Anti-globalization movement

The anti-globalization movement, or counter-globalization movement,[1] is a social movement critical of economic globalization. The movement is also commonly referred to as the global justice movement,[2] alter-globalization movement, anti-globalist movement, anti-corporate globalization movement,[3] or movement against neoliberal globalization.

Participants base their criticisms on a number of related ideas.[4] What is shared is that participants oppose large, multinational corporations having unregulated political power, exercised through trade agreements and deregulated financial markets. Specifically, corporations are accused of seeking to maximize profit at the expense of work safety conditions and standards, labour hiring and compensation standards, environmental conservation principles, and the integrity of national legislative authority, independence and sovereignty. As of January 2012, some commentators have characterized changes in the global economy as "turbo-capitalism" (Edward Luttwak), "market fundamentalism" (George Soros), "casino capitalism" (Susan Strange),[5] and as "McWorld" (Benjamin Barber).

Many anti-globalization activists do not oppose globalization in general and call for forms of global integration that better provide democratic representation, advancement of human rights, fair trade and sustainable development and therefore feel the term "anti-globalization" is misleading.[6][7][8]

Demonstration 2004 AB
Thousands of people gathered for a demonstration in Warsaw, the capital of Poland, as the country prepared to enter the European Union in 2004.

Ideology and causes

Supporters believe that by the late 20th century those they characterized as "ruling elites" sought to harness the expansion of world markets for their own interests; this combination of the Bretton Woods institutions, states, and multinational corporations has been called "globalization" or "globalization from above." In reaction, various social movements emerged to challenge their influence; these movements have been called "anti-globalization" or "globalization from below."[9]

Opposition to international financial institutions and transnational corporations

People opposing globalization believe that international agreements and global financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization, undermine local decision-making. Corporations that use these institutions to support their own corporate and financial interests, can exercise privileges that individuals and small businesses cannot,[10] including the ability to:

  1. move freely across borders.
  2. extract desired natural resources.
  3. use a wide variety of human resources.

The movement aims for an end to the legal status of "corporate personhood" and the dissolution of free market fundamentalism and the radical economic privatization measures of the World Bank, the IMF, and the World Trade Organization.

Antiglob rostock 2 6 07
Protest against the G8-meeting in Heiligendamm, 2007.

Activists are especially opposed to the various abuses which they think are perpetuated by globalization and the international institutions that, they say, promote neoliberalism without regard to ethical standards or environmental protection.[11] Common targets include the World Bank (WB), International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) and free trade treaties like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement (TPPA), the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). In light of the economic gap between rich and poor countries, adherents of the movement claim that free trade without measures to protect the environment and the health and wellbeing of workers will merely increase the power of industrialized nations (often termed the "North" in opposition to the developing world's "South"). Proponents of this line of thought refer to the process as polarization and argue that current neo-liberal economic policies have given wealthier states an advantage over developing nations, enabling their exploitation and leading to a widening of the global wealth gap.[12]

A report by Jean Ziegler, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, notes that "millions of farmers are losing their livelihoods in the developing countries, but small farmers in the northern countries are also suffering" and concludes that "the current inequities of the global trading system are being perpetuated rather than resolved under the WTO, given the unequal balance of power between member countries."[13] Activists point to the unequal footing and power between developed and developing nations within the WTO and with respect to global trade, most specifically in relation to the protectionist policies towards agriculture enacted in many developed countries. These activists also point out that heavy subsidization of developed nations' agriculture and the aggressive use of export subsidies by some developed nations to make their agricultural products more attractive on the international market are major causes of declines in the agricultural sectors of many developing nations.

IMF and World Bank protests - damage in Logan Circle
World Bank/IMF protesters smashed the windows of this PNC Bank branch located in the Logan Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

Global opposition to neoliberalism

Through the Internet, a movement began to develop in opposition to the doctrines of neoliberalism which were widely manifested in the 1990s when the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) proposed liberalization of cross-border investment and trade restrictions through its Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). This treaty was prematurely exposed to public scrutiny and subsequently abandoned in November 1998 in the face of strenuous protest and criticism by national and international civil society representatives.

Neoliberal doctrine argued that untrammeled free trade and reduction of public-sector regulation would bring benefits to poor countries and to disadvantaged people in rich countries. Anti-globalization advocates urge that preservation of the natural environment, human rights (especially workplace rights and conditions) and democratic institutions are likely to be placed at undue risk by globalization unless mandatory standards are attached to liberalization. Noam Chomsky stated in 2002 that

The term "globalization" has been appropriated by the powerful to refer to a specific form of international economic integration, one based on investor rights, with the interests of people incidental. That is why the business press, in its more honest moments, refers to the "free trade agreements" as "free investment agreements" (Wall St. Journal). Accordingly, advocates of other forms of globalization are described as "anti-globalization"; and some, unfortunately, even accept this term, though it is a term of propaganda that should be dismissed with ridicule. No sane person is opposed to globalization, that is, international integration. Surely not the left and the workers movements, which were founded on the principle of international solidarity—that is, globalization in a form that attends to the rights of people, not private power systems.[14]

Anti-war movement

By 2002, many parts of the movement showed wide opposition to the impending invasion of Iraq. Many participants were among those 11 million or more protesters that on the weekend of February 15, 2003, participated in global protests against the imminent Iraq war. Other anti-war demonstrations were organized by the antiglobalization movement: see for example the large demonstration, organized against the impending war in Iraq, which closed the first European Social Forum in November 2002 in Florence, Italy.[15]

Anti-globalization militants worried for a proper functioning of democratic institutions as the leaders of many democratic countries (Spain, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom) were acting against the wishes of the majorities of their populations in supporting the war.[16][17] Chomsky asserted that these leaders "showed their contempt for democracy". Critics of this type of argument have tended to point out that this is just a standard criticism of representative democracy — a democratically elected government will not always act in the direction of greatest current public support — and that, therefore, there is no inconsistency in the leaders' positions given that these countries are parliamentary democracies.

