Global Governance and Revolution in the 21st century: Strikes, Austerity and Political Crisis

by Steven Colatrella

1. Arundhati Roy, "Confronting Empire: Speech Given at the World Social Forum", January 27, 2003 Porto Alegre, Brazil

2. Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. 3 London and New York: Penguin, 1991, pp.254-301. Marx makes clear that this process of the equalization or formation of a general rate of profit is a political process of concentration and of ruling class political unity: "…each individual capitalist, just like the totality of all capitalists in each particular sphere of production, participates in the exploitation of the entire working class by capital as a whole, and in the level of this exploitation not just in terms of a general class sympathy but in a direct economic sense" (p.298-9).

3. Fernand Braudel, Capitalism and Civilization, Vol. 2 The Wheels of Commerce New York: Harper and Row 1979 ; Vol. 3 The Perspective of the World London: Phoenix Press 1984.

4. Karl Marx, Capital Vol. 1, London and New York: Penguin, chapter 32, "The Historical Tendency of Capitalist Accumulation," p. 929; Fernand Braudel, The Perspective of the World op. cit. p.622, p.629 and passim.

5. In this respect, the declaration of the Greek government recently, protesting the direct interference in domestic social policy (which in fact is exactly what the IMF has been doing – but in third world countries until now – for decades, that "We take orders only from the Greek people" – made in the immediate aftermath of the victorious democratic revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, speaks volumes.

6. "Egypt at the Tipping Point?" Foreign Policy, Jan. 31, 2011; "Cairo Unrest Has its Roots in Mahallah’s Workers" Bellingham Herald, Feb. 8, 2011; "Labor and the Future of the Egyptian Revolution" Foreign Policy, Feb. 28, 2011.

7. For instance, among many others: "Demonstrations and strikes across Egypt" Ahram Online Feb. 8, 2011; "Pro-democracy group vows to march despite ban" Feb. 7, 2011; "Bahrain trade union calls for strike" Trade Arabia, March 14, 2011; "Algeria braces for pro-democracy protest" Associated Press Feb. 21, 2011; "Five Suez Canal companies go on strike, no major disruptions seen yet" Ahram Online Feb. 8, 2011; "Tunisian revolution engenders solidarity" Jan. 21, 2011.

8. GWF Hegel, Philosophy of Right §287 from The Hegel Reader ed. By Stephen Houlgate London: Blackwell Publishers 1998, p. 387.

9. Carl K.Y.Shaw, "Hegel’s Theory of Modern Bureaucracy" in American Political Science Review, Vol. 86, No.2, (June 1992), pp.381-389, p. 387.

10. See Karl Polanyi’s description of the effects of a self-regulating free market on society in The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Times Boston: Beacon Press, 2001, p. 76; this problem is arguably the main theme of Emile Durkheim’s The Division of Labor in Society New York: Free Press, 1997, as well.

11. Hegel, Philosophy of Right §288 and 289 from The Hegel Reader, pp. 387-8

12. Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel’s Doctrine of the State, in Karl Marx, Early Writings (London: Penguin) , p.107.

13. Here my analysis, like Hegel and Marx’s differs from that of Negri and Hardt and their conception of Empire as a circuit of power networks, a view that, ironically coincides with the pro-globalization view that "no one is in charge".

14. This phrase was originally applied optimistically by Ernst Haas to the integration of Europe, though I use it here almost ironically, but not inconsistently with the original concept.

15. As shown in Richard Peet, Unholy Trinity: The IMF, World Bank and WTO London: Zed 2009 p. 17-18 with its biographical sketches of several key players in the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations whose careers also include time on Wall St. and at global governance organizations, and as can be seen in greater detail from the study of James Wolfensen’s terms as President of the World Bank: Sebastian Mallaby, The World’s Banker London: Penguin 2004

16. Ralph Miliband, Marxism and Politics Oxford, 1977, p.55.

17. Thomas Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree New York : Bantam 2000, p.112

18. Hal Draper, Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution, Vol.1, State and Bureaucracy New York and London: Monthly Review 1971, p.83.

19. Hal Draper, Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution: Vol. I: State and Bureaucracy New York and London: Monthly Review 1977, p.326; "Beware the Lure of the Businessman-Politician" Economist Oct. 2, 2010; Marx’s view on this issue is noted in Hal Draper, Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution: Vol. II The Politics of Social Classes New York and London: Monthly Review 1978, p. 227 and p. 241.

20. Hal Draper, Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution, Vol. 1 State and Bureaucracy, New York and London: Monthly Review, 1977, p.245.

