cj#954,rn,sn-> Chapter 7 – Prospects for a global movement: some strategic considerations


Richard Moore

Dear friends on cj, rn, & sn lists,

Sorry for the long delay, but here's the next installment of my
book-in-progress.  The previous installment was posted last December.  Some
of the issues raised may be appropriate for discussion on list, and I'd be
interested personally in any comments you might have, either as criticism
or as suggestions for improvement.



                    Achieving a Livable, Peaceful World

                            Part III - Chapter 7

                     Copyright 1999 by Richard K. Moore
                    Last update 7 June 1999 - 5400 words

Part III - A strategic framework for global transformation
Chapter 7 - Prospects for a global movement: some strategic considerations

The West and the Third World: the strategic pictures are different
As the globalization project unfolds, economic and social conditions are
worsening globally. The pattern of decline varies considerably, however,
from one part of the world to another. The devastation is most dramatic
where the IMF has carried out its programs of systematic economic
destruction - in the Third World, Southeast Asia, and the former Soviet
Union. In these cases entire societies have gone under all at once - swamped
by market-forces tidal waves. Western societies on the other hand, seem
superficially to be sailing on their traditional course. But as our leaders
smile their usual smiles, the lower decks of the Titanic ship of state are
being fatally and intentionally flooded.

The infrastructures of Western societies are being one-by-one scuttled.
Neoliberal policies have left governments without the means to provide
fundamental services, while privatization programs give away valuable public
assets to corporate operators. Free trade treaties like NAFTA have already
signed away essential national sovereignties - but the full power of the
World Trade Organization - our new world government - has been so far kept
muzzled. National finances have become subject to the whims of casino
capitalism - and being "investor friendly" has become the only guiding
economic principle. Political parties have all merged into one, and whether
you vote for tweedly dee or tweedly dum, the result is always globalization
and more globalization.

Although global decline of the human condition is readily apparent to anyone
who takes the trouble to investigate, it is essentially invisible to
Westerners who simply consume the mass-media diet of disinformation. Famines
and civil wars in Africa, for example, are presented as if they were caused
by climate conditions and primitive tribalism - the IMF (not to mention
covert Western subversion) is rarely if ever mentioned. In the West, news
reports tell us things are getting better in the very midst of precipitous
decline. We hear that unemployment is down, but not that more and more jobs
pay wages below the poverty level; we are told of rising stock market
values, but not that independent farms are on the brink of extinction.

In the Third World, which has suffered under imperialism for centuries, the
realities of globalization are much better understood by ordinary people.
From a Third-World perspective, globalization is just one more version of
imperialism - TNC's and the IMF instead of the East India Company and His
Majesty's Foreign Office. The more things change, the more they stay the
same. In the Third World, resistance movements are becoming more
strategically grounded and better organized than in the West, but they are
also more vulnerable to suppression - either by their own governments or by
Western interventions of various kinds.

In the West, the structural meaning of globalization is not widely
understood. Traditional Western politics, one might say, has been a matter
of struggling over who gets the best deck chairs, and who gets to eat in the
first-class dining room. Our leaders and politicians are willing to keep
playing that game as long as we are - they aren't going to tell us how
irrelevant it has all become. We need to open our own eyes and think things
through for ourselves.

Lots of battles are being fought, but the war is being lost
There are literally thousands of activist organizations throughout the
world, each struggling against one or another symptom of the capitalist
system. Some have an environmental focus; others are concerned with human
rights or with world peace; some seek to reform the election process, while
others try to make inroads directly against corporate power, and the list
goes on. Sorry for switching metaphors, but the situation is like a group of
blind men were each trying to pull an elephant in a different direction -
one pulling on the tail, another on the trunk, others pushing a leg this way
or that. Meanwhile the elephant plods ahead hardly noticing their efforts.

