The 1990s-2020s: The Millennial Turns and this Decisive Decade, 3/11/21

Photo of a Rainforest Action Network banner drop over Seattle, November 1999
Suren Moodliar

The 2020s may prove to be “The Decisive Decade.” But what are the origins of the movements of these times? And what difference do those histories make today? We often are called to look back to the 1960s for lessons. But what of the 1990s and the movements at the turn of the millennium?

On Thursday, March 11th, starting at 7pm Eastern (U.S., Canada) time, join Bill Fletcher, Jr., Shannon Gleeson, Hillary Lazar, Ben Manski, Suren Moodliar, Jackie Smith, Norman Stockwell, and Lesley Wood in conversation. (Zoom & FB Live)


Recently a group of social movement scholars and activists took up the question of “the millennial turns” - global, democratic, and anarchist - that produced not only the shutdown of the World Trade Organization in Seattle twenty years ago, as well as other major mobilizations of the period, but also many of the elements of social movements that are still in play today. Together the group produced a remarkable collection of studies, essays, and personal accounts of the 1990-2010 millennial period published recently as a special issue of the journal, Socialism and Democracy: “Movements at the Millennium: Seattle +20." Our discussion on Thursday builds on that special issue. Join us!


  • Bill Fletcher Jr. has been an activist since his teen years; after college he went to work as a welder in a shipyard, thereby entering the labor movement. He has worked for labor unions in addition to serving as a senior staff person in the national AFL-CIO and a former president of TransAfrica Forum. Fletcher is the co-author (with Peter Agard) of The Indispensable Ally: Black Workers and the Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1934-1941; the co-author (with Dr. Fernando Gapasin) of Solidarity Divided: The crisis in organized labor and a new path toward social justice; the author of 'They’re Bankrupting Us!’ – And Twenty Other Myths About Unions; and the author of the mystery novel, The Man Who Fell from the Sky
  • Shannon Gleeson is an Associate Professor of Labor Relations, Law, and History at the Cornell University ILR School. Her books include Conflicting Commitments: The Politics of Enforcing Immigrant Worker Rights in San Jose and Houston (2012) and Precarious Claims: The Promise and Failure of Workplace Protections in the United States (2016). 
  • Hillary Lazar is a Doctoral candidate in Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh and holds an MA in History from San Francisco State University. Her research focuses on historical and contemporary anarchism, movement evaluation, and the politics of emotions. She has been published in Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, Anarchism: A Conceptual Approach, and has forthcoming work in Research in Political Sociology. Hillary is on the advisory board for Anarchist Agency.
  • Ben Manski is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at George Mason University specializing in social movements, popular constitutionalism, environmental sociology, and next system studies. He has a PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a JD from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Manski was in Seattle with the education syndicalist group 180/MDE, and was a founder of the Democracy Teach-Ins, Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution, Move to Amend, Wisconsin Wave, and an instigator of the Global Climate Strikes. 
  • Suren Moodliar is the managing editor of Socialism and Democracy, and coordinator of encuentro5, a movement-building center in Boston. He is a co-author of A People's Guide to Greater Boston (2020) and most recently of Chomsky for Activists (2021). 
  • Jackie Smith is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on how globalization impacts people and communities, and how social movements for the environment, health, and economic justice have advanced transformative struggles. She has documented long-term trends in transnational social movement organizations and coalitions, in addition to research on connections between global politics and activism in cities and communities. Smith is currently engaged in participatory research with Pittsburgh and with national human rights organizers and engaged in work to connect municipalities with United Nations human rights work. 
  • Norman Stockwell is the publisher of The Progressive. Previously, for over 20 years, he served as WORT Community Radio’s Operations Coordinator in Madison, Wisconsin. He also coordinated the IraqJournal website in 2002-2003. In 2011, he regularly reported on protests in Madison for Iran’s PressTV and other outlets. His reports and interviews have appeared on Free Speech Radio News, Democracy Now!, and Air America, and in print in Z Magazine, the Capital Times, AlterNet, Toward Freedom, the Tico Times, the Feminist Connection, and elsewhere. He is co-editor of the book REBEL REPORTING: John Ross Speaks to Independent Journalists.
  • Lesley Wood is the author of Direct Action, Deliberation and Diffusion: Collective Action after the WTO Protests in Seattle (2012). Sadly, she was not in Seattle in 1999, but has spent a great deal of time thinking about that event since. She is active in anti-poverty and other movements in Toronto and is Chair, and Associate Professor of Sociology at York University.