The economic and military issues are closely linked in the eyes of many within the movement.

Appropriateness of the term

Many participants (see Noam Chomsky's quotes above) consider the term "anti-globalization" to be a misnomer. The term suggests that its followers support protectionism and/or nationalism, which is not always the case - in fact, some supporters of anti-globalization are strong opponents of both nationalism and protectionism: for example, the No Border network argues for unrestricted migration and the abolition of all national border controls. S. A. Hamed Hosseini (an Australian sociologist and expert in global social movement studies), argues that the term anti-globalization can be ideal-typically used only to refer to only one ideological vision he detects alongside three other visions (the anti-globalist, the alter-globalist and the alter-globalization).[18] He argues that the three latter ideal-typical visions can be categorized under the title of global justice movement. According to him, while the first two visions (the alter-globalism and the anti-globalism) represent the reconstructed forms of old and new left ideologies, respectively, in the context of current globalization, only the third one has shown the capacity to respond more effectively to the intellectual requirements of today's global complexities. Underlying this vision is a new conception of justice, coined accommodative justice by Hosseini,[19] a new approach towards cosmopolitanism (transversal cosmopolitanism), a new mode of activist knowledge (accommodative consciousness), and a new format of solidarity, interactive solidarity.

Some activists, notably David Graeber, see the movement as opposed instead to neoliberalism or "corporate globalization". He argues that the term "anti-globalization" is a term coined by the media, and that radical activists are actually more in favor of globalization, in the sense of "effacement of borders and the free movement of people, possessions and ideas" than are the IMF or WTO. He also notes that activists use the terms "globalization movement" and "anti-globalization movement" interchangeably, indicating the confusion of the terminology. The term "alter-globalization" has been used to make this distinction clear.

While the term "anti-globalization" arose from the movement's opposition to free-trade agreements (which have often been considered part of something called "globalization"), various participants contend they are opposed to only certain aspects of globalization and instead describe themselves, at least in French-speaking organizations, as "anti-capitalist", "anti-plutocracy," or "anti-corporate." Le Monde Diplomatique 's editor, Ignacio Ramonet's, expression of "the one-way thought" (pensée unique) became slang against neoliberal policies and the Washington consensus.[20]

Civic and Racial Nationalist opposition against globalization

The term "anti-globalization" does not distinguish the international leftist anti-globalization position from a strictly nationalist anti-globalization position. Many nationalist movements, such as the French National Front, Austrian Freedom Party, the Italian Lega Nord,[21] the Greek Golden Dawn[22] or the National Democratic Party of Germany[23] are opposed to globalization, but argue that the alternative to globalization is the protection of the nation-state. Other groups, influenced by the Third Position, are also classifiable as anti-globalization. However, their overall world view is rejected by groups such as Peoples Global Action and anti-fascist groups such as ANTIFA. In response, the nationalist movements against globalization, argue that the leftist anti-globalization position is actually a support to alter-globalization.


Anti WEF graffiti Lausanne
Anti-WEF graffiti in Lausanne. The writing reads: La croissance est une folie ("Growth is madness").

Several influential critical works have inspired the anti-globalization movement. No Logo, the book by the Canadian journalist Naomi Klein who criticized the production practices of multinational corporations and the omnipresence of brand-driven marketing in popular culture, has become "manifesto"[24] of the movement, presenting in a simple way themes more accurately developed in other works. In India some intellectual references of the movement can be found in the works of Vandana Shiva, an ecologist and feminist, who in her book Biopiracy documents the way that the natural capital of indigenous peoples and ecoregions is converted into forms of intellectual capital, which are then recognized as exclusive commercial property without sharing the private utility thus derived. The writer Arundhati Roy is famous for her anti-nuclear position and her activism against India's massive hydroelectric dam project, sponsored by the World Bank. In France the well-known monthly paper Le Monde Diplomatique has advocated the antiglobalization cause and an editorial of its director Ignacio Ramonet brought about the foundation of the association ATTAC. Susan George of the Transnational Institute has also been a long-term influence on the movement, as the writer of books since 1986 on hunger, debt, international financial institutions and capitalism. The works of Jean Ziegler, Christopher Chase-Dunn, and Immanuel Wallerstein have detailed underdevelopment and dependence in a world ruled by the capitalist system. Pacifist and anti-imperialist traditions have strongly influenced the movement. Critics of United States foreign policy such as Noam Chomsky, Susan Sontag, and anti-globalist pranksters The Yes Men are widely accepted inside the movement.

Although they may not recognize themselves as antiglobalists and are pro-capitalism, some economists who don't share the neoliberal approach of international economic institutions have strongly influenced the movement. Amartya Sen's Development as Freedom (Nobel Prize in Economics, 1999), argues that third world development must be understood as the expansion of human capability, not simply the increase in national income per capita, and thus requires policies attuned to health and education, not simply GDP. James Tobin's (winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics) proposal for a tax on financial transactions (called, after him, the Tobin tax) has become part of the agenda of the movement. Also, George Soros, Joseph E. Stiglitz (another Economic Sciences Nobel prize winner, formerly of the World Bank, author of Globalization and Its Discontents) and David Korten have made arguments for drastically improving transparency, for debt relief, land reform, and restructuring corporate accountability systems. Korten and Stiglitz's contribution to the movement include involvement in direct actions and street protest.

In some Roman Catholic countries such as Italy there have been religious influences, especially from missionaries who have spent a long time in the Third World (the most famous being Alex Zanotelli).

Internet sources and free-information websites, such as Indymedia, are a means of diffusion of the movement's ideas. The vast array of material on spiritual movements, anarchism, libertarian socialism and the Green Movement that is now available on the Internet has been perhaps more influential than any printed book.


Anti-globalization protests in Edinburgh during the start of the 31st G8 summit.