Before this situation can change, our blind men need to become aware of the
bigger picture. They must understand that their efforts are cancelling one
another out, and that no real progress is being made to slow down the
elephant - let alone to reverse its direction. Meanwhile, our blind men do
not even realize they are blind, and in many cases believe they really are
making progress. Especially the fellow pulling on the trunk - he suffers
from the delusion that he is leading the elephant.

Let's take the environmental movement as an example. Suppose you are
concerned with the environment and wish to do something about it. You might
succeed in persuading your neighbors to recycle, or you might work with
others and manage to close down a toxic waste dump. Perhaps you have joined
an "eco village" or pride yourself on riding your bicycle everywhere. Or you
might be a member of a national environmental organization and you might
read in their newsletter that a new law has been passed to protect yet
another endangered species. You might watch one of the countless "cuddly
creature" documentaries on television, and learn that whale populations are
on the increase. You can go to bed at night feeling that you've "done
something," and that bit by bit the Earth will be made "greener."

But if you step back and look at the big picture, the global environmental
situation is nothing less than disastrous and getting everyday worse.
Rainforests - the lungs of the Earth - are being rapidly destroyed;
fisheries are being depleted; topsoils are being eroded and deserts are
replacing arable land; pesticide concentration is increasing in our water
supplies; the ozone layer continues to disappear; carbon-dioxide levels
increase in the atmosphere as global warming continues to mount; billions of
dollars are being invested in genetic engineering and its experimental
products are being smuggled into our foods. Not only that, but treaties such
as NAFTA threaten to overturn all environmental laws on the basis of "trade
discrimination." The environmental war is being lost, pure and simple - in
military terms it would be called a rout. An illusion of progress can only
be maintained by narrowing your focus to a tiny piece of the picture - by
grasping at a few ounces of seeming success and ignoring tons of real

The picture is the same in every domain of activism. Progress is pursued in
the small, while disaster looms in the large. Think globally and act locally
may be the slogan, but Strive locally and lose globally is the reality. On
every front it is the stranglehold of the corporate system that is
advancing, with the divided forces of opposition always on the defensive,
seeking continually to resist the latest outrages. Activists are losing
their battles, but it is not corporate power that is defeating them - they
are defeating themselves. By scattering their energies they make themselves
impotent. By failing to grasp the strategic situation they make their
efforts irrelevant.

The disarray of activism is grounds for optimism!
If there were a scarcity of activist organizations, that would be grounds
for pessimism. Trying to build a movement by mobilizing the apathetic would
be a hopeless undertaking. And if activist organizations were coordinated
and possessed a sound strategy, that would be even more discouraging - given
their net ineffectiveness. But with so many thousands of sincere activists
running around in futile directions - there is every reason to be
optimistic! As the sixties' cartoon character Pogo said, "We have met the
enemy and he is us." If we are our own worst enemy then we can do something
about it. We need only(!) to come together in a coordinated movement and
devise a sound strategy to build a livable and peaceful world. If activists
can create a coordinated and viable movement, there is every reason to
believe a critical mass of the citizenry can be rallied to the cause.

Building a coordinated movement will not an easy task - but it is a feasible
task. The energy is there, the motivation is there, and only(!) the
coordination and strategy are missing. Part II of this book endeavored to
outline objectives for such a movment. Let us proceed now to investigate how
the movement might be built, what obstacles it is likely to encounter, and
how it can overcome them.

Avoiding the trap of reformism
Prior to the neoliberal revolution reform movements made a certain degree of
political sense in the West. In those bygone days of fortress nation states,
satisifed Western populations were central to the operation of the
imperialist system. A wave of dissatisfaction would arise; a movement would
develop from it; and reform legislation would be drafted - killing the
movement and restoring public quiescence. The trail of such reforms (labor
rights, regulation of industry, social-welfare benefits, civil-rights, etc.)
is what we in the West called "social progress." There were always some
radical voices around who characterized these reforms as movement sellouts -
these radicals saw reforms not as successes, but as roadblocks thrown in the
path of popular sovereignty. But as the reforms seemed to be cumulative, the
radical voices were generally dismissed by most people as being excessive
and unreasonable.

