Sunday, February 22, 2009


During our Global Studies class we we given a book, Safe Area Gorazde to read over the span of a week. Even though reading is something that has proven not to be difficult for anyone in the class, this book was different. When we read this book, the reality of what has been happening in this world without us knowing really started to sink in.

As Dorctor Alija Begovic, the director of Gorazde's hospital stated "I can't understand why the rest of the world hadn't intervened more forcefully. The U.N. is always pointing out its neutrality, even now." This "now" that Dr. Begovic talks about is the early 1990s. From the years 1992-1995, the Muslims of the country Sarajevo had been brutally attacked by the Serbs, many of whom used to live there. The people who manage to get out of Sarajevo end up in Gorazde, a place that is full of refugees and injured people.

The images from this war and these attacks are truely some of the most grusome pictures that anyone has seen. The hospitals were opperating without any anesthetics, without enough bandages, and without much help from experienced nurses or doctors, and no surgens. Dr Begovic said that the first leg he had removed was done with a kitchen knife after giving his patient little morphine and some brandy. There are children who are being killed without any reason, other than the fact that they are not Surbian.

This is an issue that needs to be known through out the world, but isn't. Something that went on without anyone doing anything, the country recieved little foreign aid.

Is this the kind of world that we live in?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

6 to 200

James Harding wrote a work called "Counter-Capitalism: Globalization's Children Strike Back", this information is from his work. Even though the student talked aboout is not him, he makes his point quite clearly. In the early 1970s junior high student tried protesting, but gave up when he went off to college and started partying. Yet it wasn't until he traveled to Nigeria while working on a doctorate in African literature, that he found what those protests may have been for. "I met writers at the university there who did not have enough money to buy their own books." He decided that something had to be done about this. Returing to the US, he became involved with a group called 50 Years is Enough, "a coalition put combat the World Bank and the International Monitary Fund." Originally drawing support from a mere half a dozen organizations and groups.

Thanks to more support, 50 Years is Enough now draws support from more than 200 organizations.

The group later created the "largest petition in history, gathering 234 m[illion] names". There hasn't been this much interest in political involvement since the Vietnam War.

Over all the political involvement of many countries has surpassed even their voter turnout.

Is it Impossible?

Many words have become the new insignas for a new time after the Cold War, words such as "free trade" and "neoliberalism". The main goal being to create the ideal humanity, to "materialize the most cherished dreams of humankind, dreamed by the few of the many." Trying to make sure that everyone can get everything that they ever wanted, if they knew it or not. Two authors, Gustavo Esteva and Madhu Suri Prakash, point out that none of these new ideas will go without a doubt. the come up with the example of the famous Bill Gates and his Windows program: "even the most enthusiastic fans...experience misgivings and doubts when they observe the peculiar behaviors of their children" after having been exposed to so much computer life. No one can ignore the social and mental influences that this is having on the human population, not to mention the younger generation. Seriously, right now, if you are reading this, you are on the computer (since it IS an online blog) when you could be reading this book instead of reading my thoughts on it. Media has been one of the most influential things in the human world.

One concept that Esteva and Prakash really thought about was the saying "think globally, act locally." While people may have this a popular t-shirt slogan for Earth Day, when everyone is thinking green; it is also s symbol about what people around the world are thinking now. They state in words, "ordinary people lack the centralized power required for "global action." It is a warning against arrogance, the far-fetched anddangerous fantasy of "acting globally."" Many people make themselves think that by donating even a little bit of money to a cause is something that can be considered global. But what amny people don't reolize is that it takes more than just a little bit of cash to halp people around the world.

