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Strategy For The Alternative To Globalisation

Strategy for the Alternative to Globalisation

Gustave Massiah

The work of Gustave Massiah gives the reader a basic understanding of the two opposing views on the world economy, the sociopolitical forces involved and the organisational challenges facing the World Social Forum.

We have been told by the media about the World Economic Forum which brings together the Establishment to wheel and deal in Davos, Switzerland. Since the 1990s, however, the world-wide movement which poses an alternative to globalization has also been meeting in the form of the World Social Forum (WSF). Whereas the Davos meeting bring together up to 3000 invited members of the 1%, the most recent meeting in March 2013 brought together 58,000 activists from 4300 social movements in 110 different countries to discuss networking for basic change. Clearly, it is assuming a transformative importance of considerable dimensions.

Even though the crisis of globalizing capitalism has largely confirmed its analysis, many are arguing in favor of the need for a second wind for this critical alternative movement. Consequently, what follows is a great interest in this work by Gustave Massiah, a major actor over a period of many years in the alternative movement, who shows the many features of its dynamics, but which also offers new perspectives for its further development and growth. In this remarkable book, he gives the reader a sense of how the 99% are challenging the 1% in an epochal confrontation to the power structure; the World Social Forum shows that, with alternatives, “another world is possible”.

Massiah contends that the world-wide economic crisis which began in 2007 is not simply the result of ‘free-market’ neo-liberalism, but rather has deeper roots in the globalization of capitalism. He demonstrates how the ‘anti-system’ resistances of those who stand for another form of globalization are posing an alternative based on equality and access for all to fundamental rights. Massiah examines the two basic questions facing the alternative movement: firstly, its relationship to power and to politics; secondly, the social foundation of the movement’s alliances with the transformative social, ecological, political and cultural forces. The author draws our attention to the opportunities which the economic crisis offers to articulate alternative practices and public policies. This kind of analysis can encourage the emergence of a new solidarity on a large scale which, tomorrow, can give birth to a new world system fundamentally different from the current one.

GUSTAVE MASSIAH is a French economist, urbanist and political activist. He is professor of urbanism at the Ecole spéciale d’architecture in Paris as well as a founder of ATTAC and member of the International Council of the World Social Forum.
IMMANUEL WALLERSTEIN is former head of the Brandel Center for the Study of Economics, and currently senior research scholar at Yale University.

“Massiah traces in detail, and with both balance and subtlety, the multiple historic choices, and why this culminated in the alter-globalization movement today. I emphasize the balance and subtlety without any sense that he is hesitant in putting forward a strong position of his own. That he does this in 300 pages is itself an achievement. Far from thinking it is too brief, the only doubt is perhaps he includes too much. But each time I felt this, reading the book, I saw later on why he needed all the detail. - IMMANUEL WALLERSTEIN, American sociologist and former head of the Brandel Center for the Study of Economics, Historical Systems and Civilization. Currently, the senior research scholar at Yale University. Author of the Preface of this book.

“A very important book that gives us a long-view of an original process which brings thousands upon thousands of persons and movements together on a scale, an authentic scale, without historical precedent. Try as the old Left did with the First, Second, Third and Fourth Internationals, the World Social Forum outshines them all. The reasons for this have to be understood and built upon. It always gives me immense satisfaction to hear Gustave Massiah weave an analysis together of opportunities through which breaks can be made in the dominant system of power, and what underground social forces are at work, both taking apart the existing power structure while articulating alternatives.”—DIMITRI ROUSSOPOULOS, editor of Participatory Democracy: Democratizing Democracy with C. George Benello.


Table of Contents

PART I Context of the Alterglobalist Movement

1 Critical Analysis of the Prevailing Logic
Overview of the Phases of Capitalist Globalisation
A World-Scale Vision
The Foundations of the Neo-liberal Model
Structural Adjustment Policies
The Victory of Neo-liberalism
Overview of Previous Reference Models
Emergence of New Models in the Interwar Period
Three Development Models
How These Three Models Were Discredited by Neo-liberalism
The Keynesian and Fordist Model of Regulation
The Beginning of Waged Employment
The National Independence Development Model
The World Bank as Leader
The Contradictions of Neo-liberalism
Unequal Growth
The Environment Paradigm
The Crisis of Geopolitical Hegemony
The Current Neo-liberal Phase
The Ideology of Security: the Fourth Contradiction
The Crisis of Neo-liberalism
The Regulation of the International System Is at the Heart of the Debate
2008, the Crisis of Neo-liberalism and the Crisis of Capitalism
What Are the Current Crises?
Threats and Opportunities of the Crisis
Immediate Responses: a Lull in the Crisis or an Exit?
Change Has Now Become Absolutely Necessary

