Apr 142000
 

Confronting Globalization

for Communities Confronting Capitalist Globalization

University of California, Santa Barbara, CA

14-16 April, 2000

14 April, 7 pm, Corwin Pavilion.

Hello. I’m very happy and very honored to be here with you tonight. And, of course, I am tremendously honored to be speaking with such distinguished activists. So, thank you.

 

(we are winning)

 

On Monday as I was frantically trying to finish writing this talk in my office before leaving to come here, I got a string of hysterical telephone calls from community members saying “NPR did this terrible story that the people in DC are all vegans who don’t shower.” And what I said was “well, yes, that’s because we’re winning.”

When I arrived in Seattle on November 26, I sat with the weekend edition of the main Seattle newspaper. “The WTO Pull-Out Guide” included, to my shock, our arguments against free trade – pretty accurately! And then went on to say “it’s going to be very hard to park”. And the newspaper boxes had these on them. “WTO Guide” Realize that this is an organization that worked very hard to be secret. We have, as Lori Wallach says, “drug it out into the open where everyone can smell it.”

On the eve of Seattle The Economist journal if you don’t know it, it’s a blind bastion of neoliberal economics announced that globalization is not inevitable. This is very significant in the light that the forces for globalization have been using every resource to convince people that it is inevitable. So we have moved to a whole new level of analysis and dialogue now.

And Vandana Shiva said on November 29, “the first colonialism lasted 500 years, the second in the form of so-called ‘development’, lasted 50 years, and this one, ‘free trade’, lasted only 5 years.”

We have not yet beaten GMOs & the MAI (or any other acronyms, for that matter), but we have set them back, startled on their heels while building the space and critique, and very important new movements. When I am asked to speak about Seattle, I tell many stories that are intense and terrifying and exhilarating, but what was most moving to me was how proud I felt to be contributing to a struggle that is being led from the third world. The most significant analyses, positions, and visions have come from the third world.

And proud as we are of Seattle, the largest protests have been in the third world. Resistance to Narmada dam, GMOs, and the WTO in India have been the largest movements since independence. There are huge and constant protests of privatisation in Latin America – way back in 1998, there was a march of 50,000 in Brazil in which people converged from four points on Brasilia, the capital. Costa Rica just had a general strike and in Columbia public employees had a 24 hour strike to protest free market reforms. According to World Bank estimates, China is facing 49 million layoffs as public sector employment is privatised and streamlined. Recently a big strike of 20,000 laid off mine workers and their families was repressed by the army.

In Bolivia, as you may have heard, the government declared martial law this weekend because people are resisting privatisation of the water system – indeed the government has sold the urban water system to a private subsidiary of Bechtel corporation. There was so much resistance that the government first agreed to break the contract, then declared martial law and, presumably, intends to honor the contract. They invited the leaders of the resistance to a negotiation and then arrested them.

As you know, many many sectors are resisting: [VIDEO] “they went against too many people at once”. But the resistance to the WTO/IMF/WB institutions, is not the whole movement. I’m going to give you a whirlwind tour of the thousands of movements all over the world which are fighting globalization and corporations.. If you want to know more about any of these, just let me know and I can point you in the direction of more information.

Rather than talk about movements one at a time, I have several themes to bring to your attention, that inform us about the nature of these new movements. I am going to talk about first world movements a little bit, because a few cool new tactics have been developed – not so much here, but in Europe. But I want to emphasize that my research indicates that the center of this emerging global movement of resistance is third world, both politically and intellectually. And there is great clarity in the third world about connections between structural adjustment and free trade, they call it “neoliberalism”.

 

And this leads to my first theme, which is Praxis

 

One thing we’re really seeing in the global movement against free trade & neoliberalism is the re-emergence of praxis – the acknowledgement of the interdependent, and necessary relationship between scholarship and activism on these issues. The globalization elite are keeping us busy, they keep coming up with more acronyms and more things we have to analyze. Even just trying to keep track of where they’re hiding the MAI is a lot of work.

The International Forum on Globalization is made of 60+ scholars from nineteen different countries and the work of their members is basically the intellectual leadership of the movement both in terms of analysis and proposals. At their Seattle teach-in the IFG acknowledged that it was Chakravarthi Raghavan first and also Martin Khor who basically made the analysis of the WTO and educated the first world scholar/activists like Lori Wallach. Raghavan and Khor work with the Third World Network, based in Penang, Malaysia which is the best and most up to date source of information that I know of.

