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By Sandra Harris

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Extra info for Being Politically Impolite: Extending Politeness Theory to Adversarial Political Discourse

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So as to illustrate this rigidity as well as the regime’s political opportunity structures, I consider the ‘water wars’ in Cochabamba. This is the much-celebrated case of a popular movement expelling profiteers of water privatization in Bolivia’s third largest municipality. What is not usually recounted is the second half of the story concerning a US$50 million investment claim launched against Bolivia by a subsidiary of San Francisco-based Bechtel Corporation. After examining an investment tribunal’s initial decision on jurisdiction (authorizing the investor to move forward so that a tribunal could consider the merits of the claim), I trace an unprecedented campaign by a coalition of local social movement actors, the Bolivian state and NGOs operating in the global North that triggered the withdrawal of the investment dispute.

What emerges in their account is a ‘class struggle’ without limit as ‘capitalist development is faced directly with the multitude, without mediation’, without the mediating role of national political systems, that is (2000, p. 237). ) giving rise to a revolutionary counter-empire of the multitude. The multitude is both a productive and de-territorializing force with unprecedented mobility. This is in contrast to the geographically bound labour power of the old nation-state system. The multitude’s penchant for mobility, Hardt and Negri write, ‘indicates a real and powerful search for freedom and the formation of new, nomadic desires that cannot be contained and controlled within the disciplinary regime’ (2000, p.

430), Wolin turns to local associations that politicize the public aspects of our daily lives (Wolin, 1989, p. 81; 2008, p. 291). He has in mind those groups that fight for low-income 22 Resisting Economic Globalization housing, safer water or control over toxic waste dumps, for example (Wolin, 1994, p. 24). Though valorizing forms of politics denigrated by the trans­ national legal order (usually characterized as particularistic or rent-seeking), he discards in the process the political unit that has both capacity and jurisdiction to fight back with some effect.

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Being Politically Impolite: Extending Politeness Theory to Adversarial Political Discourse by Sandra Harris


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