Globalisation

In February 2004, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) published a report on globalisation ‑ A Fair Globalization: Creating opportunities for all. It is worth reading not so much for its content, which is fairly poor, but because it graphically demonstrates the attitude of this organization towards the labour movement. It also shows how ill-placed the confidence of the reformist leadership of the trade unions and left parties in the UN and its agencies is.

On November 12-16 the second European Social Forum was held in Paris.The attendance did not reach the numbers of the first ESF in Florence, nonetheless around 35-40,000 people registered during the three days of meetings and workshops and around 100,000 took part in the demonstration on Saturday 15th against the war and the occupation of Iraq and against the cuts in the welfare state and to living standards all over Europe.

Last September 14, world trade talks broke down in Cancun, Mexico. Everybody blamed everyone else. Before the conference, British delegate Patricia Hewitt had predicted, "if we fail, it will be a disaster for world economy." And this is true, for the collapse could stun the already fragile prospects of economy recovery.

Instead of further integrating the world's economies, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) summit in Cancun actually succeeded in creating more polarisation and deeper divisions between its members. The viability of the WTO, which since Seattle (December 1999) has gone from failure to failure, is more than ever in doubt. Luis Enrique Barrios, from the Mexican Marxist paper Militante analyses the breakdown of talks and future prospects.

The 1990's has seen a huge increase in poverty around the globe. The gap between the rich and the poor is getting wider, and if current trends continue then it will be the year 2147 before areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa can hope to halve the number of people in poverty.

The EU summit that was recently organized in Thessalonica from June 19 to 21 was met with tens of thousands of Greek workers and youth showing their opposition to the this international club of capitalists gangsters. The European "leaders" were discussing the new EU Constitution and the problems of illegal immigration.

On June 20 2003, another tragedy took place in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. A boat packed full of illegal immigrants capsized due to bad weather off the coast of Tunisia. It has been estimated that 250 people from several African countries were on board this boat, another common steamboat that regularly seeks to go to nearby Italy. The journey to try to find a better life ended with the probable drowning of about 200 people. Only 41 survivors were rescued. There were some who by very tedious efforts managed to swim for 5 hours and were able to reach the shore. This plight of these unfortunate illegal immigrants with their boats either sinking, capsizing or getting lost at sea

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Unexpectedly high turnout marks a historical turning point worldwide as millions take to the street against war in Iraq. Marxist.com reports from demos in Belgium, Spain, Denmark, Israel and Venezuela

The recent third World Social Forum (WSF) in Porto Alegre (Brazil) was held in a period in which great changes are taking place in the world situation. This was reflected in the huge number of visitors to the WSF. For the first time there were more than 100,000, which is a clear sign of the changing mood across the whole of Latin America.

On December13-15 the European Union summit was held in Copenhagen. On the agenda was the enlargement of the EU to the East and Turkey’s application for membership. Marie Frederiksen in Copenhagen looks at the contradictions that will emerge from the enlargement of the EU. On the basis of the developing crisis of world capitalism the future for a more integrated Europe looks bleak.

The 50,000 people taking part in the European Social Forum last week in Florence were far more than the organisers had expected. The last day, Saturday, saw one million people marching in Florence against the war in Iraq and the Berlusconi government. There was a thirst for revolutionary ideas among the youth who were present, not seen since the 1970s. By Roberto Sarti, of the Italian Marxist paper FalceMartello.

This is the transcript of a speech given by Jordi Martorell at the Rand Afrikaans University in South Africa on October 10, 2002. It sums up our understanding of the struggle against capitalism today and also provides many useful links to our articles on globalisation and the workers' movement internationally.

This is a report of the demonstration in Salzburg against the World Economic Forum from Der Funke. The international "anti-globalisation movement" has reached an entirely new stage after the mass protests against the G8 in Genoa and after the second World Social Forum in Porto Alegre. This attempt to structure the movement into so-called Social Forums has been accompanied by the increasing political influence of openly reformist forces.

Mick Brooks reports on the Earth Summit in Johannesburg, where representatives of governments, big business and NGOs met to discuss the laudable aims of eradicating poverty and environmental destruction. The fundamental flaw behind the Summit is that it relies on market forces to deal with the problems of poverty and the environment. But market forces are not the solution - they are the problem.

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