Saskia Sassen

Possible Futures, Social Science Research Council, November 11, 2011


Street struggles and demonstrations are part of our global modernity. The uprisings in the Arab world, the daily neighborhood protests in China’s major cities, Latin America’s piqueteros and poor people demonstrating with pots and pans—all are vehicles for making social and political claims. We can add to these the very familiar anti-gentrification struggles and demonstrations against police brutality in US cities during the 1980s and in cities worldwide in the 1990s and continuing today. Then there is the recent huge march of over one hundred thousand people in Tel Aviv, a first for that city, whose aim was not to bring down the government but to petition for access to housing and jobs; part of the demonstration is Tel Aviv’s tent city, which houses mostly impoverished middle-class citizens. Spain’s Indignados, who have been demonstrating peacefully in Madrid and Barcelona for jobs and social services, have now become a national movement, with people from throughout the country gathering for a very long march to EU headquarters in Brussels. These are also the claims of the six hundred thousand who went to the street in late August in several cities in Chile. And in September 2011, the United States saw its indignados call for a literal and symbolic occupation of the street at the center of global finance, Wall Street. These are among the diverse instances that together make me think of a concept that goes beyond the empirics of each case—the Global Street.

View the article here: The Global Street Comes to Wall Street