To the comrades who stand for class struggle and proletarian dictatorship, to the comrades who oppose globalisation and stand for proletarian internationalism, to the comrades who fight against all forms of social oppression, my red salutes to all of you. This conference calls for the unity of all the forces that fight against globalisation
and fight for the power of the working masses. This conference has taken a bold initiative for an alignment of political forces that strictly adhere to working class politics. I wish the conference a great success and I passionately hold your hands.
At this juncture, I would like to speak about the much talked about struggles against globalisation that are taking place in Europe and about the political contents of those struggles. Unlike third world countries, the number of people who come to the streets to fight, is very large in Europe. Even in small towns, they conduct demonstrations and processions. They spontaneously gather in the streets to protest against imperialist barbarism. There are thousands of groups that exert their political influence upon this spontaneous gatherings. But if you look at the political fall out of these demonstrations, you could discern, that these demonstrations just prepare the people to vote the opposition in the end. Thus, the political fate of these struggles against globalisation always end with a sad note.
The political essence and the slogans and aims of these struggles finally end up favouring the capital. The capital funds these struggles and directs them, so as not to disturb its supremacy. By getting clarified about the facts as to who guides these struggles and how, we can identify the enemies, isolate them and defeat them.
Normally, in western nations, people who understand the ill-effects of globalisation- however little their understanding - spontaneously come forward and involve themselves in these struggles. We cannot say that all the protestors have clear ideas or programmes on the alternative. When different kinds of splinter groups give a call for such demonstrations, people join it on their own. That doesn’t mean they are members of these organisations.
Due to the political weaknesses and degeneration of the left wing groups, they are not in a position to putforth an alternative path, resulting in the defeat of all the struggles. Massive strikes had thus been defeated by the capital in Europe. In this situation, the NGOs have seized the initiative in providing the political leadership to such struggles.
In the alternative fronts, ATTAC, WSF and various NGOs have succeeded in stealing the agenda of the left and converting them to suit their own ends. They reject in principle, the possibility of the working class seizing power and portray it as undemocratic dictatorship. Thus, they create the illusion of reforming the system from within. These NGOs could establish themselves amongst the masses by taking up immediate issues of interest and the issues relating to various economic demands of the people. By engaging themselves in various activities at the grassroot level, they could corrupt revolutionary thinking that sprouts up even in the rural areas.
In Europe, Anarchist, Autonome groups, Green parties, Agrarian movements, Gouchisme politigue, Trade unions, Women Front, Trotskyite groups, Hunters groups who oppose the ban to hunt animals, Groups that capture deserted houses, anti-nazi groups, Christian religious groups, socialist party and revisionist communist parties, etc., are playing their own role in all these demonstrations. There is also a tendency, in general, to belittle all the political struggles. In this setting, NGOs like ATTAC, play the role of co-ordinating all these groups. Almost all the NGOs play the role of co-ordinating various incongruent groups into one centre. Thus they provide ideological guidance and prevent the demise of these numerous groups.
ATTAC was founded in France at the initiative of various diplomats. ATTAC is supported by the French Socialist Party and Socialist Parties of various other countries. Their relationship with Brazilian Workers’ Party is only a continuation of this chain.
In 1998, ATTAC suddenly came into existence with 5,000 members, identifying itself with issues relating to economics, culture, politics and social service. It declared itself as an opponent of globalisation. The founder of ATTAC, Bonnat Casson declared that ATTAC opposes globalisation but it stands apart from party politics. In 2001, ATTAC’s membership increased to 28,000 with 230 Regional Committees. All of a sudden, branches of ATTAC suddenly came to surface in various countries. With many multilingual magazines and hundreds of websites, ATTAC was armed to teeth in the sphere of propaganda. Majority of its membership are intellectuals. Now it has branches in 53 countries and has developed into a multinational NGO. Its declared income for the year 2002 was Rs.89.6 crore.