Now, with benefit of hindsight, those of us who took the moderate position
must acknowledge that the radicals were wiser than we understood at the
time. Reforms granted us privileges but left power in the hands of elites.
We got favors from Big Daddy, so to speak, but we continued to live in Big
Daddy's house and under his thumb. When Big Daddy began taking our favors
away, c. 1980, we began finding ourselves with neither favors nor power.
Reforms which took centuries to achieve - with great struggle and suffering
on the part of millions - are being undone in the space of a few short
decades. As long as economic power is concentrated in a few hands and
politics is based on competitive factionalism, all reform is temporary.

Nonetheless, nearly all activist movements today continue to pursue
piecemeal reforms. The historically proven futility of this approach goes
unrecognized. Not only that, but the dynamic which formerly allowed
significant reforms to succeed - even temporarily - no longer operates.
Under globalization, the wind of reform is running the wrong direction. If
we want to build a successful movement that achieves lasting results, the
first lesson we need to learn is not to seek any favors - we need nothing
less than a shift of power from elites to the people. Only functional
democracy - an historically radical objective - can save us from our current
path to societal ruin.

The importance of a non-violent strategy
Whenever a mass movement gets underway, and especially when the
establishment begins to suppress it, there are always those whose anger and
impatience will lead them toward justifying violence as a movement tactic.
There are three strategically critical reasons why violence must be strictly
avoided in the movement: retaliation (from the establishment), isolation
(from the still uncommitted population), and alienation (of eventual

Retaliation: Modern Western establishments are excellently prepared to deal
with violent uprisings. Police and paramilitary forces are well-trained and
highly disciplined, and military forces can be brought in if necessary.
Sensationalized media coverage can "convict" the rebels of atrocities, while
simultaneously downplaying repressive counter-measures.

Isolation: Western populations generally profess a strong revulsion to
violence. In fact this revulsion is hypocrisy - given how easy it is for
governments to justify brutality against others (eg., Iraq and Yugoslavia.)
Nonetheless an intentionally violent approach would turn most of the
population against the movement and guarantee early failure.

Alienation: Who is there, really, who is against a livable and peaceful
world? There are no true enemies of the movement; there are only those who
are confused about how the world works and about what their self-interests
are. Even wealthy plutocrats do not benefit from a poisoned Earth - they
simply fear that if the system changes they will lose everything. (Or
perhaps they still believe outdated Malthusian analyses.) Least of all are
police or military personnel "enemies" of the movment. Movement violence
succeeds only in creating enemies where there need be none.

Violent confrontation is probably the most stupid tactic that a movement
could possibly embrace. Not only must violence be avoided as an intentional
movement tactic, but effective measures must be taken to maintain strict
non-violent discipline in the heat of engagement. A strictly non-violent
movement, as Gandhi and Martin Luther King demonstrated, can turn the
establishment's use of violence into a liability for them, and thereby can
help to minimize such repression.

Predictable establishment responses to any popular movement
The history of popular movements is a rich one and there are many clear
lessons to be learned. The following defensive strategems have been employed
time and time again, and any radical movement must be prepared to deal with
them. Here we are not talking about anything unique to capitalism or
globalization, but rather about standard defensive techniques used by
established power elites of all kinds throughout the ages.

     Media blackout
     The first line of defense against any movement is to ignore it.
     When Desert Storm was launched, for example, major protest marches
     occurred all across the US - but the public didn't know it. In
     each town or city the media carried only the local protests, in
     the local segment of the news - as if the protests were a local
     anomaly. The national news segment projected the myth that support
     for the war was universal, and the protest movement soon fizzled
     out from a perceived sense of hopelessness.

     Similarly, activism against corporate power and globalization is
     usually dealt with by blackout. Many books have been published on
     this topic, and writers like Noam Chomsky have a considerable
     popular following - and yet the phrase "corporate power" almost
     never appears on television or in mainstream newspapers or
     magazines in the US or UK. Globalization and free-trade are seldom
     mentioned as topics of policy debate - instead they are referred
     to in passing as being inevitable and natural trends.