Although over the past years more emphasis has been given to the construction of grassroots alternatives to (capitalist) globalization, the movement's largest and most visible mode of organizing remains mass decentralized campaigns of direct action and civil disobedience. This mode of organizing, sometimes under the banner of the Peoples' Global Action network, tries to tie the many disparate causes together into one global struggle. In many ways the process of organizing matters overall can be more important to activists than the avowed goals or achievements of any component of the movement.

At corporate summits, the stated goal of most demonstrations is to stop the proceedings. Although the demonstrations rarely succeed in more than delaying or inconveniencing the actual summits, this motivates the mobilizations and gives them a visible, short-term purpose. This form of publicity is expensive in police time and the public purse. Rioting has occurred at some protests, for instance in Genoa, Seattle and London - and extensive damage was done to the area, especially targeting corporations, including McDonald's and Starbucks restaurants.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the lack of formal coordinating bodies, the movement manages to successfully organize large protests on a global basis, using information technology to spread information and organize. Protesters organize themselves into "affinity groups," typically non-hierarchical groups of people who live close together and share a common political goal. Affinity groups will then send representatives to planning meetings. However, because these groups can be infiltrated by law enforcement intelligence, important plans of the protests are often not made until the last minute. One common tactic of the protests is to split up based on willingness to break the law. This is designed, with varying success, to protect the risk-averse from the physical and legal dangers posed by confrontations with law enforcement. For example, in Prague during the anti-IMF and World Bank protests in September 2000 demonstrators split into three distinct groups, approaching the conference center from three directions: one engaging in various forms of civil disobedience (the Yellow march), one (the Pink/Silver march) advancing through "tactical frivolity" (costume, dance, theatre, music, and artwork), and one (the Blue march) engaging in violent conflicts with the baton-armed police, with the protesters throwing cobblestones lifted from the street.[25] These demonstrations come to resemble small societies in themselves. Many protesters take training in first aid and act as medics to other injured protesters. In the US, some organizations like the National Lawyer's Guild and, to a lesser extent, the American Civil Liberties Union, provide legal witnesses in case of law enforcement confrontation. Protesters often claim that major media outlets do not properly report on them; therefore, some of them created the Independent Media Center, a collective of protesters reporting on the actions as they happen.

Key grassroots organizations

Demonstrations and appointments


The Annual Meetings osf the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, that took place in West Berlin in 1988, saw strong protests that can be categorized as a precursor of the anti-globalization movement.[26] One of the main and failed objectives (as it was to be so many times in the future) was to derail the meetings.[27]


A counter summit against G7 was organized in Paris in July 1989. The event was called "ça suffit comme ça" ("that is enough") and principally aimed at cancelling the debt contracted by southern countries. A demonstration gathered 10,000 people and an important concert was held in la Bastille square with 200 000 people. It was the first anti-G7 event, fourteen years before that of Washington. The main political consequence was that France took position to favor debt cancellation.[28]


The 50th anniversary of the IMF and the World Bank, which was celebrated in Madrid in October 1994, was the scene of a protest by an ad-hoc coalition of what would later be called anti-globalization movements.[29] Starting from the mid-1990s, Annual Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group have become center points for anti-globalization movement protests. They tried to drown the bankers' parties in noise from outside and held other public forms of protest under the motto "50 Years is Enough". While Spanish King Juan Carlos was addressing the participants in a huge exhibition hall, two Greenpeace activists climbed to the top and showered the attendants with fake dollar bills carrying the slogan "No $s for Ozone Layer Destruction". A number of the demonstrators were sent to the notorious Carabanchel prison.


One of the first international anti-globalization protests was organized in dozens of cities around the world on June 18, 1999, with those in London and Eugene, Oregon most often noted. The drive was called the Carnival Against Capital, or J18 for short. The day coincided with the 25th G8 Summit in Cologne, Germany. The protest in Eugene turned into a riot where local anarchists drove police out of a small park. One anarchist, Robert Thaxton, was arrested and convicted of throwing a rock at a police officer.[30]


The second major mobilization of the movement, known as N30, occurred on November 30, 1999, when protesters blocked delegates' entrance to WTO meetings in Seattle, Washington, USA. The protests forced the cancellation of the opening ceremonies and lasted the length of the meeting until December 3. There was a large, permitted march by members of the AFL-CIO, and other unauthorized marches by assorted affinity groups who converged around the Convention Center.[31][32] The protesters and Seattle riot police clashed in the streets after police fired tear gas at demonstrators who blocked the streets and refused to disperse. Over 600 protesters were arrested and thousands were injured.[33] Three policemen were injured by friendly fire, and one by a thrown rock. Some protesters destroyed the windows of storefronts of businesses owned or franchised by targeted corporations such as a large Nike shop and many Starbucks windows. The mayor put the city under the municipal equivalent of martial law and declared a curfew. As of 2002, the city of Seattle had paid over $200,000 in settlements of lawsuits filed against the Seattle Police Department for assault and wrongful arrest, with a class action lawsuit still pending.

Washington A16

On April 2000, around 10,000 to 15,000 protesters[34] demonstrated at the IMF, and World Bank meeting (official numbers are not tallied).[35][36][37] International Forum on Globalization (IFG) held training at Foundry United Methodist Church.[38] Police raided the Convergence Center, which was the staging warehouse and activists' meeting hall on Florida Avenue on April 15.[39][40][41] The day before the larger protest scheduled on April 16, a smaller group of protesters demonstration against the Prison-Industrial Complex in the District of Columbia. Mass arrests were conducted; 678 people were arrested on April 15.[42] Three-time Pulitzer Prize winning, Washington Post photographer Carol Guzy was detained by police and arrested on April 15, and two journalists for the Associated Press also reported being struck by police with batons.[43] On April 16 and 17 the demonstrations and street actions around the IMF that followed, the number of those arrested grew to 1,300 people.[44] A class action lawsuit was filed for false arrest.[45] In June 2010, the class action suit for the April 15th events called 'Becker, et al. v. District of Columbia, et al.' were settled, with $13.7 million damages awarded.[46][47][48]

