Adelaide debates globalisation

August 1, 2001



ADELAIDE — "The debate about globalisation is about moving from 'policy' to protest — not protest to policy", said M1 and Socialist Alliance activist Leslie Richmond, at a Politics in the Pub forum on July 26.

The forum, organised by Now We the People, attracted 80 people to discuss the theme, "Globalisation — from protest to policy". The speaking platform, including an academic, an anti-corporate activist and a federal Labor senator promised a lively debate.

"The world's governments have plenty of policies that have actively assisted the rich elite of the world in maximising their exploitation of the world's people and the environment", Richmond said. "The growing anti-corporate movement recognises the need to go beyond being passive recipients of the neo-liberal policies of government and to develop active protest movements ... and programs of action to counter the human and environmental crisis."

Michael Sullivan, a lecturer in globalisation at Flinders University, explained that globalisation was capitalism creating global winners and losers, while simultaneously reducing the ability of the people to democratically determine how the world will be organised and who it will benefit.

He argued that the anti-corporate globalisation movement is nothing new — activists in the Third World have been campaigning against the reality of neo-liberal policy for more than two decades, as have many socialist and progressive activists in the imperialist or developed countries.

South Australian Labor senator Chris Schacht argued that he personally favoured fair (or at least fairer) trade, said that something should be done about poverty in the Third World and declared himself opposed to "backward economic policies" like deregulation.

Under challenge from the floor, however, he found it difficult to tally this with the actual practice of the Labor Party.

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