     The loss of national and constitutional sovereignty, under
     free-trade treaties, is never mentioned in US media as a serious
     political issue. In the UK, the loss of sovereignty to Brussels
     was at first dismissed by BBC reports as the paranoid fantasy of
     "Euro Skeptics." Later, when the loss of sovereignty to the
     Brussels regime could no longer be ignored, it was relabled with
     the friendly-sounding term "pooled sovereignty," and was
     contrasted to "Parliamentary sovereignty" - in an attempt to make
     the two sound more or less equivalent.

     Marginalization and Demonization
     When a movement begins to gather steam, and media blackout has
     lost its effectiveness, establishments typically shift to the
     tactics of marginalization and demonization. The movement against
     the Vietnam War was brewing for years before it was ever carried
     on the mainstream media. When coverage finally began, protestors
     were misrepresented as being more radical, violent, and
     irresponsible than they actually were - and far less numerous.

     There is a particular propagandistic formula by which political
     viewpoints are frequently marginalized and demonized - by
     selecting spokespersons for those viewpoints who can be
     discredited in the public eye. When NAFTA was being debated in the
     US Congress, for example, media attention was focused primarily on
     Ross Perot as the symbol of opposition. Although some people
     responded positively to Perot's colorful style, for the most part
     he was dismissed as an egocentric, excitable, bossy billionaire -
     hardly a credible champion of any campaign against corporate power
     and free trade. A sensationalized television debate was staged
     between Perot and Vice President Gore. The pro-NAFTA result of
     this debate was a foregone conclusion. Any number of spokespeople
     - for example Ralph Nader or Noam Chomsky - could have made
     mincemeat of Gore in such a debate, and that's why such people
     seldom receive media attention.

     As mentioned above, most voices speaking out against corporate
     power are simply ignored. Pat Buchannan, however, received
     considerable coverage when he lauched his campaign for the
     Presidency - on a platform against corporate power and in favor of
     a coherent national economic policy. Since Buchanan's media image
     had previously been established as a "xenophobic racist Southern
     redneck," the media coverage of his short-lived campaign succeeded
     in linking his economic platform to xenophobia, and his
     corporate-power platform with backward thinking.

     The sanctity of constitutional government and national sovereignty
     are very sensitive issues in the United States - more so than in
     the UK or most of Europe. Special care is therefore taken in the
     media to heavily demonize the viewpoint that globalization and
     corporate power are undermining the Constitution and selling out
     national sovereignty. In the media, the primary voices which are
     allowed to bring up these issues are the militias - who have been
     throroughly (and unfairly) demonized as being violent, racist, and
     paranoid. In actual fact, the Bill of Rights has indeed been left
     in a shambles by the so-called "War on Crime" and "War on Drugs" -
     but if anyone says so publicly, they are dismissed as right-wing
     fanatics who are espousing "those militia conspiracy theories."

     The situation is similar in Europe. Concern for national
     sovereignty and coherent national economic policies have been
     linked by the media with National Front movements in France, and
     with Neo-Nazi movements in Germany. Anyone else who wants to
     espouse these concerns must first defend themselves against
     spurious charges of provincialism, racism, and out-of-date

     Distraction and diversion
     Another establishment tactic is to distract movements from basic
     goals, and to divert them toward objectives which have little
     practical consequence or which directly serve establishment
     interests (ie, pulling the elephant the direction it wants to go
     anyway.) The environmental movement is rife with examples of this
     tactic. While industrial production creates countless tons of
     waste daily, much of which is disposed of without adequate
     safeguards - the energy of millions of environmentally-concerned
     citizens is diverted to recycling household bottles and cans. To
     be sure, household recycling is environmentally beneficial, but
     the net effect politially is to divert attention from waste
     management as a more general and serious societal problem.