2 The Emergence of the Alterglobalist Movement
The Foundations of the Movement
An Anti-systemic Movement
An Historic Emancipation Movement
Main Phases of the Alterglobalist Movement
1980-89: Struggles Against Debt, Hunger and Structural Adjustments
1989-1999: Contesting the International Institutions and Globalisation
2000-2008: the World Social Forum Process and the Transition to Alterglobalism
A New Phase of Alterglobalism and a New Cycle of Social Forums Started
in 2008
Analysis of the Social Forum Process
Political Culture
Organisation of the Forums
A Few Questions About the Process
Reinforcement of Actions
Impact of the Forums
From Resistance to Proposals and Alternatives
The Alterglobalist Movement’s Strategic Debate

PART II The Strategy of the Alterglobalist Movement

3 Access to Rights and the Democratic Imperative
Access to Rights for All
An Alternative to Neo-liberalism
An Objective: Equality of Rights
One Possible Implementation That is Already in Place
The Approach to Rights in the Long Term
The Declarations of Rights
The Social Question
International Law
Decolonisation and the Rights of Peoples
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
A New Generation of Fundamental Rights
The Democratic Imperative
Democracy and Ideologies
Disenchantment and Legitimacy
World Democracy
The Struggles for Global Democratisation

4 Power and Politics
Social Bases and Alliances
Convergence of the Movements
Unity of the Movements
Contradictions of NGOs and Associations
The Strengths of the Multitudes
The Issue of Alliances
Power and Social Transformation
Debate on the State and Crisis of the Nation-State
State of Exception and Social State
Role of the State in Social Transformation
Power and Strategy
The Instrumentalisation of Terrorism
The Taking of Power and Social Transformation

5 Possible Outcomes of the Global Crisis
The Neo-conservative Outcome: Repression and War
Social Austerity
The Calling into Question of Freedoms
Conflicts and Wars
Reforming Capitalism: the Green New Deal
The Green Capitalism Perspective
The Alterglobalist Movement and the Green New Deal
Going Beyond Capitalism
The Radical Alternatives in the Crisis
Alternatives to the Capitalist System

PART III From Strategy to Alternatives

6 Citizens Regulation, Forms of Property and Equality of Rights
Public and Citizens Regulation
Questioning Financialisation
The Commons
The Redistribution of Wealth and Income
Minimum Wages and Resource Ceilings
Access to Rights and Public Services
A Radical Reform of Public Services
Free Services and the Open-source Software Movement

7 The Environmental Imperative and Democracy
The Environmental and Social Emergency
A Few Ecology Debates
Citizen Expertise and the Building of Alternative Knowledge
Crisis of Civilisation and Well-being
Democratic Representations and Freedoms
A Radical Democratisation of Democracy
Civil Society and Cultural Hegemony
Partnerships Through Cooperation Between Societies
Two Revealing Phenomena in the Current Period: the Women’s Movement and Migrant Rights

8 The Completion of Decolonisation and Global Regulation
A New Phase of Decolonisation
Evolution of the Societies and States That Came out of Decolonisation
The North/South Representation
The Geopolitical Crisis
The Second Phase of Decolonisation
Global Public Regulation
Evolution of the United Nations International System
World Democracy and the Global Social Contract
A Radical Reform of the United Nations

Conclusion: Reform and revolution
Review of Strategic Thinking
Envisioning the Transition
Ruptures and Continuities

Epilogue: The Movement’s Strategic Challenges
The Global Situation
Possible Futures
Differentiation of the World’s Major Regions
The Geopolitical Disruption of the World
The Alterglobalist Movement
The WSF Process
Organisation of the Process and Role of the International Council
The New Movements
A Need to Reinvent Politics

Appendices
1 Summary of Radical Reforms and Alternatives
Radical Reforms
Radical Alternatives
2 Fifteen years of World Social Forums: Summary Table
3 Websites of Organisations Involved in the Alterglobalist
Strategy Debate

Publication date: November 2013.

