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The South Challenges Globalization


The current situation finds the decline of old centers (USA, Europe and Japan), in crisis, in opposition to the impetuous growth of emerging countries (China and others). There are three options: the current crisis spreads to the emerging countries and seriously hinders their development; they nevertheless continue to grow and lead to a revival of capitalism, more focused on Asia and South America; the development of emerging countries deconstructs globalization as it is now and produces a truly polycentric world in which they will combine and confront, progressing towards democratic and popular alternatives and violent restorations.



The most popular thesis argues that the victories of the anti-imperialist struggles of the past have paved the way not for socialism, but for a new rise of capitalism. The main argument of my criticism of this view stems from the finding that the historical capitalist model, which is now considered the exclusive model, was established from its beginning based on the production and reproduction of global polarization. This feature is itself the product of the mass expulsion of the peasantry from the land, upon which capitalism's expansion was founded. This model was sustainable only because the safety valve of mass immigration to the Americas allowed it. Reproduction of this same model is strictly impossible for the peripheral countries today — they comprise nearly eighty percent of the world population with almost half of it rural — five or six Americas would be needed to "catch up by imitation." Catching up is an illusion; progress in this direction can only lead to a dead end. This is why I say that the anti-imperialist struggles are potentially anti-capitalist. If you cannot "catch up," you must "do something else." Of course transformation in the sense of long-term visions of "development" of emerging countries is by no means "inevitable." It is only necessary and possible. The current success of emerging countries in terms of accelerated growth within global capitalism and by capitalist means reinforces the illusion that a catch-up is possible. The same illusion was accompanied by the experiences of the first wave of "the awakening of the South" in the twentieth century, even though they were experienced as a "catch-up by the socialist road."



Today the triad's collective imperialism deploys all economic, financial and military weapons in its possession to perpetuate its domination of the world. Emerging countries that deploy strategies to eliminate the advantages of the triad — control of technology, exclusive access to the world's natural resources, and military control of the planet must come into conflict with the triad. This conflict helps dispel any illusions about these countries' ability "to advance within the system" and gives the popular democratic forces the possibility to influence the course of events in the direction of progress on the long road of transition to socialism. To date the emerging countries have seen that their growth has accelerated within capitalist globalization through capitalist measures. If these countries have been oriented to pursuing this path, based on giving priority to exports, then the economic crisis that struck the old centers has in turn seriously affected them.



The conflict between centers and the countries in the periphery is a given of the first order in the history of capitalist deployment. This is why the struggle of the peoples of the South for their liberation must question capitalism itself. For imperialist rent associated with the global expansion of capitalism, historically still dominated by the triad, is not only a major source of profits for monopoly capital, it also conditions the reproduction of society as a whole. So it's no coincidence that the South is still "the storm zone," of repeated revolts, potentially effective ones. It is clear that the ruling classes of the so-called "emerging" South have chosen a strategy that is neither passive submission to the dominant forces in the world system, nor is it declared opposition to them: it's a strategy of active interventions upon which they base their hopes to accelerate their country's development. Yet, the societies of the South are now equipped with measures that enable them to eliminate the imperialist centers' means of control. These societies are able to develop on their own, without falling into dependence. They have a potential of technological expertise that would allow them to use technology for themselves. By recovering the control of their natural resources, they can force the North to adjust to a less harmful method of consumption. They can move out of financial globalization. They are already challenging the monopoly of weapons of mass destruction that the U.S. wants to reserve for itself. They can develop South-South trade — goods, services, capital, and technology. More than ever before, delinking is the order of the day. It's possible. Will these societies do this? And who will do it? The ruling classes in place? The popular classes that come to power?



Probably at first it will be transitional regimes with a national /popular character.



From 1500 to 1900, only "Westerners" shaped the structures of the new world of historical capitalism. Of course, the conquered peoples of the peripheries resisted, but they were still ultimately defeated and forced to adjust to their status as subordinates. The twentieth century opened — with the "awakening of the peoples of the peripheries" — it was a new chapter of history: the Iranian revolution of 1907; that of Mexico (1910-1920); China (1911), a forerunner of 1949; 1905 in the "semi-periphery" nation of Russia, a forerunner of 1917; the Arab-Muslim Nahda; the founding of the Movement of Young Turks; the Egyptian revolution of 1919 and the founding of the Indian Congress Party were the first manifestations. The peoples of the peripheries rallied under the flag of socialism (Russia, China, Vietnam, Cuba) or those of national liberation associated with varying degrees of progressive social reforms.



Governments and peoples of Asia and Africa proclaimed in Bandung in 1955 their determination to rebuild the global system based on the recognition of the rights of nations that until then had been subjugated. This "right to development" was the basis of the globalization of that era, the implementation in a multi-polar negotiated structure, imposed on imperialism and forcing it to adjust to these new exigencies. Industrial progress initiated during the Bandung era did not follow imperialist logic but was imposed by the victories of the peoples of the South.

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