     Irresponsible development projects, reckless fishing and logging,
     and careless disposal of toxic wastes are destroying natural
     ecosystems worldwide and causing the extinction of species at an
     alarming rate. In order to make meaningful inroads against this
     problem, significant controls over development and harvesting
     practices would need to be implemented on a global scale. This
     would of course cut into corporate profits and therefore cannot be

     Instead, with the help of selective media coverage and various
     other strategems, public attention is shifted to particular
     dramatic scenarios, such as the plight of whales and redwood
     trees. Neither whales nor redwood trees have much economic
     significance in the modern world, and occasional environmental
     "victories" can be tolerated in those cases. Meanwhile the overall
     environmental picture continues to decline precipitously.

     Any serious environmentalist knows that preservation of the
     environment cannot be dealt with by one-at-a-time defensive
     measures, but requires an overall strategy of sustainability. The
     diversionary establishment response is the doctrine of
     "sustainable development." This term, as it is being used in
     establishment circles, has nothing whatever to do with
     sustainability. Instead, it is a policy of using the Earth's
     remaining resources for the most "economically productive"
     purposes. In the name of "sustainable development," we can expect,
     for example, water supplies to be taken away from indigenous
     populations to be used instead for profitable agribusiness
     projects. Millions will die of thirst so that TNC's can profit
     from their water supplies. Thus the objectives of the
     environmental movement are diverted to serve goals diametrically
     opposed to their original purposes.

     Suppression, infiltration, and agent provocateurs
     Not all measures against popular movements are so gentle as those
     described so far. More direct and violent methods can be expected,
     especially whenever a movement reaches the point where it poses a
     serious threat to established interests. Meetings and
     demonstrations will be broken up by police; leaders will be
     arrested and movement followers intimidated in various time-proven
     ways. Infiltrating agents will encourage the movement toward
     violence, and agent provocateurs will carry out violent acts in
     the name of the movement. These techniques have been used
     throughout history - they must be viewed as "standard practice."
     Such techniques were used by the Tzar in the years before 1918;
     they have been used by the British and US governments against
     labor movements in the first half of this century; they were used
     extensively by the US government against the anti-Vietnam and New
     Left movements in the sixties and seventies. Perhaps the most
     famous example of agent provocateurism was the (1933) Reichstag
     fire in which, evidently, the Nazis burned down the Reichstag
     building themselves and then blamed it on the communists.

     The existence of such well-known and oft-practiced techniques is
     all the more reason to maintain very strict non-violent movement

     Of all establishment strategems, one of the most potent is
     co-option. Co-option is simply the granting of privileges
     sufficient to defuse a movement. In the US the agency of co-option
     is typically the Democratic Party. The turn-of-the-century
     agrarian Populists, for example, mounted a huge movement. They had
     thirty thousand speakers who travelled around the countryside
     spreading their message and recruiting members. They represented
     the interests of small farmers and fought against corporate
     domination of the agricultural industry and the national economy.
     The strength of the movement was so great that it actually
     threatened to achieve victories at the ballot box.

     Into the breach against them was sent the Democratic Party.
     William Jennings Bryan was the Democratic candidate for President
     in 1896, and he "talked the talk" of the Populists. The Populist's
     endorsed Bryan, and put all their eggs in the basked of electoral
     victory. Within a few years the Populists had disappeared as a
     political entity and the Populist movement was destroyed. The
     Populists made other strategic errors - they refused to seek
     alliances with urban workers for example. But it was co-option
     that drove the final nail in their coffin.

     The US civil-rights movement of the sixties was a broad-based,
     grass-roots movement. It mobilized millions of black people and
     many white sympathizers from both the South and the North. Federal
     civil-rights legislation, while granting some of the measures
     demanded by civil-rights leaders, also succeeding in taking the
     steam out of the movement. Instead of a dynamic force for
     progressive change, the movement became simply another
     special-interest group to be manipulated at election time like all
     the others.

