24.03.2003
Why I Support the Antiglobalists
№1 2003 January/March

If you were to ask why I agree with the antiglobalist movement,
I would give you a very simple and clear answer: I don’t like the
international order that is quickly taking shape across the planet.
Although science and technology have reached an unprecedented level
of achievement, enabling people to solve problems they were unable
to solve in the past, there is more grief in the world now than
ever before. Meanwhile, the world’s leaders are busy playing
political games and pretending that everything is alright; national
governments have finally become the ordinary commissaries of
today’s economic forces.

Unfortunately, I cannot see any new political ideas on the
horizon which are capable of changing the life of mankind for the
better. Thus far, only ideas of a fundamentalist nature have been
sprouting like weeds. And in regard to the recent rise in religious
fanaticism, I can only say that it scares me even to imagine where
it may lead us to.

The antiglobalist coalition, on the other hand, is at least
raising important issues and questions which civilization must
answer if it is to survive and develop in a normal way. The world
is now experiencing economic globalization, and there are heated
debates which are attempting to elucidate the question “What is
globalization?” In my view, it is simply a new form or
totalitarianism.

It has become fashionable these days to speak of democracy. And
many actions, including the actual use of force, are justified by
the need to defend democracy or ensure the “triumph of democratic
ideals,” but so far genuine democracy has not been achieved. It is
impossible to speak of democracy in earnest when real power is not
in the hands of governments elected by their citizens, but rather
in the hands of transnational monopolies which no one has elected.
Yet, naive citizens continue to believe that they can change
everything by merely casting a vote.

It is true that in those countries which abide by formal
principles of democracy, voters can change their government, remove
their president from power and elect another leader and another
government. But we are unable to influence the very real economic
powers which actually determine the conditions of our lives. We are
not only unable to remove these powers, we are not even permitted
to approach them; they are completely beyond our reach. For
example, George Bush, the most powerful man in the world, is
pursuing the agenda of the large oil and mining corporations, and
all of the other monopolies which effectively placed him in power.
Bush must now return the favor by renouncing the Kyoto agreement,
concluded by his predecessors to reduce industrial emissions into
the environment, and by building a costly ABM shield.

In the face of these challenges, the political left, alas, is
experiencing a deep crisis. In Europe, the pendulum of public
sentiment has obviously swung to the right: the candidates of the
political right are winning elections in one country after another.
What is the reason for people’s disillusionment with the leftist
ideas? The encouragement of increased egoism in individuals –
capitalism provides for this better than any other system – has
brought about their political apathy and mental impoverishment. We
must admit, however, that it is the political left who are to blame
for that. Capitalism never deceives people – because it never hands
out promises. It has never promised people social justice or
universal prosperity.

Socialism is different. It promised the earth to people, and
what it was unable to accomplish all at once, it promised to do for
the next generation. In the Soviet Union, for example, the
authorities even promised to create a “new man.” Quite probably, he
did arise, but then no one noticed him in the quagmire of
widespread corruption.

Leftist ideas were not reinvented, but merely reduced to
unproductive theses as happened with the Marxist doctrine.
Alternatively, they were unconsciously (or quite deliberately)
distorted by some leftwing parties who gravitated toward more
centrist views in order to coexist with capitalism. Those whom we
identity as ‘the left’ today fail to live up to their name, with
the exception of a few adherents. This has evolved from plain
inertia. Today, the leftwing parties are actually a new form of the
political center. And even if some government should try to
implement leftist ideas, it will not be able to succeed because it
has no real power. The leftwing groups are now roaming around a
desert and, hopefully, one fine day they will stumble upon an
oasis.

In the meantime, the rightwing camp has been demonstrating some
very threatening tendencies as it is being gradually overtaken by
radical forces. Many of the signs indicate that extreme right
parties will come to power in at least some of the nations of
Europe. By placing authoritarianism into an elevated position of
power, the right will more frequently demonstrate their might,
directly to the point and without particular reason. They will
therefore be only one step away from new forms of dictatorship
which will manipulate democratic slogans, while gaining control –
directly or indirectly – of the mass media. Citizens will realize
too late that they have lost all of their major freedoms. By way of
paltry compensation, however, they will be provided with bread and
circuses – to prevent any uncontrollable discontent.

It is a common belief that since September 11, 2001, the world
order is undergoing a radical change. But I do not agree that those
tragic events should be considered a watershed. As far as I
remember, the world was not a perfect place on September 10. And
exactly who does the so-called “new world order” actually serve?
Certainly not the two billion people who now exist below the
poverty line. Just imagine that every four seconds someone dies of
hunger on this planet!

He who sows the wind will reap the whirlwind. On that day –
September 11 – America suddenly discovered it was no longer
invulnerable. The consequences are manifest: the U.S. wants to, and
will, dictate its laws to the planet. It already rules the world.
The empire has come – and the cowardly world is applauding it.

There is no counterbalance to this U.S. domination. Europe
counts very little in the world today and resembles a very old
woman who is trying to conceal her decrepitude under thick makeup.
Europe is attempting to solve the problem of squaring the circle.
We are told that the economic and political integration of the
continent will make it stronger and richer. Everyone has a right to
illusions, of course, but how will such a “superstate” solve the
problems that the nations it comprises have been unable to, or
didn’t want to, solve in their own countries?

Many express concern over supranational bureaucracy which is
taking hold over the entire European Union, while tightening its
influence on the governments of individual member countries. But
this is not the worst part: we are already in the stranglehold of
this bureaucracy. What is more troublesome is that the integration
has not changed – and will not change – the alignment of forces
within the European Union: strong countries will continue to be
strong, while weak countries will remain so. In this case – and no
one can deny this – all decisions will be made in the interests of
the mammoth nations with great economic and political weight – even
if they are occasionally forced to “pay” for the support of such
decisions by smaller countries.

Another alarming tendency in modern Europe is the growth of
xenophobia and attempts to speculate on the immigration problem.
The history of mankind can also be described as the history of the
migration of peoples. If a national economy collapses, those who
can emigrate will make every effort to do so, and this is only
natural. There is no nation that has never in its history resorted
to this means of escape. Suffice it to mention the powerful and
numerous waves of migration from Europe to America, when people
crossed the ocean in search of a better life. What we must not
forget is why people emigrate. They do this only because they are
denied worthy living conditions in their own country. When such
countries start developing economically, the emigration problem
will become less acute. So, we are again returning to the issue of
the general aspects of the world’s development, and asking
ourselves how just the present-day world order is.

The last, but not the least, problem is the disdain some
Europeans have for immigrants, which runs counter to Europe’s true
interests: actually, the continent badly needs immigrants. The
present-day demographic situation in the Old World makes its
nations unable to ensure the “propagation of the race,” that is, an
increase in the population, without “losing the purity of the
race.” Europe may need to take measures to limit immigration, but
the solution to this problem must not be discriminatory;
limitations alone will not help, European governments must work out
a policy of integrating their new immigrants. Incidentally, this
thesis does not refer to the immigrants alone. The native Europeans
also have a need for integration, since not all of them feel at
home in modern society.

Greater Europe does not stand for the European Union alone.
Russia says it is now open to the world and wants to integrate
itself into Europe. It is not clear to me yet what role Russia
wants to play in the world, but I think Russia must first ask
itself what it wants to be. If it does not, it may turn out that
the country has given up distorted socialism, only to enter a new
phase of corrupt capitalism.