Washington D.C. 2002

In September 2002, estimated number of 1,500 to 2,000 people gathered to demonstrate against the Annual Meetings of IMF and World Bank in the streets of Washington D.C. Protesting groups included the Anti-Capitalist Convergence, the Mobilization for Global Justice.[49] 649 people were reported arrested, five were charged with destruction of property, while the others were charged with parading without a permit, or failing to obey police orders to disperse.[50][51] At least 17 reporters were in the round-up.[52][53] Protestors sued in Federal Court about the arrests.[54] The D.C. Attorney General had outside counsel investigate apparent destruction of evidence,[55][56] and forensic investigations continue,[57][58][59] and the testimony of the Chief of Police.[60] In 2009, the city agreed to pay $8.25 million to almost 400 protesters and bystanders to end a class-action lawsuit over kettling and mass arrests in Pershing Park during 2002 World Bank protests[61][62]

Law enforcement reaction

Although local police were surprised by the size of N30, law enforcement agencies have since reacted worldwide to prevent the disruption of future events by a variety of tactics, including sheer weight of numbers, infiltrating the groups to determine their plans, and preparations for the use of force to remove protesters.

At the site of some of the protests, police have used tear gas, pepper spray, concussion grenades, rubber and wooden bullets, night sticks, water cannons, dogs, and horses to repel the protesters. After the November 2000 G20 protest in Montreal, at which many protesters were beaten, trampled, and arrested in what was intended to be a festive protest, the tactic of dividing protests into "green" (permitted), "yellow" (not officially permitted but with little confrontation and low risk of arrest), and "red" (involving direct confrontation) zones was introduced.

In Quebec City, municipal officials built a 3-metre (10 ft) high wall around the portion of the city where the Summit of the Americas was being held, which only residents, delegates to the summit, and certain accredited journalists were allowed to pass through.


Attack of police during the riots in Gothenburg, 15 June 2001

On June 15 and 16, 2001, a strong demonstration took place in Göteborg during the meeting of the European Council in the Swedish town. Clashes between police and protesters were exacerbated by the numerous vandalism of the extreme fringes of the demonstrators, the so-called black-blocs. Images of devastation bounced through the mass media, putting a negative shadow on the movement, and increasing a sense of fear through common people.[63]


The Genoa Group of Eight Summit protest from July 18 to July 22, 2001 was one of the bloodiest protests in Western Europe's recent history, as evidenced by the wounding of hundreds of policemen and civilians forced to lock themselves inside of their homes and the death of a young Genoese anarchist named Carlo Giuliani—who was shot while trying to throw a fire extinguisher on a policeman—during two days of violence and rioting by groups supported by the nonchalance of more consistent and peaceful masses of protesters, and the hospitalization of several of those peaceful demonstrators just mentioned. Police have subsequently been accused of brutality, torture and interference with the non-violent protests as a collateral damage provoked by the clash between the law enforcement ranks themselves and the more violent and brutal fringes of protesters, who repeatedly hid themselves amongst peaceful protesters of all ages and backgrounds. Several hundred peaceful demonstrators, rioters, and police were injured and hundreds were arrested during the days surrounding the G8 meeting; most of those arrested have been charged with some form of "criminal association" under Italy's anti-mafia and anti-terrorist laws.

International social forums

The first World Social Forum (WSF) in 2001 was an initiative of Oded Grajew, Chico Whitaker, and Bernard Cassen. It was supported by the city of Porto Alegre (where it took place) and the Brazilian Worker's Party. The motivation was to constitute a counter-event to the World Economic Forum held in Davos at the same time. The slogan of the WSF is "Another World Is Possible". An International Council (IC) was set up to discuss and decide major issues regarding the WSF, while the local organizing committee in the host city is responsible for the practical preparations of the event.[64][65] In June 2001, the IC adopted the World Social Forum Charter of Principles, which provides a framework for international, national, and local Social Forums worldwide.[66]

The WSF became a periodic meeting: in 2002 and 2003 it was held again in Porto Alegre and became a rallying point for worldwide protest against the American invasion of Iraq. In 2004 it was moved to Mumbai, India), to make it more accessible to the populations of Asia and Africa. This Forum had 75,000 delegates. In 2006 it was held in three cities: Caracas, Venezuela, Bamako, Mali, and Karachi, Pakistan. In 2007, the Forum was hosted in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2009 it was in Belém, Brazil, and in 2011 it was in Dakar, Senegal. In 2012, the WSF returned to Porto Alegre.

The idea of creating a meeting place for organizations and individuals opposed to Neoliberalism was soon replicated elsewhere. The first European Social Forum (ESF) was held in November 2002 in Florence. The slogan was "Against the war, against racism and against neo-liberalism". It saw the participation of 60,000 delegates and ended with a huge demonstration against the war (1,000,000 people according to the organizers). The following ESFs took place in Paris (2003), London (2004), Athens (2006), Malmö (2008), and the latest ESF in Istanbul (2010).

In many countries Social Forums of national and local scope were also held.

Recently there has been some discussion behind the movement about the role of the social forums. Some see them as a "popular university", an occasion to make many people aware of the problems of globalization. Others would prefer that delegates concentrate their efforts on the coordination and organization of the movement and on the planning of new campaigns. However it has often been argued that in the dominated countries (most of the world) the WSF is little more than an 'NGO fair' driven by Northern NGOs and donors most of which are hostile to popular movements of the poor.[67]

North Korea

After the Second World War, North Korea followed a policy of Anti-Globalization. However, in recent decades have shown a distinctive rise in globalization movements in North Korea. Under the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Pyongyang(2002), introduced a number of reforms in areas such as technology and trade. The reform that had the most significance to North Korea was trade. North Korea saw a change in trading partnerships. They now not only traded with themselves but also with South Korea and China. North Korea introduced these reforms because they were lacking in areas of technology and trade and they realized that they could not maintain themselves as a society without help from other nations. But even with these new reforms North Korea still remains the most isolated society in the world.[68]


The anti-globalization movement has been criticized by politicians, members of conservative think tanks, and many mainstream economists.[69]

Lack of evidence

Critics assert that the empirical evidence does not support the views of the anti-globalization movement. These critics point to statistical trends which are interpreted to be results of globalization, capitalism, and the economic growth they encourage.

