|The useless global unity which fragments and destroys nations|
The Zapatista movement in Mexico has turned all conventional notions of a mass movement on their head, and in doing so has proved itself truly to be a movement for our times, probably the most significant challenge to the monster of globalisation.
The roots of its unconventional approach can be traced to its beginnings as told by Subcomandante Marcos. He went among the peasants of Chiapas - Mayan Indians - filled with revolutionary rhetoric and certainty. He says that he told the people that the workers of the world must unite, and the Mayans just stared at him. They were not workers, they said, and anyway land wasn't property but the heart of their community. After some frustrating months, Marcos realized that he had got it wrong, and rather than trying to teach the Mayans, set about learning from them.
It was out of this process that the Zapatista rebellion emerged. It refuses to be tied down to any conventional structure of how a revolution must be brought about. For example, it is not dependent on any charismatic leader - it is not for nothing that Marcos always appears masked and that all those in the movement say, 'We are all Marcos!' It is not for nothing that Marcos is very pointedly Subcomandante, not a supreme leader - a concept that is anathema to the Zapatistas.
It is due to this attitude that despite the efforts of the mainstream media (which loves a charismatic leader it can focus on, to the exclusion of the real content of a movement), the movement has not got personalised. Probably the most famous quote on this subject is, 'Marcos is gay in San Francisco, black in South Africa, an Asian in Europe, a Chicano in San Ysidro, an anarchist in Spain, a Palestinian in Israel, a Mayan Indian in the streets of San Cristobal, a Jew in Germany, a Gypsy in Poland, a Mohawk in Quebec, a pacifist in Bosnia, a single woman on the Metro at 10 p.m., a peasant without land, a gang member in the slums, an unemployed worker, an unhappy student and, of course, a Zapatista in the mountains.'
Tellingly, the movement is not interested in capturing political power - that would defeat its very purpose. The Zapatistas have developed a holistic vision of what they want, and in the process have mounted the greatest challenge of all to globalisation. They have well-thought-out positions on health, education, social services etc. It is hardly surprising to note that they are opposed to our system of 'factory schooling', and have been working hard to develop an alternative vision and reality.
The Zapatista vision is twofold: localised betterment of the Mayan situation in terms of equity and living conditions and an international solidarity in justice and an aspiration for a better global condition. Their vision is not just for Mayans, nor just for Mexicans, but for a new world as well.
[Translator's note: In June of 1997 the following document appeared in a European publication. It is an analysis of neoliberalism by Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation - Cecilia Rodriguez of the NCDM ]
First piece: The concentration of wealth and the distribution of poverty
Second piece: The globalization of exploitation
Third piece : Migration, the errant nightmare
Fourth Piece: Financial globalization and the globalization of corruption and crime
Fifth piece: Legitimate violence on behalf of an illegitimate power?
Sixth piece: Megapolitics and the dwarfs
Seventh piece: The pockets of resistance
War is a matter of vital importance for the State. it is the province of life and death, the path which leads to survival or annihilation. It is indispensable to study it at length.
The Art of War, Sun Tzu
Modern globalization, neoliberalism as a global system, should be understood as a new war of conquest for territories.
The end of the Third World War or 'Cold War' does not mean that the world has overcome the polarity and finds its stability under the hegemony of the victor. At the end of this war there was without doubt a loser (the socialist camp), but it is difficult to say who was the victor. Western Europe ? The United States ? Japan ? All of them? The fact is that the defeat of the 'evil empire' (according to Reagan and Thatcher) signified the opening of new markets without a new owner. Therefore a struggle was needed in order to possess them, to conquer them.
Not only that, but the end of the 'Cold War' brought with it a new framework of international relations in which the new struggle for those new markets and territories produced a new World War, the Fourth. This required, as do all wars, a redefinition of the National States. And beyond the redefinition of the National States, the world order returned to the old epochs of the conquests of America , Africa and Oceania . This is a strange modernity that moves forward by going backward. The dusk of the 20th century has more similarities with previous brutal centuries than with the placid and rational future of some science-fiction novel. In the world of the Post-Cold World War, vast territories, wealth, and, above all, a skilled labor force await a new owner.
But it is a position of owner of the world, and there are many who aspire to it. And in order to win it, another war breaks out, but now among those who call themselves the 'Good Empire'.
If the Third World War was between capitalism and socialism (led by the United States and the USSR respectively), with different levels of intensity and alternating scenarios, the Fourth World War occurs now among the great financial centers, with complete scenarios and with a sharp and constant intensity.
Since the end of the Second World War until 1992, there have been 149 wars in all the world. The results are 23 million dead, and therefore there is no doubt about the intensity of this Third World War (statistical source: UNICEF). From the catacombs of international espionage to the astral space of the so-called Strategic Defense Initiative (the 'Star Wars' of the cowboy Ronald Reagan); from the sands of Playa Giron, in Cuba, to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam; from the unbridled nuclear arms war to the savage blows of the State in tormented Latin America; from the ominous maneuvers of the armies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to the CIA agents in Bolivia who oversaw the assassination of Che Guevara; the badly-named 'Cold War' reached temperatures which, in spite of the continuous change of scenery and the incessant ups and downs of the nuclear crisis (and precisely because of that), ended up sinking the socialist camp as a global system, and diluted it as a social alternative.
The Third World War showed the magnanimity of the 'complete war' (in all places and in all forms) for the victor: capitalism. But the scenario of the post-war was profiled, in fact, as a new theater of global operations - great extensions of 'No man's land' (because of the political, social and economic devastation of Eastern Europe and the USSR), world powers in expansion (the United States, Western Europe and Japan), a world economic crisis, and a new technological revolution: the revolution of information. 'In the same way in which the industrial revolution had allowed the replacement of muscle by the machine, the information revolution replaced the brain (or at least a growing number of its important functions) by the computer.' This 'general cerebralization' of the means of production (the same occurred in industry as in services) is accelerated by the explosion of new telecommunications research and the proliferation of the cyberworlds' (Ignacio Ramonet 'La planete des desordres' in the 'Geopolitique du Chaos' Maniere de Voir 3. Le Monde Diplomatique (LMD) , April of 1997).
