GLOBALIZATION AS VIEWED FROM BELOW
Roland G. Simbulan
(Review of Walden Bello’s book, THE FUTURE IN THE BALANCE: Essays on Globalization and Resistance, Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2001. Read during the booklaunching, Nov. 5, 2002)
My friend, comrade and University of the Philippines colleague, Dr. Walden Bello adds this work to his long list of significant contributions on the impact of corporate-driven globalization on the South countries. I know Walden personally to be very modest, but today he is recognized as a world-class intellectual ideologue of the anti-globalization movement in the United States, European Union and many South countries; in fact a few years ago in Prague, Czechoslovakia , he was even chosen by the world globalization forces to debate face-to-face with the top IMF-World Bank officials led by IMF managing president Michel Camdessus.
Though he is a Filipino and therefore, there is the temptation on just focusing on the Philippines, Walden has joined other leading progressive intellectuals in internationalizing the struggle against the global giants and multilateral institutions. He and others have evolved a new form of internationalism — globalized activism that transcends national boundaries, because that is the way to confront this modern form of imperialis . So, in the minds of the imperialists today, Walden is some sort of a terrorist, because he effectively and coherently debunks the myths about imperial domination; he makes the people of the world, particularly the impoverished victims of globalization aware of the factors that are marginalizing them so they can do something about it; his serious analysis of the present state of the world economy such as the financial crises, etc. also exposes the processes that perpetuate it; he calls on all peoples of the world to link up, network so that together, they can control their own markets and natural resources. Yes, Walden is an effective and dangerous intellectual terrorist in the minds of the executives of EXXON, the IMF-World Bank, the G-7, and the World Trade Organization. I have no doubt that this latest magnum opus of Walden, comprising of a collection of significant essays on globalization published in local and international publications in a span of four years, will further terrorize the hearts and minds of the imperialists!
Walden’s new book makes us reflect on the linkages between this modern form of imperialism and the present form of globalization. It examines corporate-led globalization’s consequences on the global South in general and the poor and underprivileged in our country in particular. In this point, we must emphasize that globalization is the present form of imperialism though qualitatively different from that of the last 500 years. Walden tries to help us understand it, even tells us in this book how the people affected are resisting it, and hints at alternatives relevant to our times.
We must strip the persisting myths about globalization. Globalization is not essentially about technology and communications because these have continuously advanced in the past 500 years. In reality, corporate-led globalization continues and intensifies the pattern where the means of production are in the hands of a few who have a vested interest in a system which perpetuates and intensifies poverty, exploitation and domination as a permanent structural practice. With profit as the sole motive, they ignore the good of the majority. Walden shows us in this book how the economic policies of most of the South today are determined in the boardrooms of transnational corporations, the G-7 countries, and by multilateral institutions controlled by the United States such as the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO.
Corporate-led globalization, though usually treated as a form of economic domination is also manifesting its linkage to U.S. global military power. It is ironic that after booting out the U.S. military bases in 1991, the Philippines is again being dragged into becoming an active part of the U.S. global military apparatus against an undefined enemy, where any country the U.S. decides to brand as its “terrorist” enemy, also becomes our enemy.
The Visiting Forces Agreement(VFA) should be seen as the military aspect of U.S.-led globalization which erases and disregards the sovereignty of national borders. Globalization, let me emphasize, is really about the free movement not only of foreign capital through global transnational corporations, but also armed components that will assure the protection of international capital.
Today, the entire country has been transformed into a U.S. military base and a playground for U.S. military advisers and servicemen who can abuse Filipinos and destroy our natural habitat during their military exercises without fear of apprehension by local Philippine authorities.
Finally, a quality book like Walden’s THE FUTURE IN THE BALANCE should be made available to more Filipinos, to all social classes especially the victimized peasants and workers who bear the brunt of corporate-led globalization. A work such as this, may I strongly recommend, should be translated into our Filipino language, so it can be more accessible to the ordinary people.
Again, may I congtratulate the author, Walden, for this yet another outstanding contribution from a very outstanding Filipino intellectual!