A second issue that Esteca and Prakash bring is is how global thinking is impossible. The only way that a person can actually know the Earth, is by "reducing it statistically", which apparently many people attempt to do. What people can't do is accept that people think that the world is something that will be able to fix itself, or that it is the preoblems of a person who is not them to fix what has happened to the world. But what people need to understand is that it is everyone's fault that the world is as it is. It isn't just the fault of the people in those countries that are having the problems with the world, it is the fault of all the people of the world, who didn't do anything when it comes to helping everyone else.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

In Rebellion against Neoliberalism

Subcomandante Marcos gave a speach to "men, women, children, and elders from the five continents who have responded to the invitation of the Zapatista indigenous to search for hope, for humanity, and to struggle against neoliberalism." He implies that people seraching for Power are not human beings, but have created a world where there is "no room for human beings" Nor for hope much less for tomorrow. The world that we have known to be founded and run by the working people is no longer in existance in many rich countries, all we need is to think that we are going to be able to make money and we can. The entire world is run by the idea that they can get rich, we fight wars to ge rich, we commit crimes to get rich, while millions upon millions of people are considered less and less of a person because of who they are. People like homosexuals, women, children, natives, people of color, people of a different religion or a different country. "[T]he currency of their blood turning a profit."
Marcos blames Neoliberalism for causing the severe separation of parts of each country into several different countries with their own views on everything. Many of the ideas of neoliberalusm have become quite contoversial subjects for discussion. One such issue is the enitre deal with nuclear armamaent; this "stupid course" is "destined to annihilate humanity in one blow". The entire world is now obcessed with the militarization, which is abusrd in every life of the national society. "National governments are turning into the military underlings of a new world war against humanity."

Monday, February 2, 2009

Counterhegemonic Globalization

Peter Evans defines counterhegemonic globalization as being "the growth of transnational connections [that] can potentially be harnassed to the construction of more equitable distrbutions of wealth and power". The people who have joined such transnational connections, mostly different social movements, has grown quite a lot since 1973. Their vision: "another world is possible." Evans gives the examples of three broad movements: labor, women's, and environmental.

Starting with labor movements, Evans brings up different movements that have occured in the Southouthern parts of the world as well as in the Northern parts. He brings up a Volkswagen factory in Brazil, the biggest VW factory, which had witnessed its very own workers' strike, when workers refused to work, "trying to reverse job cuts". The president of the Central Unica dos Trabalhadores (The Central Guild of Workers) for VW went straight to the head of the issue, and was able to bypass the management in Brazil by talking directly to those people at the VW's world headquaters. He was able to produce an agreement and people got their jobs back. A more global example is that of a UPS strike in 1997, when UPS was "seen as representing the intrusion of the "American Model" of aggressive antiunion behavior, coupled with the expansion of part-time and temporary jobs with low pay and benefits adnthe use of subcontracting." The strike against UPS went as far as soem European Unions who also felt that by joining forces with the American strikers, that it might be easier and morlikely to accomplish their goals. During modern days, there aren't many people who are employed in a union anymore, even though times change, it is still possible for the world to try and come together.

Due to this new globalization, the transnational women's movement has been brought forward in the order of social movement orgaizations. While the women's movement has been quite like the labor movement, in working with the issue of human rights, it also has more difficulty with the "contradictions of building politics around the universalistic language of rights." Evans points out that although many people have seen that good things have come out of the femanists' movement, that the UN was still scrutinized for playing with these women. By making it seem like everyone was equal, they didn't actually go along with what they said. While women have more and more rights in the United States, other countries aren't quite the same way. The development of a new organization in places such as India, South Africa, Turkey, and other countries in Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America, called the "Self-Employed Women's Association" (SEWA) has become an intricate part of many cultures and governments.

Environmentally, though it is not something that markents may not resolve, but is instead left up to the people. Like the women's movement, the environmental issue is "private" and "therefore not a appropriate target for collective political action". One of the biggest issues here is because there are different types of issues: ones that seem global (global warming) and the other ones that are more local (spread of a virus in a local community). While there problems are far from solved, "the global environment is usually considered among the most successful og the transnational social movements." This may be because there are many political aspects of our lives that are affected by the environmental issues that our world is facing or has faced or even will face in the future.

Quotations taken from "Counterhegemonic Globalization: Transnational Social Movements in the Contemporary Political Economy" by Peter Evans