236 pages | 6 x 9


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Table of Contents

PART I Context of the Alterglobalist Movement

1 Critical Analysis of the Prevailing Logic
Overview of the Phases of Capitalist Globalisation
A World-Scale Vision
The Foundations of the Neo-liberal Model
Structural Adjustment Policies
The Victory of Neo-liberalism
Overview of Previous Reference Models
Emergence of New Models in the Interwar Period
Three Development Models
How These Three Models Were Discredited by Neo-liberalism
The Keynesian and Fordist Model of Regulation
The Beginning of Waged Employment
The National Independence Development Model
The World Bank as Leader
The Contradictions of Neo-liberalism
Unequal Growth
The Environment Paradigm
The Crisis of Geopolitical Hegemony
The Current Neo-liberal Phase
The Ideology of Security: the Fourth Contradiction
The Crisis of Neo-liberalism
The Regulation of the International System Is at the Heart of the Debate
2008, the Crisis of Neo-liberalism and the Crisis of Capitalism
What Are the Current Crises?
Threats and Opportunities of the Crisis
Immediate Responses: a Lull in the Crisis or an Exit?
Change Has Now Become Absolutely Necessary

2 The Emergence of the Alterglobalist Movement
The Foundations of the Movement
An Anti-systemic Movement
An Historic Emancipation Movement
Main Phases of the Alterglobalist Movement
1980-89: Struggles Against Debt, Hunger and Structural Adjustments
1989-1999: Contesting the International Institutions and Globalisation
2000-2008: the World Social Forum Process and the Transition to Alterglobalism
A New Phase of Alterglobalism and a New Cycle of Social Forums Started
in 2008
Analysis of the Social Forum Process
Political Culture
Organisation of the Forums
A Few Questions About the Process
Reinforcement of Actions
Impact of the Forums
From Resistance to Proposals and Alternatives
The Alterglobalist Movement’s Strategic Debate

PART II The Strategy of the Alterglobalist Movement

3 Access to Rights and the Democratic Imperative
Access to Rights for All
An Alternative to Neo-liberalism
An Objective: Equality of Rights
One Possible Implementation That is Already in Place
The Approach to Rights in the Long Term
The Declarations of Rights
The Social Question
International Law
Decolonisation and the Rights of Peoples
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
A New Generation of Fundamental Rights
The Democratic Imperative
Democracy and Ideologies
Disenchantment and Legitimacy
World Democracy
The Struggles for Global Democratisation

4 Power and Politics
Social Bases and Alliances
Convergence of the Movements
Unity of the Movements
Contradictions of NGOs and Associations
The Strengths of the Multitudes
The Issue of Alliances
Power and Social Transformation
Debate on the State and Crisis of the Nation-State
State of Exception and Social State
Role of the State in Social Transformation
Power and Strategy
The Instrumentalisation of Terrorism
The Taking of Power and Social Transformation

5 Possible Outcomes of the Global Crisis
The Neo-conservative Outcome: Repression and War
Social Austerity
The Calling into Question of Freedoms
Conflicts and Wars
Reforming Capitalism: the Green New Deal
The Green Capitalism Perspective
The Alterglobalist Movement and the Green New Deal
Going Beyond Capitalism
The Radical Alternatives in the Crisis
Alternatives to the Capitalist System

PART III From Strategy to Alternatives

6 Citizens Regulation, Forms of Property and Equality of Rights
Public and Citizens Regulation
Questioning Financialisation
The Commons
The Redistribution of Wealth and Income
Minimum Wages and Resource Ceilings
Access to Rights and Public Services
A Radical Reform of Public Services
Free Services and the Open-source Software Movement

7 The Environmental Imperative and Democracy
The Environmental and Social Emergency
A Few Ecology Debates
Citizen Expertise and the Building of Alternative Knowledge
Crisis of Civilisation and Well-being
Democratic Representations and Freedoms
A Radical Democratisation of Democracy
Civil Society and Cultural Hegemony
Partnerships Through Cooperation Between Societies
Two Revealing Phenomena in the Current Period: the Women’s Movement and Migrant Rights

8 The Completion of Decolonisation and Global Regulation
A New Phase of Decolonisation
Evolution of the Societies and States That Came out of Decolonisation
The North/South Representation
The Geopolitical Crisis
The Second Phase of Decolonisation
Global Public Regulation
Evolution of the United Nations International System
World Democracy and the Global Social Contract
A Radical Reform of the United Nations

Conclusion: Reform and revolution
Review of Strategic Thinking
Envisioning the Transition
Ruptures and Continuities

Epilogue: The Movement’s Strategic Challenges
The Global Situation
Possible Futures
Differentiation of the World’s Major Regions
The Geopolitical Disruption of the World
The Alterglobalist Movement
The WSF Process
Organisation of the Process and Role of the International Council
The New Movements
A Need to Reinvent Politics

Appendices
1 Summary of Radical Reforms and Alternatives
Radical Reforms
Radical Alternatives
2 Fifteen years of World Social Forums: Summary Table
3 Websites of Organisations Involved in the Alterglobalist
Strategy Debate

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