The supreme kind of capital - financial capital - began then to develop its strategy of war towards the new world and over what was left of the old. Hand in hand with the technological revolution, which placed the entire world, through a computer, on its desk and at its mercy, the financial markets imposed their laws and precepts on the entire planet. The 'globalization' of the new war is nothing more than the globalization of the logic of the financial markets. The National States (and their leaders) went from being directors of the economy to those who were directed - better said tele-directed - by the basic premise of financial power: free commercial exchange. Not only that, but the logic of the market took advantage of the 'porosity' which in all the social spectrum of the world provoked the development of telecommunications and penetrated and appropriated all the aspects of social activity. Finally there was a global war which was total!
One of the first casualties of this new war was the national market. Like a flying bullet inside an armored room, the war begun by neoliberalism bounced from one side to the other and wounded the one who had fired it. One of the fundamental bases of power in the modern capitalist State, the national market, was liquidated by the shot fired by the new era of the financial global economy. International capital took some of its victims by dismantling national capitalism and wearing it out, until it disabled its public powers. The blow has been so brutal and definitive that the national States do not have the necessary strength to oppose the actions of the international markets which transgress the interests of citizens and governments.
The careful and ordered escapade which the 'Cold War' handed down - the 'new world order' - quickly became pieces due to the neoliberal explosion. World capitalism sacrificed without mercy that which gave it a future and a historic project - national capitalism. Companies and States fell apart in minutes, not due to the torments of proletarian revolutions, but the stalemates of financial hurricanes. The child (neoliberalism) ate the father (national capitalism) and in passing destroyed all of the discursive fallacies of capitalist ideology: in the new world order there is no democracy, liberty, equality, nor fraternity.
In the global scenario which is a product of the end of the 'Cold War', all that is perceptible is a new battleground, and in this one, as in all battlegrounds, chaos reigns.
At the end of the 'Cold War', capitalism created a new bellicose horror: the neutron bomb. The 'virtue' of this weapon is that it only destroys life and leaves buildings intact. Entire cities could be destroyed (that is, their inhabitants) without the necessity of reconstructing them (and paying for them). The arms industry congratulated itself. The 'irrationality' of nuclear bombs could be replaced by the new 'rationality' of the neutron bomb. But a new bellicose 'marvel' would be discovered at the same time as the birth of the Fourth World War: the financial bomb.
The new neoliberal bomb, different from its atomic predecessor in Hiroshima and Nagasaki , did not only destroy the polis (the Nation in this case) and imposed death, terror and misery upon those who lived in it, or - different from the neutron bomb - did not solely destroy 'selectively'. The neoliberal bomb reorganized and reordered what it attacked, and remade it as a piece inside a jigsaw puzzle of economic globalization. After its destructive effect, the result is not a pile of smoking ruins, or tens of thousands of inert lives, but a neighborhood attached to one of the commercial megalopoles of the new world supermarket and a labor force rearranged in the new market of world labor.
The European Union, one of the megalopoles produced by neoliberalism, is a result of the Fourth World War. Here, economic globalization erased the borders between rival States, long-time enemies, and forced them to converge and consider political unity. From the National States to the European federation, the economist path of the neoliberal war in the so-called 'old continent' would be filled with destruction and ruins, one of which was European civilization.
The megalopoles reproduced themselves all over the planet. The integrated commercial zones were the territory where they were erected. So it was in North America, where the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada , the United States and Mexico is no more than the prelude to the fulfillment of an old aspiration of U.S. manifest destiny: ' America for Americans'. In South America the path is the same in terms of Mercosur between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay; in Northern Africa, with the Union of Arab States (UMA) between Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania; in south Africa, in the Near East, in the Black Sea, in Pacific Asia, etc. - all over the planet the financial bombs explode and territories are reconquered.
Do the megalopoles substitute the nations? No - or, not only. They also include them and reassign their functions, limits and possibilities. Entire nations are converted into departments of the neoliberal megacompany. Neoliberalism thus operated destruction/depopulation on the one hand, and reconstruction / reorganisation on the other, of regions and of nations, in order to open new markets and renovate the existing ones.
If the nuclear bombs have a dissuasive, coercive, and intimidating character in World War III, in the fourth global conflagration the financial hyperbombs play the same role. These weapons serve to attack territories (National States) destroying the material bases of national sovereignty (all the ethical, judicial, political, cultural and historic obstacles against economic globalization) and producing a qualitative depopulation of their territories. This depopulation consists in detaching all those who are useless to the new market economy (as are the indigenous people).
But, in addition to this, the financial centers operate, simultaneously a reconstruction of the National States and they reorganise them according to the new logic of the global market (the developed economic models are imposed upon weak or non-existing social relations).
The Fourth World War in rural areas, for example, produces this effect. Rural renovation, demanded by the financial markets, tries to increase agricultural productivity, but what it does is to destroy traditional economic and social relations. The results: a massive exodus from the countryside to the cities. Yes, just as in a war. Meanwhile, in the urban zones the market is saturated with labor and the unequal distribution of salaries is the 'justice' which awaits those who seek better conditions of life.
Examples which illustrate this strategy fill the indigenous world. Ian Chambers, director of the Office for Central America of the ILO (of the United Nations), declared that the indigenous population of the world, estimated at 300 millions, lives in zones which have 60% of the natural resources of the planet.
