cj#800> ripples on the right against globalization

1998-07-14

Richard Moore

Dear friends,

I've returned from my tour in North America.  We had a very useful retreat
and workshop, and I met several important activists in the Boston area.
Reports will follow.  Considerable progress was made regarding strategy for
launching a movement for a democratic renaissance, and an end to
market-forces hegemony.

Our list has been renamed "•••@••.•••", to signify a return to our
traditional list posting policies.  For those of you who were unhappy with
the "ppi era", I hope you will stick around and see if you are happier with
this "return to our roots".

---

Mark Whitaker sent in this interesting article from the LA Times, which
I'd like to share with you.  It talks about a growing opposition from 'the
right' to corporate globalization.  It reminds me of one of Carolyn Chute's
favorite expressions... "There is no left and right, there is only up and
down.  The fat cats UP there having a good time while the rest of us are
DOWN here struggling to survive."


I'd be interested in feedback from others on the sigificance of this
article, and on the possible political implications.  Is the 'Halloween
Coalition' a trick or a treat??

-rkm

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Fri, 26 Jun 1998
To: •••@••.•••
From: Mark Douglas Whitaker <•••@••.•••>
Subject: ripples on the right against globalization

Hello,
        I thought this would be enlightening on how the conservative
politicians are reacting to globalization. This was already e-mailed, but it
has a copyright denotation. I am unaware of the rules for this situation
(re: it has already been e-mailed), but I thought it was a timely piece.



Regards,

Mark Whitaker
University of Wisconsin-Madison

---fwd---
Date: Wed, 24 Jun 1998
From: christopher chase-dunn <•••@••.•••>
To: WORLD SYSTEMS NETWORK <•••@••.•••>
Subject: [Fwd: (fwd) Emerging Right Opposition to "Free Trade"]


24 Jun 1998 05:28:54 -0400 (EDT)
Date: Wed, 24 Jun 1998 05:27:18 -0400
From: Barbara Larcom <•••@••.•••>
Subject: (fwd) Emerging Right Opposition to "Free Trade"
To:  (long list of people)
Subject:         Emerging Right Opposition to "Free Trade"

---fwd---

   Date:         Tue, 23 Jun 1998 07:27:54 -0700 (PDT)
   From:         walda katz fishman <•••@••.•••>

(A forward from:)
Jim Davis <•••@••.•••>

Sunday, June 21, 1998

          GLOBAL ECONOMY
          The Coming Fight Over Free Trade
          By ROBERT L. BOROSAGE