  • There has been an absolute decrease in the percentage of people in developing countries living below $1 per day in east Asia (adjusted for inflation and purchasing power). Sub Saharan Africa, as an area that felt the consequences of poor governance and was less responsive to globalization, has seen an increase in poverty while all other areas of the world have seen no change in rates.[70]
  • The world income per head has increased by more over period 2002–2007 than during any other period on the record.[71]
  • The increase in universal suffrage, from no nations in 1900 to 62.5% of all nations in 2000.[72]
  • There are similar trends for electric power, cars, radios, and telephones per capita as well as the percentage of the population with access to clean water.[73] However 1.4 billion people still live without clean drinking water and 2.6 billion of the world's population lack access to proper sanitation.[74] Access to clean water has actually decreased in the world's poorest nations, often those that have not been as involved in globalization.[75]

Members of the anti-globalization movement argue that positive data from countries which largely ignored neoliberal prescriptions, notably China, discredits the evidence that pro-globalists present. For example, concerning the parameter of per capita income growth, development economist Ha-Joon Chang writes that considering the record of the last two decades the argument for continuing neo-liberal policy prescriptions are "simply untenable." Noting that "It depends on the data we use, but roughly speaking, per capita income in developing countries grew at 3% per year between 1960 and 1980, but has grown only at about 1.5% between 1980 and 2000. And even this 1.5% will be reduced to 1%, if we take out India and China, which have not pursued liberal trade and industrial policies recommended by the developed countries."[76] Jagdish Bhagwati argues that reforms that opened up the economies of China and India contributed to their higher growth in 1980s and 1990s. From 1980 to 2000 their GDP grew at average rate of 10 and 6 percent respectively. This was accompanied by reduction of poverty from 28 percent in 1978 to 9 percent in 1998 in China, and from 51 percent in 1978 to 26 percent in 2000 in India.[77] Likewise, Joseph E. Stiglitz, speaking not only on China but East Asia in general, comments "The countries that have managed globalization...such as those in East Asia, have, by and large, ensured that they reaped huge benefits..."[78] According to The Heritage Foundation, development in China was anticipated by Milton Friedman, who predicted that even a small progress towards economic liberalization would produce dramatic and positive effects. China's economy had grown together with its economic freedom.[79] Critics of corporate-led globalization have expressed concern about the methodology used in arriving at the World Bank's statistics and argue that more detailed variables measuring poverty should be studied.[80][81] According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), the period from 1980–2005 has seen diminished progress in terms of economic growth, life expectancy, infant and child mortality, and to a lesser extent education.[82]


One of the most common criticisms of the movement, which does not necessarily come from its opponents, is simply that the anti-globalization movement lacks coherent goals, and that the views of different protesters are often in opposition to each other.[83] Many members of the movement are also aware of this, and argue that, as long as they have a common opponent, they should march together - even if they don't share exactly the same political vision. Writers Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri have together in their books (Empire & Multitude) expanded on this idea of a disunified multitude: humans coming together for shared causes, but lacking the complete sameness of the notion of 'the people'.

Lack of effectiveness

One argument often made by the opponents of the anti-globalization movement (especially by The Economist), is that one of the major causes of poverty amongst third-world farmers are the trade barriers put up by rich nations and poor nations alike. The WTO is an organization set up to work towards removing those trade barriers. Therefore, it is argued, people really concerned about the plight of the third world should actually be encouraging free trade, rather than attempting to fight it. Specifically, commodities such as sugar are heavily distorted by subsidies on behalf of powerful economies (the United States, Europe, and Japan), who have a disproportionate influence in the WTO. As a result, producers in these countries often receive 2-3x the world market price. As Amani Elobeid and John Beghin note, the world price might decline by as much as 48% (by 2011 / 2012 baselines) were these distortions to be removed[84]

Many supporters of globalization think that policies different from those of today should be pursued, although not necessarily those advocated by the anti-globalization movement. For example, some see the World Bank and the IMF as corrupt bureaucracies which have given repeated loans to dictators who never do any reforms. Some, like Hernando De Soto, argue that much of the poverty in the Third World countries is caused by the lack of Western systems of laws and well-defined and universally recognized property rights. De Soto argues that because of the legal barriers poor people in those countries can not utilize their assets to produce more wealth.[85]

Lack of widespread "Third World" support

Critics have asserted that people from poor (the Developing countries) have been relatively accepting and supportive of globalization while the strongest opposition to globalization has come from wealthy "First World" activists, unions and NGOs. Alan Shipman, author of "The Globalization Myth" accuses the anti-globalization movement of "defusing the Western class war by shifting alienation and exploitation to developing-country sweatshops." He later goes on to claim that the anti-globalization movement has failed to attract widespread support from poor and working people from the developing nations, and that its "strongest and most uncomprehending critics had always been the workers whose liberation from employment they were trying to secure."[86]

These critics assert that people from the Third World see the anti-globalization movement as a threat to their jobs, wages, consuming options and livelihoods, and that a cessation or reversal of globalization would result in many people in poor countries being left in greater poverty. Jesús F. Reyes Heroles the former Mexican Ambassador to the US, stated that "in a poor country like ours, the alternative to low-paid jobs isn't well-paid ones, it's no jobs at all."[87]

Egypt's Ambassador to the UN has also stated "The question is why all of a sudden, when third world labor has proved to be competitive, why do industrial countries start feeling concerned about our workers? When all of a sudden there is a concern about the welfare of our workers, it is suspicious."[88]

On the other hand, there have been notable protests against certain globalization policies by workers in developing nations as in the cause of Indian farmers protesting against patenting seeds.[89]

In the last few years, many developing countries (esp. in Latin America and Caribbean) created alter-globalization organizations as economic blocs Mercosur and Unasur, political community CELAC or Bank of the South which are supporting development of low income countries without involvement from IMF or World Bank.

