Issue 7 – Globalization, Imperialism: What to be Done? How to Resist?

Editors: Ali Ekber Doğan, Burak Sönmezer

Neoliberal Globalization and the Concept of Development
Erinç Yeldan

Neoliberal globalization is the dominant mode of thinking in the macroeconomic policy agenda at the current juncture. Broadly defined, globalization is meant to be the process of the complete integration of the constituent parts of the world economy with each other and with international markets. The dual process of the liberalization of trade and Capital movements constitute globalization in its narrowest economic sense.
In this paper it is argued that the new wave of globalization led by open Capital markets and unfettered financial flows constrain the developmental States inpursuing strategic industrialization and development targets. Yet, history provides overwhelming evidence that successful long term economic development entails a state-led process of systematically transforming dynamic interactions between institutional change, technological progress, and structural change in the profile of production, distribution, and consumption. Nevertheless, the pace of industrialization and modernization that the developing countries can achieve are severely constrained under the post-Bretton Woods era of financial liberalization orthodoxy. Such efforts are restricted to a balanced budget, entrenched fiscal expenditures, and a relatively contractionary monetary policy with an ex ante commitment to high real interest rates.
Accordingly, with the recent attempts towards full liberalization of the Capital account under pressures from the US and the IMF (the so-called Washington consensus), governments lost their autonomy in designing a strategic mix of the exchange rate and interest rate instruments for promotion of industrialization targets.
The paper further provides a brief conceptual introduction on the distinguishing characteristics of the recent wave of globalization and discusses the concept of development as distinct from that of growth, in the context of late 20th century financial liberalization and market orthodoxy.

Keywords: Globalization, Industrialization, Liberalization, Neoliberalism, Market.

On Some Reactions to Globalization in Turkey
Cem Somel

Globalization is causing increasing impoverishment and deepening dependency in the periphery of the world-system. This process can only be terminated by the victims of the System, i.e. the toiling masses, acquiring political power and dissociating their countries from the system. This paper criticizes the alternative strategies proposed by two currents in Turkey. The liberal left is skeptical regarding the viability and desirability of people’s power and hence strives to marshall a social opposition movement that will obligate the ruling classes to reform capitalism. It also pins hopes on the democratization effect of Turkey’s assumed eventual membership to the EU, and on International cooperation among social movements. The nationalist left is not shy of taking power but aims to use Turkish nationalism as the unifying anti-imperialist ideology. İt relies on the patriotism of the bourgeoisie although this latter is actually far advanced in becoming a collaborator transnational class. Moreover, disregard of the nationalist left for the democratic aspirations of the ethnic groups in the country is a divisive attitude. The only viable strategy, i.e. dissociation under the democratic rule of the toiler majority, can sustain the independent socio-economic development in Turkey provided that it can successfully resolve the non-antagonistic contradictions among the toiling classes and the difficult contradictions between the requirements of survival in the encircling world-system and socialist egalitarian aspirations.

Keywords: Globalization, Turkey, Democratization, World-System, Socialism.

A Key to Understand Turkey in the Globalization Process: The New Right
Aylin Topal

This study focuses on three significant strategies of the New Right project in Turkey. These are namely legal institutional restructuring, privatisations and locality and democratisation. With the first strategy, it is argued that labour unions in particular and working classes in general have been marginalised through the policies implemented by the military junta and the Motherland Party governments. This process has been backed up with the legal and institutional restructuring of the 1982 Constitution. Privatisations, as the second strategy have both direct and indirect impacts on labour: while dismantling the social State Services; privatisations pave the way for reductions in the real wages and rise in the working hours. The last but not the least strategy discussed in this study is locality and democratisation. This strategy directly targeted at the scale and efficiency of the organisations of labour while at the same time, the discourse of democratisation used to discredit the class based political struggle. These three strategies are particularly important a) to uncover impacts of the New Right hegemony on the labour processes, b) to display that the main tenets of the New Right project remains to the day unchallenged and serves a fertile ground for the so-called globalization process.

Keywords: Turkey, Globalization, New Right, 1982 Constitution, Hegemony.