And if you look at the IFG roster, there is not a single scholar who is not an activist. They are constantly joking about getting arrested at the World Bank. And we saw them in the streets on the lines in Seattle.

And what are they saying? What do they think globalization is?

 

2nd theme Is that older movements are doing important reframings of the issues.

 

Human Rights organizations are increasingly campaigning against specific corporations. Human rights watch dates this shift to 1995 & they were already being coopted by 1996. The protests of Shell and Standard Oil in Nigeria are typical of these. Environmental groups are having an increasingly difficult time working with corporations. So even the Sierra Club now is recognizing the need to directly target corporations.

As environmental organizations have begun working with indigenous people, they have developed more complex alliances and more anti-corporate perspectives. Campaigns to protect the lands and sovereignty of indigenous people almost always confront timber, mining, and other energy corporations. Defending forests in the third world is all about defending indigenous people. We get it now.

The U’wa people who live in Colombia are threatened by Occidental Petroleum and are threatening mass suicide if the project goes forward because it is such a total threat to their communities. Apparently four national legislators who are indigenous are now on indefinite hunger strike and there has been injunction against the Oxy project but of course they are appealing.

In the US, Canada, and Europe the last five years has seen the growth of a set of organizations which are explicitly anti-corporate. They collect and disseminate information on particular corporations and how to fight them. They analyze the false promises of jobs and increased choice and develop alternative policy proposals which would constrain corporations like “3 strikes you’re out for corporations” and revoking their charters. We are hoping that they will help us fight off ConAgra and WalMart from Loveland. This framing of the whole idea of “anti-corporate” has brought together small businesspeople with social justice activists and it has been a very powerful new frame.

 

3rd theme is new forms of internationalism.

 

(Debt relief.) As I’m sure you are aware, the international debt relief campaigns have been making progress lately, with many first world governments agreeing to forgive debt. Now the proposals are utterly inadequate because they still require structural adjustment, but it’s pretty incredible that it’s happening at all. The movements’ successes include new mobilizations of faith communities in the North. All over Europe there have been protests of 70K, 50K, 30K. Faith communities are also involved in the South, and new coalitions have been built, such as at last year’s South-South summit, which the articulation of perspectives from the south such as “we don’t owe you, you owe us!” and demands restitution and reparations for the damage done by debt.

In the third world, more direct resistance to structural adjustment is commonplace. “IMF Riots”.

Fair Trade is another 1st w solidarity movement. The big one of these movements is the European consumer movement in support of the Lomé Convention, which preserved a small quota in the European banana market for producers from former European colonies. The WTO, at the behest of Chiquita via the US, has struck down this small protected market, with devastating consequences for the mostly tiny, independent producers in the Caribbean and elsewhere. The irony here is that the US produces no bananas, and yet there we are taking a case to the WTO on behalf of these Corporations which make massive profits off of exploitation of third world workers and lands.

Labor movements are of course becoming more international, are expanding into new sectors like doctors and engineers, and new kinds of community support are emerging, such as the United Students Against Sweatshops campaigns. Monday morning the students at CU-Boulder took their resistance to the next level with a shantytown occupation.

Here are the leaders of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. Every day I get news of strikes, and of brutal police repression. What happened to us in Seattle is happening to democratic movements around the world every day and, unfortunately, the police elsewhere have even less restraint. A hotel workers union in Manila has been violently attacked many times. These stories come every day. On March 15, they were attacked while receiving a Holy Mass in a public area.

I want to show you a really short video clip here, which i think is important, because the left seems to have some confusion about Labor’s participation in this movement. As usual, we have to distinguish between the leadership and the rank-and-file. We may have some concerns that the leadership is not serious about the environment and international solidarity, but the rank-and-file in Seattle seemed to be quite serious about it. [VIDEO-2 speakers] “For any worker anytime any where”. “if they were going to pay them it would be ok”.

movement in resistance of genetic engineering: Americans are the subject of a massive experiment, but fortunately the rest of the world is much more aware of these issues than we area. People are resisting Clinton’s efforts to extend this genetic experiment worldwide. Farmers and consumers all over the world are resisting. There has been a great deal of direct action, uprooting the crops and even finding the GE seeds and destroying them. This direct action began in the third world, then moved to Europe & the US. When the entire sorghum crop failed in India, ruining 1000 families last year, farmers destroyed 18 tons of seed. During a demonstration, the regional Monsanto director invited them to negotiate. They said they had nothing to negotiate, he should just remove the company from India.