The expansion of the acronym ATTAC, explains its goal: It strives to help the people by collecting a peanut from the share market gamble of globalisation. Apart from this, ATTAC does not 'attack' globalisation. The demand of ATTAC is not altogether new. It is 0.3% more than the earlier U.N. demand of 0.7%. In a situation where governments of the oppressed nations are forced to reduce taxes and grant exemptions, this demand is nothing but begging, but propagated as a revolt against globalisation.
Various religious groups and even Nazi groups who want globalisation to be implemented to suit their interests, are also organised behind ATTAC. The Trade Unions and political parties that are discredited, also have joined ATTAC to gain certain credibility. Thus, they are able to claim credit for the spontaneous people’s struggles. The Trade Union leadership in general have degenerated into parasites and they require international NGOs like ATTAC for their political survival. From Trotskyite groups to Anarchists, all the groups have found their way in the stream called ATTAC, to finally merge in the sea of global capital.
If we analyse the fate of the recent struggle in France, against pension cuts and the raising of the retirement age, we can understand the politics of ATTAC and other NGOs, who have brought all the Unions under one umbrella. In the course of the struggle, the representative of the Anarchist group called SUD, admitted that he was unable to prevent the passage of the Act against pension. The Trotskyites charged the 'insensitivity' of the government to justify their own betrayal. Further, they justified their withdrawal from the struggle stating that it was a right to self-defence. The traditional union called CGT said that they were only putting forward their demands and had no political intention to topple the government. They further added that they believed only in trade union struggles to fight against the public sector as well as the private sector organisations. Thus they indirectly emphasized their contempt towards political struggles.
The leader of the third major trade union called FO said he was averse to using the term “general strike”. He added that this may indirectly create the idea of revolution and political struggle. According to various surveys, 80% of the French people supported a general strike. But the trade unions resolutely rejected the opinion of the people. The second major trade union called CFDT, entered into an agreement even before the declaration of the strike. This betrayal caused a split in their central committee. Remember, these are the elements who are the main constituents of ATTAC. Thus ATTAC serves as a political guide for all betrayals.
In the absence of a revolutionary communist party, the anti communist forces deliberately push people into long and tiresome struggles, leading people into frustration and apathy. The militants amongst them have to face the brunt and lose their jobs. From Trotskyite groups to Anarchists, all these groups are responsible for this situation. The NGOs with an express goal to dissipate the people’s struggles are in the field. I am giving below the expenditure details of some of the global NGOs.
(Rupees in crore)
CARE, AMERICA 2055
RESEAU WWF 1971
OXFAM, BRITAIN 1512
CORDAID NETHERLAND 890
SAVE THE CHILDREN, BRITAIN 884
MISEREOR, DENMARK 817
OXFORM, NETHERLAND 812
MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERE, FRANCE 537
WELT HUNGER HILFE, GERMANY 532
HIVOS, NETHERLAND 364
HANDICAP INTERNATIONAL, FRANCE 280
MEDICINS, FRANCE 257
ACTION CONTRE LA FAIM, FRANCE 235
CCFD, FRANCE 196
On the plank of anti-globalisation, hundreds of multinational NGOs have penetrated deep into various countries with a wide network.
CEDS, a Belgian organisation has 6 lakh members in 35 countries
Confederation Internationale des Syndicats Libres is a Belgian Organisation founded in 1949. It functions in 231 different names in 150 countries with a membership of 15.8 crore people. It’s activities includes that of Trade Union.
“Fifty years is enough”, is an American organisation started in the year 1994. It has 200 different organisationns in America and 160 organisations throughout the world. It demands a return of Globalisation.
It is a long list. Many an organisations function throughout the world in hundreds of different names, with a variety of slogans demanding reform of globalisation.
The financial strength of CARE, an American NGO, is far greater than the National Income of 40 countries. The Annual expenditure of Eurostep is Rs.4225 crore. Frederick Ebert Trust, functions in the aid of German imperialism. It had a direct contact and ideological understanding with the Ruling Party of Germany. It’s executive committee consisted of MNC executives and intelligence agents. Its aids primarily go to the trade unions. This NGO attempts to orient the thinking of workers in the line of profitable management of their own company; adult education and technical education, etc., are its other areas of activity.