See also

Nongovernmental organizations



  1. ^ Jacques Derrida (May 2004) Enlightenment past and to come, speech at the party for 50 years of Le Monde diplomatique
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  • Bakari, Mohamed El-Kamel (2013). "Globalization and Sustainable Development: False Twins?". New Global Studies. 7 (3): 23–56. doi:10.1515/ngs-2013-021. ISSN 1940-0004.
  • Held, David (2004). Global Covenant: The Social Democratic Alternative to the Washington Consensus. Polity; 1 edition. ISBN 978-0745633534.
  • Holloway, John. 2002. Change the World Without Taking Power: The Meaning of Revolution Today. Pluto Press. ISBN 978-0-7453-1863-9
  • Kingsnorth, Paul. 2004. One No, Many Yeses: A Journey to the Heart of the Global Resistance Movement. Free Press. ISBN 978-0-7432-2027-9
  • Klein, Naomi. 2000. No Logo. Flamingo. ISBN 0-00-653040-0
  • Klein, Naomi (2008). The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Picador. ISBN 978-0312427993.
  • Notes From Nowhere. 2003. we are everywhere: the irresistible rise of global anti-capitalism. Verso Books. ISBN 978-1-85984-447-2
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  • Tausch, Arno (2012). Globalization, the Human Condition, and Sustainable Development in the Twenty-first Century: Cross-national Perspectives and European Implications. With Almas Heshmati and a Foreword by Ulrich Brand (1st ed.). Anthem Press, London. ISBN 9780857284105.
  • Wall, Derek. 2005. Babylon and Beyond: The Economics of Anti-capitalist, Anti-globalist and Radical Green Movements. London: Pluto. ISBN 978-0-7453-2390-9
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  • Gagliano Giuseppe. 2010. "Problemi e prospettive dei movimenti antagonisti del novecento," Editrice Uniservice. ISBN 978-88-6178-491-8

Further reading

External links


Alter-globalization (also known as alternative globalization or alter-mundialization—from the French alter-mondialisation—and overlapping with the global justice movement) is the name of a social movement whose proponents support global cooperation and interaction, but oppose what they describe as the negative effects of economic globalization, considering it to often work to the detriment of, or not adequately promote, human values such as environmental and climate protection, economic justice, labor protection, protection of indigenous cultures, peace and civil liberties.

The name may have been derived from a popular slogan of the movement, namely "Another world is possible", which came out of the World Social Forum. The alter-globalization movement is a cooperative movement designed to "protest the direction and perceived negative economic, political, social, cultural and ecological consequences of neoliberal globalization". Many alter-globalists seek to avoid the "disestablishment of local economies and disastrous humanitarian consequences". Most members of this movement shun the label "anti-globalization" as pejorative and incorrect since they actively support human activity on a global scale and do not oppose economic globalization per se.

Instead they see their movement as an alternative to what they term neo-liberal globalization in which international institutions (the World Trade Organization, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the like) and major corporations devote themselves to enriching the developed world while giving little or no attention to what critics say are the detrimental effects of their actions on the people and environments of less developed countries, countries whose governments are often too weak or too corrupt to resist or regulate them. This is not to be confused with proletarian internationalism as put forth by communists in that alter-globalists do not necessarily oppose the free market, but a subset of free-market practices characterized by certain business attitudes and political policies that they say often lead to violations of human rights.

Black bloc

A black bloc is a name given to groups of protesters who wear black clothing, scarves, sunglasses, ski masks, motorcycle helmets with padding, or other face-concealing and face-protecting items. The clothing is used to conceal wearers' identities and hinder criminal prosecution by making it difficult to distinguish between participants. It is also used to protect their faces and eyes from pepper spray, which is used by law enforcement during protests or civil unrest. The tactic allows the group to appear as one large unified mass. Black bloc participants are often associated with anarchism, anti-globalization movement or antifascism.

The tactic was developed in the 1980s in the European autonomist movement's protests against squatter evictions, nuclear power, and restrictions on abortion, as well as other influences. Black blocs gained broader media attention outside Europe during the 1999 Seattle WTO protests, when a black bloc damaged property of Gap, Starbucks, Old Navy, and other multinational retail locations in downtown Seattle.

Counter-hegemonic globalization

Counter-hegemonic globalization is a social movement based in a perspective of globalization that challenges the contemporary view of globalization; neoliberal globalization. Counter-hegemonic globalization confronts the implicit idea of neoliberal globalization that the system of domination, as a consequence of the development of transnational networks, transportation and communication, is a natural and inevitable course for globalization. It maintains that transnational connections can instead be harnessed as the means to bring about more equitable distribution of wealth, power, and sustainable communities. Counter-hegemonic globalization, unlike neoliberal globalization, uses the assets of globalization to stand against any form of domination by hegemony, operating from a bottom-up process that stresses the empowerment of the local.

Peter B. Evans, a political sociologist renowned for his contributions to the development of this theory, defined counter-hegemonic globalization as “a globally organized effort to replace the neoliberal global regime with one that maximizes democratic political control and makes the equitable development of human capabilities and environment stewardship its priorities.”In defense to the arbitrary exploitation by neo-liberal globalization, the number of advocates of counter-hegemonic globalization seems to have increased. There are already sets of transnational networks and ideological frames imposed by many activists pursuing the perspectives of counter-hegemonic globalization; collectively called the “global justice movement". The number of transnational Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) supporting counter-hegemonic globalization has doubled between 1973 and 1983 and doubled again between 1983 and 1993. Furthermore, with the cultural and ideological diffusion of counter-hegemonic globalization proven significant in the recent Wall Street Protest, the movement is beginning to be regarded as an effective and promising political antidote to the current domination-oriented globalization by many activists and theorists.

