«The gods were already gone and Christ was no longer there, and then, between Cicero and Marcus Aurelius, there was a moment in which there was only the man». Gustave Flaubert.

Poster of the anti-globalization movements during the G-8 meeting in Genoa, Italy, in July 2001. Is it not possible that we are still not satisfied? The exploitation of the poor countries by the industrialized.

I am not an “anotherworlder” but I am sympathetic to the hundreds of thousands of demonstrators who demand for another world in the streets of large cities, where an increasingly impoverished, disregarded and subjugated human race survives; I am one of those hundreds of thousands of militants in local or world social forums and also one among the millions who have marched in the capitals of the world against the war madness of the United States.

These demonstrations are a response to the reverential speech of those who, for several decades already, monopolize public expression, sometimes with a delirious enthusiasm [1] by the leading class regarding globalization. It is a reaction in front of this oppressing environment that, for several years, we perceive through mainstream media. Let us take a random look at The Economist, that so politically correct weekly: «How do you adapt yourself to the globalized economy?»; «While many speak of the idea of a global village, we build it...».

This unanimity is even more extraordinary when we have learned for a long time now that the processes of economic standardization also generate inequalities. Deprived of the tools of the economic policy like the budget deficit and even the currency, the countries involved in the globalization see how the adjustment is carried out through unemployment and inflation.

In all countries, globalization corrupts the living conditions of an important part of society, and the poorer the country, the larger the number of people. And, as it is reaching more diverse categories, it destroys the social structures which are not substituted by any feasible organization of society.

Thus, we can not avoid enjoying ourselves seeing many commentators or political figures when they have to come out of their irenic dream, like Sleeping Beauty out of the Woods, to accept that globalization is not something that brings happiness to everyone.

What a satisfaction when we finally see that the doubt emerges as to the social and human consequences of the unlimited capitalist development and we can finally say that commercial expansion is not systematically accompanied by “peaceful habits”, contrary to the reasoning of the guardians of the “global village”, using a thought by Montesquieu as a breviary! However, commercial expansion always had its reverse - from the slave trade to the exploitation of weapons markets - although it always had its admirers too, and they are those who over the past few decades have occupied the podium and have gagged public opinion with respect to the new dogma. From Raymond Barre to Margaret Thatcher, passing by Jacques Delors and Tony Blair, there was only one possible policy: it had to involve globalization and the development of commercial exchange, it had to lean on the international organizations in charge of checking the good performance of the free exchange - this new panacea - sanction the contraveners and punish the outlaws of the new order.

The peoples were witnessing, not being able to say much, how this seaquake simultaneously destroyed nations and social achievements in the name of universal happiness; and even, from time to time, the powers ordered, in the name of international law and democracy, interventions that reminded of yesterday’s gunboats. But, even if the average citizen suspected that they were only telling stories to legally justify the use of force with ideological and economic objectives, each one would do nothing but adapt himself, as it seemed impossible to act otherwise.

Globalization was, at the same time, the new structure of the planet and the expression of the genius of the West. Criticizing it would mean attacking an order of peace and development and the western civilization itself. Some of the new world leaders abrogated themselves the monopoly of the heart, keeping for themselves the principle of solidarity of which they defined the rules and instruments, and labeling any other choice as a mix of archaism, irresponsibility and even terrorism.

In this context, it was a satisfaction to see how the intervention prepared by the United States upon lies and an aggressive propaganda campaign, mobilized millions in the West, in spite of the repugnant Saddam Hussein, when, since the fall of the Berlin Wall, every US intervention was seen from the perspective of prosperity and democracy. So, there was still freedom of thought, critical spirit, and ability to oppose amid this regulated society!

This said, I don’t see this evolution without uncertainty. The extraordinary capacity of capitalism to recover from any rebellious behavior, and even to use it in its favor, has been frequently underestimated in the past, and the oppositions of the world we live in are heterogeneous, marked by the conformist and the revolutionary, by moral advocacy and action, attraction to change and fear of innovations, social continuity and social transformation, the taste for confrontation and the non violent behaviors.

André Bellon

It is good to bring together those who hope for another world, those who oppose the forces of unrestrained capitalism and the most unequal liberalism that rule the world. Evidently, it is necessary to criticize the Right, but he who tries to comprehend too much may become lost in what can not be comprehended.

We should recall the behavior of the Left in power in France in the 1980s and the 1990s to understand up to what extent the will to have the biggest support possible can lead to insipid messages or to the more or less hypocritical demagogy; to understand it, it is necessary to recall the official Left that, for years, gave lyrical and emotional speeches in favor of the oppressed while they carried out a policy that was favorable to the most important financial interests. That’s why we can not avoid to be cautious when we hear, in the political debate, the aggressive attacks against the globalization of the unrestrained capitalism and against the damages caused by the systems that are completely subdued by the financial logic.