Therefore the 'multiple conflicts due to the use and final destination of their lands as determined by the interest of governments and companies is not surprising ... the exploitation of natural resources (oil and minerals) and tourism are the principal industries which threaten indigenous territories in America' (interview with Martha Garcia in La Jornada , May 28, 1997). Behind the investment projects comes the pollution, prostitution and drugs. In other words, the reconstruction/reorganization of the destruction/depopulation of the zone.
In this new world war, modern politics as the organizer of National States no longer exists. Now politics is solely the economic organizer and politicians are the modern administrators of companies. The new owners of the world are not governments - they don't need to be. The 'national' governments are in charge of administering the businesses in the different regions of the world.
This is the 'new world order', the unification of the entire world in one complete market. Nations are department stores with CEOs dressed as governments, and the new regional alliances, economic and political, come closer to being a modern commercial 'mall' than a political federation. The 'unification' produced by neoliberalism is economic; it is the unification of markets to facilitate the circulation of money and merchandise. In the gigantic global Hypermarket, merchandise circulates freely, not people.
As in all business initiatives (and war), this economic globalization is accompanied by a general model of thought. Nevertheless, among so many new things, the ideological model which accompanies neoliberalism in its conquest of the planet is old and moss-covered. The 'American way of life', which accompanied the troops in Europe during World War II and in Vietnam during the '60s and, more recently, in the Persian Gulf War, now goes hand in hand (or hand in computers) with the financial markets.
This is not only about material destruction of the material bases of the National States, but also (and in a very important and rarely-studied manner) about historic and cultural destruction. The dignity of the indigenous history of the countries of the American continent, the brilliance of European civilization, the historic wisdom of Asian nations, and the powerful and rich antiquity of Africa and Oceania - all the cultures and histories which forged nations are attacked by the model of North-American life. Neoliberalism in this way imposes a total war: the destruction of nations and groups of nations in order to homogenize them with the North-American capitalist model.
A war then, a World War, the Fourth. The worst and cruelest. The one which neoliberalism unleashes in all places and by all means against humanity.
But, as in all wars, there are combats, winners and losers, and torn pieces of that destroyed reality. In order to construct the absurd jigsaw puzzle of the neoliberal world, many pieces are necessary. Some can be found among the ruins this world war has left on the planetary surface. At least seven of these pieces can be reconstructed and can fan the hope that this world conflict will not end with the death of the weakest rival: humanity.
Seven pieces to draw, color, cut, and arrange, next to others, to form the global jigsaw puzzle.
The first is the double accumulation - of wealth and poverty - at the two poles of global society. The other is the total exploitation of the totality of the world. The third is the nightmare of the migrant part of humanity. The fourth is the nauseating relationship between crime and Power. The fifth is the violence of the State. The sixth is the mystery of megapolitics. The seventh is the multi-forms of pockets of resistance of humanity against neoliberalism.
FIRST PIECE - The concentration of wealth and the distribution of poverty
The first figure can be constructed by drawing a dollar sign
In the history of humanity, different social models have fought to hoist the absurd as a distinctive world order. Surely, neoliberalism will have a place of privilege at the time of the awards, because its 'distribution' of social wealth does no more than distribute a double absurdity of accumulation: the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few, and the accumulation of poverty in millions of human beings. In the actual world, injustice and inequality are distinctive characteristics. Planet Earth, third of the solar planetary system, has 5 billion people. Of them, only 500 million live in comfort, while 4½ billion live in poverty and at levels of subsistence.
Doubly absurd is the distribution among rich and poor: the rich are few and the poor are many. The quantitative difference is criminal, but the balance between the two extremes is secured with wealth: the rich supplement their small numbers with millions upon millions of dollars. The fortune of the 358 wealthiest people of the world (thousands of millions of dollars) is superior to the annual income of 45% of the poorest inhabitants, something like 2½ billion people.
The gold chains of the financial watches are converted into a heavy chain for millions of beings. Meanwhile, the 'total number of transactions of General Motors is larger than the Gross National Product of Denmark, that of Ford is larger than the GNP of South Africa, and that of Toyota far surpasses the GNP of Norway' (Ignacio Ramonet, in LMD 1/1997, No.15). For all workers real salaries have fallen, in addition to having to survive the personnel cuts in companies, the closing of factories and the relocation of workplaces. In the so-called 'advanced capitalist economies' the number of unemployed has arrived at a total of 41 million workers.
Little by little, the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few and the distribution of poverty among many begins to trace the profile of modern global society: the fragile equilibrium of absurd inequalities.
The decadence of the neoliberal economic is a scandal: 'The world debt (combining that of all companies, governments and administrations) has surpassed 33 trillion dollars, or 130% of the global GNP, and grows at a rate of 6 to 8% per year, more than 4 times the growth of the global GNP' (Frederic F. Clairmont, 'Ces deux cents societes qui controlent le monde', in LMD , IV/1997).
The progress of the great transnationals does not imply the advancement of developed Nations. To the contrary, while the great financial giants earn more, poverty sharpens in the so-called 'rich nations'.
The chasm between the rich and poor is brutal and no tendency appears to the contrary; indeed it continues. Far from lessening, (we won't say eliminating) it, the social inequality is accentuated, above all in the developed capitalist nations: in the United States , 1% of the wealthiest Americans have conquered 61.6% of the total national wealth between 1983 and 1989. 80% of the poorest North-Americans share only 1.2% of the wealth. In Great Britain the number of homeless has grown; the number of children who survive on social welfare has gone from 7% in 1979 to 26% in 1994; the number of British who live in poverty (defined as less than half of minimum wage) has gone from 5 million to 13,700,000; 10% of the poorest have lost 13% of their purchasing power, while 10% of the richest have gained 65%, and in a period of the past 5 years the number of millionaires has doubled (statistics from LMD , IV/97).
