Globalisation


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Marx long ago pointed out that the capitalist mode of production naturally leads to greater and greater concentration of wealth in the hands of the few. The recent report of the World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations University (UNU-WIDER) reveals how far this process has gone. What better argument do we need for socialism?

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The second richest man on earth, investor Warren Buffett, made headlines last week with his plan to give away $37 billion of his $44 billion fortune to charities. The main beneficiary will be the richest man on earth, Bill Gates, who will put the cash in his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. There are, however, some glaring contradictions in this fairy tale.

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As the 2006 World Cup kicks off in Germany Steve Jones looks at the commercialisation of football and the impact of profiteering on the sport and the fans.

The dominant idea of contemporary bourgeois thinking is that increasing international integration of economic activity, or “globalisation” will lead to prosperity and peace for all. But globalisation is not a concept that helps us understand the world around us. It is an ideological construct used to trumpet capitalist victory – to conceal the crisis-ridden nature of the system and its perpetual failure to meet the needs of the world’s working class.


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Globalisation really means the rise of the American Empire. That was the capitalist story of the 20th century. The story of the 21st century will probably be the fall of the American empire as the imbalances in the system unravel. Will the world slip back into some new form of barbarism or will it be replaced by real globalisation, namely world socialism?

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When the 'Great Deal' on poverty and debt was announced at the G8 binge in Scotland in July, some people rushed to cheer it. Now, as the real facts come out, the truth confirms the G8 promises for what they really were.

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The Gleneagles G8 summit meeting will not go down in history as the day world poverty ended. World musicians have been trying to raise awareness about world poverty and put pressure on politicians. The next day, George W Bush appeared on TV to reassure us that nothing concrete will be done for the poor. Instead of appealing to these people we should be organising to overthrow them and their rotten system.

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In the wake of one of the largest demonstrations in the history of Scotland, Edinburgh hosted one of the biggest political debates in the country in recent times. Up to 4,500 people spread over five different venues in the city centre participated in the G8 Alternatives Summit.

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Today the Stop the War Coalition called for a demonstration against the occupation in Iraq following up from yesterday's huge Make Poverty History march.

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Marxist.com supporters from Edinburgh as well as Glasgow, London, Cambridge, Birmingham, Newcastle, Cambridge and Liverpool joined protesters at the Make Poverty History march today. Their aim was to put forward the ideas of Marxism as the way to end capitalism – the real cause of poverty nowadays.

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The Hands Off Venezuela campaign had a good presence in today’s anti-G8 protests in Edinburgh. A couple of London based supporters joined their comrades in Edinburgh to inform the protesters about what is happening in Venezuela. Read the article on the Hands Off Venezuela website.

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Over the last month we have seen how all the various ideological ‘arguments’ of capitalism have been used to stop people from protesting at the coming summit of the eight most important political representatives of capitalism in the world.

As the G8 summit approaches the focus of the entire world is on Third World debt. G8 leaders are expected to announce the cancellation of debt for 18 of the world's poorest countries. Will this gesture actually achieve anything, or is it simply an attempt on the part of the imperialists to clean up their image?


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The G8 is coming to town. During the G8 summit in Gleneagles we will see a whole range of experts and analysts lecturing us about the beauties and the problems of the world market, but that will only be a smoke screen behind which to hide the real issue.

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Globalisation was supposed to bring progress and prosperity to the Third World. The reality is that it has only brought more poverty and misery.

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The G8 countries are to meet at Gleneagles in July. In the build up to this summit the Blair government has been making a lot of noise about debt relief. But instead of going down the debt of the underdeveloped countries keeps going up. Mick Brooks looks at why this is happening.

Since the tsunami disaster in South Asia in December of last year, the bourgeois media have paid a lot of attention to the misery and poverty of  the Third World. Many people, including British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, have called for the cancellation of Third World  debt. Will this actually be done, and if so, what would it really achieve?


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A lot of money was spontaneously donated by millions of people to help the victims of the tsunami in the Indian Ocean. The governments were then embarrassed into promising further millions. But will this money reach its destination? And will the governments come up with the promised funds? Originally written in Dutch and for a Belgian public, this article by Erik Demeester gives some revealing statistics about what is really happening and unveils the hypocrisy of the mass media campaign.

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Ten days after the devastating tsunami that wreaked havoc in the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004 it is becoming increasingly clear that much more could have been done to avert the massive destruction and the death of 146,000 people (so far) in the region. It is also clear that a lot more could be done to assist in aid and relief after the disaster.

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UNICEF has just released its annual report that showed that at least one billion children, half of the world's children, suffer from poverty, war and the Aids epidemic. This figure is in itself a shocking condemnation of the kind of system we live in. The system needs to be overthrown.

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In her usual style Naomi Klein provided many interesting facts, but failed to reach any concrete conclusions of how we can or whether it is actually necessary to abolish capitalism. In essence she would like another kind of capitalism, a more humane capitalism, which of course is utterly utopian.

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On October 17, between 70,000 and 100,000 marched through Central London behind a banner with slogans against the imperialist war in Iraq, racism and privatisation.

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In Defence of Marxism, the French comrades of La Riposte, Hands Off Venezuela and the Sindicato Estudiantes had stalls at the ESF 2004. Here are some pictures.

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Yesterday, October 17, In Defence of Marxism and the Hands Off Venezuela campaign organised a meeting on Venezuela and the Bolivarian revolution at the European Social Forum in London. The room was packed with young people and trade unionists from all over the world.

