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Turbulence is a writing and publishing project made up of seven people based in four countries and on three continents. We first encountered each other within the counter-globalisation movement. Our hope was to provide an ongoing space in which to think through, debate and articulate the political, social, economic and cultural theories of this ‘movement of movements’, as well as the networks of diverse practices and alternatives that surround it.

We didn’t want to become yet another journal claiming to offer a ‘snapshot of the movement’. Instead we hoped to carve out a space where we can carry on difficult debates and investigations into the political realities of our time – engaging the real differences in vision, analysis and strategy that exist among us.

Several Turbulence publications ( 1, 23) are available or forthcoming from PM Press.
Our website is:

Turbulence are: David Harvie, Keir Milburn, Tadzio Mueller, Rodrigo Nunes, Michal Osterweil, Kay Summer, Ben Trott

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What Would It Mean to Win?
By the Turbulence Collective
Publisher: PM Press
Published: April 2010
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 128
Dimensions: 9 by 6
Subjects: Politics, Activism


Movements become apparent as “movements” at times of acceleration and expansion. In these heady moments they have fuzzy boundaries, no membership lists--everybody is too engaged in what’s coming next, in creating the new, looking to the horizon. But movements get blocked, they slow down, they cease to move, or continue to move without considering their actual effects. When this happens, they can stifle new developments, suppress the emergence of new forms of politics; or fail to see other possible directions. Many movements just stop functioning as movements. They become those strange political groups of yesteryear, arguing about history as worlds pass by. Sometimes all it takes to get moving again is a nudge in a new direction... We think now is a good time to ask the question: What is winning? Or: What would--or could--it mean to “win?”

Contributors include: Valery Alzaga and Rodrigo Nunes, Colectivo Situaciones, Stephen Duncombe, Gustavo Esteva, The Free Association, Euclides André Mance, Michal Osterweil, Kay Summer and Harry Halpin, Ben Trott, and Nick Dyer-Witheford.

This edition includes a foreword by John Holloway and an extended interview with Michal Osterweil and Ben Trott of the Turbulence Collective.


"Where is the movement today? Where is it going? Are we winning? The authors of the essays in this volume pose these and other momentous questions. There are no easy answers, but the discussion is always insightful and provocative as the writers bravely take on the challenge of charting the directions for the Left at a time of ecological crisis, economic collapse, and political disillusionment." --Walden Bello, Executive Director of Focus on the Global South

"Turbulence presents an exciting brand of political theorising that is directed and inspired by current strategic questions for activism. This kind of innovative thinking, which emerges from the context of the movements, opens new paths for rebellion and the creation of real social alternatives." --Michael Hardt, co-author of Commonwealth, Multitude and Empire.

"The history of the past half-century and particularly the last decade is as easily told as a series of victories as defeats, maybe best as both. Sometimes we won--and this is what makes the What Does It Mean to Win? anthology such a powerful vision of the possible and the seldom-seen present. The authors of this book connect some of the more remarkable events of the last decade--in Oaxaca, in the banlieus of Paris, in the crises of neoliberalism--into a constellation of possibilities and demands, demands on the world but also demands on the readers, to think afresh of what is possible and what it takes to get there. As one author begins, ‘The new movements embodied and posited deliberate reactions to the practical and theoretical failures of previous political approaches on the left.’ This is the book about what came after the failures, and what's to come" --Rebecca Solnit, author of Hope in the Dark and A Paradise Built in Hell.

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Turbulence 4: Who can save us from the future?
Publisher: Turbulence
Published: September 2008
Format: Pamphlet
Page Count: 64
Dimensions: 7.5 by 10.5
Subjects: Politics, Activism


Today, the very act of thinking about the future has become a problem. What both capitalism and 'really existing socialism’ had in common was the belief in a future where infinite happiness would spring from the infinite expansion of production: sacrifices made in the present could always be justified in terms of a brighter future. And now? The socialist future has been dead since the fall of the Berlin wall. After that we seemed to live in a world where only the capitalist future existed (even when it was under attack). But now this future, too, is having its obituaries composed, and impending doom is the talk of the town. The 'crisis of the future' – that is, of our capacity to think about the future – is born out of these twin deaths: today it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.

With this in mind we've assembled a collection of articles that, in different ways, speak to us about futures. As much as we didn’t want people’s ten-point programmes when, in June 2007 we asked ‘What would it mean to win?’, our interest here has nothing to do with futurology. There are no grand predictions. No imminent victory, because comfort-zone wishful thinking is the last thing anyone needs now; but no apocalyptic doom either. Neither are there any forward-view mirrors where capitalism recuperates everything and always gets the last laugh. We must have the modesty to recognise that the future is unknown, not because today is the end of everything or the beginning of everything else, but because today is where we are. What we do, what is done to us, and what we do with what is done to us, are what decide the way the dice will go. This requires the patient and attentive work of identifying openings, directions, tendencies, potentials, possibilities – all of which are things that amount to nothing if not acted upon – and of finding out new ways in which to think about the future.