At the beginning of the decade of the '90s '...an estimated 37,000 transnational companies held, with their 170,000 subsidiaries, the international economy in their tentacles.' Nevertheless, the center of power situates itself in the most restrictive circle of the first 200: since the beginnings of the '80s, they have had an uninterrupted expansion through mergers and 'rescue' buy-outs of companies.
In this way, the part of transnational capital in the global GNP has gone from 17% in the middle of the '60s to 24% in 1982 and more than 30% in 1995. The first 200 companies are conglomerates whose planetary activities cover with distinction the primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors: great agricultural exploitation, manufacturing production, financial services, commercial, etc. Geographically, they are divided amongst 10 countries: Japan (62), the United States (53), Germany (23), France (19), United Kingdom (11), Switzerland (8), South Korea (6), Italy (5), and others (4)'. (Frederic F. Clairmont, op.cit. ).
(Frederic F. Clairmont. op. cit. )
*LC: LOWER COUNTRIES, loosely-translated as city-states, regions autonomous zones
$$ Here you have the symbol of economic power. Now paint it the green of the dollar. Don't worry about the nauseating odor, the aroma of manure, mud, and blood which it carries since its birth...
SECOND PIECE : The globalization of exploitation
The second piece is constructed by drawing a triangle
One of the fallacies of neoliberalism is that economic growth of the companies brings with it a better distribution of wealth and a growth in employment. But this is not so. In the same way as the growth of political power of a king does not bring as a consequence a growth of political power of the subjects (to the contrary), the absolute power of financial capital does not better the distribution of wealth nor does it create major employment for society. Poverty, unemployment and instability of labor are its structural consequences.
During the years of the decades of the '60s and '70s, the population considered poor (with less than a dollar a day of income for their basic necessities, according to the World Bank) was about 200 million people. By the beginning of the decade of the '90s this number was about 2 billion. In addition to this the 'mainstay of the 200 most important companies of the planet represent more than a quarter of the world's economic activity; and yet these 200 companies employ only 18.8 million employees, or less than 0.75% of the world's labor force' (Ignacio Ramonet in LMD , January 1997, No.15).
More poor human beings and an increase in the level of impoverishment, less rich and an increase in the level of wealth - these are the lessons of the outline of the First Piece of the neoliberal jigsaw puzzle. To achieve this absurdity, the world's capitalist system 'modernizes' production, circulation and the consumption of merchandise. The new technological revolution (the information revolution) and the new political revolution (the emerging megalopolis on the ruins of the National States) - this social 'revolution' is no more than a readjustment, a reorganization of the social forces, principally the labor force.
The Economically Active Population on a global level went from 1,376 million in 1960 to 2,374 million workers in 1990. More human beings with the capacity to work - in other words, to generate wealth.
But the 'new world order' not only rearranges this new labor force in geographic and productive spaces, it also reorders its place (or lack of a place, as in the case of the unemployed and sub-employed) in the globalizing plan of the economy.
The World Population employed by sector was substantially changed in the last 20 years. In fishing and agriculture it went from 22% in 1970 to 12% in 1990; in manufacturing from 25% in 1970 to 22% in 1990; while in the tertiary sector (commerce, transport, banking and services) it grew from 42% in 1970 to 57% in 1990 (Statistics from The Labor Force in the World Market in Contemporary Capitalism . Ochoa Chi, Juanita del Pilar. UNAM. Economy. Mexico , 1997).
This means that each time more workers are channeled towards the necessary activities to increase production or to accelerate the elaboration of merchandise. The neoliberal system operates in this way like a mega-boss, conceiving the world market as a single company, administered with 'modernizing' criteria.
But neoliberal modernity appears more like the beastly birth of capitalism as a world system than like utopic 'rationality'. 'Modern' capitalist production continues to base itself on the labor of children, women and migrant workers. Of the 1,148 million children in the world, at least 100 million live in the streets and almost 200 million work. It is expected that 400 million of them will be working by the year 2000. It is said as well that 146 million Asian children labor in the production of auto parts, toys, clothing, food, tools and chemicals. But this exploitation of child labor does not only exist in underdeveloped countries - 40% of English children and 20% of French children also work in order to complete the family income or to survive. In the 'pleasure' industry there is also a place for children. The UN estimates that each year a million children enter sexual trafficking (Statistics in Ochoa Chi, Juanita del Pilar op. cit .).
The neoliberal beast invades all the social world, homogenizing even the lines of food production. 'In global terms if we observe particularities in the food consumption of each region (and its interior), the process of homogenization which is being imposed is evident, including over those physiological-cultural differences of the different zones' ( World Market of Means of Subsistence. 1960-1990 . Ocampo Figueroa, Nashelly, and Flores Mondragon, Gonzalo. UNAM. Economy. 1994).
This beast imposes upon humanity a heavy burden. The unemployment and the instability of millions of workers all over the world is a cutting reality which has no horizons and shows no signs of lessening. Unemployment in the countries which make up the Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development went from 3.8% in 1966 to 6.3% in 1990. In Europe alone it went from 2.2% in 1966 to 6.4% in 1990.
The imposition of the laws of the market all over the world - the global market - have done nothing but destroy small and medium-size businesses. Upon the disappearance of local and regional markets, the small and medium-size producers see themselves without protection and without any possibility of competing against gigantic transnationals.
The results: massive bankruptcy of companies. The consequence: millions of unemployed workers.
The absurdity of neoliberalism repeats itself: growth in production does not generate employment; on the contrary, it destroys it. The UN calls this stage 'Growth without employment'.
But the nightmare does not end there. In addition to the threat of unemployment, workers must confront precarious working conditions. Major on-the-job instability, longer working days and poor salaries are consequences of globalization in general and the 'tertiary' tendency of the economy (the growth of the 'service' sector) in particular. 'In the countries under domination, the labor force suffers a precarious reality: extreme mobility, jobs without contracts, irregular salaries (generally inferior to the vital minimum) and regimes with emaciated retirement benefits, independent activities which are not declared and have hit-and-miss salaries, in other words, servitude or forced labor within populations which are supposedly protected such as children' (Alain Morice. 'Foreign workers, advance sector of instability.' LMD , January 1997).