Are these criticisms often carriers of globalization too? Couldn’t someone interpret that if the liberal globalization were not so unrestrained or if the finances were more regulated it would be perfectly possible to adapt to globalization, even liberal? The speech of the Left in power in the West is ambiguous, even in its struggles; even more, it presents itself as convenient seeking the acceptance of those who call themselves moderates: capitalism is not evoked anymore, internationalism is almost not mentioned, the European construction that comes as a substitute is presented, in principle, as a project of peace and happiness in which only a few disastrous consequences would have to be palliated.

But, in practice, they ignore the deterioration of the social situation provoked by the world restructuring while complaints are perceived in the speeches; they seem to have forgotten that internationalism was also a collective struggle for the improvement of the situation of the exploited people. In short, in front of globalization, their behavior reminds us of the times when Bossuet was stigmatized for saying: «They pretend to be upset by the consequences while they adapt to the causes».

Of course, those who are politically active in favor of another world are against this political maneuvering so much rejected in our days. Essentially, they are motivated by noble reasons: we want another world and, actually, another world is possible; in addition, today it is a necessity since many problems have emerged that have no solution at a state level. That is the case of pollution, nuclear proliferation, the control of new technologies, security ...

Thus, a semantic evolution has taken place. It does not constitutes a matter of detail but, on the contrary, a problem of meaning: on July 21, 2002, in the Le Monde new daily we could once again read: «A year later, the “antiworlders” return to Genoa»; then, all of a sudden, in the editorials, the “antiworlders” began to be called “anotherworlders”. This change was almost unnoticed; the terminological transformation, adopted by the majority, imposed itself without any questioning. Not insipid at all, did they measure all its meaning and consequences?

The choosing of words and concepts is fundamental in the history of the human race. George Orwell perfectly understood that when describing absolute totalitarianism [2] he showed «how to make crime impossible through thinking thanks to the abolition of the historic reference (...), the control of memory, individual and collective, the imposition of a language, the «novlanguage» (...), thus creating a true «distopia» [3] of communication» [4].

That is why we do not give away regarding words. As to me, I describe myself as an “antiworlder”. It is like evidence for me at the end of a long, personal, chaotic and sometimes contradictory road. Like an entire generation, I lived in a country that was for a long time under the rule of the Socialist Party of François Mitterrand; like many leftist citizens I walked that debatable path and at the end I will say that it was a mistake that had to be made. It is through these difficulties and mistakes that we often find the road to follow.

I am an “antiworlder”. Not for fun or because of a special attraction for the past: I know that archaic forces, especially of the extreme right, also fight globalization; I know that its values, deeply reactionary, in particular their narrow and exclusive vision of the nation, oppose mine. But I also know that globalization is a concept already overcome and that the big struggles that it has caused are only the premises of its challenging. I am an “antiworlder” because I think that the time that is approaching requires that men find a political identity away from their ideological magmas without any concrete meaning that are imposed on them to corrupt their thoughts; because I think that the revitalization of politics, essential attribute of free men and thus of the citizen, and the return of humanism involve the fight against the very concept of globalization.

Evidently, in the institutional framework of the world around us, in front of the limitations erected by the globalized system, the “antiworlders”, motivated by humanist principles, do not have political representation, and much less because the struggle against globalization takes place in very diverse fields that go from the extreme right to the extreme left, something that makes their legibility very difficult.

Should someone then take sides in an ambiguous field like this in spite of appearances in order to be more respectable or, naively, because of an effectiveness concern? The official parties, with a little bit of juggling and playing with the ambiguity of the “another” can call themselves “anotherworlders”. In the general confusion of the political chess, there will not be any effectiveness without total clarity.

No one should hesitate to make an analysis or to proclaim principles, and that should be done without any concerns for the others’ attitude. We can’t get rid of ambiguities by creating others, as there are not some more acceptable than others.

Reaffirming the humanistic values means rejecting to accept the principles or limitations that a globalized conception that the ruling class tries to impose under diverse forms; it means behaving like a free man. This somewhat old-fashioned concept is, however, the corner stone of any responsible ideological questioning. Plagiarizing Spinoza, we declare that freedom is the realization through reason. It is a concrete reality that is showed in reflected actions.

The behavior of the free man thus is completely autonomous. The free man is simultaneously the actor and the model of the humanistic philosophy, which, as Jean-Paul Sartre said, «takes men as end and supreme value».

Today, when the very idea of free man becomes suspicious again, trying to reaffirm humanism in front of a globalization, which presents itself as fatal beyond its diverse forms, means reaffirming the autonomy of the individual. Now, that is exactly what being an “anotherworlder” means.

After all, why should the aspiration for another world refer to another globalization? There is only one known globalization, the one built by capitalism in its current level of development. Before trying to find a different world, it is important to openly reject this process, its assumptions, the forces that construct it and rule it, since globalization, basically, is nothing else that an ideological representation of a world whose only true historic foundation is the role of the ruling financial and economic interests.

Only with the aim of legitimizing this political construction, those who praise it try to find a pretext in the universal and significant development of technology.