These struggles have been very well-coordinated internationally and have achieved legislation in many countries in order to protect both genetic diversity and consumers. The group of like-minded countries led by the African activists are holding firm on the position that there shall be “no patents on life”. The new convention on biosafety was on the face of it somewhat of a victory, but the most important piece of it is that it will not trump the WTO, so it, like other international accords, will be moot.

There’s some good news. Last week a Swiss insurance company issued a report which indicated that genetic engineering was massively under-insured and questioning whether insurers will be willing to deal with what they call “exposure to long-term risk”. And Monsanto has lost 1/3 of their stock value, which is being blamed on the biotech division. What’s interesting is that they’re not backing off. Consumers are making it clear they don’t want to eat the stuff, farmers are complaining, nations including Mexico & Thailand are banning it to protect indigenous plants from pollution, but Monsanto et. al. under new aegis, is forging ahead with commercializing the “terminator” and “traitor” technologies. These are the technologies that the US Dept of Ag, in its role as co-applicant for the patent, cited not a single agronomic benefit and said that the only purpose of the technologies was to stop 3w farmers from saving seed.

One of the most significant of the new internationalism is the forging of the “Group of like-minded nations” established in Feb 99 at Cartagena talks on biosafety protocol, which, under the leadership of the African scientist, Dr. Tewolde Egziabher, is insisting upon “no patents on life”. This group, which was forged over biosafety and biodiversity concerns in the 3w is now hanging together at the WTO and resisting strongly new issues being brought into the WTO, with increased firmness since Seattle. So new 3w alliances are very important.

 

4th along with this new internationalism, there are new multi-issue alliances

 

Peace, Environmental, and Human Rights movements have been around for a very long time, but they are really embracing the new movements. One thing that is interesting is when I go back and check out what’s going on with movements that I first looked at in 1995, they are really converging. Peace and human rights movements have totally embraced both anti-ge and anti-fta. Sem Terra, the land reform movement in Brazil has also committed to destroying GE crops.

This is the new constituency for fair trade – sort of Central American peace movement people. And the relationships that have been built in sister-city kind of 1stw-3w work have been the basis for “fair trade” relationships.

And I have a story to illustrate this. I went to a Jubilee 2000 training in Denver, because I thought it would be good to learn how to talk to people in churches and so forth. And here is this room full of white women with long grey hair, aging hippies, basically. And they have been peace movement people and so forth for 20 years. And we get going and they are running it down to me on the difference between bilateral and multilateral debt and they are totally with it. And I felt that this is really impressive that they have slowly accumulated this analysis in more first world oriented movements and here they are really standing forth on the need to cancel the debts.

Another telling indication of the extent to which people are converging on an analysis and perspective is that everywhere there is unconditional support for the Zapatistas. This is an armed, revolutionary, non-reformist movement. And you cannot find anybody active in these movements who is not completely in support of the Zapatistas and advocating for them. Supposedly Peoples Global Action, which brings together peoples’ movements in over 70 countries resisting globalization, was formed at a Zapatista encuentro.

ActUp is challenging corporate power in the pharmaceutical area and WTO policies regarding AIDS drugs in Africa and the larger struggles against corporate power. And the ActUp contingent at the DC protests was wonderful.

 

(Democracy)

 

The word ‘democracy’ is omnipresent in this movement, and I’m starting to lose my sense that I understand what people are actually referring to. When people are interviewed in the streets and they say ‘democracy’, I wonder, you know there are a lot of kinds of democracy that are not enough for me. But there are several very exciting ideas about what it means that come from these movements against globalization.

One of these has been the student strike at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, which began in April 1999 and is ongoing. The military retook the university but the struggle continues. They are demanding decision-making power in their institutions, and maybe we should do so too! They are creating their own media of communications, their own curriculum, and recovering this festive culture of resistance. The Southern movement for debt relief is also working out new forms of democracy: they are designing structures for civil society to participate in post-debt relief policymaking in parallel with existing goverments.

The Zapatista movement in Chiapas Mexico is not only insisting that global justice is possible, but insisting that indigenous peoples’ perspectives ought to inform it, and they are experimenting with participatory mass democracy.