The consequences of all this translates into a bottoming out of global reality. The reorganization of productive processes and the circulation of merchandise and readjustment of productive forces produce a peculiar excess: left-over human beings, not necessary for the 'new world order', who do not produce, or consume, who do not use credit; in sum, who are disposable.
Each day, the great financial centers impose their laws on nations and groups of nations in all the world. They reorder and readjust their inhabitants. And, at the end of the operation, they find they have 'left-over' people. 'They fire upon the volume of the excess population, which is not only subjected to the brunt of the most cruel poverty, but which does not matter, which is loose and separate, and whose only end is to wander through the streets without a fixed direction, without housing or work, without family or social relations, with a minimal stability, whose only company are its cardboard and plastic bags (Fernandez Duran, Ramon. Against the Europe of capital and economic globalization . Talasa. Madrid , 1996).
Economic globalization 'made necessary a decline in real salaries at the international level, which, together with the reduction of social costs (health, education, housing and food) and an anti-union climate, came to constitute the fundamental part of the new neoliberal politics of capitalist reactivation, (Ocampo F. and Flores M. op. cit. ).
THE THIRD PIECE: MIGRATION, THE ERRANT NIGHTMARE
The third figure is constructed by drawing a circle
We spoke beforehand of the existence of new territories, at the end of the Third World War, which awaited conquest (the old socialist countries), and of others which should have been reconquered by the 'new world order'. In order to achieve it, the financial centers carried out a criminal and brutal third strategy; the proliferation of 'regional wars' and 'internal conflicts', which mobilized great masses of workers and allowed capital to follow routes of atypical accumulation.
The results of this world war of conquest was a great ring of millions of migrants in all the world - 'foreigners' in the world 'without borders' which the victors of the Third World War promised. Millions of people suffered xenophobic persecution, precarious labor conditions, loss of cultural identity, police repression, hunger, prison, and death.
'From the American Rio Grande to the 'European' Schengen space, a double contradictory tendency is confirmed. On one side the borders are closed officially to the migration of labor, on the other side entire branches of the economy oscillate between instability and flexibility, which are the most secure means of attracting a foreign labor force' (Alain Morice, op. cit .).
With different names, under a judicial differentiation, sharing an equality of misery, the migrants or refugees or displaced of all the world are 'foreigners' who are tolerated or rejected. The nightmare of migration, whatever its causes, continues to roll and grow over the planet's surface. The number of people who are accounted for in the statistics of the UN High Commission on Refugees has grown disproportionately from some 2 million in 1975 to 27 million in 1995.
With national borders destroyed (for merchandise), the globalized market organizes the global economy: research and design of goods and services, as well as their circulation and consumption, are thought of in intercontinental terms. For each part of the capitalist process the 'new world order' organizes the flow of the labor force, specialized or not, up to where it is necessary. Far from subjecting itself to the 'free flow' so clucked-over by neoliberalism, the employment markets are each day determined more by migratory flows. Where skilled workers are concerned, whose numbers are not significant in the context of global migration, the 'crossing of brains' represents a great deal in terms of economic power and knowledge. Nevertheless, whether skilled labor or unskilled labor, the migratory politics of neoliberalism is oriented more towards destabilizing the global labor market than towards stopping immigration.
The Fourth World War, with its process of destruction/depopulation and reconstruction/reorganization provokes the displacement of millions of people. Their destiny is to continue to wander, with the nightmare at their side, and to offer to employed workers in different nations a threat to their employment stability, an enemy to hide the image of the boss, and a pretext for giving meaning to the racist nonsense promoted by neoliberalism.
This is the symbol of the errant nightmare of global migration - a ring of terror which roams all over the world.
FOURTH PIECE: FINANCIAL GLOBALIZATION AND THE GLOBALIZATION OF CORRUPTION AND CRIME
The fourth figure is constructed by drawing a rectangle
The mass media reward us with an image of the directors of global delinquency: vulgar men and women, dressed outlandishly, living in ridiculous mansions or behind the bars of a jail. But that image hides more than it shows: the real bosses of the modern Mafiosi, or their organization, or their real influence in the political and economic regions are never divulged publicly.
If you think the world of delinquency is synonymous with the world beyond the grave and darkness, you are mistaken. During the period called the 'Cold War', organized crime acquired a more respectable image and began to function like any other modern company. It also penetrated the political and economic systems of the national States. With the beginning of the Fourth World War, the implantation of the 'new world order' and its accompanying opening of markets, privatization, deregulation of commerce and international finance, organized crime 'globalized' its activities as well.
According to the UN, the annual global income of transnational criminal organizations are about 1000 billion dollars, an amount equivalent to the combined GNP of countries with weak income (according to the categories of the global banks) and its 3 billion inhabitants. This estimate accounts for the product of drug trafficking, the illegal trafficking of arms, contraband of nuclear materials, etc., and the profits of activities controlled by the Mafiosi (prostitution, gambling, black market speculation...).
However, this does not measure the importance of investments which are continuously realized by criminal organizations within the sphere of control of legitimate businesses, nor the domination which they exert over the means of production within numerous sectors of the legal economy (Michel Chossudovsky, 'La Corruption mondialisee' in ' Geopolitique du Chaos ',
The criminal organizations of the 5 continents have made theirs the 'spirit of global cooperation' and, associated, participate in the conquest and reorganization of the new markets. But they participate not only in criminal activities, but in legal businesses as well. Organized crime invests in legitimate businesses not only to 'launder' dirty money, but to make capital for their illegal activities. The preferred business endeavors for this are luxury real estate, the vacation industry, mass media, industry, agriculture, public services and... banking!