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In addition to the meeting on Sunday, Hands Off Venezuela also organised a meeting on Saturday on the the trade union situation in Venezuela and Colombia. See also the Spanish version.

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Hear Jeremy Dear, General Secreatry of the National Union of Journalists, and Gonzalo Gomez, editor of the Venezuelan Revolutionary website Aporrea.org, speaking at the ESF.

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This year’s European Social Forum is taking place from 15-17 October in London. The same as last year, In Defence of Marxism will be there putting the socialist case. This we will do by having several stalls with Marxist publications and books. However, we are also participating in the debates themselves.

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What is the essence of the ILO (International Labour Organisation)? Some in the labour movement have the illusion that it can be a genuine force for defending workers' rights. Luca Lombardi analyses a recent ILO document, A Fair Globalization: Creating opportunities for all, and shows that in reality the ILO makes a lot of statements about ethics, morality, "fair development", etc., but in reality it is an instrument in the hands of the bosses.

In February 2004, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) published a report on globalisation ‑ A Fair Globalization: Creating opportunities for all. It is worth reading not so much for its content, which is fairly poor, but because it graphically demonstrates the attitude of this organization towards the labour movement. It also shows how ill-placed the confidence of the reformist leadership of the trade unions and left parties in the UN and its agencies is.


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On November 12-16 the second European Social Forum was held in Paris.The attendance did not reach the numbers of the first ESF in Florence, nonetheless around 35-40,000 people registered during the three days of meetings and workshops and around 100,000 took part in the demonstration on Saturday 15th against the war and the occupation of Iraq and against the cuts in the welfare state and to living standards all over Europe.

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Last September 14, world trade talks broke down in Cancun, Mexico. Everybody blamed everyone else. Before the conference, British delegate Patricia Hewitt had predicted, "if we fail, it will be a disaster for world economy." And this is true, for the collapse could stun the already fragile prospects of economy recovery.

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Instead of further integrating the world's economies, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) summit in Cancun actually succeeded in creating more polarisation and deeper divisions between its members. The viability of the WTO, which since Seattle (December 1999) has gone from failure to failure, is more than ever in doubt. Luis Enrique Barrios, from the Mexican Marxist paper Militante analyses the breakdown of talks and future prospects.

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The 1990's has seen a huge increase in poverty around the globe. The gap between the rich and the poor is getting wider, and if current trends continue then it will be the year 2147 before areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa can hope to halve the number of people in poverty.

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The EU summit that was recently organized in Thessalonica from June 19 to 21 was met with tens of thousands of Greek workers and youth showing their opposition to the this international club of capitalists gangsters. The European "leaders" were discussing the new EU Constitution and the problems of illegal immigration.

On June 20 2003, another tragedy took place in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. A boat packed full of illegal immigrants capsized due to bad weather off the coast of Tunisia. It has been estimated that 250 people from several African countries were on board this boat, another common steamboat that regularly seeks to go to nearby Italy. The journey to try to find a better life ended with the probable drowning of about 200 people. Only 41 survivors were rescued. There were some who by very tedious efforts managed to swim for 5 hours and were able to reach the shore. This plight of these unfortunate illegal immigrants with their boats either sinking, capsizing or getting lost at sea

...

Unexpectedly high turnout marks a historical turning point worldwide as millions take to the street against war in Iraq. Marxist.com reports from demos in Belgium, Spain, Denmark, Israel and Venezuela


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The recent third World Social Forum (WSF) in Porto Alegre (Brazil) was held in a period in which great changes are taking place in the world situation. This was reflected in the huge number of visitors to the WSF. For the first time there were more than 100,000, which is a clear sign of the changing mood across the whole of Latin America.

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While the leaders of the European Union were meeting, thousands of people also turned up for three anti-EU demonstrations. Michael Styrk and Andreas Bulow in Denmark describe what happened.

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On December13-15 the European Union summit was held in Copenhagen. On the agenda was the enlargement of the EU to the East and Turkey’s application for membership. Marie Frederiksen in Copenhagen looks at the contradictions that will emerge from the enlargement of the EU. On the basis of the developing crisis of world capitalism the future for a more integrated Europe looks bleak.

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The 50,000 people taking part in the European Social Forum last week in Florence were far more than the organisers had expected. The last day, Saturday, saw one million people marching in Florence against the war in Iraq and the Berlusconi government. There was a thirst for revolutionary ideas among the youth who were present, not seen since the 1970s. By Roberto Sarti, of the Italian Marxist paper FalceMartello.

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This is the transcript of a speech given by Jordi Martorell at the Rand Afrikaans University in South Africa on October 10, 2002. It sums up our understanding of the struggle against capitalism today and also provides many useful links to our articles on globalisation and the workers' movement internationally.

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This is a report of the demonstration in Salzburg against the World Economic Forum from Der Funke. The international "anti-globalisation movement" has reached an entirely new stage after the mass protests against the G8 in Genoa and after the second World Social Forum in Porto Alegre. This attempt to structure the movement into so-called Social Forums has been accompanied by the increasing political influence of openly reformist forces.

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Mick Brooks reports on the Earth Summit in Johannesburg, where representatives of governments, big business and NGOs met to discuss the laudable aims of eradicating poverty and environmental destruction. The fundamental flaw behind the Summit is that it relies on market forces to deal with the problems of poverty and the environment. But market forces are not the solution - they are the problem.

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