. so also do the experiences of the unemployed. First of all. Sentiments such as these pushed the organization to reorient their strategy towards demands for urgent interventions on costs of transportation and lodging.” the mock saint protector of precarious people. 1998. and the long-term unemployed. Another difficulty for the development of collective actions by the unemployed is in the process of the cognitive restructuring of the action fields: as the conditions of the unemployed vary. Indeed.’ In the afternoon our unit placed desk chairs in a strategically important point. finding a job. the presence of different agencies and policies facilitates splits in an already weak community.” May 22. A similar tension between struggling against unemployment and refusing the traditional ethic of work is present in the mobilization of the young.286 Mobilization are more often addressed though verbal statements. The first task for those who organize protest on unemployment is indeed offering to all these groups a common collective identity as the unemployed. As observed in the Italian case. the better it is” (quoted in Maurer 2001: 75). The correlation between forms of action and issues of claims is. however. especially by welfare states that tend to privilege the male adults as family breadwinners. but also by strong political identities. is just a way to pay for your food and a roof”. and those who adapt to it. In fact. age. for sure. looking for reinsertion into the labor market. at a union march. they would not want to struggle for a job” (Durand 1981). that’s too longterm of a perspective” (quoted in Mouchard 2000: 97). As Reiter’s research indicates (2002). Also in the French wave of protest. casual workers organized in the Italian campaign of “San Precario. With drinks and music we started immediately our program: well-being” (information from “tageszeitung. especially in welfare states that privilege the breadwinners. “beyond the diversity of their situations of unemployment. stating: “You are kind. with strong tensions in the definition of a collective identity. . one unemployed individual addressed AC! activists. The French campaign presented above confirms that the content of claims represents difficult strategic choices in the mobilization against unemployment. quoted in Zorn 2004: 4). ethnicity. but reducing working time. there are also often splits within the “protest milieu” between the previously employed. etc. Pugliese 1993). . who later joined the organization. there is a bureaucratic fragmentation of the category of the unemployed on the basis of the specific policies addressed to them: gender. that helped them avoid the frustration coming from unemployment: “working is. A provocative case is represented by the “Glücklichen Arbeitslosen” (happy unemployed) in Berlin who. the previously employed are those who are usually more protected. previous labor experience. not my passion”.de. even though statistically highly significant (Cramer’s V = 0. The success of the French protests was signaled by the capacity of the unemployed.12***). and a new generation. to be able to form a social group capable of challenging any government and break the consensus that dominates the French scene” (Combesque 1998: 187). while the unemployment of male adults is more likely to mobilize attention. weak. “me. the “unemployed cannot struggle in order to defend their collective identity: the most active among them would indeed refuse it. the less I work. Regarding these characteristics. being mainly compensated for within the family (Reyneri 1996. In AC! a fracture emerged between the more politicized founders. symbol of the protest. and www. the unemployment of young people and women rarely generates social alarm (or protest). . “working . there is a tension between long-term perspectives of economic reform and the needs for immediate relief. For instance. stressed: “On the occasion of the visit of the Rhenish fundamentalists from Cologne we planned together a ‘coup against the Prussian working morale. demanding immediate relief programs. who refuse the work ethic.diegluecklichenarbeitslosen. the Florentine unemployed protest of the post-war period weakened when the former soldiers parted ways with the “common unemployed” in the hope of getting some special treatment. as well as the international campaign on May Day (della Porta 2005). the younger activists were often characterized by casual work experiences. On the framing of the mobilization.