Ali Baba and the 40 bankers? No, something worse. The dirty money of organized crime is utilized by the commercial banks for its activities: loans, investments in financial markets, purchase of bonds for foreign debt, buying and selling of gold and stocks. 'In many countries, the criminal organizations have become the creditors of the States and they exert, because of their actions on the markets, an influence over the macroeconomic politics of the governments. Over the stock markets, they invest equally in the speculative markets of finished products and raw materials' (M. Chossudovsky, op. cit. ).
As if this were not enough, organized crime can count on the so-called fiscal paradises. There are all over the world at least 55 fiscal paradises (one of these, the Cayman Islands, has fifth place in the world as a banking center and has more banks and registered companies than inhabitants). The Bahamas , the British Virgin Islands, the Bermudas, Saint Martin,Vanuatu, the Cook Islands, Luxembourg , Maurice Island, Switzerland, the Anglo-Normandy Islands, Dublin, Monaco, Gibraltar , Malta, are all good places so that organized crime can relate with the great financial companies of the world.
In addition to the 'laundering' of dirty money, the fiscal paradises are used to avoid taxes, so they are a point of contact between those who govern, CEOs and capos of organized crime. High technology, applied to finances, permits the rapid circulation of money and the disappearance of illegal profits. 'The legal and illegal businesses overlap more and more, they introduce a fundamental change in the structures of capitalism of the post-war era. The Mafiosi invest in legal businesses, and, inversely, they channel financial resources towards the criminal economy, through the control of banks and commercial companies implicated in the laundering of dirty money or which have relations with criminal organizations. The banks pretend that the transactions are carried out in good faith and their directors ignore the origin of the funds deposited. The rule is to ask no questions - the bank secrecy and the anonymity of transactions guarantee the interests of organized crime, and they protect the banking institution from public investigations and from blame. Not only do the large banks accept laundered money, in view of their heavy commissions, but they also concede credits at high interest rates to the Mafiosi, to the detriment of productive industrial or agricultural investments' (M. Chossudovsky, op. cit. ).
The crisis of world debt in the '80s caused the price of prime materials to go down. This caused the underdeveloped countries to dramatically reduce their income. The economic measures dictated by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, supposedly to 'recuperate' the economy of these countries, only sharpened the crisis of the legal businesses. As a consequence, the illegal economy has developed in order to fill the vacuum left by the fall of national markets.
In accordance with a report by the United Nations, 'The intrusion of the crime syndicates has been facilitated by the structural adjustment programs with the indebted countries have been obliged to accept in order to access the loans of the International Monetary Fund' (United Nations. La Globalization du Crime New York , 1995).
So here you have the rectangular mirror where legality and illegality exchange reflections.
On which side of the mirror is the criminal? On which side of the mirror is the one who prosecutes the criminal?
Fifth Piece : The legitimate violence of an illegitimate power?
The Fifth Piece is constructed by drawing a pentagon
The State, in neoliberalism, tends to shrink to the 'indispensable minimum'. The so-called ' Benefactor State ' does not only become obsolete, it separates itself of all it was made up of as such, and it remains naked.
In the cabaret of globalization, the State shows itself as a table dancer that strips off everything until it is left with only the minimum indispensable garments: the repressive force. With its material base destroyed, its possibilities of sovereignty annulled, its political classes blurred, the Nation States become, more or less rapidly, a security apparatus of the megacorporations that neoliberalism builds in the development of this Fourth World War. Instead of directing public investment towards social spending, the Nation States prefer to improve their equipment, armaments and training in order to fulfill with efficiency a duty that its politics could no longer carry out some years hence: control of society.
They are 'professionals of legitimate violence' the repressive apparatus of the modern states. But, what is there to do if violence is already under the laws of the market? Where is the legitimate violence and where is the illegitimate? What monopoly of violence can the battered Nation States pretend if the free game of supply and demand defies that monopoly? Didn't the Fourth Piece demonstrate that organized crime, governments and financial centers are more than well related? Isn't it evident that organized crime counts on real armies which have no borders except the firepower of its rival? And so the 'monopoly of violence' does not belong to the Nation States. The modern market has put it on sale...
This is taken into account because, under the polemic between legitimate and illegitimate violence, there is also the dispute (false, I think) between 'rational' and 'irrational' violence.
A certain sector of the world's intellectuals (I insist that their duty is more complex than to simply be of the 'left or right', 'pro-government or opposition', 'good etcetera or bad etcetera') pretends that violence can be exerted in a 'rational' manner, administered in a selective way, (there are those, also, who subscribe to something like the 'Market technology of violence'), and can be applied with the ability 'of a surgeon' against the evils of society. Something like this inspired the last stage of arms policy in the United States : precise 'surgical' weapons, and military operations like the scalpel of the 'new world order'. This is how the new 'smart bombs' were born (which, as a reporter who covered Desert Storm told me, are not that intelligent and have difficulty distinguishing between a hospital and a missile depository - when in doubt, the smart bombs don't abstain, they destroy). Anyway, as the compañeros of the Zapatista communities would say, the Persian Gulf is farther than the state capital of Chiapas (although the situation of the Kurds has horrifying similarities with the indigenous of a country which praises itself as 'democratic and free'), and so let us not insist on 'that' war when we have 'ours'.
And so the struggle between rational and irrational violence opens an interesting and lamentable path of discussion, which is not useless in present times. We could take, for example, what is understood as rational. If the response is that it is the 'reason of the State' (assuming that this exists, and that above all, one would be able to recognize some reason in the actual neoliberal state), then one can ask if this 'reason of the state' corresponds to the 'reason of society' (always assuming that today's society retains some reason) and furthermore if the rational violence of the state is rational to the society. Here there is no point in rambling (idly) - the 'rationale of the state' in modern times is none other than the 'rationale of the financial markets'.