The European anti-Free Trade movements have taken the form of Reclaim the Streets Parties and these have become the form of the massive protest movements such as Seattle. They call it “Carnival Against Capital”. When WTO Ministerials are held or the G8 meets, not only do people blockade the meetings in the cities where they’re held, they take over the streets and party all over Europe. [S-RTS poster] And as this protest form took the streets of Seattle the message was communicated as “this is what democracy looks like” – it’s messy, it’s happy, it’s creative, it’s fun, it’s diverse, it’s the people in the streets making a new life.

 

It’s a global youth movement

 

[VIDEOclip seattle: Labor guy saying “These young people out here today, it’s their future that’s being traded off by global corporations that frankly don’t give a shit what happens to them. People are fed up. They understand.”

All over the world, youth are playing very important roles in these resistance movements. The n30 protest in the Narmada valley was organized by a youth group. Youth were on the front lines in the Bolivian general strike over privatisation – elders built roadblocks. We’re also seeing that youth are very good at being multi-issue. The European squatters are also the core of the anti-fascist movement in Europe, both East & West. They even take direct action against deportation prisons and other repressive state apparatus.

Youth participation means several things. One is a flowering of direct action tactics. For first world youth, this is an incredible opportunity to do something meaningful. They are very, very serious about direct action. They are also very creative, and the idea of a party is really catching on, with beautiful puppets and performances. Lots of drumming & dancing [S-our drummers, S-the line] Those people are dancing. [VIDEO – dancers]

Adbusters is another great example of the creative cultural work that’s being done. Re-writing corporate messages in what they call “subvertising”, I think the ‘sub’ stands for subversive, not subliminal. Here’s one Here’s a Reclaim the Streets subvertisement from London. In Seattle, they bought these billboards, and they also had a 30-second tv spot.

Another youth group is cyberpunks, who have developed mechanisms for disrupting computer-based systems, by hacking messages in and also by flooding, which will shut down web sites. Hactivists of the Intercontinental Cyberspace Liberation Army claim to be waging “netwar” against the Mexican Government. Now you probably have some idea about whether you think this sort of thing is going to be effective. At least we can understand it as one component of disseminating critical analysis and making the movement fun.

 

(what is globalization?)

 

Now I want to move to a different part of the analysis, which is to talk about how these movements understand globalization and what do they propose as an alternative. What is globalization? The conceptualization that is increasingly agreed upon by activists from all over the world is that globalization is the process through which multinational corporations are taking over more and more of the economy. Everywhere in the world, small-scale farmers, small producers, and small merchants are finding that multinational corporations have got a stranglehold at some part of the production process so that these smaller businesses can barely make it.

In the third world, where tiny farms are the sustenance of billions of people, the green revolution has farmers indebted and dependent on agrochemical corporations and credit. When commodity prices drop slightly, these farmers’ tiny margin disappears and they lose their land. In India, small scale oil producers are suddenly faced with a packaging law which will drive millions out of business ¾ markets which will be scooped up by multinationals selling packaged oil. In the US, beef farmers have no choice but to sell to two companies because they have bought up all the slaughterhouses. When IBP refuses to pay enough for beef, there go more and more American farmers. These processes are being repeated in nearly every sector of the economy and in every country of the world.

This process is the destruction of independent livelihoods. And what it creates is landless cheap laborers. As people lose their livelihoods, they become doubly dependent: we are dependent on corporations to provide jobs and to provide the basic goods that we need because we don’t produce them ourselves and in our communities any more. This dependency makes us exploitable. The historical precedents for this system were the Enclosures that began in the 1400s in England and colonialism. Many third world scholars of globalization, have found that the best way to understand globalization is to examine it as a process of colonialism – which was reflected in that quote from Vandana Shiva that I read earlier in which she refers to the three phases of colonialism.

Let me just give you one example from the first colonial era which should help you understand why this is a useful way of analyzing globalization. The British East India Company used military force and taxation to drive people off the land and then force them to work on cotton plantations, they shipped the cotton across the sea to where they could best exploit cheap labor to spin the cloth in the mills of England, and then they banned the production of cloth in India and required Indians to buy cloth from them. So what you see is that they were controlling the land, they were controlling production, they were controlling different kinds of labor, and they were controlling markets. They also were working with the military and that is an important piece of globalization that not enough people are working on, and I include myself in that criticism.

