There are a range of globalisations happening at once all impacting the world in some way. The main types are as follows;
Political globalisation refers to the amount of political co-operation that exists between different countries.
This ties in with the belief that “umbrella” global organisations are better placed than individual states to prevent conflict. The League of Nations established after WW1 was certainly one of the pioneers in this. Since then, global organisations such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), United Nations (UN), and more regional organisations such as the EU have helped to increase the degree of political globalisation.
Social globalisation refers to the sharing of ideas and information between and through different countries.
In today’s world, the Internet and social media is at the heart of this. Good examples of social globalisation could include internationally popular films, books and TV series. The Harry Potter/ Twilight films and books have been successful all over the world, making the characters featured globally recognisable. However, this cultural flow tends to flow from the centre (i.e. from developed countries such as the USA to less developed countries). Social globalisation is often criticised for eroding cultural differences.
Economic globalisation refers to the interconnectedness of economies through trade and the exchange of resources.
Effectively, therefore, no national economy really operates in isolation, which means national economies influence each other. This is clearly evidenced by global recession from 2007 onwards. Economic globalisation also means that there is a two-way structure for technologies and resources. For example, countries like the USA will sell their technologies to countries, which lack these, and natural resources from developing countries are sold to the developed countries that need them.
However, people can build affective relations to particular places, and how post-colonial nations struggle to form and maintain identities within boundaries and territories not of their choosing. Ethnic diaspora also forge new connections and sustain or rework inherited attachments. These are other key features of a globalised world. The world in the making is a process of adaptation
People in the world also do not accept the way it is, such as social justice or more and so the lines between territories and what is considered right or wrong is blurred. These people challenge the current architecture which determines territories and flow. Such campaigns need to establish solidarity in order to challenge the architecture, to link different places and struggles to make meaningful change. Common themes are in one way, though apart in geographical terms and may occur in places that are different or unequal, are in one way or another connected.
Flows of people and the idea of place can make it difficult and these flows can cause the problem, like migration or alien species. Campaigns may face a common enemy, like tax evasion, and so unite and connect in this respect.
There are also ‘solidarity campaigns’ with a host of places and peoples, like Cuba and Palestine for example, that arise where there may be no connection in the obvious sense – but there are forms of identification or support (Robinson, 2008)
These campaigns raise the question of territory and flow. Locality and global interconnectedness are often part of the politics and focus of the campaigns and these are contested. People and groups challenge the very architecture in its current form and may want to; distribute wealth evenly, reduce the power of strong nations or simply challenging the way territory is comprised as a whole. Territory and flow is transient and is a process which can be changed.
Eruption of discontent
Neo-liberal globalisation is the term coined towards the global efforts and campaigns that challenge globalisation in its current form. Although protesters may not want to be categorised or homogenised. Local issues may in fact also relate to global issues as well, such as migration or the service industry.
Peoples Global Action (PGA)
They held a conference in Cochabamba Bolivia, where the year before (2000) had suffered much confrontation and conflict. From the conflict was new hope around hundreds of local struggles, like the one in Papua New Guinea.
In the 1990s the World Bank had offered Bolivia $14million to expand its water services, and it was much needed money in one of the poorest countries in Latin America. However, the condition of the loan was the largest publicly owned water system in Cochabamba (Bolivia’s third largest city) was privatised. The Bolivian government complied and a US water corporation owned the water system, but also the irrigation system and wells. Soon water bills increased in price along with other new charges to use the water.
La Coordinadora (resistance group) was created and organised protests, marches and strikes to combat privatisation. Negotiations were made but with no resolution and there was violence and serious confrontation, requiring heavily armed police. As a result, a state of emergency was declared and ultimately the water contract was cancelled.
