The thesis explores how European social movements have actively contested that there is no alternative to capitalism by constructing alternative trading practices in solidarity with marginalized peoples in the global South. The study adopts the example of the European Zapatista solidarity network (Redprozapa) to examine the nature of organizations involved in radical political practices. One organization Ya Basta-Milano is focused on to examine in detail the operation of, and challenges faced by, an autonomous political group that engages in solidarity trade. Solidarity and autonomy are the key conceptual themes, which the investigation revolves around.
The research dwells upon the potential importance as well as the limitations of solidarity trade as an emerging form of constructive resistance. It concentrates upon the subject of autonomous spaces that embodies the physical and political context in which autonomous social movements promote their practices. It questions the contradictions met in this environment despite the romanticized idea promoted by some academic literature. Finally, it provides methodological insights about solidarity action research and personal implications of working with radical groups as an activist academic.
Closed access. A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.