Governance: A New Political Power Model of Globalisation
Sonay Bayramoğlu

The aim of this study is to critically expose the conceptual journey of ‘governance’ from World Bank’s model to the dominant paradigm in political theory and practice. Within the conceptual development of governance, this study asserts the critical role of New Institutional Economics by which neo-classical dogma of ‘state-society/market’ dichotomy is revised and the model of governance is thus taken as a dominant form of power relations encompassing the regulations of global-national-local levels of social relations.

Keywords: Governance, Globalisation, Political Power, State-Society/Market Dichotomy, Social Relations.

Against Globalisation: Possibilities and Limitations
Aykut Çoban

The world has been witnessing the rise of a strong opposition to globalisation and neo-liberalism while even some of Leftist figures are convinced about the celebrated triumph of global capitalism and neo-liberal ideology. Taking as its starting point the importance of the opposition which challenges the dominant discourse of globalisation, this paper analyses the theoretical and political significance and limitations of dissident perspectives. It especially examines three political perspectives represented in Bourdieu’s Acts of Resistance, Hardt and Negri’s Empire and the manifestations of the Battle in Seattle by focusing on three interrelated themes. First, it argues that the challenge fails to escape the inherent problem of indeterminacy and ambiguity in globalisation as a concept, discourse and process. The failure brings with it the problematic of what the struggle perspectives are against. From within these perspectives it is hard to find out who the ‘enemy’ is – globalisation, neo-liberalism, globalisation-from-above, global operations of Capital, international institutions such as the WTO and the IMF, the global regime of capitalist relations, etc. Second, it discusses the political implications of these perspectives. One of them expects too much from the State in a welfare-statist’s manner while the other two take no account of it neither as an effective apparatus nor as one of the targets for an alternative political project. This discussion leads us to suggest that the perspectives ironically share with the dominant discourse of globalisation the view that States have hollowed out. And third, it investigates the question of what the theoretical and political struggles in question are for. Scrutinising the alternative projects put forward by the three perspectives in the forms of ‘a social Europe’ and the democratisation/socialisation of globalisation, their common theoretical shortcomings and political feasibility are critically analysed. The paper concludes with a brief discussion revolving around the question of what is to be done.

Keywords: Globalization, Bourdieu, Hardt and Negri, Democratisation of Globalization.

Local, Local Spatial Fix And Political Struggle
İbrahim Gündoğdu

Since the late 1970s, locality debate has been on the agenda of the social and political theory. In that framework it was argued that national spatial-fix had lost its primary role and a new production network in which localities had a dominant role had emerged within the process of globalization. Relatedly, it was claimed that these conditions had given way to a new political sphere which was interpreted as an opportunity for democratic-plural society. This paper discusses and criticizes these arguments. Locality and local politics are analyzed in a historical-social context, and it is argued that the local is one of the important components of the new hegemonic project of the Capital. Different from the dominant approach, it is insisted that the strategy of locality of the Capital is carried out by the nation-state itself, not by-passing it İn that context the strategies which could be developed by the working class against the strategy of locality by Capital are discussed. İt is concluded that only a strategy which takes the national spatial-fix as its basis can be a proper response to the attack of the Capital.

Keywords: Local, Spatial Fix, Globalization, Capital, Nation State.

A Critical Approach on the Response of Trade Unions to Globalisation
Gaye Yılmaz

Concepts like industry relations, social dialogue, social partners and civil society have been in use since the end of second world war. They are used by the capitalist class as tools to lessen the reactions of the working class and to disguise the conflicts between social classes in a capitalist society. In Europe, the first of the institutions that aim at establishing a compromise among different classes was ECSC- European Coal and Steel Community. By giving some limited rigths to the trade union leaders in some decision making bodies, it was easier to increase profits for European Capital through the exploitation of surplus value on a higher level. World Bank explains this phenomenon in its World Development Report 2000/2001 in the following way: “It’s appropriate for financial institutions to use their means… to develop an open
and regular dialogue with the organizations of civil society, in particular those that represent the poor. …Social fragmentation can be mitigated by bringing groups together in formal and informal forums and channelling their energies into political process instead of open conflict.” In fact, trade unions are the only organisations belonging to the working class involved in production activity. However due to the alienation of the working class to its own organisational structure because of the executives’ compromising attitudes, the top representatives of national and international unions and federations could bargain with capitalist institutions and employers, without having a labour perspective. A similar approach was reflected in the ansvers of trade unions to globalisation especially during the Steel crisis between EU and the USA and also in the debate on Turkey’s membership to EU. Briefly, trade unions were enforced to remain between two choices in the globalisation process, both of which being within the borders of capitalist relations: either the complete liberalisation of the economic system or a return to a closed, protectionist economic System. It’s clear that an attempt to establish a new organizational model with a bottom to up design has become unavoidable today. On that road all methods aiming at compromise should be abandoned and the trade unions should be made organisations of the workers as a whole, as a class and the international class solidarity should be rebuilt. This paper then, investigates how the capitalist class tries to destroy the organized power of the working class, criticizes the ways in which trade unions respond to these within the context of globalization and seeks for an alternative strategy.