Throughout time there have been a number of resistance movements which have caused change such as;
- Resistance against Columbus in the Latin Americas
- Robin Hood in Nottingham to help the vulnerable
- Abolition of slavery at the end of the 19th century
- Civil rights in the 1960s
- Independence for colonised nations after 1940 and throughout the 1950s and 1960s
- Populations in Africa, Asia and Latin America rioted over the price of bread as the IMF restructured economies in the 1970s
- The IMF and World Bank were challenged in Berlin in the late 1980s
- The World Trade Organisation (WTO) was disrupted by protests in the late 1990s
1994, the year of resistance
The resistance group the Zapatistas arose on the scene in Chiapas, Mexico. It coincided with NAFTA agreement and the privatisation of land which could arise from territory changes. Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution was symbolic and literal in meaning in structuring the social and economic life of Mexicans, including the poor. This article meant there was a lot of communal land as well, almost half of Mexico, organised into local ejidos (communal landholdings). 20 million lived on this land. It was an article based from conflict in 1910-17 with the peasant army and gave land to the vulnerable.
The Zapatistas were named after the leader of the peasant army, Emiliano Zapata. “ya basta” was their cry, meaning enough!
Through the internet, the Zapatistas made a global community of protest, protest against free trade, privatisation and the dominion of the multinational corporations. They were not exclusive in membership and collaborated all around the world with common victims. In 1996 and 1997 thousands gathered by the Chiapeneco rainforests for meetings against neo-liberalism. In 1998 the PGA emerged which was a network of campaigns, dubbed the new social movement.
Since then there have been a range of protests at various high profile summit meetings, like IMF, World Bank, World Trade Organisation and more. There have even been parallel summits to address the issues.
Social fora – emerged from the belief that protest was not enough.
In 2001, Porto Alegre (Brazil) the first World Social Forum was held. This was a convergence point from groups and movements opposed to global neo-liberalism. World Social Forum came to be held on an annual basis and have created regional level forums as well, like the European Social Forum. These local campaigns are now part of a global stage.
There are various campaigns including but not limited to;
- Anti-patenting of knowledge
- Pro the rights of indigenous people
- Anti the arms trade
There are a range of protest movements ranging from peaceful to disruptive, such as the Guerrilla Gardening which may plants flowers in car parks or other urban areas or the Culture Jammers who graffiti their message on corporations or governmental adverts with alternative messages.
Counter claims to these forms of protest include;
- Globalisation is inevitable and outside the realm of human control
- Globalisation is a result of changing market trends and forces
- People are voted into power
- Corporations arise from consumerism – so if people consume, they succeed
Protesters would argue that these are not beyond human control, and that in fact inequality is caused by humans. Also, the reason why protesters would have access to the internet or branded clothes is because they have bought into the system, but, that they represent those who do not have access. Not all campaigns are equal in nature and some would have more finance or support then others.
Local VS Global
Globalisation is a contested term.
Protester were often protesting against globalisation, or at least aspects of it. This meant people could contend their views, such as why are you against freedom of trade and increasing interconnectedness. Protesters purchasing from big brands like Nike, and using the internet, were also targeted. Of course the way protesters communicate and collaborate is helped by globalisation and the reduction of barriers between nations (increasing flows). Protests changed tact and moved from anti-globalisation and neo-liberalism, but its current form.
There are various movements including Global Justice Movement, Carnival against Capitalism and Global Anti-Capitalism. There was a shift from attacking a certain kind of spatial level (to global) to challenging the economic system (Capitalism) that created the inequalities they wanted to resolve. The structural inequality of power, resources and access which underpins current capitalism was also target to protesters.
Moreover, the notion that people are anti-global suggests they are pro-local, and almost incapable of looking at the ‘bigger picture’ and more ‘selfish’ in a way fixated on your local needs and causes, but more so the local territory.
Most people experience the global world through their daily lives, such as imported food stuffs or clothes made from sweatshops. Any disruption to the global market also disrupts their daily life, but equally the global network is enriching to individuals. The complaints of invasion or external forces of globalisation is the sentiment that encourage a defence of local places from the ‘outside’.
There are also complaints of growing homogeneity and sameness, of both language, currency and food, otherwise degrading culture and uniqueness. These changes are also regarded as an attack, like a multinational corporation destroying the local and independent businesses. This also therefore provokes a reaction to the ‘outside’.
The easiest response to globalisation therefore is to become a localist and defend your territory. People go through such efforts to protect their attachments and place, even if they are no longer in the place or their community is globalised. Most protests are locally based and locally organised.
