The Specter of “Alter-Globalization”

4 January 2004 by Aleksandr Buzgalin

The specter is haunting the world, the specter of “anti-globalization”. Bushes and Blairs, Liberals and Stalinists, fundamentalists and chauvinists are united in their efforts to exorcise this specter. But our movement grows and develops not only year by year, but even month by month.
However, despite the growing scale of the movement, its theoretical foundations still remain a not so popular theme. And this is an example, - not the only one, but a very remarkable example, - demonstrating how the masses’ social creativity, growing from below and not predicted by scholars in any explicit way, takes the lead over theoretical “program constructions”. Nevertheless, we can specify some basic points of such a theory, that can help us to determine objective grounds for development of this kind of alternative projects, and to formulate possible general principles of this “movement of movements”. Besides that , the movement which is named “anti-globalization”, and which we prefer to call the alter-globalist movement, did not grow out of nowhere. Both practical activists and theorists (like C. Aguiton, I. Wallerstein etc.) notice that this movement has many similarities to the “New Left” of 1968 in its genesis, principles, and scale. At the same time, it is obvious that without “old” trade unions and Left parties, events of such scale as those in Seattle, Genoa and many other places would be impossible. And still, the alter-globalization movement is really a new movement.
As such, it demands a dialectic study examining its objective preconditions, genesis (as a dialectical “sublation” of its historical grounds), and its qualitatively new features in their contradictory nature. Following this method, first of all we’ll try to systematize some empirical characteristics of the movement (in the English version of the article, the author omits sections analyzing the international experience, as that has been described well in numerous English-language publications by different authors, and characterizes the “anti globalization”/”alter-globalization” in Russia only briefly). Then, we’ll determine some of its constantly reproduced principles, and at last, we’ll turn to identifying its intrinsic contradictions, after a brief description of well-known theories concerning objective preconditions of the development of alter globalization movements.



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