The anti-austerity movement that emerged in the wake of the 2008 global economic crisis and 2010 Eurozone crisis, and which forms part of the ‘age of austerity’ that came after those crises, was underpinned by a set of ideas and practices that we refer to here as ‘pragmatic prefigurativism’. Whilst the anti-austerity movements typically rejected formal ideologies such as Marxism and anarchism, nevertheless pragmatic prefigurativism can be understood as a ‘left convergence’ of sorts. The paper explores the features of this pragmatic prefigurativism, comparing the anti-austerity movements in the UK and Spain. In particular, we note the role of unresponsive institutions of democracy in prompting the move towards pragmatic prefigurativism, the adoption of techniques of direct democracy and direct action as the means through which to express a voice and to refuse austerity, and the pragmatic nature of the subsequent (re)turn to political institutions when this became a possibility.
Ribera-Almandoz, Olatz; Huke, Nikolai; Clua-Losada, Monica; and Bailey, David J., "Anti-austerity between militant materialism and real democracy: exploring pragmatic prefigurativism" (2020). Political Science Faculty Publications and Presentations. 3.