Globalisation always is regarded as powerful and beyond human control, often seen as the outside coming in. however, these global forces do not come from nowhere, they are produced and maintained by a monopoly of power. Local populations actually contribute and can shape the global stage.
Do people protest globalisation?
There are a number of reasons for the eruption of protests and how it can be regarded as not a confrontation between the local and global. Protesters would argue they are against certain results from globalisation, and how they want to see globalisation in its current form changed. Although people protect their territory from global flows, that is not to say they want to get rid of them all, just change the way they work. Moreover, the global world is built on local foundations, such as people want to communicate to people on the other side of the world, send money to family and eat foodstuffs from another nation – this demand from consumers it can be argued is driving globalisation. Lastly, before globalisation people were connected to other parts of the globe, such as climate changes or simply negotiating trade, islands were not ‘neglected’ in the wider world.
Local areas are part of the global world and wider flows. The real point of contestation is what kinds of flows do people want to be open too?
Often the global is regarded as bad and local superior and good, as well as territory is good and fixed and some flows are ok but others are not. It is not therefore the geographical location that is bad, but the social forms and regulations in place that are bad. The way territories and flows are made should be the point of contestation.
All movements, campaigns and debates that we are considering intervene and challenge the way the world is made. This is to mean active participation to not participate.
The territories and flows of a globalised world are continuously being made and re-made, while they are also contested. Financial interests had to change the way they worked as the old architecture was deemed inappropriate. However, with regards to finance, this often related to powerful people in powerful nations. These protests against the institutions is often from the grassroots, the working class and indigenous. These people do not typically run the world, but what they contest is who should have such power or how it should be distributed.
The phrases of ‘the powers that be’ and the ‘resistance’ allude to the fact there are the haves and have nots, those who have power and those who do not.
The finance is a good example of a globalised industry, often portrayed as the most significant, globalised industry. The power of the finance industry is distributed along a chain of command, and that lowly functionaries are participants in the production of neo-liberal globalisation. However, all of us are implicated in some way or another with neoliberal globalisation (Allen, 2008). We buy into this architecture and sustain it.
Obstacles for changing globalisation (in its current form)
- Globalisation is a product of different forces and forms, perhaps the proliferation of the media, finances and the reduction of trade barriers all contribute to globalisation. There is a robustness and fragility of the forms and forces through which the world is made. New social movements draw their strength form collectivity, but contrast between movements and the state (or corporations or organisations) they contest is great. Differential robustness has arisen from inequalities in resources, and sometimes inertia or common sense plays a role in how the architecture is maintained – activists need to put globalisation on the political agenda in order to address it.
- It seems impossible to change things due to the magnitude and the global nature of events. However, the ‘global’ itself has to be made and re-made in places, specific activities and specific locations so it is not beyond human control completely.
- It is difficult to underpin who is responsible for globalisation in order to change it. One nation is not responsible for it all and its production and maintenance. Responsibility is diffused so activists need to focus their attention on one group, company or organisation in order to address their issue (like social welfare or inequality). Activists need to target a responsible body it feels encapsulates all that is wrong with the current architecture.
- What is right and wrong is also contended between nations and cultures. The very formulation of the basis for intervention or campaigns and its justification can also cause an issue in addressing globalisation.
Nevertheless, mounting a challenge against the global architecture is not easy and not only reside in the above or challenging large corporations, or even accepting the political conflict that would arise, but is also working within the ethical frameworks to make judgements and change the world.
Globalisation in many ways allows the freedom of movement and trade, and as the world belongs to ‘no-one’, this should be permitted and territories should be hospitable to flows. In this respect flow is good and territory is bad.
However, others would argue the rights of indigenous people over their land and their freedom to choose the trade that flows between their territories should take precedence and would ultimately undermine the argument to promote flows.
Populations of the world want the freedom of movement, ideas, goods, service, investment, finances and more as it is one world which belongs to us all. However, they also want to keep the intrinsic and unique nature of locations, protecting their land, culture, language, currency and have autonomy over their own nation and more. This is a contradiction of terms. The long history of negotiations and relations has made these places and cultures what they are today and deserves recognition and protection.