     Co-option is very similar to reformism. Reformism is when a
     movement sets out to gain privileges instead of power; co-option
     occurs when a movement seeking power is seduced into accepting
     privileges instead. In both cases a priceless jewel of democracy -
     aroused popular will and a functioning grass-roots organization -
     are traded, so to speak, for the temporary loan of forty pieces of

     Induced economic crisis
     Part of what globalization is about is the centralization of
     economic power and decision making into private capitalist hands.
     In the Third World the IMF is able to play with national economies
     as if they were sandcastles - building them up, or washing them
     away, at will. The US and Europe are no less vulnerable to
     economic manipulation. Private bankers call the economic shots. In
     the US, it is the private Federal Reserve that makes the big
     economic decisions, outside of the political process; in the UK,
     the Bank of England has recently been separated from political
     control according to precisely the same formula. Europe has for
     years marched to the fiscal tune of the independently-minded
     Bundesbank. Prosperity or recession are largely the arbitrary
     choice of private bankers - the very epitome of the capitalist

     In current circumstances, while Western populations are being led
     sheepishly by the nose down the neoliberal garden path, there is
     every reason to maintain some semblance of economic prosperity.
     Once the noose of globalization is tight around the world's neck,
     there is plenty of time to generate additional profits by
     squeezing Western populations down to the poverty line.

     But if a massive grass-roots movement arises in the West to
     challenge capitalist hegemony, it would be all to easy for the
     elite to change their game plan. By precipitously tightening
     credit, and by similar means, the West could easily be thrown into
     economic recession, high unemployment, and inflation - in whatever
     combination best serves to spread fear in the population. Those
     who are unemployed and standing in bread lines are unlikely to
     have much energy to fight for such long-range issues as functional
     democracy and sustainable economics.

     The fascist card
     A standard capitalist tactic, in the face of strong popular
     movements, is the covert encouragement of fascist organizations.
     In Germany and the UK today for example, skinhead organizations
     are being tacitly encouraged. (If you doubt that they are being
     encouraged, I suggest you imagine what would happen to any leftist
     organization that engaged in similar violent conspiracies! Its
     leaders would be arrested in the twinkling of an eye. There are no
     organizations of any kind in the modern world that are capable of
     preventing surveillance by Western government agencies.)

     The benefits derived from the encouragement of fringe fascist and
     right-wing groups are many. Right-wing activism makes people
     fearful of any radical movement - it encourages the false notion
     that radical is equivalent to violent. A more concrete benefit is
     the justification of repressive measures that would otherwise be
     opposed on constitutional grounds. Two recent events - the bombing
     of the Federal Building in Oklahoma (US), and the Omagh bombing
     (Ireland), both occurred in highly suspicious circumstances. Both
     were unprecedented in style and in level of violence - and both
     were immediately followed by the enactment of (very similar)
     omnibus "anti-terrorism" bills which by "coincidence" were all
     ready for enactment.

     The use of fascism by Western capitalism in Italy, Germany, and
     Spain - to suppress leftist movements in the twenties and thirties
     - is of course a matter of familiar historical record. The fact
     that American corporations built weapons for Hitler throughout
     World War II is not as widely known, but is well-documented

The Green Party trap
The misdirection of movement energy into party politics combines the dangers
of reformism, diversion, and co-option. Competitive factionalism, aka party
politics, serves as a systematic and effective way for established elites to
absorb popular energies, play them off against one another, and prevent
democracy from functioning. It is useful to distinguish two cases: majority
and minority parties.

Majority parties actually succeed in being voted into power, and give the
appearance that popular interests have "won." Examples include the US
Democratic Party under Franklin D. Roosevelt, or the British Labor Party in
the immediate postwar years. Such cases are especially heartbreaking, from
the perspective of genuine democracy, because they represent the frittering
away of opportunities for the establishment of genuine popular regimes. Such
parties are never allowed to gain power unless the threat of popular
movements has become a significant threat to established power elites. But
within the context of party politics nothing of lasting value can be
accomplished. Franklin Roosevelt boasted at the end of his career that his
greatest accomplishment was that he "saved capitalism."