I mentioned that the colonial company somehow changed the laws. This leads to one of the really special things about this period of globalization and it is that the corporations have put a lot of energy into getting ahold of the law making power for the whole world at once. The World Trade Organization is a very sophisticated mechanism which basically takes away the right from nations, states, and localities to independently determine their own laws. Officially, it’s only “trade-related” laws that are subject to its purview, but what we are finding is that all kinds of public-interest laws have some indirect impact on corporations activities, and therefore are apparently an undue burden on them. The WTO also handily undermines international treaties.

But the WTO is not the only mechanism for changing laws. As Catherine Caufield points out, all of the policies for forcing open and controlling markets were developed through the Structural Adjustment Programs of the World Bank and IMF. Thus the third world has already been pressured to change all kinds of laws, forced to privatize, deregulate, open the economy to imports, devote incredible resources to export, and so forth. These policies serve no one but corporations. And it is because of the absolutely disastrous effects of these policies in the third world that people have been fighting to shut down the World Bank & IMF and we will continue that struggle in April in Washington DC. In Bolivia, Oscar Olivera was quoted as saying “we’re questioning that others, the World Bank, int’l business, should be deciding these basic issues for us.”

Just quickly, I want to address those of you who may have a Marxist perspective and who are wanting me to be using some different terms here. What the scholarly component of this international movement against globalization has pretty much agreed to is that a critique of capitalism is really not sufficient to understand what is going on. A critique of capitalism does not account for the problems of growth-based economies, extraction from the periphery, and colonialism, which are very important critiques being made of the whole globalization process. Moreover we are defending small-scale livelihoods, which Marxism has usually abandoned to the past.

In Europe the Reclaim the Streets parties are called “Carnival Against Capital”. Here they’re called “Carnival Against Corporate Rule”. If we look underneath the titles, and check out what folks are talking about, it’s fundamental political economic change. Our constituency, which is coming from nearly all social sectors understands corporations as the problem and it makes a lot of sense to use that particular naming of the enemy. My friend Sean Robin said “you know I think when we talk about ‘transformation’ we’re basically talking about what they used to call ‘revolution’.” “Globalization from below” is basically new language for “workers of the world unite”, we just gotta get with the new lingo.

 

what alternatives are being proposed to globalization?

 

Another important activity of this movement is articulating alternatives to globalization. They respond to the claim “There is No Alternative” with the insistence “There Are Thousands of Alternatives”. And we are now beginning to debate those.

Many first world groups, as you know are calling for “Fair Trade, Not Free Trade”, by which they mean that 3w workers should be paid better for turning their subsistence crops into export crops and that human rights laws should be enforced in factories that still alienate labor. In other words, the first world can go on consuming the land, labor, culture, and so forth of the third world, but with a cleaner conscience and with at least some protections for the physical survival of future generations. This sort of approach leads to arguments that these international institutions should be reformed in some way, that they are necessary and useful, just imperfect.

The first world so-called “progressive” perspective is that the WTO could be used as a mechanism for enforcing standards for labor and environment. We must understand why the third world perspective on these issues is different. Martin Khor summarizes it by saying “it turns the victims into culprits”. This is not merely about elites wanting to exploit their own people, which may be true in some cases. So long as they are chained to the global economy by debt, the 3w must export maximally. Through the old GATT, they received some benefits through tariff reductions on their exports, but there was not the broadscale pressure to liberalize. Their willingness to implement the WTO agenda of liberalisation has been dependent on the promise that 1st w would open markets. As they have liberalized and opened their own markets, the 1st world has not reduced import tariffs significantly, and so since the third world is getting little benefit, they are resisting further liberalisation. They are resisting international labor standards for the same reason: They cannot afford any more restrictions on exports. The WTO is “not the proper forum” for addressing child labor because it is debt, not trade, that creates it.

The notion that trade can somehow be made “fair” not only offers up justice as something that firstworlders can consume, like “new designer colors”, we have “fair traded coffee”, it simultaneously disguises a refusal of justice because in all the most important ways it changes nothing about first world/third world relations. This can easily be demonstrated by examining how critical third world scholars theorize their catastrophe: dependence, debt, colonial relations, invasion of markets, commodification, and EXPORT.

The alternative that they present is a return to smaller scale economies with international trade only in luxury items, not in basic needs. Economies should prioritize production of basic needs and only when those have been produced should they devote any land, labor, or resources to export.

