Are conditions right for revolution?


Richard Moore


I've gotten lots of feedback, and now I'm in the process of
revising the Guidebook and integrating the material from the

The thesis of this section is that globalization has sown
the seeds of the regime's destruction.  Perhaps you can think of
other examples to include, and of course critique is always



   II.a. Globalization - crisis and opportunity

        "How well we know all this! How often we have
        witnessed it in our part of the world! The machine
        that worked for years to apparent perfection,
        faultlessly, without a hitch, falls apart
        overnight. The system that seemed likely to reign
        unchanged, world without end, since nothing could
        call its power in question amid all those unanimous
        votes and elections, is shattered without warning.
        And, to our amazement, we find that everything was
        quite otherwise than we had thought."
        - Václav Havel, 1975

   The Chinese symbol for 'crisis' embodies a bit of folk wisdom
   - it is made by combining the symbols for 'danger' and
   'opportunity'. In Part I of this Guidebook we looked at the
   _danger part of globalization - the tyranny of the
   new-world-order WTO regime, and the destruction of our
   societies and resources caused by capitalism's need for
   ever-more 'growth' opportunities. In Part II we will be
   looking at the _opportunity offered by by globalization - an
   opportunity for humanity to find a common voice, to rise up
   peacefully in the 'right kind' of movement - and build
   together a livable world. To begin, let us consider some of
   the changes in the global society which have accompanied
   globalization. In the debris of these changes we can in fact
   find seeds of hope.

   Among these changes, the most significant is perhaps the
   shift that has occurred in the relationship between
   capitalism and nationalism. For centuries the leading Western
   nations competed with one another for empires and spheres of
   influence. Capitalist industry provided the muscle of empire,
   and employment for Western workers. Strong economies gave the
   Western middle classes a privileged position, and this
   provided a solid base of support for the capitalist system.
   Strong Western militaries - backed by capitalist industry and
   by nationalist sentiment - were able to dominate the globe.
   The interests of capitalism were fundamentally aligned with
   Western national ambitions, popular patriotism, and with
   national prosperity. In _those days capitalism and its elites
   were indeed well entrenched in power.

   In pursuing globalization, elites have abandoned this
   time-honored success formula. Western economic health is
   being sacrificed to market forces, while democratic
   sovereignty is being superseded by WTO authority. Our elite
   rulers are betting that their new-world-order system - with
   its elite hi-tech warriors and sophisticated media propaganda
   - will protect them in their new WTO fortress. But this
   fortress has no real popular constituency - their entrenched
   power has become largely illusory. Before 1945, it would have
   been nearly impossible to assemble a majority movement in the
   West around a post-capitalist agenda. The system was working
   to the benefit of too many segments of the population.
   Globalization has changed all that. Based on objective
   conditions, it is now in most Westerner's overwhelming best
   interest to rise up and replace the reckless, greedy,
   self-serving regime. A latent social demand for political and
   economic transformation now exists in the West - fertile
   ground for the right kind of movement.- and we can thank
   globalization for this.

   In addition, globalization has created a sense of _global
   community_ in the world's population: television brings
   events instantly into homes in every nation; everyone in
   every backwater knows Clinton, Saddam, and the characters in
   "The Simpsons"; the media talks about an 'international
   community' that can make moral decisions, and intervene
   humanely to right wrongs. Perhaps these feelings of 'global
   community' are largely a media illusion, but the consequence
   is that people generally are beginning to think of problems
   in global terms. Their leaders tell them that 'market forces'
   point the path for the global community to follow, but people
   worldwide are waking up to the fact that this path is not
   delivering on its promises. Globalization has thus created an
   'openness' in the world's population to new initiatives, and
   new solutions - solutions which address the world's problems
   from a global perspective. This 'openness' provides a basis
   for the right kind of movement to organize globally - a
   movement which appeals to the sense of global community and
   which offers sensible and practical solutions to world

   One of the crises brought by globalization has been the
   acceleration of resource depletion, and the reckless
   stressing of environmental limits. This survival-threatening
   crisis has motivated scientists to explore alternative ways
   of doing things. We now have a rich literature - and a
   considerable amount of real-world practice - regarding
   sustainable economics and agriculture, energy-saving methods,
   appropriate technologies, and the like. This crisis has given
   us the impetus to develop the core principles and prototype
   the technologies of a sustainable, post-capitalist world.

   The course of world events, for the first time in history, is
   now largely controlled by a centralized global regime - a
   regime which is not serving the needs of most people - and
   whose agenda ensures that conditions will continue to
   decline. The regime's only defense is that 'free markets'
   will 'someday' make everything all right. More and more
   people are rejecting that shallow propaganda lie, and a
   movement is rapidly taking form around an anti-globalization
   agenda. The movement is popularly perceived as being made up
   of 'leftists', 'tree-huggers', and 'anarchists', but the
   fundamental appeal of the movement is universal - essentially
   everyone is being screwed by modern capitalism. As diverse
   elements in the movement find ways to work together - and to
   bring in new constituencies - the energy and scale of the
   movement is likely to increase very rapidly. The times are
   definitely ripe for the right kind of movement, with the
   right kind of vision - and globalization has created the
   conditions which give such a movement a reasonable chance for