21. James Crutchfield, as cited in John Jefferson Davis, "Theological Perspectives on Chaos Theory" in Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 49,( June1997): 75-84; see also the highly suggestive pioneering work of C.George Caffentzis on the relationship between physics and work organization in capitalist theory, in particular in the "The Work-Energy Crisis and the Apocalypse" in Midnight Notes, Midnight Oil: Work, Energy and War 1973-1992 Brooklyn: Autonomedia 1992.

22. On some of the implications within the global economy of Prigogine’s work, see chapter 4 of my book, Steven Colatrella, Workers of the World: African and Asian Migrants in Italy Trenton and Asmara: Africa World Press 2001, entitled "Migrant Communities, Dissipative Systems and the Other Worldwide Web."

23. Giovanni Arrighi, The Long Twentieth Century London and New York: Verso 1994.

24. Adam Webb, "The Calm Before the Storm? Revolutionary Pressures and Global Governance" in International Political Science Review, Vol. 27, No.1 (Jan.2006), pp.73-92, p.80.

25. John Walton and David Seddon, Free Markets and Food Riots Oxford and Cambridge, Massachusetts: Blackwell 1994.

26. See Perry Anderson, The New Old World London and New York: Verso 2009 for a stinging critique of this transition and its implications for democracy.

27. "World action day tomorrow backs Turkish UPS workers" International Transport Workers 31 August 2010

28. "Unions Bring Indonesian Coffee Protest onto Streets of Knightsbridge" Oct. 13, 2010 Trade Union Congress

29. Available in the Sept. 20, 2010 online issue of Tikkun.

30. Beverly Silver, Forces of Labor: Globalization and Workers’ Movements since 1870 Cambridge and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press 2003, p.126.

31. Ibid. p.126.

32. See Edna Bonacich and Jake B. Wilson, Getting the Goods: Ports, Labor and the Logistics Revolution Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press 2008.

33. BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union – Political Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring June 13, 2009 Saturday "Expert analyses tendency of strikes, labour disputes in Russia"

34. "Egypt sees 49 Strikes in July" Aug 31st, 2010 | by Mohamed Abdel Salam

35. Ching Kwan Lee, Against the Law: Labor Protests in China’s Rustbelt Univ. of California Press 2007, p.5

36. "Asian labour militancy on the rise" Financial Times, August 18 2010

37. International Protests against the economic Crisis by Pete Brown Communist Voice number 43 June 2009

38. Number of working days lost to strikes in 2007 is second highest in decade Gareth Vorster 18 February 2008 10:50 Personnel Today

39. India’s booming image shaken by massive strike wave from New Worker Features, Aug.2, 2010 by Theo Russell

40. "Greece Liberalizes Trucking Profession" from International Herald Tribune, Sept. 23, 2010

41. "Croatian workers protest against shipyard sale decided by gov’t as part of efforts to join EU" Canadian Press, Sept. 23, 2010

42. "Firefighters vote for Strike Action" From the Tullamore Tribune Oct. 14, 2010

43. "Galp workers to take part in Nov. 24 General Strike" Reuters Oct. 13, 2010

44. "4,000 finance ministry staff walk out, action spreads" Reuters Oct. 16, 2010

45. "Buenos Aires: Teachers announced 48-hour strike" Momento24 Oct. 16, 2010

46. "Long Struggle ends in Victory for Ukraine Belkozin Workers" The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF)

47. "Bangladesh deploys army as port strike hits garment exports" AFP Oct 13, 2010

48. "Bulgarian police officers start protest" FOCUS News Agency Oct 17 2010

49. "Police Alert Over Anti-G20 Rallies" Korean Herald, Oct 15, 2010

50. "South-Eastern Unions Mobilize Against Weakening Workers Rights" International Metalworkers Federation Nov. 9, 2011; "Unions rally to fight austerity measures" Tribune Magazine, Sept. 17, 2010; "Greece: Striking Back" International Socialism, Oct. 21, 2010; "Defending public services at heart of today’s global struggle" Public Services International, Nov. 19, 2010; "Egypt takes a step back from IMF ways" Inter Press Service Feb. 20, 2011; Conn Hallihan, "Europe’s Austerity: A Grimm’s Fairy Tale" Counterpunch, March 17, 2011; Vijay Prashad, "Imperial Anxieties" Counterpunch, March 9, 2011; Vijay Prashad, "Fissures in the Arab Revolts" Counterpunch, March 11-13, 2011; Vijay Prashad, "Earthquakes after Sixty Years" Counterpunch print edition Vol. 18, no.4 Feb.-March 2011.