There is an inconsistency in policy and terms. People want to exploit the fruits of labour by international trade and lack of barriers, as well as to easily and readily travel to other locations. People may advocate free trade as the best way to generate development elsewhere in the world (they argue), but would also support policies to hinder or cap migration to their own nation or territory. The very word free in free trade bolsters the power of the freedom principle which many nations desire.
However, when faced with migration these same orgnaisations treasure territories and the right to territory and must be protected. The restriction on migration is often in support for the local people and supporting them, as well as access to what the nation produces. Nations should have the rights to protect their property and promote free trade.
To abandon borders and create a truly borderless world would create two main issue,s one the exodus of those from poorer nations with fewer skills to areas of prosperity and opportunity, but also the exploitation of aboriginal land and rights from multinational corporations.
The world is grossly unequal in resources, commerce, people and more. Each place is unique, but all would suffer inequality in pockets or parts of the place. It is due to this is in difficult to apply rules and regulations, or even to invoke a judgement.
Migration (a benefit or cost?)
There is a migration of health workers from poorer nations to places of prosperity and opportunity, like the UK. The UK it can be argued in accepting, and encouraging, the migration of health workers to the UK is depriving nations of their resources (braindrain). The nations have paid for training their citizens only for them to move to another nation, when their home nation sorely needs the staff. This means also that richer nations spend less on training its citizens as they have an influx of candidates.
Carvel (2004) even a loss of a handful of staff can close a rural maternity or AIDs clinic for a community. Ghana lost 660 nurses in one year due to the NHS (UK). Ghana has had connections with the UK due to the slave trade, colonialism and then Commonwealth. The flow has changed overtime as to the purpose of why the people moved or how they moved, but the flow remains.
The loss of staff of understaffed areas causes a deterioration of services, and this can cause further problems and closures. This again means that services continue to suffer and the citizens it is meant to service suffer too. When the locally community suffers, it can include more socio-economic problems and so starts the cycle of poverty and deprivation.
In the UK the nation is under pressure to improve the National Health Service (NHS) amidst service cuts and closures. It is clear however the reliance of the NHS on migratory staff who service the local population. This would not have been possible if their host country did not invest in them and for the migratory rules to encourage them to move.
However, there is a need to’
- Respect the rights of an individual to migrate
- Respect the needs of a nation to support its citizens and address inequality
Flows, and the intensification of them, is making nations unequal in people, resources and more. Flows must be negotiated. Without flows we do not have territories and likewise with territories we do not have things that flow between them. Territories and flows are not static, rather they are a process with develops and changes.
International recruitment by the UK for health professionals worsens an already unequal proportion of healthcare staff in Ghana. Both healthcare systems suffer staff shortages which they need to fill. However, staff shortages in Ghana has a greater effect as it deprives areas of services and closures. There is a loss to Ghana in both finances and healthcare as they pay to train professionals, where they are only a gain to the UK.
Mensah argues that you cannot stop the flow of people as it is their right to move to better opportunities. Staff leaving their nation, or striking to improve services, can have a negative effect on the people. However, do the human rights of health workers outweigh the rights of an individual t have access to healthcare?
The Medact Report (Mensah et all research)
- Basic principles of human rights are in conflict and must be addressed
- Basic principles operate in a world of inequality and must be addressed
The Medact report asks for a more beneficial flow of people to both Ghana and the UK. Migratory flows cannot and should not be stopped, but there should be restitution to compensate for the flows. This would take a monetary form and might be medical staff who leave compensating for their medical training in Ghana, which would be reinvested in the Ghanaian medical system and might discourage migration. This means that healthcare workers are ethically sourced and build upon existing flows.
Historical wrongs can be made right by reparations and like this, restitution. Both cases recognise the historical ties and treat the issue in a collective way. However, unlike the UK healthcare staff, it does not concern ‘historical distance’. Also, Lamberts argument says it needs to prove historical wrongs still have an impact on today.
Although the past wrongs of the UK recruiting healthcare staff from Ghana existed, the Medact report is centred around changing now and the impacts of today. Also for reparations to work for a past wrong, you must distinguish the wrong first, like the Holocaust, the Slave Trade and others and they are deemed particularly heinous or abnormal to justify reparations.