Do they constitute a homogeneous social entity or are they something less than a social entity. involving deep societal changes. . not only in Milan” (della Porta and Mosca 2005: 11). This is particularly visible in the organizations that emerge from within the global justice movement. p. so income becomes even more important than the work (int.): We started to talk about social temporariness. Generally speaking. 1. quoted in della Porta and Mosca 2005). it seems more and more influential. the persons were between 25 and 30 years old and did not say “I have been hired. Agrikoliansky. In fact. Many of our reference points. in the sense that the new workers were not hired. and this problem is reflected in both labor organization and in trade-union activities.” casual workers (Mattoni 2006). PROTESTING WHERE AND WHEN? POLITICAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR UNEMPLOYMENT PROTEST In the different forms of protests highlighted above. they have themselves to mobilize resources for action. with whom we are working on these issues. Today we must ask ourselves what workers really are. see Maurer and Pierru 2001.Transcending Marginalization 287 It is especially in this type of protest that the symbolic relationship with labor as a basis for identity building is challenged. For them the main question is not fighting temporary work and having a stable job. but rather stable security in a temporary situation. p. the protest on unemployment in France in the 1990s or in Italy in 2002 rose from the networking of different. . 8. housing. For example. especially in protest that demands rights for the “precarious. but signed Co. on the British unemployed in the 1920s). In Naples. etc. The message was extended to all working categories because we realized that this process of increasing job insecurity was involving not only the commercial chains but also the other types of companies. quoted in della Porta and Mosca 2005). who mobilize on the condition of “precariousness” with the diffusion of temporary work in the commercial chains (Blockbuster. . . a variable status throughout time? . the first peak in the struggle of the “organized unemployed” coincides . especially young people. . and Mayer 2005). Although this type of approach toward unemployment might affect only a minority. I found a job. which are income. 3. etc. as the representative of the Italian metallurgic union Fiom observes. . have a different opinion. made possible especially during the cycle of protest (Tarrow 1989). The action on temporary work spread from labor issues to everyday life: “Saint Precario has five axes of security. So there is this big problem of what labor is. Fillieule. . the peak of the struggle of unemployment followed two waves of mobilization on the “social question”: the massive strikes of 1995 against the restructuring of the welfare state (followed by the cheminot strike in 1996-1997). framing labor issues within an emerging discourse on another possible world. meeting with the “temporary workers” challenges the traditional approach to labor: We used to say that some parties represented the working class or the workers from the point of view of their social rank. So within these five themes there is always a kind of affinity with others. . As noted by a representative of the Italian Chainworkers. heterogeneous groups (see also Hannigton 1973.Co. and the wave of mobilization of the “mouvement de sans” with the sans-papiers (migrants without documents) protest. the strength of the mobilization comes from the networking of the various groups and forms of action. [Collaborazioni coordinate e continuative— coordinate and continuous collaborations] contracts. as well as those of the homeless in various moments during the nineties (sans-logis and mal-logée. In France.” but “I have a temporary contract” (int. More than from single organizations. access. love and friendship. The challenge to the conception of labor is perceived in more traditional organizations as well.Co. many and various organizations bring to the mobilization “the culture of collective action and the knowledge of the militant rituals and practices” (Mauer 2001). and services. 1. McDonald’s.
Considering these examples of collective action on unemployment by heterogeneous groups. della Porta 1995). protest is even more frequently reported at the supranational level (16. The Europeanization of protest has often taken the form of domestication: pressure on national authority in order to redress policies at the supranational (EU) level (Imig and Tarrow 2001). the statistical association is highly significant. protest on unemployment is indeed an example of externalization: the EU is called upon as an additional level of opportunity. however. The stress upon political opportunity challenges the “breakdown” approaches that link protest to grievances.11***). It is.8% see table 3). and della Porta and Caiani 2005). but only by a slim margin. while another wave followed the recent mobilization of the global justice movement (Remondino 1998). With few exceptions. it is important to address the question of how opportunities for the development of such networks come to exist. while the unemployed did mobilize in Italy where unemployment was massive (Reiter 2002). Research on social movements has usually linked the cycle of protest with the opening of windows of opportunity (Tarrow 1989. In periods during which unemployment is a major social problem. Within this background. but instead asked for a different social and political EU (Chabanet 2002). it is thus remarkable that. reported protest) does not much address the supranational level is no surprise. the degree and forms of mobilization are. this attention paid by the protestors to the EU level can be interpreted as a sort of “preemptive” Europeanization. a form of externalization dominates. Kriesi et al. Here as well.8%) that at the national (11. historical research has indicated that. Research on protest events. see Kerbo and Schaffer 1992). compared with other forms of claim making. Given the low EU competency on employment issues. at the regional level that protest is covered the most. as well as their capacity to mobilize political allies. and of political decentralization and regionalism on the other. on the United States between 1890-1940. however. in order to address issues that are perceived as no longer under the control of the nation state (see also della Porta 2003.288 Mobilization with the urban movement of the early seventies. In Argentina. assuming instead that—in a complex society in which discontent is always alive—mobilization occurs when resources and opportunities for the aggrieved groups are available. and public employees unions (Petras 2003: 133). 1995. but substantively weak (Cramer’s V = 0. influenced by the openness of political institutions towards protestors. AC! declared: “A ‘social France’ was never given spontaneously by capitalists and gov- . usually based on newspaper sources. Demonstrative forms of protest are especially present at the supranational level— where we have found instances of protest in both of our narratives on France and Italy—but other forms of protest are also present. the organizations participating in the march did not reject European integration. That protest (at least. see Bagguley 1991: 85. there was no mobilization on unemployment in France. A first wave of mobilization on unemployment developed during a time of economic depression between the two world wars (see Richards 2002). as there was a large demand for workers (see Tartakovsky 1997). collectives of university students. the piqueteros allied with the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo (the mothers of those who were killed during the dictatorship). Although transnational and local conditions are expected to be more and more relevant due to the phenomena of globalization and Europeanization on the one hand. stresses the scarcity of actions that directly target European institutions on such different issues as migrant rights (Giugni and Passy 2002) or environmental protection (Rootes 2002). since the mobilizations and communications of national actors target the EU directly in an attempt to place pressure on the groups’ own governments (Chabanet 2002.5 In our case. After the Second World War. although the amount of protest is not directly correlated with unemployment rates (on the United Kingdom in the 1920s and 1930s. instead. As Didier Chabanet (2002) suggests.4 mobilization for the unemployed is indeed sensitive to labor market cycles. also in this isses). On specific issues such as unemployment. national political opportunities are still expected to play the most relevant role.