Via Campesina, the international farmers movement, is saying “Everything good produced in our land is for somebody else. The cheap imports we eat have no nutritional value. We reject the export model.” The Korean Confederation of Trade unions is saying that policy should protect & promote small and medium enterprises. They also have a strong alliance with farmers, who the KCTU credits with being the main force in opposing indiscriminate liberalisation ¾ and what liberalisation means in Korea is the “phasing out” of ag in exchange for some market access for industrial exports. 20,000 farmers recently protested. Incidentally, Gore is warning US youth not go onto farming, because we’re going to “phase it out”. We’re going to give up protections & subsidies in ag in exchange for liberalisation of gov’t procurement in the WTO, which means they plan for us to import all our food from the third world. I have a bunch of sons of cattlemen in my class right now and they are saying the same things that third world farmers are saying.

The 50 years is enough debt relief network is proposing “small-scale community solutions that promote economic self-reliance”. A union trying to organize at WalMart has also indicated support for small retailers who WalMart drives out. The land reform movements are saying that dependence on markets or subsidies for food endangers community sovereignty. For indigenous people, sovereignty and self-determination is the most important thing. Every indigenous declaration you read, including the recent Seattle Declaration, says this. Increasingly peasant organizations are saying the same thing. The adivasis in India refused to let a WB representative speak to them. They said “dialogues had only the object of betraying, misleading, and deceiving adivasis whille pushing through commercial & industrial interests.” This isn’t the first example I’ve given you of movements that are putting their foot down, refusing reform, refusing the whole institution. And these organizations are refusing totally, and demanding the destruction of the WTO, IMF, and WB. These institutions have no place in a mostly-local economy, there is no need for them. They only exist to facilitate corporate colonialism, thus there is no point in reforming them.

These movements are saying that community is an alternative to globalization! [S-markets] They are recovering old instititions like public markets and defending the small-scale independent livelihoods which used the markets. The Third UN of the Peoples in Parugia in 1999 emphasized support of informal sector economies, self-employment, and food self-sufficiency. The Indigenous Peoples’ Seattle Declaration says that indigenous people have viable alternatives to the dominant economic growth, export-oriented development models. Their alternatives are based on traditional knowledge, cosmologies, collectivity, and traditional forms of sustainability.

Another sector contributing to this vision is anarchy. A lot of the grown-ups in the anti-FTA movement are denying this, but it is these youth movements which are providing a lot of the work and creativity that makes the movement possible. When we were in Seattle, it became clear to our group within about 24 hours of arriving that the way the whole thing was being organized was according to explicit anarchist principles of community and self-organization. And what we and everyone else experienced was that model working! It was because hundreds of creative, self-organized groups did so many different things that we succeeded in our goal in shutting down the meetings. The European component of Peoples Global Action is heavily anarchist.

One of the more interesting projects, which should be of particular interest to Marxists is decommodification. Opposition to neoliberalism takes the form of decommodifying land all over Latin America, and also in India and the Philippines. The Brazilian orgnanization Sem Terra organizes displaced smallholders, urban workers, and farmworkers and has managed to settle over 200,000 families. [S5] They use land invasion and occupation as well as legal challenges to get control of land. In another piece of multi-issue work, Sem Terri has vowed to destroy GE crops. Some of the interesting things about this movement is that modernized workers, urban people, are claiming their rights to land, to be agricultural. Look at the images from the Sem Terra web page. Interestingly, in China, modernized workers are having a similar reaction. With the growing awareness of coming liberalisation and privatisation, there is a saying “the happiest worker is one who married a farmer’s daughter because he can go back to the land.”

Some less explicit challenges to commodification of land include squatter communities, [S-tenants rights] which refuse to surrender their lands to the private market. These exist all over the world and are an important part of the political youth movements in the Europe and US.

[S-tripod] In Britain, challenges to land use take the form of popular anti-roads campaigns, which challenge growth and sprawl. British movements originated the tripod as a method for blocking the road. They propose recreation of commons resources, organizing land use around maximum employment, and protecting the availability of land to gypsies and other travelers. A US technology is the Greenbelt, which makes a regional analysis of commons resources, and establishes boundaries on urban growth in order to protect both farmland and greenspace.

Cyberpunks believe that radio waves and internet belong to the public and so they challenge corporate ownership of them with high tech direct action. This is international. I have a friend who just spent a couple of years in Brasil and he would cal me from these “liberated” pay phones.

