Links 07: Editor's introduction

Globalisation and socialist strategy

The hackneyed term “globalisation" is simultaneously capital’s “explanation” as to why all attempts to subvert the system are quixotic, but also a rough pointer to a complex, and often baffling, new reality challenging all who still strive to build the socialist alternative. Here we expand on the discussion begun in the last number of Links on issues related to globalisation. For Samir Amin globalisation is treated as an established fact: his focus is on whether this transformation marks the beginning of a new period of capitalist expansion, and whether a system of “regulation”, such as has accompanied each phase of capitalist development, can be set in place for such an epoch. James Petras seeks to demystify the globalisation concept by tracing its roots back to the origins of imperialism and linking capital’s globalisation phases to shifts in the class balance of forces: “The success of capital in undermining popular power…is the underlying condition for globalisation, not technological changes, new information systems or world market imperatives.” Alan Freeman aims to show that the extremes of wealth and poverty that mark the modern global market are the inevitable result of capitalist production “regardless of historical circumstance”. The reader will discover many contradictions and differing points of emphasis among these three essays: these will be taken up in future issues and we invite contributions to what hopefully becomes an unfolding debate. Globalisation’s political partner is, of course, neo-liberal orthodoxy, which continues to advance in all continents. We feature a South African polemic around the tripartite and bipartite structures set up as part of the post-apartheid Reconstruction and Development Programme. Are these “a creative challenge to the global agenda of neo-liberalism”, as claimed by Eddie Webster? Or does this represent “a tragic case of mistaken identity”, as Oupa Lchulere replies? This is an important debate, relevant to many different national contexts. Raghu Krishnan’s account of last December’s French public sector strike (“the first revolt against globalisation” as LeMonde dubbed it) lays to rest a whole range of myths about life under neo-liberalism and helps explain, too, why two recent demonstrations in France (against Maastricht and the G7) mobilised such solid support. Pat Brewer diagnoses the myriad ways in which the various strands of difference theory within the feminist movement have developed over the last 15 years. She argues that, especially when combined with a rightwardmoving social democracy, they have produced a feminism that is not only hostile to the socialist cause, but inimical to the broad struggle for women’s emancipation. In our continuing coverage of Latin American politics, we feature a first-hand account of the Unification Congress that saw the creation of the Revolutionary Forces in the Dominican Republic in February this year. Finally, we are pleased to announce new additions to our editorial board: contributing editor André Brie (PDS), Lynn Walsh of Militant Labour (UK) and Marlin of the Indonesian PRD have all recently agreed to make their contribution to building a better Links. Comrades, welcome aboard!