Although this questions how we judge past wrongs and how do we judge what is and isn’t normal, do we apply today’s standards. Calculations of reparations for past wrongs use counterfactual history, i.e. what could have happened under ‘normal’ or todays circumstances. What is normal? Is todays markets normal and current exploitation in globalised nations?
Allen (2008) and Young (2003) question normal conditions and political responsibility.
Global Anti-Capitalism: Flows and enclosures
The question of remaking territories and connecting flows poses problems of practical solidarity between people in two places. Politics addresses the relations between people and place and how flows can impact the territories they relate to. Social movements and groups help relieve these tensions and aim to be global, gathering people around the world in solidarity with the cause. The process of making a cause global and making globally aware is an empowering process.
The social movements of movements have generated a political imagination of solidarity, which emphasizes breaking down national borders the positive outcomes of flows and interconnections. However, the current view of flows need to change to promote cohesion and productivity. One could argues the ‘space of flows’ like the internet and global groups is becoming more powerful than that ‘space of places’ which links people to place (Silverstone 2008). Territories no longer withhold space, rather there is increased idea of lows from all angles. However, now people can move and communicate across nations and continents. To further this in an increasingly globalised world, new territories have arisen and are established.
The basic premise of the new world and social movements that territories are scrutinised and challenged. Social movements challenge territories established by the powerful. The term many refer to territories as enclosures and refers to the Enclosure Act of the UK which aimed at privatising land. This land was once common land used to sustain the local population and started the aim of capitalism to profiteer from the land, as well as making a population of capitalist workers in both agriculture and industry. The aspects of territory therefore are those of exclusivity, entry or use. Making enclosures refers to exclusive access and territory bounding. The enclosures of the powerful, such as gated communities or privatisation of land and resources, remains an important concept in social movements. The act of making enclosures is an important aspect of modern capitalism, as is resistance to enclosures and breaking them down is for social movements.
In reality, it is difficult to be against all enclosures, as while some enclosures and fences can be brought down, others may need defending. Protected Public spaces are under threat from privatisation only to be re-enclosed by the market. The issue therefore is not fences.
Many activist advocate a ‘bottom-up’ or grassroots direction of power, where direction is not imposed but emerges from activities. These people who participate in this are referred to as the multitude, like the ‘multitude of voices’ in ‘talking about trees. There is no centre of command or top down organisation, and there is no clearly defined plan. The strength of the community relies on diversity, multiplicity and cohesion. Local power takes precedence on controlling spaces and common enemies and common aims are produced.
In activism of this nature leader may employ masks or other things to conceal their identity, to represent the people as a whole. Campaigners challenge the power structure of neo-liberal capitalism and ultimately try to argue this is the way the world is developing, without barriers and increasing flows. Campaigners oppose neo-liberal capitalism, its enclosures, its production of increasing inequality, exclusion of democratic participation in the economy and the environmental damage to the planet.
However, neo-liberal capitalism seems everywhere, which seems impossible to challenge given it is engrained heavily in the way we live. Fitting for the current system and against opposition seems impossible as it has no lead command and which targets so many things.
The issue of responsibility is evident in attacks against neo-liberal capitalism. If neo-liberal capitalism causes inequalities in the world in production, but that these links are dispersed in subcontractors and, how can campaigners track this down and attack it? Who is responsible for reducing inequality, the people, the corporations or the state?
For many campaigners, they go to the epicentre of activity, which maintains, regulates and promotes international trade and flows. To fixate on one group or organisation helps chip at the very foundations and symbols of trade and inequality. Summits and events have been targeted by those anti neo-liberal capitalisms.
The geography of campaigning produces a different kind of campaigning and geography of solidarity. In this case the argument is what connects the different struggles around the world as a common enemy, and the enemy is the system. It is the solidarity of shared oppression from a system that does not favour them.
Those proliferating social movements are not all about flow, as they are formed from a range of local and national issues. Some issues relate to protecting some places like identity or aboriginal rights, but also global arms trade or combating climate change. It is a movement of movements. To further this as well the constant shifts in the groups and their formation, as well as changing social issues, means that this is also a form of making and remaking territories. These territories are of concerned people and not necessarily bound to place. There is rarely an automatic product of belonging, and attachments are developed.