Minority parties, as the vehicle of popular movements, lack even the
superficial benefits of majority parties. They are a waste of time pure and
simple. The Green Party, for example, is one of the biggest obstacles in the
way of building a popular movement today. It has no chance whatever of
obtaining majority status, because it limits its focus to a single matrix of
issues. In order to "vote Green," a person must make the decision that
environmental concerns are more important than every other issue, including
economics, civil rights, foreign policy, etc. Those who want to become
active on environmental issues are often absorbed into the Green Party,
where they feel they are "doing something," and become less available for
pursuits which might actually make a difference.

The EU trap
The role of the EU, as a Trojan Horse to seduce Europe into the
globalization project, was discussed in Part I. One of the original purpose
of European integration - bringing Europe to an economic par with the US and
Japan - continues in rhetoric, even though the neoliberal free-trade agenda
has rendered it totally obsolete.

For progressives - those whose concerns tend more toward social justice and
the environment than toward "economic resurgance" - the EU sings a beautiful
song. The EU is in fact acting as a temporary progressive force: it's
environmental laws are stronger than those of many European nations; it
mandates local community participation in political decision making; it's
"harmonization" doctrines are very appealing to progressives. The EU
progressive siren lulls those of good will toward the (barely) hidden shoals
of the neoliberal calamity.

In analyzing the Green Party, the EU, or any other such phenomenon, one
needs to separate the short-term from the long-term - the superficial from
the structural. Structurally, the EU is about the centralization of power
under a neoliberal agenda. This is plain to see in the Maastricht Treaty and
in all the free-trade treaties to which EU leaders have been so eager to
commit Europe. Policies like subsidiarity, green laws, community
participation, and the like are superficial. They succeed in seducing
progressive Europeans into the EU camp, but they are not consistent with the
direction of globalization, and there are no EU constitutional gurarntees
which commit Brussels to continuing progressive policies once sovereignty
has been fully centralized.

Those who want to understand where the EU is really heading might want to
look at the US. In a very real sense the US is the model for the EU: a
United States of Europe as a balance to the United States of North America.
In the US, where power has been long centralized, progressive causes are all
on the decline. "Budgetary realities" and the need for "competitiveness"
take precedence over all progressive concerns. For those who lived through
the sixties and seventies it is painful to see how low the US has fallen as
a society. The EU is following the same up-then-down trajectory, only it is
displaced by a decade or two.

Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.
Structurally, and long-term, the EU is a disaster for democracy and for all
progressive causes - it is an agent of co-option. Little Norway is to be
commended for its courage and foresight in resisting so long the seductions
and the pressures to sign away their sovereignty to Brussels bureaucrats.

Synergy between Western and Third-World movements
Sympathy for the plight of imperialized peoples has often raised
difficulties for imperial management. Humanitarian sympathies in Britain
played a significant role in gaining independence for Ireland and India, and
similar sentiments in the US played an important role in the withdrawal of
the US from Vietnam. While today's Third-World liberation movements have
little chance of direct success, they can nonetheless play a critical role
in the overthrow of global capitalist domination. The plight of Third-World
peoples under the heel of globalization can be used as one rallying point
for a Western-based movement. The increasing militancy of Third-World
movements - if accurate information can be conveyed to Western populations -
can help to build the movement in the West, just like in the days of the
Vietnam War.

Furthermore, the development of Third-World movements is crucial to the
birthing of the post-capitalist order. Under centuries of uninterrupted
imperialism, many parts of the Third World have developed civil-society
infrastructures outside the official government and imperial frameworks.
These unofficial infrastructures can provide the basis for locally based
democracies once the yoke of imperialism is removed.

Important as these Third-World movements are, by themselves they could never
overcome imperialist domination - let alone lead to the defeat of global
capitalist hegemony. Strong Western-based movements - working in synergy
with Third-World movements - must be the vanguard of the movement.


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