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Move Into the Light: Postscript To A Turbulent 2007
Written by: Turbulence Collective
Published by: PM Press
ISBN:  978-1-60486-031-3
Pub Date: July 2008
Format:  Pamphlet
Page Count: 20
Size: 5.5 by 8.5
Subjects: Current Events, Politics


Whether it's the G8 summit at Heiligendamm or experiments in Latin America, the politics of climate change or uprisings in the French banlieues, questions of visibility and illumination crop up again and again. But our experiences create their own luminosity, and their own areas of darkness. How can we overcome our night-blindness once we move beyond the familiar?

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What others are saying...


turbulenceOn ‘reasonability’ in activism and demanding the impossible
Free City Radio
June 22nd, 2014

How can our campaigning both address concrete realities, while also expressing an inspiring ideas and questions that travel way beyond the constricting discourse of spiritually dead politicians that cynically preach ‘reasonable' frameworks, that in reality are shaped by colonial, capitalist violence. Let’s stop being ‘reasonable' to systems that literally refuses to acknowledge our full humanity, or respect the sanctity of Mother Earth.

These questions are visited further, asserted beautifully within an essay included in What Would It Mean To Win? a collection of texts via the Turbulence collective, published by PM Press.

Read more | Buy book nowDownload e-Book now | Back to reviews | Back to top 

turbulenceAfter the Occupation
by Liz Pelly
The Phoenix
November 16th, 2011

For perspective, we turned to Ben Trott, a Berlin-based editor of What Would It Mean To Win? (PM Press, 2010), a book about defining victory for diffused grassroots struggles.

"In some ways, of course, the movement has already won," says Trott in an e-mail. "They've opened up a space for discussion about political and economic questions traditionally left to elites."

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turbulenceWhat Would It Mean to Win Reviewed
Radical Philosophy Journal 169
by Gavin Grindon
September/October 2011

In the UK the Free Association have been a notable exception, with five issues of the irregular publication Turbulence: Ideas for Movement, first distributed for free during the mobilization against the G8 in 2007 in Heiligendamm, Germany, and more recently among the UK's Climate Camp mobilizations. The journal builds a kind of accessible toolkit of post-structuralist materialism which uses broad metaphors (Summits and Plateaus, What Would it Mean to Win?) to open up timely, grounded and practical examinations of the ideas and practices of particular movements. Many of these articles have been collected together in the excellent What Would It Mean to Win?, published by PM Press.

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turbulenceWhat Would It Mean to Win Reviewed
Social Movement Studies Journal
By Bertie Russell
April 2011

The stated aim of these publications is to provide a space ‘in which to think through, debate and articulate the political, social, economic and cultural theories of our movements, as well as the networks of diverse practices and alternatives that surround them’ (see Along with an unpublished interview with two members of the collective and a foreword by John Holloway, Turbulence’s most recent offering brings together two previous publications – What would it mean to win? and Move into the light? – originally published immediately before and after the 2007 anti-G8 protests in Heiligendamm. As such, What Would It Mean To Win? contains contributions from a wide range of participants from social movements in Europe, Latin America, and North America.

turbulenceWhat Would It Mean to Win Reviewed
By James David Morgan
November 18th, 2010

Ultimately, What Would it Mean to Win? does justice to the question mark. A popular Zapatista phrase is repeated throughout – caminar preguntando – to walk while questioning – and this is precisely what Turbulence does. It may typically be victories that offer a chance for the political imaginary to expand, but with What Would it Mean to Win?, Turbulence proves that the same can happen at moments of deceleration, or at any other strange moment in the life-cycles of social movements.


turbulenceWhat Would It Mean to Win Reviewed
By: James O'Nions
Red Pepper Magazine
Dec/Jan 2010

So why publish in book form something that was produced for a particular moment three years ago? There are undoubtedly some valuable articles here. The collective’s politics are the kind of ‘new anarchism’ that has enlivened the alterglobalisation movement – drawing strongly on autonomist Marxism, post-structuralism and the practice of the Zapatistas. Yet the articles don’t remain on a plane of complex theory but, in the main, relate this to concrete problems of organising. They range from a conversation between two union organisers in the US about the ‘Justice for Janitors’ organising model of the Service Employees International Union to analyses of the idea of a basic citizen’s income, solidarity economics and the intriguingly titled ‘politicising sadness’.

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