The basis of loyalties to place are formed and developed, like people’s attachment to trees (local), national identity (national) and developing complex attachments for transnational or diasporic communities. Rootedness plays a role in this.
Membership to these groups is elective, and of course particular interests are at play, but largely membership is a matter of political opinion and active participation. However, does this make groups stronger or more fragile?
Linking locals, groups and causes is important in successful social movements. People need to be able to share experiences.
Dealing with this challenge
- Communication – is important for the myriad of groups to be united and form part of the larger groups. It enables organisation and freedom of information. Protests can be carried out on a social forum or major protest, and new major technologies have been vital (Silverstone, 2008). This has however tried to create an alternative media, and these movements are largely ignored by mainstream media and outlets, which are largely dominated by governments and corporations. The local or even national news may report on it if large enough or volatile, but largely can events penetrate the global news scene.
- Technology – is important for communication and collaboration. There has been emphasis on developing software and mediums to get the message across and penetrate mainstream media, breaking down enclosures, between the reporter and reported. Many groups use alternative media to recreate the imagination of the world. To further this, they understand the divide of the new and old technology, and those who have no access, so they try to reduce this as well (digital divide).
The digital divide does however prevent some from participating in the global affairs and movements of the world. It also highlights the needed physical infrastructure for access to a global world and technologies, like cables and internet lines. Communication therefore is not in some ethereal realm; it requires corporeal objects. Also, talking people to people brings another level of communication and deepens understanding. Talking is also vital to the development of these social movements and helps adapt the groups views to remain relevant.
Nevertheless, the internet and accessibility to the internet can help many groups, especially if they are denied by the media, radio and television. The internet has little maintenance and censorship, or governments must go very far to blockade every view, page, etc.
Meeting spaces have also changed in the modern day and emphasis is also placed on large gatherings. Meetings and gatherings aim to unify the people, act as a point of communication and come to a resolution through these discussions. This is different to the world summits which pre-made speeches and plans. These social events also promote communication and participation, and often these are referred to as ‘convergence spaces’
Internet, Technology and Alternative Media
- Aids communication
- Spreads knowledge and information easier
- Difficult to block
- Rides mainstream media
- Doesn’t participate in mainstream media/ not publicly publicised
- Requires access to technology
- Physical infrastructure
- Meaningless relationships/ not very deep
- Deep meaningful, relationships
- Accessibility, can reach some otherwise unreachable with technology
- Difficult to block
- Understand the issues better and make the cause more relevant
- Cannot access information and news quickly
- Groups may not be as large without technology
Events and Gatherings
- Deep meaningful, relationships
- Accessibility, can reach some otherwise unreachable with technology
- Difficult to block
- Understand the issues better and make the cause more relevant
- Progress the cause and come to a ‘resolution’
- Cannot access information and news quickly
- Groups may not be as large without technology
- Some cannot attend events or gatherings
- Frustration with endless discussion
- Vulnerability of domination and ‘top-down’ approach
The World Social Forum and the forum makes it very clear political parties cannot be represented. This is exclusion and arguably an enclosure. In this case enclosure is useful for protecting internal openness. However, even at these forums there can be dominating forces or groups and a level of a top down approach with the forum trying to regulate and maintain equality.
Chain of differences
The geography of solidarity is constructed through connection to place and another through a common enemy. Campaigning for similar issues is another way people are brought together, such as global poverty or inequality. These solidarities highlight how territory and flow are part of politics.
Via Campesina (1992)
It is an international movement made up of small and medium sized farmers, agricultural workers, peasants and people in rural communities in Asia, Africa, America and Europe. It is an autonomous, pluralist organisation, independent of any political, economic or other movement.
It is organised in seven regions, Europe, North-West Asia, South-East Asia, North America, the Caribbean, Central America and South America. It also does some work with African nations.
It dates as far back as 1992, at a meeting in Managua, and in 1993 the first international conference was held at Mons in Belgium. It established the movement as a world organisation, defined a constitution and developed its strategic orientations.