Keywords: Globalization, Trade Unions, ECSC, EU, Organizational Model.

11th September From “Globalization” to “Empire: Is it a Turning Point?
Taner Timur

This article examines Micheal Hardt and Antonio Negri’s book of Empire in a historical perspective. After depicting the way in which concepts like “capitalism”, “empire” and “imperialism” have been used from 19th to nowadays, the present paper focuses on the emerging imperialist project since 11th September. Within this context it is argued that Empire is a book representing the main characteristics of postmodernism, in which obvious facts are seriously ignored.

Keywords: Empire, Globalization, Imperialism, 11th September, Capitalism.

An “Alternative Globalisation” or Proletarian Internationalism? – A Rebuttal of “Empire”
Sungur Savran

This review article treats Hardt and Negri’s Empire as a convenient entry point in discussing the nature of ‘‘globalisation” and the nature of the struggle of the oppressed against world capitalism at the beginning of the 21st century. The author notes that Hardt and Negri weave together fashionable theories such as those of “globalisation”, post-Fordism, post-modernism and the Information society that collectively serve as the basis for a claim that capitalism as we knew it, is over and that much of the conceptual framework of radical/socialist theory has to be discarded if we want to come to grips with this new reality. He then focuses on the core of Hardt and Negri’s argument, i.e. Empire as a new constellation of power that abolishes imperialism. He points out that the whole theoretical edifice built by Hardt and Negri is built on certain assumptions uncritically borrowed from the neoliberal right-wing theory of “globalisation” and contends that these assumptions cannot stand the test of the most elementary realities of present-day world capitalism. He also tries to demonstrate that the arguments that Hardt and Negri adduce to show the demise of imperialism are theoretically fallacious. On the basis of this theoretical argumentation, the author then proceeds to criticise Hardt and Negri’s recipes for future action, which, he deems, suffer from a neglect of mediations. İn particular, as opposed to the emphasis of Hardt and Negri on the immediately global nature of the struggles of the “multitude”, he dwells on the continuing significance of the so-called nation-state as both the locus of class power and an instrument for the struggle of oppressed nations against oppressor nations. İn his conclusion, the author tries to chart a map of the social and political forces that struggle against the rule of International Capital, delineating the nationalist, the left-liberal, the “alternative globalisation” and the proletarian internationalist positions in their essential aspects.

Keywords: Hardt and Negri, Empire, Imperialism, Alternative Globalism, Proleterian Internationalism.

The Upbeat Metaphysics Of Empire
Mustafa Bayram Mısır – Sinan Kadir Çelik

The main objective of the present paper is to make a critique of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s book entitled Empire. To examine the validity of methodological, epistemological and political premises of Empire, this article poses the following questions about the book: 1) Epistemological open-endedness: For whom and to what extent? 2) Do we really live in a post-industrial, postmodern world? 3) Empire: Is it a dream or a reality? 4) From Class to Multitude: Does the concept of ‘Multitude’ have a real Potential to reach the free humanity? İn the present study, the way in which these questions are answered by the authors is evaluated and how they should be answered is discussed. At the end of its discussion, the article concludes that Empire is a theoretically metaphysical’-with its narrow sense- and politically ‘upbeat’ book.

Keywords: Hardt and Negri, Empire, Epistemological Open-Endedness, Class, Multitude.