"Globalisation is a problematic term which has come to mean whatever people want it to mean. The vagueness creates a special problem for what is called the 'anti-globalisation movement', which is often perceived as something it isn't. It is portrayed quite wrongly, as being in favour of actual separation rather than the sort of internationalism which has always been a feature of progressive politics". Monbiot, George (2001).
This quote by Monbiot illustrates how the anti-globalization movement is miss-understood and this essay will tease out the often ambiguous main ideas behind the anti-globalisation movement: looking at their critique of contemporary capitalism, the state and the current debt crisis. These three political ideas can be linked to one another in many ways, but the main focus here is to analyse each one individually.
Greater interconnectedness, global trade and free movement of capital and people have been on the agenda of the anti-globalisation movement for sometime. However, contemporary capitalism that incorporates these issues is arguably the main source of the anti-globalisation movement's energies: capitalism has spread the slogans of the west to each corner of the globe; it has outsourced cheap labour from the East, and left many winners and losers in its path. It has enraged the anti-globalisation movements leading to mass protests and subsequently leading to meetings held by the IMF (International Monetary fund) and WB (World Bank) to be held in heavily guarded top-secret locations.
Klein, Naomi (2002, p35) mentions in her book Fences and Windows that "capitalism centralises power in the hands of a few, and treats people like they are not fully human". This is no doubt why the anti-globalisation movements are so angered by its role in society today. Also, capitalism it is argued by the anti-globalisation movements is creating huge profits for the TNC's (transnational corporations), MNC's (multinational corporations) and many franchisees but it is failing to take on-board its social responsibilities: by providing sanitation, a decent working wage, and facing up to multiple wants by employees for better working conditions.
Klein (2002, p35) gives an encounter of a small victory for the anti-globalisation movement who where planning to demonstrate outside Starbucks "the organisers announced they would take their calls for 'fair trade' as apposed to 'free trade' to the doorstep of the Starbucks coffee chain". However, the focus is not only on these huge corporations: capitalism and its inner workings are protested heavily, the way in which it uses up natural resources, wields power to the richest and ignores the adverse side-effects incurred by its victims.
The anti-globalisation movement also have a heavy critique of the state and how the power wielded by the state is dispersed on a national level. Very loosely, as the anti-globalisation movement has many different view points within it, believes that the state should be scaled down and that power should be decentralized and be dispersed on a more local level. Epstein, Barbara (Anarchism and the Anti-Globalization Movement, 2001), mentions in a website article that "Many among today's young radical activists, especially those at the centre of the anti-globalization and anti-corporate movements, call themselves anarchists" Epstein also suggests that
"For contemporary young radical activists, anarchism means a decentralized organizational structure, based on affinity groups that work together on an ad hoc basis and decision-making by consensus. It also means egalitarianism; opposition to all hierarchies; suspicion of authority, especially that of the state; and commitment to living according to one's values. Young radical activists, who regard themselves as anarchists, are likely to be hostile not only to corporations but to capitalism. Many envision a stateless society based on small, egalitarian communities".
The quote is saying that power should not be held ultimately by one person or one government party. The state should be broken up, and power divided equally amongst everyone, and the continuation of current political system is unsustainable. However, it can also be argued that the state does not wield as much power as it use to because of globalisation, certainly in monetary terms, many policies implemented by government have become almost ineffective due to availability of capital from abroad, and the impact that world financial markets have on the United Kingdom.