While Peter Evans and Boaventura de Sousa Santos remain two prominent theorists who have contributed to the counter-hegemonic globalization theory, classic Marxist socialist ideas are implicated in the theory. For example, Antonio Gramsci asserted that any struggle over globalization must be conducted at the level of the superstructure (culture, institutions, political power structures, roles, rituals, and state), the revolutionary bloc is no longer determined solely by objective and economic factors of class but through subjective factors related to shared perceptions that cut across class lines to include all those individuals and social groups experiencing difficulty in the economic globalization.

Criticisms of globalization

Criticism of globalization is skepticism of the claimed benefits of globalization. Many of these views are held by the anti-globalization movement. Globalization has created much global and internal unrest in many countries. While the dynamics of capitalism is changing and each country is unique in its political makeup, globalization is a set-in-stone "program" that is difficult to implement without political unrest. Globalization can be partly responsible for the current global economic crisis. Case studies of Thailand and the Arab nations' view of globalization show that globalization is a threat to culture and religion, and it harms indigenous people groups while multinational corporations profit from it. Although globalization has promised an improved standard of living and economic development, it has been heavily criticized for its production of negative effects. Globalization is not simply an economic project, but it also heavily influences the country environmentally, politically, and socially as well.

Democratic globalization

Democratic globalisation is a social movement towards an institutional system of global democracy. In their view, this would bypass nation-states, corporate oligopolies, ideological NGOs, cults and mafias. One of its most prolific proponents is the British political thinker David Held. In the last decade, Held published a dozen books regarding the spread of democracy from territorially defined nation states to a system of global governance that encapsulates the entire world. For some, democratic mundialisation (from the French term mundialisation) is a variant of democratic globalisation stressing the need for the direct election of world leaders and members of global institutions by citizens worldwide; for others, it is just another name for democratic globalisation.

These proponents state that democratic globalisation's purpose is to:

Expand globalisation and make people closer and more united. This expansion should differ from economic globalization and "make people closer, more united and protected" because of a variety of opinions and proposals it is still unclear what this would mean in practice and how it could be realized.

Have it reach all fields of activity and knowledge, including governmental and economic, since the economic one is crucial to develop the well-being of world citizens.

Give world citizens democratic access and a say in those global activities. For example, presidential voting for United Nations Secretary-General by citizens and direct election of members of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly.Supporters of the democratic globalization movement draw a distinction between their movement and the one most popularly known as the anti-globalization movement, claiming that their movement avoids ideological agenda about economics and social matters. Democratic globalization supporters state that the choice of political orientations should be left to the world citizens via their participation in world democratic institutions. Some proponents in the anti-globalization movement do not necessarily disagree with this position. For example, George Monbiot, normally associated with the anti-globalization movement (who prefers the term global justice movement), has proposed in his work Age of Consent similar democratic reforms of most major global institutions, suggesting direct democratic elections of such bodies and a form of world government.

G8 Alternatives

G8 Alternatives was a coalition of activist groups set up to co-ordinate actions around the 31st G8 summit held at Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland.

Supporters of the coalition included Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Iraq Occupation Focus, Muslim Association of Britain, Scottish Socialist Party, Stop the War Coalition and various trade union branches. Individual supporters included author and academic Noam Chomsky, journalist John Pilger and comedian Mark Thomas.

Green politics

Green politics (also known as ecopolitics) is a political ideology that aims to create an ecologically sustainable society rooted in environmentalism, nonviolence, social justice and grassroots democracy. It began taking shape in the western world in the 1970s and since then Green parties have developed and established themselves in many countries around the globe and have achieved some electoral success.

The political term Green was used initially in relation to die Grünen (German for "the Greens"), a Green party formed in the late 1970s. The term "political ecology" is sometimes used in academic circles, but in the latter has come to represent an interdisciplinary field of study, as the academic discipline offers wide-ranging studies integrating ecological social sciences with political economy in topics such as degradation and marginalization, environmental conflict, conservation and control and environmental identities and social movements.Supporters of green politics share many ideas with the ecology, conservation, environmentalism, feminism and peace movements. In addition to democracy and ecological issues, green politics is concerned with civil liberties, social justice, nonviolence, sometimes variants of localism and tends to support social progressivism. The party's platform is largely considered left in the political spectrum.

The Green ideology has connections with various other ecocentric political ideologies, including ecosocialism, ecoanarchism and ecofeminism, but to what extent these can be seen as forms of Green politics is a matter of debate.As the left-wing green political philosophy developed, there also came into separate existence unrelated and polar opposite movements on the right that include ecological components such as green conservatism and eco-capitalism.


Horizontalidad (Spanish: [oɾisontaliˈðað], horizontality or horizontalism) is a social relationship that advocates the creation, development, and maintenance of social structures for the equitable distribution of management power. These structures and relationships function as a result of dynamic self-management, involving the continuity of participation and exchange between individuals to achieve the larger desired outcomes of the collective whole.

J26 G8 Protests

J26 was a smaller-size convergence in what is commonly called the anti-globalization movement. It took place in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in June 2002 during the Group of Eight summit in nearby Kananaskis.

A protest called Take the Capital! took place in Ottawa on the same day, targeting those who could not make it out west.

J26 was also the name of a night march and street party held a year later.

John Holloway (sociologist)

John Holloway (born 1947) is a lawyer, Marxist-oriented sociologist and philosopher, whose work is closely associated with the Zapatista movement in Mexico, his home since 1991. It has also been taken up by some intellectuals associated with the piqueteros in Argentina; the Abahlali baseMjondolo movement in South Africa and the Anti-Globalization Movement in Europe and North America. He is currently a professor at the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences at the Autonomous University of Puebla.


Merchandization is a critical term coined by the anti-globalization movement to designate the process of change in viewpoint of individuals or society towards an object, service or substance. Things that were formerly thought of as "simply being there", are now being thought of as commodities for sale and corporate profit. This change in viewpoint is called merchandization of an object.