OXFAM, the British NGO employs 4500 people and its annual expenditure for the year 2003 was Rs.2548 crore. French Government’s aid to NGOs in 2001 was Rs.4628 crore. These are just a few examples.
NGOs also merge with each other, like the monopoly corporations. They mainly depend upon the corporations for their funding. The additional revenue earned through the tax cuts by the MNCs are diverted to fund the NGOs. The total amount contributed by the Corporations of U.S. in the year 2002 was 2,18,400 crores of rupees. This is more than the national income of 75 countries. And these NGOs want us to believe that they are fighting against their donors.
When Africa was forced into starvation because of the indiscriminate looting of imperialism, the NGOs functioning in Africa tactfully raised a slogan. They demanded that the surplus food stock of U.S. be distributed in Africa. After arrival of the aid, a campaign was immediately launched to project the U.S. as the friend of Africa.
The activities of the NGOs could be compared to the new religious sects that are fast emerging throughout Europe. In blunting the initiative of the people, NGOs act similar to these religious sects.
The struggles of the people are dissipated politically to assure their defeat. NGOs putforth apoliticism as a virtue. Organisations advancing Armed revolution are portrayed as anti-democratic; general strikes are rejected in principle; their principle of democracy includes right to exploitation. Likewise, the NGOs equate the 'right to strike' with 'the right to break the strike'; The activities of the black legs and the enemy agents are also treated as the democratic rights of those individuals. “Peace ful” struggles is the central slogan of the NGOs, forcing some of the dissidents to go in for terrorist actions, which in turn serve the interest of the capital in an indirect manner.
40,000 NGOs are thus united in their mission to depoliticise the masses. They have made it a point to conduct protest struggles and conferences at the places where the high priests of imperialism hold their meetings. Naturally, this attracts the spontaneous participation of millions of people. The idelogues and intellectuals write a variety of articles on such demonstrations and thus create an illusion amongst the spontaneously assembled masses, that they are moving closer to an alternative world.
Like the Trans National Corporations, NGOs also have a perfect international network and thousands of cadres, hence capable of projecting themselves as an alternative to imperialism.
When the European Social Forum met in Paris during December 2003, its expenditure for a four day conference was a whopping 1232 crores. Sizeable portion of this money was paid by the French Government and the local bodies. The Trotskyite Party of France, British Labour Socialist Party and many other groups that oppose proletarian dictatorship, the stars of the green party, ex-ministers and so many others participated in this Forum.
The Mayor of Paris who is an ardent advocate of globalisation, inaugurated the conference and wished it a grand success. In his inaugural address he said “ Let us continue to be utopians in order to take concrete steps; but let us be clear about our enemies”. The message of his address was clear “if we the apologists of globalisation do not unite, to dominate the anti-globalistion struggles, the danger of communists seizing the leadership would be imminent”. The utopianism to which he gives emphasis is meant for creating an illusion that the NGOs stand for a humane alternative world; but the same utopianism is their weapon that destroys the concrete struggles of the present.
Jose Bove, another superstar of the WSF, held a discussion on Global protests, over a breakfast with Voren Bonse, a Socialist party bigwig and an ex-minister. The French President sent his special emissary Gerome Bonnafont wishing the conference a success and contributing the conference 2.8 crore rupees. The imperialist fathers of globalisation had thus blessed their children with all facilities and wads of dollars. The imperialists had also proved their “involvement” in this struggle for an alternative world by sending their reprsentatives to participate in the conference! Ridiculous, yet true. More than 40000 people marched in the streets of Paris and shouted vociferously against globalisation under this leadership.
To understand more about this prostitution, we should go back to the Evian conference of the European Social Forum, held against the G-8 summit. One of the Greats of the G-8, French President Chirac invited all the directors of the NGOs to his palace as special quests, and congratulated them for the successful holding of the conference, against him!