But how does the modern state administer its 'rational violence'? And, paying attention to history, how much time does this rationality last? The time it takes between one election and another, or till the next coup (depending on the case)? How many acts of violence by the State, that were applauded as 'rational' during that time, are now irrational?
Lady Margaret Thatcher, of 'acceptable' memory for the British people, took the time to prologue the book The Next War of Caspar Weinberg and Peter Schweizer (Regnery Publishing, Inc. Washington, D.C. 1996). In this text Mrs. Margaret Thatcher advances some reflections about the three similarities between the world of the Cold War and that of the Post Cold War: the first of these is that the 'free world' will never lack potential aggressors. The second is the necessity of the military superiority of the 'democratic' states above possible aggressors. The third similarity is that this military superiority should be, above all, technological.
To end her prologue, the so-called 'iron lady' defines this 'rational violence' of the modern state by stating: 'A war can take place in different ways. But the worst usually happens because one power believes it can reach its objectives without a war or at least with a limited war that can be won rapidly, resulting in failed calculations.'
For Misters Weinberg and Schweizer the scenes of the 'Future Wars' are: North Korea and China (April 6,1998), Iran (April 4,1999), Mexico (March 7,2003), Russia (February 7,2006), and Arabs, Latinos and Europeans. Almost the entire world is considered a 'possible aggressor of modern democracy'.
Logic (at least in neoliberal logic): in modern times, the power (that is, financial power) knows that it can only reach its objectives with a war, and not with a limited war that can be won rapidly, but with a total war, worldwide in every sense. And if we believe the Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, when she says: 'One of the primary objectives of our government is to ensure that the economic interests of the United States can extend itself to a planetary scale'
(The Wall Street Journal , 1/21/1997), we need to understand that all the world
(and I mean everything, everything) is the theater of operations of this war.
We should understand then that if the dispute for the 'monopoly of violence' does not take place according to the laws of the market, but is rejected and defied from the bottom, the world power 'discovers' in this challenge a 'possible aggressor'. This is one of the defiances (of the least studied and most condemned among the many it represents), launched by the armed indigenous rebels of the Zapatista National Liberation Army against neoliberalism and for humanity...
This is the symbol of North American military power, the pentagon. The new 'world police' seeks that the 'national' army and police only be the 'security corps' that guarantee 'order and progress' in the neoliberal megalopolis.
Sixth Piece : Megapolitics and the dwarfs
The Sixth Piece is constructed by drawing a scribble
We said before that Nation States are attacked by the financial centers and 'obligated' to dissolve within the megalopolis. But neoliberalism not only operates its war 'unifying' nations and regions, its strategy of destruction/depopulation and reconstruction/reorganization produces one or various fractures in the Nation State. This is the paradox of the Fourth World War: it is made to eliminate borders and 'unite' nations, yet what it leaves behind is multiplication of the borders and a pulverization of the nations that die in its claws. Beyond the pretexts, ideologies and banners, the current world dynamics of the breaking up of the unity of the Nation States responds to a policy: equally universal, that knows it can better exert its power, and create optimum conditions for its reproduction, on top of the ruins of the Nation States.
If someone had doubts about characterizing the process of globalization as a world war, they should discard it when adding up accounts of the conflicts that have been provoked by the collapse of some nation states. Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, the USSR are examples of the depth of the crisis that leaves in shreds not only the political and economic foundations of the Nation States but also their social structures. Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia, in addition to the present war within the Russian federation with Chechnya as a backdrop, not only mark the outcome of the tragic downfall of the socialist camp in the forbidding arms of the 'free world' - all over the world this process of national fragmentation repeats itself in variable stages and intensity. There are separatist tendencies in the Spanish state (the Basques, Catalonia and Galicia ), in Italy ( Padua ), in Belgium (Flanders), in France (Corsica), United Kingdom
( Scotland , Gaelic peoples), Canada (Quebec). And there are more examples in the rest of the world.
We have also referred to the process of the construction of the megalopolis; now we talk of fragmentation of countries. Both processes are based upon the destruction of the Nation States. Is it about two parallel, independent processes? Two facets of the globalization process? Are they symptoms of a megacrisis about to explode? Are they merely isolated cases?
We think it is about an inherent contradiction to the process of globalization, one of the essences of the neoliberal model. The elimination of commercial borders, the universality of telecommunications, the information super highways, the omnipresence of the financial centers, the international agreements of economic unity - in short, the process of globalization as a whole produces, by liquidating the nation states, a pulverization of the internal markets. These do not disappear or get diluted in the international markets, but consolidate their fragmentation and multiply. It may sound contradictory, but globalization produces a fragmented world, full of isolated pieces (and often pieces which confront each other). A world full of stagnant compartments, communicating barely by fragile economic bridges (in any case as constant as the weather vane which is finance capital). A world of broken mirrors reflecting the useless world unity of the neoliberal puzzles.
But neoliberalism not only fragments the world it pretends to unite, it also produces the political economic center that conducts this war. And yes, as we referred to before, the financial centers impose their laws (of the market) on nations and groupings of nations, and so we should redefine the limits and reaches pursued by the policy - in other words, duties of political work. It is convenient then to speak of Megapolitics. Here is where the 'world order' would be decided.
And when we say 'megapolitics', we don't refer to the number of those who move in them. There are a few, very few, who find themselves in this 'megasphere'. Megapolitics globalizes national politics - in other words, it subjects it to a direction that has global interests (that for the most part are contradictory to national interests) and whose logic is that of the market, which is to say, of economic profit. With these economist (and criminal) criteria, wars, credits, selling and buying of merchandise, diplomatic acknowledgements, commercial blocks, political supports, migration laws, coups, repressions, elections, international political unity, political ruptures and investments are decided upon. In short, the survival of entire nations.