while it is more frequent at the local and. the most disruptive forms of action are those of the unemployed themselves. a social Europe will come only from an active and united intervention of European workers” (Salmon 1998: 218). etc. not mutually exclusive.2 16. that protest is still mainly oriented towards the nation state. And. explanations for this tendency towards a “communitarization” of unemployed struggle. In a similar way. relatively homogeneous barrios hit by the massive firing of factory workers and the privatization of mineral and energy centers.8 2683 Scope of Target Regional/Local 14. the Comité de chomeurs organized at the local level. the issuing of special programs for underdeveloped areas. In France.7 11. where we also find a relevant number of protest events.3 95. First of all.9 3515 Cramer’s V = 0.g. most of the disruptive protest by the unemployed comes from committees of the organized unemployed that are deeply rooted —as their very names often indicate—in specific neighborhoods (such as the historical Comitato di Vico Cinquesanti). in absolute terms. notwithstanding the star marches converging upon the capital. the national levels. more disruptive forms of protest target instead the local level. protest is.3 1. Forms of Claim Making by Scope of the Target (%) Form Supranational Political Decisions Verbal Statements Conventional Protests Demonstrative Protests Confrontational and Violent Protests Total (all forms) Total N 6. as Fillieule (1993) observes.3 2.0 4. first of all. . Successes at the local levels (the rehiring of fired workers. to where in a “dual state” the distribution of subsidies and services is often devolved. who have fewer resources to invest in the construction of national organizations. Our data confirm. This can be explained by the fact that. protest on unemployment develops in a field that is highly structured by public institutions. the local ASSEDICs have indeed been targets and stages for the protest of unemployment associations with a focus on immediate needs (Bourneau and Martin 1993: 172).0 300 Total 6.4 3. welfare institutions are indeed decentralized at the local level.1 7. as was already noted.3 4.3 0.2 8..7 4. This is all the .6 7.8 250 National 5. especially.4 81.7 0.6 4. In Italy.Transcending Marginalization 289 Table 3.) are important for maintaining and building organizational momentum by showing that protesting helps to achieve material results. local politicians can offer support to unemployment protest within the community.8 76. our case studies on the protest of the unemployed indicate the important role of local specific conditions (e. a rare event at the supranational level.6 Our narratives provide some. While conventional forms of protest are concentrated at the national level.4 11.1 282 Unknown 2.9 66.11*** (*** = significant at 0. . using them in a double-level game to put pressure upon national authorities.8 2. the special law for the reconstruction after the earthquake in Naples) in the construction of community-specific organizational resources for the unemployed. . Also. Moreover. As can be seen in table 3.9 82. as the hunger strike of the Termini Imerese’s mayor illustrates. research on the unemployed movement in Argentina stresses the role of local communities in supporting the road blocks and city camps organized by the piqueteros in quasi-segregated. In France.9 2.001 level) Source: UNEMPOL database on claim making ernors.3 4.4 5. But.5 19. accompanied by closures (Petras 2003: 128).
