The Guardian December 13, 2000


Editorial:
Who will decide the future?

As the year draws to a close, 2000 can rightly be considered as a period 
of growing struggle world-wide against the voracious dominance of capital, 
a struggle grappling with nothing less than the question: who will decide 
the future of the world? History is alive and being made by the actions of 
ordinary people around the world who have organised against the few giant 
financial conglomerates which dominate our economic life.

Internationally, class contradictions have sharpened. 

The movement for the cancellation of Third World debt is gathering 
strength. This debt -- caused by the conditions tied to IMF and World Bank 
loans which demand the imposition of crushing austerity programs and huge 
interest rates on repayments -- is a clear example of the contradictions at 
work in capitalism.

Leading the globalisation drive for world domination is the most powerful 
nation in history, the USA. This is certainly not lost on those opposing US 
hegemony, and the growing number who are the victims of its "new world 
order".

Commenting on the S26 protests in Prague last September during the meeting 
of the World Bank and IMF, the European Union Commissioner for the internal 
market and taxation, Frits Bolkestein, revealed that the penny had dropped 
in the ivory towers of high finance.

Bolkestein noted that "the opponents of globalisation see a process that 
shapes a world in which ... every major city has a McDonald's, every major 
hotel gets CNN, every major cinema shows American films.

"This is why many people think of globalisation as a byword for 
Americanisation, for which free trade and the current world market economy 
is a mere vehicle."

Capitalism in crisis can be seen everywhere: in its failure to provide the 
basic necessities to a greater part of the world's population; its push 
globally for privatisation which is theft from the people and deprives them 
of even the most crucial services; in its smothering of national cultures; 
in its destruction of the environment; in the development of globalisation 
itself, which capital must impose in order to satisfy the insatiable need 
for more and more profits.

This crisis, which is fundamental and deepening, expresses itself also in 
ongoing struggles such as in Mexico where after years of resistance the 
Zapatistas this month forced the Mexican Government to pull back the army 
and consider negotiations. Also in the talks now begun between north and 
south Korea, and the independence victory of the East Timorese.

Increased pressure from the grassroots environment movement to halt the 
destruction of the environment, the pollution of the planet which threatens 
all life, has forced the hand of corporations responsible and the 
governments representing their vested interests, showing them up as the 
main culprits at one world forum after another. 

In Australia, the biggest marches in our history have taken place this 
year, with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets for 
reconciliation. In essence this was both a gesture by Australians to the 
Indigenous people as an acknowledgment of our history, and a protest at the 
backward and racist position taken by the Howard Government.

There was the world-wide trade union campaign against mining transnational 
Rio Tinto in which Australian unions played a strong part. And there were 
further set-backs for the Howard Government as activists exposed its human 
rights violations to the world.

People will go to the polls in the federal election in 2001 with new ideas 
on their minds. Many will have been politicised by the government's 
privatisation program and its job cutting policies, its cruel and ruthless 
razor job on welfare.

These developments show that while globalisation is a newly coined term, it 
is not a new idea: the objective of monopoly capitalism has for a century 
been domination of the world's markets and the unbridled plunder of its 
wealth.

The world's workers have long recognised the global nature of existence, 
and the need for unity and internationalism based on class, to unite the 
workers of the world. That is what we are witnessing now: hands joining 
across nations, continents and oceans to, in common need and cause, decide 
the future of the world.
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