However, technical and scientific transformations of similar magnitude have take place along History and the political constructions of the humankind have not been the same. The entire world, considered as the only appropriate space for political action, is certainly interesting for capitalism in its phase of permanent relocation or for some financial operators, but, is it the same for the average citizen?

Thanks to this revolution of thinking the world in its entireness is seen as the only place where social transformation is possible. A perverse conclusion considering that this entire space, naturally difficult to dominate, is not suitable for the organization of social combat and because the capitalists have always been victors. I remember a meeting in which some businessmen, sentimentally drawn by a nostalgia for the French nation, evoked what they call “sovereignism”, but suddenly one of them exclaimed: «Yes, but don’t let “sovereignism” again bring us the social movement!».

The ideology of globalization did not emerge by chance. It is the result of the philosophical combat carried out with application and perseverance against the so-called “modern” thinking, that is, against rationalism and the great philosophers of the Lights, against a historically liberating thinking.

The attacks of the so-called post-modern philosophers have led to criticizing humanism, to rejecting reason, to giving a pejorative meaning to the concept of nation, in the name of the horrors of the 20th Century, forgetting that it was the disappearance of humanism, the rejection of reason and the deviance of the concept of nation to nationalism what led to these deviations. These attacks only serve to deny men their essential rebellious ability.

Some time ago, a philosopher chose for a conference the topic: “Will Intelligence Overcome Stupidity?”. In his own way, he was making the same philosophical question as the challenge of intelligence id the confidence in humanity, is the right of every man to make his own analysis. It is not because a man can not explain his rejections or aspirations that these should be condemned. In front of a system that tries to impose, regulate and control everything, there is a true challenge. Wanting another world is, above all, wishing man a free being and citizen.

On the other hand, for over a century, the ideology of the liberal globalization has attempted its historic pseudo-legitimization in the chaotic history and the failures of the Left, through the caricatural deviation of the Soviet Communism or the chances given by its enemy brother, the “new” modern socialism whose history is to be written. «As you see - the standard-bearers of liberalism say - any other way leads to either an impasse or to the recognition of the foundation of our values».

The hope for another world imposes the need to respond to these attacks, especially looking with a critical eye at the history of the Left, then working in the definition of the axes of social transformation and the spaces in which it is possible and effective to act in favor of this change in a universe generated by capitalism in the beginning of the 21st Century.

It is not a new issue in the history of the Left. Under other forms, more than 150 years ago, in the beginnings of the workers’ movement, the Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels stated that: «Workers don’t have a homeland. They can not be deprived of what they don’t have. As, in the first place, the proletariat of each country has to conquer the political power and become the leading class of the nation, to become itself the nation, it is itself national, although, not at all, in the bourgeois sense of the term».

Beyond any exegesis, let us look at the link between the social transformations, the taking of political power and the importance granted to the existence of a political community. As the process of globalization leads to an apolitical space, how to present the social question and that of the organization of society without challenging the very nature of this process? If it is fair to say that the fight for humanity is universal by nature, it only gives strength to the ethical principles upon which the social struggles lie, but it does not define the nature, the place or field of action for another world or the articulation among the different levels.

Someone may be afraid, for the fact of defining too much the positions, of being left as a minority, too isolated; but it is more fearful, for wanting to cover everything, to look like nothing. As Alessandro Barrico has said: «There is always part of the human race that does not agree and that rebels against the inertia with which the majority adopts slogans that others invent; those are the rebels» [5].

Without encouraging the myth of rebels, let us recognize their usefulness in this stage of confusion. Giving them a place does not mean erasing the past; it would be the best gift for all the forces that today build and rule the process of globalization. The role of rebellion is ever more fundamental and simple, it is to again trust in rejection. It is to certify the freedom of men. When in the novel “1984” by Orwell, O’Brien tortures Winston to make him renounce this truth that says that two plus two is four, he shows up what extent it is about the affirmation of freedom, of a political matter. It makes it clear that there is a place in which the individual can overcome the lie of the official ideology [6]. Will that place remain? It is a fundamental matter as only with its existence can the individual express his rejection.

Rejection, in effect, is one of the main attributes of the citizen; is also one of the basis of the republic and democracy. Doesn’t the Declaration on Human Rights provides in its Article 2 that “one of the natural and essential rights of men is their resistance to oppression”?

This text has been taken from “Pourquoi je ne suis pas altermondialiste. Éloge de l’antimondialisation” , by André Bellon, Mille et une nuits Publishing House, 2004.

[1See Alain Minc, Le Monde, August 17, 2001: «La mondialisation heureuse»

[2The Economist, November 1999

[3Sort of a black Utopia in which the objective of ideal society is perceived in the opposite direction

[4See: Yves Breton, Grandeur et décadence -Le développement dans tous ses états, (Greatness and decline, development in all its forms) in French, L’Interligne Publishing House, France, 2002

[5Alessandro Barrico, Petit livre sur la globalisation et le monde à venir (Small book about globalization and the world that is coming) in French, Albin Michel Publishing House, France, 2002

[6See Yves Breton, ib