Last week the World Social Forum (WSF) meeting was held in Mumbai. The participants displayed determination but they seemed confused. And confusion leads to clouded perception. Clouded perception destroys sense of direction.
The single declared objective of all the WSF participants was to oppose globalisation. A hundred thousand people from 130 nations representing 2,000 organisations got under the banner of WSF to damn globalisation. They missed the irony. Could anything be more global than WSF?
When they damned globalisation they were of course damning exploitation, which is rampant in the new world order emerging under President Bush and multinational corporations. The first lesson to be learnt therefore is that only through globalisation can people effectively fight big government and big business. Anticipating this, Karl Marx asked workers of the world to unite. He erred by seeking dictatorship of the proletariat instead of democracy of the proletariat.
Technological advance is transforming the world into one economic unit. Therefore, a world political order is inevitable. But the mindset of politicians can't keep pace with technology. During its formative stage, the World Trade Organisation presented the Dunkel Draft. It contained a social clause introduced under American trade union pressure. This clause sought to establish correlation in labour wages of the first world and third world. Reason? American labour opposed American capital for investing in the third world because that reduced domestic employment. Indian trade unions fiercely opposed the Dunkel Draft in defence of national sovereignty. Thereby, American and Indian capitalists benefited. Americans got cheap labour. Indians got foreign investment. American and Indian workers suffered.
At the WSF, the Mumbai Resistance (MR) was a dissident faction. It defended violence against imperialist repression. MR was mistaken. Violence must be abjured not for morality but for a winning strategy. Today people can reach out to the rest of the world. That makes reform under public pressure feasible. Weapons of mass destruction can be produced in a garage. That makes violence self-destructive and uncontrollable.
Globalisation is not an evil in itself. It becomes evil when misused to exploit people. Democracy has not failed. Corrupt people are subverting it. To end this, people must fight on their own battlegrounds. It is easy but inconsequential for Indians to resist George Bush in Iraq. It's difficult but meaningful for them to resist Advani in Ayodhya. The world might change after those with vision and integrity govern at least one nation. For Indians the best nation to start the process would be India.