[Marxism] An anarchist calls the anti-globalization movement dead

Jurriaan Bendien andromeda246 at hetnet.nl
Thu Jun 17 11:06:53 MDT 2004

Macdonald wrote:

This well meaning anarchist comrade misses the main point of the
"anti-globalization" movement-- namely that resistance now, not to aspects
such as this or that military adventure or particular corporations (by
themselves) must not only be based on forms of direct action that
demonstrate a way forward both in target and organizing form, but that
resistance must comprehend of itself globally. This global aspect is the
part of our analysis that has been most weakened in the wake of "9-11".

The problem I have with this view is "resistance", and the propagandistic
fabrication of 9-11 as a world-shattering event that change the course of
history so much that we now live in a completely different world. This is

Resistance if fine if your identity and the validity of how you want to
live, is under attack from people who don't respect it or want to rob or
exploit it. But global resistance makes no sense. In fact you can find the
same types of political currents in all countries these days, the only
difference is that they are stronger here and weaker there, and they may
take hold in different sorts of milieus in different countries depending on
the local history and culture. In that sense, global comprehension is
already an accomplished fact. The "creative destruction" of the Internet
only makes it more so. The real issue is different, namely what exactly
should be understood.

The idea that 9-11 represents a qualitative change in world history or
radically changed political alignments in world politics is simply nonsense.
There is no empirical evidence for that.  It is just that the US Government
found in this event a new focus and a new justification to organise foreign
policy around, which is a deeply regrettable political turn because it is a
negative politics which plays on fears and anxieties rather than a politics
based on a positive programme for improving people's lives.

Ever since the end of the cold war, there was no clear "enemy" anymore for
imperialist propaganda - a new "axis of evil" had to be invented, new "rogue
states" had to be branded, an enemy had to be discovered somehow. You cannot
justify mindboggling military expenditures to a taxpaying public unless
there actually an identifiable threat or an enemy to fight. The "demons" and
"bogeys" they invent are just a tool to fool people with.

The reality is that the US elites just want to foster and promote private
enterprise everywhere on earth, often regardless of what the local people
want, and regardless of what the local governments want. It wants to clear
away any obstacles to the further development of a unified world market,
militarily if need be.

But if private enterprise is the solution, then you cannot have any positive
political programme for improving people's lives, because people have to do
it themselves, and the government has no role in it, beyond a caretaker and
policeman-type role. Yet, the reality is that the vast majority of the world
population is not enthusiastic about capitalism, they accept it as
unavoidable, or perhaps as a necessary evil, but they don't get wildly
excited about it. They just see in their own lives that the gap between the
rich and the poor widens, and that rights and gains made in the past are
taken away.

That is what I've called the "ideological" aspect of the historic crisis of
capitalist civilisation (a crisis of values and legitimation), and this is
the necessary consequence of neoliberalism. If the role of the state should
be reduced, as neoliberal theory says, then there is no reason left for why
people should identify with the state at all. The state doesn't do much for
them anymore and consumes vast resources to pursue a policy with which they
cannot identify. That is the problem that Kerry tries to tackle.

But the truth is, that reality as people experience it conflicts with
neoliberal and neoconservative theory in EVERY area of life, without
exception. Thus, while the propaganda is that "the state should get off
people's backs", in reality there is a systematic political attempt to
regulate people's lives more and more, with more and more social controls.
The propaganda says "democracy" but they cannot even organise a fair

In this sense, the pomo discourses about "globalisation" and about 9-11 are
just disorienting. Indeed the very expression 9-11 is a falsification,
because it was specifically the Pentagon and the World Trade Towers that
were hit by the terrorists. They were prepared to sacrifice their own lives
and the lives of thousands of innocent civilians to make this point. But
this is just completely distorted in the media propaganda, basically because
it is believed that any serious consideration of the political argument of
the terrorists would constitute an apology for terrorism. The filthy trick
there is, that the response to 9/11 constitute a much greater act of
terrorism and legal violation, and that this response merely used the 9/11
incident to advance plan B of a policy agenda that was in the political
cupboard already for a long time, waiting for an opportunity.

The term globalisation dates back almost exactly to the beginning of Ronald
Reagan's reign. I recall that, among others, Andre Gunder Frank and Theodore
Levitt were using it in 1981-1983. The term originated out of a Marxist
analysis of multinational corporations and globalised capitalism, in the
specific sense of an international social and technical division of labor in
which, increasingly, different parts of durables were produced in different
countries. But in the 1990s, it became a management buzzword capturing
something about the social consequences of the Internet and deregulated
markets. But in this usage it evades every precise and clear analysis and
can be twisted into anything you like. There are over a thousand titles
available on globalisation and even more articles, and if you sift through
them you will see that the term is taken to mean almost anything to do with
contemporary world trends.

The original Marxist discourse was just postmodernised and taken over by the
corporate and reformist intelligentsia. By buying into the globalisation
sloganeering, socialist politics is disoriented, because the real task is to
pick up from where Marx left off, i.e. the analysis of the state, wage
regulation, the world market, and sub-modes of production (or if you like
transitions within capitalism involving new forms of capital and new forms
of capitalist organisation). The real problem for the anti-globalisationists
is that, just like Bush focusing on anti-terrorism, they have negatively
defined politics to justify the validity of a whole ragbag of political
agenda's, many of which are not even compatible and express very different
class forces. This type of unity is spurious and ultimately opportunist, and
it takes only one significant political upheaval to shatter that apparent

The World is Round. The Flat Earth Society has No Future.


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