   WASHINGTON--'To worship the market is a form of
   idolatry no less than worshiping the state." Sound
like Jesse Jackson? Perhaps, but it is from "The Great
Betrayal," the recent assault on global capitalism by
Patrick J. Buchanan, Reaganite stalwart. "The truth is
that free markets are creatures of state power and
persist only so long as the state is able to prevent
human needs for security and the control of economic
risk from finding political expression." Excerpts of a
Ralph Nader commencement address? No, from
"False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism," by
John Gray, British Thatcherite and leader of Britain's
new right.
    "Mr. Chairman I urge you to revoke China's MFN
[most favored nation] trade privileges. I do not believe
that we are the moneybag democracy Beijing has
contemptuously called us. I believe we can act to
defend our people, our honor and our interests." House
Minority leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) catering
to the unions? No, Gary L. Bauer, president of the
Family Research Council, and potential new-right
contender for the GOP presidential nomination.
    As pundits celebrate the triumph of global
capitalism, a populist rejection of what Gray calls "the
Washington consensus" is gathering on the right. With
the contradictions between free markets and strong
families, between global corporations and love of
country growing increasingly stark, more and more
conservatives are questioning the laissez-faire
corporate globalism that has enjoyed bipartisan
support for two decades.
    Only a minority of conservatives have thus far
embraced this new-right rejection. But its potential to
transform our politics is already seen in the Congress,
where the corporate trade agenda has been stalled by
an uneasy coalition of new-right activists and
progressive workers, consumer and environmental
movements. As Buchanan and Gray show, the power of
the conservative critique of globalism is likely to
attract even greater support.
    In "The Great Betrayal," Buchanan scorns the
globalist project touted by President Bill Clinton and
House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) as an idolatrous
"first cousin to Marxism." For Gray, laissez-faire
globalism is, like communism, a false utopia, sharing
"their cult of reason and efficiency, their ignorance of
history and their contempt for the ways of life they
consign to poverty and extinction."
    Buchanan and Gray focus on the new right's core
concern: the disintegration of the American family. The
entire conservative galaxy--the Heritage Foundation,
the Christian Coalition, Empower America--recites
what William J. Bennett packaged as the "leading
cultural indicators of America": divorce, out-of-wedlock
childbirth, crime, drug use, delinquency. The
"de-moralization of society," as Gertrude Himmelfarb
put it, is the staple of conservative rhetoric.
    Yet, conservatives have been risible in their
attempts to locate the cause of social disintegration.
Most blame the poverty programs of the Great
Society and the cultural upheavals of the '60s. But as
decades pass, that grows less and less convincing.
Bennett sporadically turns his attention to the
decadence of the media, but has no explanation for
why the most stable industrial society, Japan, coexists
with the most blood-curdling media. The Heritage
Foundation makes "the breakdown of the American
family" a central chapter in its Issues 98 candidates
briefing book, but is at a virtual loss about cause or
solution. Clinton's repeal of a Ronald Reagan executive
order on the family gets top blame. Tax cuts, school
vouchers and privatization of Social Security are
offered as key 1999 reforms.
    Buchanan and Gray dismiss this cant. For them,
the global free market is the central cause of
disintegration. "In the United States," Gray writes,
"free markets have contributed to social breakdown on
a scale unknown in any other developed country.
Families are weaker in America than in any other
country. At the same time, social order has been
propped up by a policy of mass incarceration . . . .
Levels of inequality resemble those of Latin American
countries more than those of any European society."
    "Broken homes, uprooted families, vanished
dreams, delinquency, vandalism, crime," Buchanan
writes, "these are the hidden costs of free trade. And if
not families and neighborhoods, what in heavens name
is it that we conservatives wish to conserve?"
    They expose the dirty little secret of free markets.
The global market, they argue, does not grow
organically from society. Its imposition requires the
exercise of concerted, centralized state power, in
service of powerful private interests, shielded from
democratic controls or social constraints.
    Buchanan and Gray denounce global
institutions--the World Trade Organization, the
International Monetary Fund, the World Bank--as
designed to empower unaccountable globalist
technocrats to enforce rules that serve multinationals
at great cost to society. "In the global economy,"
Buchanan writes in remarkable echo of progressive
writer Richard J. Barnet, "money has no flag . . . . The
transnational corporation has no home. It is an amoral
institution that exists to maximize profits, executive
compensation and stock dividends. If the bottom line
commands the cashiering of loyal workers after years
of service, it will be done with the same ruthless
efficiency with which obsolete equipment is junked."
    This searing critique of the global market is not
original. From Edmund Burke to Karl Marx, social
philosophers across the political spectrum have
marveled at the revolutionary energy of capitalism and
warned of the social and moral destruction left in its
wake. What makes Buchanan and Gray fascinating is
that they are calling conservatives to arms against
corporate globalism.
    Gray and Buchanan reflect the growing political
frustration of the new right. Gray indicts Margaret
Thatcher's experiment in laissez-faire for undermining
the family, increasing inequality and strengthening the
unaccountable state. For Buchanan, the contrast
between Reagan--a "conservative with a heart"--who
was the most protectionist president in the postwar
era, and the Washington globalist consensus
embraced by Gingrich and GOP presidential nominees
is apparent.
    Bauer takes this into the political arena. He has
called on the radical right to oppose the core agenda
of the corporate globalists: MFN treatment for China,
fast-track trade authority, expansion of the IMF. Last
fall, fast-track authority was defeated by a right-left
coalition. IMF refunding is being held up primarily by
conservatives demanding antiabortion riders. MFN for
China will face its strongest opposition from religious
activists calling for sanctions because of China's
repression of religious practice.
    The Gray-Buchanan critique provides the new right
with an economic argument of enormous populist
appeal. It also poses a painful choice between money
and morality. It is difficult to imagine the GOP, awash
in corporate contributions, turning against the
corporate globalist agenda. Already, business
lobbyists are warning Republicans there is a price to
pay if IMF funding doesn't go through, or fast track
isn't passed. Bauer and the leaders of the new right
face a hard choice between the corporate money that
sustains them and the conservative values they claim
to represent.
    When conservatives turn to the destabilizing
effects of a global economy, they find themselves in
what the Wall Street Journal scorned as "Halloween
coalitions" with progressives. Buchanan, for example,
wants Republicans to return to their traditional
support of high tariffs, but his agenda for a "new
nationalism" begins with a call for full employment,
rising wages, a fairer distribution of profits and
prosperity and a family wage so that one salary can
house, feed and educate a family. Gray calls for global
regulation that will control capital, protect the
environment, allow nations to follow their own path and
give workers greater security. Together, they echo the
"new internationalism" put forth by AFL-CIO President
John Sweeney, or the "moral-center politics" of
Jackson.
    At the beginning of this century, the laissez-faire
consensus that spawned the robber barons was
shattered by the populist and progressive challenges
that arose on the left and right. The potential of this
new upheaval remains to be seen. As Buchanan
admits, with the best economy in 25 years, this isn't
an auspicious moment for a broadside critique.
    Yet, the U.S. trade deficit is soaring to new records
each month. Even at the height of the business cycle,
we're losing manufacturing jobs.
    Last fall, the president, the GOP leaders of
Congress, the Business Roundtable and numerous
economists and pundits were stunned when a right-left
coalition in the Congress blocked renewal of fast-track
trade authority. The president and the business
community are committed to passing fast track after
elections are out of the way. But the vote against fast
track may turn out to be not the last gasp of an old
protectionism, but the first breath of a new populist
rejection of the Washington consensus.
 - - -

Robert L. Borosage Is a Founder of the Campaign for
America's Future
Copyright Los Angeles Times

=====================================

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