Of course many of the movements resisting structural adjustment and liberalisation are resisting the first steps of commodification and privatisation. I mentioned at the beginning some indications of third world resistance. There is also resistance in Europe to the first world form of structural adjustment. In 1997, Irish anarchists were important in organizing resistance to the commodification of water and sewerage services, the bills became uncollectable. They went around and physically defended people from water shutoffs.

Another very valuable contributing sector is sustainable development: For like 30 years now, people have been really documenting traditional systems as well as developing new ones and we have lots of well-worked-out models for local production of energy, low-tech waste systems, growing food of course (even in cities), using local building materials. Cuba’s own unique Green Revolution has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that organic is a viable method for feeding whole nations. We now know that small farms are more productive than large farms all over the world.

The cutting edge of the organic movement in the US is called “community food security” and it is reeducating charity-hunger organizations to build community gardens, farmers markets, long term financial relationships between farmers and communities, various ways to help low-income communities have secure access to high quality, healthy food.

Analyzing our own foodshed is the beginning of building independence from the global economy. This is, simultaneously a way of ensuring food security for the poor and of taking the first world’s boot off the neck of the third world. If we can limit our consumption to what we can produce, this will free up third world ag land from export production. And there’s a great brand new book that works out this proposal, suggesting that the first world should re-orient around subsistence-based economies. It’s by Maria Mies and it’s called The Subsistence Perspective.

Sustainable development approaches to decommodification include rebuilding commons resources like public access fruit orchards. In fact, one of the direct actions in DC is going to be guerilla gardening, described as “revolutionary infrastructure designed to seize the imagination by illustrating viable alternatives to the present madness.” The message also includes a critique of the agricultural effects of liberalization in the 3w. They have this media guide that says “violence? rioting? We’re planting sunflowers!”

Analyzing the foodshed is a good beginning to rebuilding local economics. There are a lot of other really good tools. Community currencies are sort of a way of re-teaching people how to barter. They keep wealth in the community and they build relationships. People are suggesting looking at the old craft guilds as a model. Guilds required that workshops be open so that the community could keep an eye on the labor and production practices that were going on there. The youth DIY, Do It Yourself, movement, has produced a model of small enterprise that is explicitly anti-profit, politically anti-capitalist, and culturally anti-corporate. Some good books on this, one by Richard Douthwaite, called Short Circuit. Great book by Tim Lang & Colin Hines, called The New Protectionism ¾they recommend constructing policies that “protect the local everywhere” from global economic predation.

If we don’t like the way this global economy is going we can resist it and so can any country. What will it take to survive the wrath of the global economy? Cuba provides a precious model. In order to survive it is necessary to be independent of imports and exports. It also helps to have some allies. For this reason the emergence of a new solidarity among third world nations is precious to their survival. Regional alliances can be very important, but again, they will have to be independent.

In addition, the primary mechanism by which the third world is locked into the global economy is debt. Thus the international efforts to release the debt will open an important possibility for another kind of economic restructuring. But they are not waiting for first world help, the word from the South-South summit last November was “don’t owe-won’t pay”.

As Americans we must challenge ourselves to take our boot of the neck of the first world. This means that we must challenge our standard of living, insofar as it is based {1}on the resources and cheap labor of the third world and {2} on exploiting them as export markets for our glitzy stuff. We really are in the worst shape in terms of rebuilding community-based economies. We’re so dependent, we don’t produce anything for ourselves any more. We have a lot to learn. But we can definitely do it. Beautiful young people who are teaching me to grow food. And elders are teaching me how to build community.

Any country can resist globalization and structural adjustment. The response to corporate colonialism is sovereignty, everywhere.

I’d like to end tonight by taking a minute to acknowledge the people who are preparing to put their bodies in the way of the IMF & World Bank on Sunday & Monday in DC. We should be very proud of our friends who are willing to do this, and we should also recognize the much greater risks that third world people must face in mounting such demonstrations every day.

And lastly, I need to apologize to you. My students have had a very difficult time understanding why I was not going to DC, and a few days ago I began to not be able to understand it. I realized that I cannot ask them to put their bodies there unless I also do so and so I need to be there. Unfortunately the only flight I could get departs LA tomorrow quite early, but I will stay here all night if necessary to meet and talk with you before I go.