9 0. even though Germany in the period we cover is a country with dramatically increasing rates of unemployment and strong political controversies on the reform of the welfare state.1 0.2 3. of other groups in the public health sector. but not particularly strong.9 2.1 23. in France.1 7. unions have intervened among the unemployed. the occupations of local ASSEDICs resulted in the allocation of a special Christmas dole (Salmon 1998: 206). but usually in the form of training and other types of help more than of protesting (WolskiPrenger 1998).7 0.14*** (*** = significant at 0. is the situation in Sweden.2 2.0 77.0 1.4 4.6 9.0 5.” In order for this to happen.4 1. The mobilizing slogan of the protest has in fact long been “the struggle pays off.0 8930 Cramer’s V = 0. as well as the reform of the mechanism of job distribution (Pugliese 1998). .3 0.5 5. to modify the perception of the unemployed about their mobilization potential. which is by far the most common target of protest on unemployment. In Naples.4 85.0 790 Country Italy 12. protest of all types remains limited in a public sphere where verbal declarations are by far the dominant form of claim making. They encouraged the unemployed to struggle for their rights.3 2019 11. Since at least the 1980s. Forms of Claim Making by Country (%) Form UK Political Decisions Verbal Statements Conventional Protests Demonstrative Protests Confrontational Protests Violent Protests Total (all forms) Total N 5.0 0. we can assume that national opportunities are indeed going to explain the degree and forms of mobilization.0 92.2 10.1 3837 Sweden 9.1 9.14***).0 0. where not only the unemployed appear as politically isolated (Bugguley 1998).1 950 Germany 2.9 0. Similar to that in Germany. it is quite common that fathers tell their children that ‘to get a job you have to join the unemployed organizations’” (Baglioni 2003: 8).7 84.3 4. correlation coefficient: Cramer’s V = 0. although with less dramatic rates of unemployment.1 8.0 13.0 5.9 2. In both countries. “the association in defense of the unemployed . the hiring of the first groups of the organized unemployed as public employees in the local administration.290 Mobilization more important for poorly endowed groups. the relevance of national institutions in orienting the strategies of collective actors (with a highly significant. A cross-country comparison of protest on unemployment confirms (see Table 4).3 0.6 76. . that the degree of attention to the issue of unemployment does not directly affect the coverage of protest in the press.5 583 Total 6. “in the families.0 5. local actions on immediate relief policies have often been successful: in 1994. at least for some time.” At the national level.3 0.3 2.” According to a Neapolitan activist.2 90. in fact.1 2. all contributed to the framing of protest as a successful strategy. “it was necessary to show the unemployed that they had real chances for success. the organization of courses for professional training. Table 4.4 0. We can observe. neocorporatist assets in industrial relations might have discouraged politics in the streets.1 3.7 2.7 4. As Royall (1998: 362) observes.5 750 Switzerland France 10. Protest is also low in the United Kingdom. and convinced thousands of them to mobilize.3 0. but also in the period covered the dynamics of the labor market are quite different from those dominating Continental Europe.001 level) Source: UNEMPOL database on claim making . first of all.9 65. was able. Also. Indeed.
In fact. Although the unemployed have often been stigmatized as lumpenproletariat in some left-wing orthodoxy. supported a reduction of the working day as well as a guaranteed salary. and convince. that mobilization against unemployment would be stronger under right-wing governments (perceived as opponents. In Naples. a left-wing government in Italy was likewise responsible for introducing the reform that increased flexibility in the labor market. while later an AC! banner would read. As protestors often stress. and thus weaker) than under left-wing governments (perceived as allies). exclusive tradition in both countries. protesters often target attempted reforms even by left-wing governments. this is by far not the only example. the parties of the left have supported the mobilization of the unemployed. the left-wing splinter faction founded after the demise of the Italian Communist Party. the temporary decline of the movement of the organized unemployed in the mid-1970s has been explained by the failure to mobilize support on the Left: “There was the need of more stringent forms of collaboration with the labor movements and its organizations as well as other skills in order to negotiate with the institutional counterpart” (Pugliese 1998: 196). and the Musteite’s Committees. The appeal to public opinion through a strategy of scandalization is indeed visible in the French illustration. left-wing parties have offered resources and support in several waves of protest following mass dismissals and economic depression. and declined after the desertion of these important allies (Kerbo and Schaffer 1992. The hypothesis. Rifondazione Comunista. 1995). “against misery. in the 1930s in the United States. might well explain why protest finds more opportunities to develop in these countries. that offered material support to the unemployed in their interactions with the welfare institutions (Bourneau and Martin 1993). France and Italy are those countries characterized by the highest rates of confrontational protest. While in Switzerland the tradition of inclusiveness moderates the forms of protest (Kriesi et al. In the French mobilization of the 1990s. The presence of a fragmented union scene in all three countries. the higher disruptiveness in Italy and France reflects instead the more polarized. “how can you sleep when an unemployed commits suicide?”7 In Italy. Political opportunities can also be considered in terms of the availability of alliances. the opportunity for protest on unemployment seems more and more related to public opinion support. This was the case. Traditionally. Again in the French