Tag Archives: quotes

The World Social Forum and End of Capitalism

“The conflict between Davos [the partisans of the World Economic Forum] and Porto Alegre [the partisans of the World Social Forum] is not about the virtues and vices of neo-liberal globalisation, although this is how it is often protrayed … It is not about capitalism as a world-system, since capitalism as a world system is in structural crisis and will disappear in the next 20-50 years. The conflict is about what will replace the capitalist world-economy as an historical system. It is about whether we shall move in the direction of a different system that maintains one crucial feature of capitalism – its hierarchical, inegalitarian, polarising nature – or of a new world system that is relatively democratic, relatively egalitarian.”
Immanuel Wallerstein , 2004, “The dilemmas of open space: the future of the World Social Forum” in International Social Science Journal 56(4), pp. 629-637.

It is worth noting that the next paragraph begins “This is no small question…” – no shit professor!

Anti vs. Alternative Globalisation

The most important political difference cutting across the entire [World Social] Forum concerned the role of national sovereignty. There are indeed two primary positions in the response to today’s dominant forces of globalization: either one can work to reinforce the sovereignty of nation-states as a defensive barrier against the control of foreign and global capital, or one can strive towards a non-national alternative to the present form of globalization that is equally global. The first poses neoliberalism as the primary analytical category, viewing the enemy as unrestricted global capitalist activity with weak state controls; the second is more clearly posed against capital itself, whether state-regulated or not. The first might rightly be called an anti-globalization position, in so far as national sovereignties, even if linked by international solidarity, serve to limit and regulate the forces of capitalist globalization. National liberation thus remains for this position the ultimate goal, as it was for the old anticolonial and anti-imperialist struggles. The second, in contrast, opposes any national solutions and seeks instead a democratic globalization.

Michael Hardt, 2002, “Today’s Bandung” in New Left Review 14, p.111.

Kropotkin on Christian Socialism

“Timid, at the outset, Socialism spoke at first in the name of Christian sentiment and morality: men profoundly imbued with the moral principles of Christianity – principles which it possesses in common with all other religions – came forward and said – “A Christian has no right to exploit his brethren!” But the ruling classes laughed in their faces with the reply – “Teach the people Christian resigantion, tell them in the name of Christ that they should offer their left cheek to whosoever smites them on the right, then you will be welcome; as for the dreams of equality which you find in Christianity, go and mediate on your discoveries in prison.”
Kropotkin, P., c. 1882, “The Place of Anarchism in Socialistic Evolution.” An address delivered in Paris, translated by Henry Glasse.

Unmask the Violence

It seems to me, that the real political task in a society such as ours is to criticize the working of institutions which appear to be both neutral and independent; to criticize them in such a manner that the political violence which has always exercised itself obscurely through them will be unmasked, so that we can fight them.

Michel Foucault quoted in Rabinow (1986) The Foucault Reader, p.6

What Revolutionary Action Means Today

“Pessimism is the mood inspired by a reasoned conviction that only a revolutionary change can ward off the consequences that are implicit in the tendencies in contemporary American society, but that such a revolution … is neither possible nor prudent – if by revolution we mean launching a campaign of violent insurrection or civil war. Revolutions of that nature are plainly pathological under contemporary conditions of interdependency.

Democrats need a new conception of revolution. Its text should be John Locke not Karl Marx, because the problem is not to show that a social class should seize power – no social class in an advanced society can pretend to the universality of right which Marx presupposed in the workers of his day – but to reinvent the forms and practices that will express a democratic conception of collective life.

Locke is best remembered for the argument that when those who rule seem bent on acquiring ‘Absolute Power over the Lives, Liberties and Estates of the People’, their power, which they hold on trust from the people, reverts, and the people are free to fashion new institutions. The right to revolution is not solely a right to overturn and destroy institutions but to fashion new ones because those who rule have perverted the old ones. The right to revolution is the right to creat new forms.”

Sheldon Wolin (1992) “What Revolutionary Action Means Today” in C. Mouffe, ed., Dimensions of Radical Democracy. Verso, London.