glob·al·i·za·tion noun ˌglō-bə-lə-ˈzā-shən
Definition of GLOBALIZATION: the act or process of globalizing : the state of being globalized; especially : the development of an increasingly integrated global economy marked especially by free trade, free flow of capital, and the tapping of cheaper foreign labor markets–from Merriam-Webster
Much more deserves to and has been said. For certain, globalization is enabling some people to become vastly richer while many more are made poorer. Under globalization, not only are people are being exploited; they are losing their lands and often their entire communities while the resources they depend on are stolen and exported–often irreversibly depleted from the Earth–contributing to climate change and in turn threatening all life support systems on this planet.
For a detailed analysis of globalization, including the statement by Immanuel Wallerstein that the current “ideological celebration of so-called globalization is in reality the swan song of our historical system,” please see World-Systems Theory (Synopsis and Analysis) on Emory University’s “The Globalization Website.”
Protesters tear down sections of wire barricades at the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Cancún, Mexico. Moments earlier a South Korean farmer, Lee Kyoung Hae, 56 years old and father of two, committed suicide by plunging a knife into his heart while atop of one of the wire barricades. “The WTO Kills Farmers” became the dominant message of these protests.
Indigenous peoples, labor and students joined thousands of protesters, the majority farmers, as they marched on the WTO Convention Center in Cancún, on September 10, 2003. Police and barricades stopped the march ironically at Kilometer Zero on the map—in fact many kilometers from their destination. The demonstrators later referred to Kilometer Zero as ‘ground zero.’
The WTO never fully recovered from the shut down of its ministerial in Seattle in 1999 nor the subsequent mass protests in Cancún in 2003. Their negotiations on agricultural trade were never able to move forward due to the unified opposition of developing nations, whose positions were supported by the protesters.
Police in cloud of tear gas prepare to fire rubber bullets on protesters in Miami, FL who were demonstrating against the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) summit meeting there. After the major permitted march on November 20, 2003, police clashed with protesters on the streets of Miami. Police used tear gas, rubber bullets, electronic tasers and other less-lethal weapons to attack the protesters. Many protesters and bystanders were injured.
An estimated 20,000 or more marched that day in Miami against the FTAA. Trade ministers from 34 countries had come to Miami to negotiate a new neoliberal trade agreement that would stretch from Alaska to Chile encompassing all of the Americas, except for Cuba.
Protesters, mostly students, at the U.S.-Canada border near Swanton, VT attempt to blockade commercial traffic in late 1993 in opposition to the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Border Patrol guard (left) attempts to clear the border highway.
Outraged protesters on Pittsburgh, PA’s Warhol Bridge. A woman points to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, the heavily fortified facility where leaders of the twenty richest countries (G20) were meeting in September of 2009.
Windsor Star photographer, Ted Rhodes, is treated in the streets by Shutdown OAS Coalition medics after Rhodes received a blast of pepper spray during the 4 – 6 June 2000 the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) protests in Windsor, Ontario (Canada).
Blockade during the April 16, 2000 (A16) protests of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC. The World Bank and IMF, two of the most powerful financial institutions in the world, created in 1944, are blamed by people in the Global South and elsewhere for destructive programs that have impoverished millions and caused massive environmental destruction.
With eyes wide shut, then U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Zoellick, blames the collapse of the Cancun WTO session in 2003 on others from developing countries stating, “Whether developed or developing, there were ‘can do’ and ‘won’t do’ countries here. The rhetoric of the ‘won’t do’ overwhelmed the concerted efforts of the ‘can do’. ‘Won’t do’ led to impasse.” Affiliated with the Project for the New American Century think-tank, Zoellick later went on to become the the President of the World Bank.
A Comandante wearing a Che Guevara shirt in La Realidad, Chiapas. When the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect on 1 January, 1994, the Indigenous Peoples of Chiapas staged an uprising. The Zapatistas denounced NAFTA as a “death sentence” for the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico. (Rebel territory, Mexico 1996)
Cecilia Rodriguez, US representative of the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation), speaks at a rally protesting the World Bank’s 50th anniversary in Washington, DC and Mexican President Zedillo’s visit to the US. In her speech she demanded suspension of US military and technical assistance to Mexico for any purpose until human rights violations cease. While in southeastern Mexico two weeks later, Cecilia Rodriguez was brutally raped by Mexican paramilitary. (Washington, DC 1995)
One of the 80,000 demonstrators against the G8 meeting in Rostock, Germany poignantly describes her feelings. In early June 2007, the heads of the world’s richest nations, the Group of 8 (G8), held a summit in the old resort town of Heiligendamm, Germany. (Near Rostock 2007)
Mapuche men walk through a newly planted monoculture plantation of eucalyptus seedlings; the man on left steps on the seedlings. In Chile, plantations are concentrated on former farmland in the traditional territory of the Mapuche people in the Lumaco region. Plantations in Lumaco increased from 14% of the land in 1988 to over 52% in 2002. Chile exports 98% of its forestry products to the North and to Asia. Throughout the country over 2 million hectares of eucalyptus and pine plantations are controlled by only two companies.
As a result of this farmland conversion, Mapuche communities are being forced onto poor quality lands where they are surrounded by plantations. Because the plantations are so water intensive, the communities must rely on water trucks from the end of spring until the beginning of autumn. The contamination of ground and surface water from the toxic pesticides and herbicides used on the plantations cause sickness. The heavy pollination from the pine plantations contaminates water, and causes allergies and skin problems. The expansion of the area of land occupied by plantations has been accompanied by a rise in poverty rates among Mapuche communities. In Lumaco, one of the poorest regions of Chile, 60% of the population lives under the poverty level with 33% in extreme poverty.
As Mapuche people have risen up against the plantations, they have been subjected to mounting state repression, including the use of anti-terrorism laws left over from the Pinochet Regime. (Chol Chol, Mapuche Territory [Chile] 2005)
“Plantations of Eucalyptus are not Forests” proclaims the sign at the entrance of the MST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra – Landless Workers Movement) encampment. The MST here took over portion of a plantation owned by timber company Aracruz Cellulose, removed the non-native trees and erected their camp, complete with a well, community space and an elaborate system on non-hierarchical decision making. The camp was named Galdino dos Santos, for an indigenous chief who was murdered two years earlier in a racist attack. (Brazil 2005)
A harbinger of the impacts of extreme weather caused by the climate crisis. This tree was uprooted and stuck upside down in the debris when the crater lake in the Las Casitas volcano collapsed during Hurricane Mitch in Nicaragua and caused a major mudslide. The land affected by the mudslide resembled a desert.
The crater of Las Casitas volcano collapsed at 11 am on Friday, October 30, 1998, causing a mudslide that swept down the side of the volcano obliterating all in its path. Over 2500 people in small villages were killed at the onset and hundreds died afterwards. Nicaragua National Assembly Congressman and member of the Environmental Commission Jose Cuadra blamed Congressman Eduardo Callejas for deforesting the sides of the volcano in the 60’s and 70’s, destabilizing the slopes and contributing to the mudslide. Other sources say that Callejas also cut part of the forest 1997 for coffee production. Additionally he allowed telecommunication towers to be built on top of the volcano and a road built up its side, furthering the destabilization. Whistle blower Jose Cuadra was assassinated on August 18, 1999.
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