For example, anti-globalization and anti-capitalism activist claim that in today's society, many things, including health care, culture, and education, are becoming mere merchandise.

Marx discussed this "fetishism of commodities" in the nineteenth century.

Political Economy has indeed analysed, however incompletely, value and its magnitude, and has discovered what lies beneath these forms. But it has never once asked the question why labour is represented by the value of its product and labour time by the magnitude of that value. These formulæ, which bear it stamped upon them in unmistakable letters that they belong to a state of society, in which the process of production has the mastery over man, instead of being controlled by him, such formulæ appear to the bourgeois intellect to be as much a self-evident necessity imposed by Nature as productive labour itself. Hence forms of social production that preceded the bourgeois form, are treated by the bourgeoisie in much the same way as the Fathers of the Church treated pre-Christian religions. . . . . Could commodities themselves speak, they would say: Our use value may be a thing that interests men. It is no part of us as objects. What, however, does belong to us as objects, is our value. Our natural intercourse as commodities proves it. In the eyes of each other we are nothing but exchange values.

In other words, something may have usefulness, but it has no value unless it can be exchanged in the marketplace for something else considered to have value. That value may come because it fills a need through consumption or being further exchanged. In this way, labor, time, and natural resources have come to serve the market instead of the other way around.

The slogan of ATTAC is "the World is not Merchandise" (le monde n'est pas une marchandise).


Neozapatismo or neozapatism (sometimes mislabeled as zapatismo) is the Mexican ideology behind movements such as the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. The official anthem of Neozapatismo and the Zapatista territories is the Himno Zapatista. The ideology is based on anarchism, Mayan tradition, Marxism, the thoughts of Emiliano Zapata, and the thoughts of Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano. Neozapatismo is the ideology of the Zapatistas, who govern a large territory in Chiapas and have since the beginning of the Chiapas conflict. Neozapatismo has no official founder, but its thoughts are mainly attributed to Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano (formerly Subcomandante Marcos) and Emiliano Zapata. The Neozapatista ideology is believed to be derived largely from libertarian socialism, libertarian Marxism (including autonomism), social anarchism, anarcho-communism, anarcho-collectivism, anarcho-syndicalism, communalism, direct democracy, and radical democracy.

New antisemitism

New antisemitism is the concept that a new form of antisemitism has developed in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, tending to manifest itself as opposition to Zionism and criticism of the Israeli government. The concept is included in some definitions of antisemitism, such as the Working Definition of Antisemitism and the 3D test of antisemitism.

The concept generally posits that in the late 20th and early 21st centuries much of what is purported to be criticism of Israel by various individuals and world bodies is in fact tantamount to demonization, and that together with an alleged international resurgence of attacks on Jews and Jewish symbols, and an increased acceptance of antisemitic beliefs in public discourse, such demonization represents an evolution in the appearance of antisemitic beliefs.Proponents of the concept argue that anti-Zionism and demonization of Israel, or double standards applied to its conduct (some proponents also include anti-Americanism, anti-globalization and Third-Worldism) may be linked to antisemitism, or constitute disguised antisemitism, particularly when emanating simultaneously from the far-left, Islamism, and the far-right.Critics of the concept argue that it conflates political anti-Zionism and criticism of the Israeli government with racism, Jew-hatred and the Holocaust, defines legitimate criticism of Israel too narrowly and demonization too broadly, and trivializes the meaning of antisemitism, and that the concept is used in practice to silence political debate and freedom of speech regarding the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

Porto Alegre Manifesto

The Porto Alegre Manifesto is a proposal for social change produced at the 2005 World Social Forum. It outlines "twelve... proposals, which [its authors] believe, together, give sense and direction to the construction of another, different world." The authors argue that "if they would be implemented, it would allow citizens to take back their own future. We therefore want to submit these fundamentals points to the scrutiny of actors and social movements of all countries." These proposals are divided into Economic Measures, Peace and Justice, and Democracy. is a non-profit alternative Canadian online magazine founded in 2001. works in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Centre for Social Justice. It features podcasts, videos and a discussion board called babble.

Rob Altemeyer

Rob Altemeyer is a politician in Manitoba, Canada. He is a member of the Manitoba legislature.

Altemeyer has long been involved in social justice and environmental issues in the Winnipeg area. He was responsible for implementing a recycling program at the University of Manitoba, and was one of the founders of the Global Change Game (an internationally respected educational program) while still a student. Altemeyer served a two-year term on the Council of Canadians, and has taken part in a variety of activities in the fair trade/anti-globalization movement. In 1998, he organized an anti-globalization study group known as Beyond McWorld.

Altemeyer has also been involved in the Wolseley Neighbourhood Advisory Committee, which is involved in over two dozen local capital improvement projects. Prior to the 2003 provincial election, he served as an assistant to New Democratic Party of Manitoba (NDP) Cabinet Minister Tim Sale.

In the 2003 general election, Altemeyer was elected to the provincial legislature as a New Democrat for the centre-Winnipeg riding of Wolseley. He received 3482 votes, against 1193 for his nearest competitor, Green Party leader Markus Buchart. He was re-elected in the 2007 provincial election.

Second Peoples' Summit of the Americas

The Second People's Summit was held in Quebec City, from April 16 to 21, 2001, and was a coalition of unions and non-governmental organizations from across the Americas and marked the culmination of many years of popular organizing throughout the Americas. It consolidated the expanding movement to confront corporate led globalization.

The First People's Summit was held in Santiago, Chile in 1998.

Transnational feminist network

A transnational feminist network (TFN) is a network of women’s groups who work together for women’s rights at both a national and transnational level. They emerged in the mid 1980s as a response to structural adjustment and neoliberal policies, guided by ideas categorized as global feminism. TNF's are composed of representatives from a variety of NGO's from around the globe. These representatives then come together at conferences, such as the United Nations World Conference on Women and The NGO Forum in China.

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