Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Mumbai: First shot of the war on globalization?

(Photo is of a man at the San Francisco Green Festival, wearing the average amount of plastic bags a typical American uses in just one year)

We all know about globalization -- it's what happens when corporate interests supersede national identities. Didn't we used to get told back in the 1970s and 1980s that this was a good thing -- a sort of peace-keeping corporate version of the United Nations? World peace through commerce?

And then suddenly we poor outsourced schmucks began to realize that by allowing corporate interests to trump national interests, we were not creating a new peaceful world so much as massive mega-corporations were creating a vast world-wide cheap labor pool. And that globalization was just another form of warfare -- economic warfare. That's not good.

In addition, this new globalization movement also created interlocking situations where corporate hands secretively reached into every country in the world and took over the very functions of governments themselves. And they also took over political systems, even here in the U.S., making the decisions as to who was gonna be in charge of individual countries. It was the era of the "Economic Hit Man" and the "Jackals". The globalization octopus seemed to reach everywhere and have its tentacles into everything. There was no stopping it.

Of course countries like the United States and Russia and China had tanks and guns and bombs but even they couldn't stop globalization -- or defend their individual countries against it. You just can't drop a nuclear weapon on Citigroup or Monsanto. Nations began to lose not only their own sovereignty but also the ability to protect themselves.

Until Mumbai.

What happened in Mumbai has taught us that the globalization octopus's tentacles CAN be cut off -- or at least damaged. The baby doesn't have to be thrown out with the bath water. A few surgical removals of globalization's central communications and exploitation headquarters and "Voila!" The octopus is forced back into its undersea cave.

But there is only one problem with this new war on globalization. It is the same problem that we've had with the war on Iraq -- and even with World War II. War is still war. And war still sucks eggs. And war is still harmful to children and other living things.
PS: Now that mega-corporations have taken over the functions of nation-states in all too many cases, wouldn't it be ironic if they also took over nation-states' roles as the wagers of wars? Can't you just see it now! The New York Times headlines. "Exxon declares war on General Electric. AT&T invades IBM. General Motors bombs Volkswagen plant."