Between August 8th and 10th of last year, Jose Bove held a conference at LE LARZAC. Earlier, he was awarded imprisonment by the French Govt (French Courts) for thrashing the showrooms of Mc Donalds, and destroying the farms that cultivated Genetically modified plants. The Socialist Party Government which prosecuted Bove in the above case, donates Rs. 2.8 crores to his LA LARZAC conference in August! And the French President Chirac, who is a sworn enemy of the Socialists released Jose Bove from the prison, for enabling him to hold the LARZAC conference successfully.
(You can relate this incident with the much trumpeted struggle of Prof. Nanjundasamy, of KRRS against the Kentucky Chicken outlets in Bangalore. He was arrested on criminal charges; But he promptly paid compensation to the MNC, and they generously withdrew their complaint and the Govt. dropped the case.)
Jose Bove came out of the prison, and declared that "Other worlds are possible!" Another speaker in the conference Jerse Buve adviced the people to "Think Globally and Act Locally." Interestingly this happens to be the slogan of the MNCs, scrambling with each other, to capture the consumer markets.
This outwardly attractive slogan has serious political undertones. It worries about the contradiction amongst the imperialists, especially between the E.U. and U.S., and asks the French people to uphold nationalism. The nationalist slogans of the Imperialists are double edged swords; They always have fascist connotations. Its not just a slogan against U.S., this nationalism, is essentially against proletarian internationalism. That is why, the leader of the UDF, a right reactionary French party praised the LE LARZAC Conference. He said "We witness the emergence of a very important movement!"
So, these are the 'Intellectual Rebels' chistled by NGOs. The forums of discussion extend to all the Universities of France, co-opting professors, Economists, Scientists, Poets and students of various disciplines. From here it radiates throughout the world, to be ultimately recognised as 'New intellectual trends' of the world.
Now the NGOs have themselves become the virtual sub-contractors of Imperialism. Their involvement in all the projects is guaranteed by the Imperialists. In oppressed countries the NGOs have assured the right to present 'Alternative Budgets'; In some countries they are accorded with the power to jointly prepare the National Budget together with the Government.
Parallel meets, Parallel Budgets, Parallel ideas, Parallel organisations.... Truly there is no parallel to this fraud, called WSF.
Let us now recall certain Imperialist game plans of the past. "Saving the world from the Red Menace" was the slogan of the project called 'American peace Empire'. The NGOs involved in this game projected themselves as leftists. During 1950s and 60s the U.S. and other western Imperialist countries jointly attempted to coordinate all the NGOs involved in this Sacred Anti-Communist mission. USIAD and "The Alliance for Progress" were founded during this period, when John F. Kennedy was the U.S. President.
During sixties, various philosophies were manufactured with the express intent of diverting people from Anti-imperialist struggles and to develop a hatred towards communism.
"The Pedagogy of the Oppressed" - by Paulo Fraire, "The Philosophy of Power" - by Paul Alinsky, "Small is Beautiful" - by Schumaker, the liberation Theology, Movement for Black consciousness, Neo Gandhism, Neo Buddhism and the Greens of Europe - are all various brands of imperialist promoted products.
Now the Grassroot NGOs are popularising certain phrases like, 'People's Alternative', Self Help', 'participatory development' and 'Social Participation' etc., only to help implement the projects of World Bank. With the active support of the Ruling class and its media, these projects aimed at implementing Globalisation from below, are being marketed successfully.
All the social evils, which Marxism strives to eradicate through Revolution are taken into the agenda of the NGOs. Child Labor, destitution, women's liberation, Human rights, Environmental issues etc. are taken up exclusively by various groups of NGOs, only to counterpose them with the class struggle.
These forces should be exposed and eliminated, through a relentless struggle. The Proletarian movement will achieve it.
Long Live Proletarian Revolution!
- Rayakaran, Paris.