case.Transcending Marginalization 291 We find instead much more reported protest in the other three countries. for instance. a success during the first struggle by the unemployed came from their capacity to address. more than by the support of left-wing party alliances. where protests were organized by Unemployed Councils supported by the Communist Party. A few decades later in Italy. engaged in autonomous grassroots social organization and independent politics” (Petras 2003: 130). In France. does not always hold for the mobilization of the 1990s and the 2000s. This was indeed the case for the protest in France. In fact. present in social movement literature (della Porta and Diani 2006. Valocchi 1990). thanks to the alliance with part of the union movement. l’Information et la Solidarieté. If the Socialist-led government was indeed accused of a neoliberal turn (Bourbeau and Martin 1993: 172). . desperation that produce suicides always more numerous among unemployed” (in Fillieule 1993: 142). ch. public opinion. the involvement of the wives of the dismissed Fiat workers in the protest against unemployment points to the disruptive effect unemployment has on the moral bases of the society. a leaflet of the organization Partage reads. oriented against a left-wing government (elected in 1997) that wanted to reduce the budget for urgent relief policies. loneliness. a visible role was played by the Association pour l’Emploi. the Socialist Party. reacting to a perceived betrayal. while France and Switzerland have the highest rates of conventional and demonstrative protest. Community (and public opinion) support has been noticed in the evolution of the Argentine piqueteros “from passive sufferers of poverty and social disorganization and clientelistic manipulation [into] activists in a powerful solidarity movement. 8). as well as in the Italian one. supported by the PCF. with left-wing trade unions especially visible in France (Gallie 1985) and Italy (della Porta 1996).
• Protest actions on unemployment (and labor policies) within more general cycles of protest: these are forms linked to general cycles of protest (at national or local levels). This article focused on the existence and the heterogeneity of protest on unemployment. . oriented to stress the “absolute injustice” of the position of the unemployed. together with the evolution of the labor market. changing the multitudes of initiatives in a movement with national amplitude” (Maurer and Pierru 2001: 388). • Protest actions against massive dismissals: these tend to involve the unions. protest on unemployment involves loose local alliances of unemployed organizations with unions. but also unions and parties.) and highly symbolic forms of protest (hunger strikes. I have stressed. or various types of voluntary associations. the framing of the issues of labor changes.). as well as by allied social movements. Moreover. that involve left-wing social movement organizations. As for their repertoires. Additionally. three different constellations emerge that future research can address more systematically: • Protest actions on long-term unemployment: these are community-based forms of protest that involve NGOs (secular and religious) and left-wing political activists. welfare organizations. and to be oriented towards political exchange (ad-hoc solutions).292 Mobilization Media coverage also helps in “synchronizing local actions. etc. In order to reduce this bias. as left-wing parties move decisively to the centerright. In general. Opportunities for protest on unemployment are influenced by some political characteristics as well. and that use a variety of direct forms of action to push for political solutions to labor market problems (reduce flexibility. in particular. hunger strikes. restates the importance of social dynamics for political protest. Organizations of the unemployed might collaborate in different forms in the different constellations. I have also pointed at some peculiarities of these different forms vis-à-vis protest on other issues. these same groups had helped with the creation of a Comité chrétien de solidarité avec les chomeurs (Fillieule 1993). and other forms of action with high symbolic impact. It also focused on the intertwining of protest on unemployment with other issues during cycles of protest. the status of unions. we based our coding only on the factual coverage of events in newspaper articles. in addition to focusing on quality newspapers (that have to protect their reputation). protest on unemployment tends to assume some typical forms: occupations of working places. from the more sporadic and disruptive outbursts of the long-time unemployed. long marches.). without taking into consideration any potential comments or evaluation made by the journalist. however. Linking observations made in different parts of this article. to the better-structured protest against dismissals. 2 Notably. CONCLUSION Although rare. the unemployed turn to public opinion as a potential ally for their cause. Finally. occupations of welfare institutions dealing with unemployment. reduce working time. especially during cycles of protest. protest on unemployment nevertheless does exist. and that are oriented towards obtaining policies of immediate relief for their constituency. as well as the traditional assets of industrial relations. and voluntary associations. NOTES 1 Protest event analysis is also criticized because of its description bias (McCarthy et al. will affect the chances of protest. Organizationally. left-wing political groups and social movement organizations. 1996). that protest is the only resource through which the unemployed themselves occasionally enter the public sphere. etc. that make use of direct action (road blocks. as well as actions other than protest on the issue of unemployment. Other allies do emerge. protest on unemployment is often carried out by unions (especially on dismissals). to use a mix of mass protest (marches) and traditional forms of industrial action (from strikes to occupations). etc.
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