The global power of the financial centers is so great that they can afford not to worry about the political tendency of those who hold power in a nation if the economic program (in other words, the role that nation has in the global economic megaprogram) remains unaltered. The financial disciplines impose themselves upon the different colors of the world political spectrum in regard to the government of any nation. The great world power can tolerate a leftist government in any part of the world, as long as the government does not take measures that go against the needs of the world financial centers. But in no way will it tolerate that an alternative economic, political and social organization consolidate. For the megapolitics, the national politics are dwarfed and made to submit to the dictates of the financial centers. It will be this way until the dwarfs rebel...
You have here the figure that represents the megapolitics. You will understand that it is useless to try to find within it a rationality. And even if you untangle it, nothing will be clear.
SEVENTH PIECE: THE POCKETS OF RESISTANCE
The seventh figure can be constructed by drawing a pocket
'To begin with, I beg you not to confuse 'resistance' with political opposition. The opposition does not oppose power but a government, and its achieved and complete form is that of a party of opposition: while resistance, by definition (now useful) cannot be a party: it is not made to govern at its time, but to ... resist' (Tomas Segovia, 'Allegations', Mexico , 1996)
The apparent infallibility of globalization clashes with the stubborn disobedience to reality. At the same time as neoliberalism carries out its world war, all over the world groups of those who will not conform take shape, nuclei of rebels. The empire of financial pockets confront the rebellion of the pockets of resistance.
Yes, pockets. Of all sizes, of all colors, of the most varied forms. Their only similarity is their resistance to the 'new world order' and the crime against humanity that the neoliberal war carries out.
Upon its attempt to impose its economic, political, social and cultural model, neoliberalism pretends to subjugate millions of human beings, and do away with all those who do not have a place in its new distribution of the world. But as it turns out, these 'disposable' ones rebel and resist against the power that wants to eliminate them. Women, children, the elderly, the indigenous, the ecologists, homosexuals, lesbians, HIV-positives, workers, and all those men and women who are not only 'left over' but who 'bother' the established order and world progress, rebel and organize and struggle. Knowing they are equal yet different, the excluded ones from 'modernity' begin to weave their resistance against the process of destruction/depopulation and reconstruction/reorganization which is carried out as a world war by neoliberalism.
In Mexico , for example, the so-called 'Program of Integrated Development for the Isthmus of Tehuantepec ' pretends to construct a modern international center of distribution and assembly for products. The development zone covered an industrial complex which would refine the third part of Mexican crude oil and elaborate 88% of petrochemical products. The routes of interoceanic transit will consist of highways, a water route following the natural curve of the zone (the river Coatzacoalcos) and, as an articulating center, the trans-isthmus railroad line (in the hands of 5 companies, 4 from the United States and one from Canada). The project would be an assembly zone under the regime of twin plants.
Two million residents of the place will become stevedores, assembly line workers, or railway guards (Ana Esther Cecena,'El Istmo de Tehuantepec: frontera de la soberania nacional'. La Jornada del Campo , May 28, 1997). In Southeast Mexico as well, in the Lacandon Jungle, the 'Program for Sustainable Regional Development for the Lacandon Jungle' begins operations. Its final objective is to place at the feet of capital the indigenous lands which, in addition to being rich in dignity and history, are also rich in oil and uranium.
The visible results of all these projects will be, among others, the fragmentation of Mexico (separating the south-east from the rest of the country). In addition to this, and now we speak of war, the projects have counter-insurgency implications. They make up a part of a pincer to liquidate the anti-neoliberal rebellion which exploded in 1994. In the middle stand the indigenous rebels of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN).
[A parenthesis is now convenient in the theme of indigenous rebels: the Zapatistas think that, in Mexico (attention: in Mexico ) the recuperation and defense of national sovereignty is part of an anti-neoliberal revolution. Paradoxically, the EZLN is accused of pretending to fragment the Mexican nation. The reality is that the only ones who have spoken of separatism are the businessmen of the state of Tabasco (rich in oil) and the federal deputies of Chiapas who belong to the PRI. The Zapatistas think that the defense of the national state is necessary in view of globalization, and that the attempts to slice Mexico to pieces comes from the governing group and not from the just demands for autonomy for the Indian Peoples. The EZLN, and the best of the national indigenous movement, does not want the Indian peoples to separate from Mexico , but to be recognized as part of the country with their differences. Not only that, they want a Mexico with democracy, liberty and justice. The paradoxes continue, because while the EZLN struggles for the defense of national sovereignty, the Mexican Federal Army struggles against that defense and defends a government that has destroyed the material bases of national sovereignty and given the country, not just to powerful foreign capital, but to the drug traffickers].
But resistance against neoliberalism does not only exist in the mountains of southeast Mexico . In other parts of Mexico , in Latin America, in the United States and Canada , in the Europe which belongs to the Treaty of Maastricht, in Africa, in Asia, in Oceania , the pockets of resistance multiply. Each one of them has its own history, its differences, its equalities, its demands, its struggles, its accomplishments.
If humanity still has hope of survival, of being better, that hope is in the pockets formed by the excluded ones, the leftovers, the ones who are disposable.
This is a model for a pocket of resistance, but don't pay too much attention to it. There are as many models as there are resistances, and as many worlds as in the world. So draw the model you prefer. As far as this thing about the pockets is concerned, they are rich in diversity, as are the resistances.
There are, no doubt, more pieces of the neoliberal jigsaw puzzle. For example: the mass media, culture, pollution, pandemias. We only wanted to show you here the profiles of seven of them.
These seven are enough so that you, after you draw, color and cut them out, can see that it is impossible to put them together. And this is the problem of the world which globalization pretends to construct:
The pieces don't fit
For this and other reasons which do not fit into the space of this text, it is necessary to make a new world.
A world where many worlds fit, where all worlds fit...
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
Zapatista Army of National Liberation Mexico ,
June of 1997