Its second conference was held in Mexico in 1996, where 70 organisations from 37 countries participated. The issues of agrarian reform, debt, development, technology and food sovereignty were discussed at the conference.
The third conference was held in India and there it condemned the integration of agriculture and food into the WTO Accords and demanded that they would be taken out of communications. They wanted food sovereignty recognised by international law. Food sovereignty, accepted as legitimate by bodies like the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) affirms the right of people to their level of food security, as well as level of imports and exports when surplus can destroy business.
One notable stance the Via Campesina takes as well is a world audit to be conducted on the consequences of GMO food production in agriculture and emphasises the need of constraining policies and regulation. It also calls for the constraining policies of the IMF and World Bank to be reviewed which impoverish populations and rural communities.
Via Campesina wants to respond to globalisation of the markets and the increasing power of transnationals and struggle of trade union representation. They want to encourage positive globalisation of people, cultures and fair trade.
Notably Via Campesina wants to affirm the rights people and their right to their land, as well as imports to it. It is not politics against enclosure, but one of openness which allows for exploitation. Many Mexicans have joined the Via Campesina after Mexico adopted the NAFTA agreement which increases the flow of corn from the USA and undercut Mexican producers. However, can the rich territories have the same rights to protectionism as poorer ones?
Via Campesina aims to connect local autonomous organisations in a way that the differences between them are respected even when they collaborate with each other. The factions within can discuss their issues with all stem from the same issues, and policies in Rome may not apply to France, but it opens a discussion. This allows them to withhold their autonomy and freedom of beliefs. The connections and discussions can of course change the character of these organisations, but which does not lose the local values.
Via Campesina produces a geography of solidarity;
- This form of solidarity is not local VS global. It is not anti-globalisation, rather it welcomes it, but not at the detriment to the local culture. A compromise must be reached
Bove and Dufour (1999)
A crowd of local people part of Bove and Dufour systematically dismantled a branch of Mc Donalds being constructed at Miilau in Southern France. Many saw this as an act of defiance against the USA, but they refute this claim. They simply wanted the multinational company, which happened to be US owned, to respect local values. such values included going against hormone induced food, standardised food (a loss of quality) and argued that they wanted freedom, rather than induced food which they had to eat. It was also a demonstration to promote French cuisine and should be something to be proud of and defended. However French cuisine is a result of mixing cultures and influences, so why should this entrant be denied?
Bove and Dufour also coined the term ‘malbouffe’ to refer to the loss of quality, standardisation and industrialisation of foodstuff for corporation production. Food production for corporations promotes GMOs, food pesticides, cruel animal-rearing, etc. and other negative farming practises which Bove and Dufour are against. Malbouffe challenges agriculture and food production processes. These forms of agriculture damage taste of food, health of consumers, culture and identity of nations and damage the environment.
Therefore Bove and Dufour are not simply blocking what it deems a threat, but challenges this connection as a means to improve quality. French culture can continue to absorb new foodstuffs and tastes, but it would be on their terms if they challenge entry.
- This form of solidarity favour diversity. This means that a key concept of globalisation of homogeneity is challenged. The emphasis of local diversity is based on the natural world and promoting the geographical variations within nature and the need to respect them – something which GMOs undermine.
- This form of solidarity wants the people to decide how their resources are used. It gives the power back to the local people and to protect the local economy which would be undermined otherwise by tariffs, quotas and industrial farming practises.
- This form of solidarity is contested. As evident in some conflicted interested like the healthcare workers of UK and Ghana, as both want to retain the healthcare workers, but had to compromise and reach agreements on how migration was managed (if at all).
Living in a globalised world can provide opportunities and challenges for those trying to change the nature of globalisation. Building solidarity in this context is necessary, but difficult. Many organisations attempt to challenge globalisation in its current form and the power relations, as well addressing the inequalities.
Campaigns have to address how they plan to construct the world they want and address what kind of territory and flow they want. What mechanisms can be built? How can the issues of current globalisation be addressed? No campaigns have yet succeeded in changing the world meaningfully, but they have put issues on the political agenda and have built solidarity to various territories.