Posts Tagged 'globalization'

Transnational Theory and the State

In her new book on globalization, “labor brokerage”, and Filipina/o migrant workers Dr. Robyn Magalit Rodriguez (you can gain access to her current lectures at UC Davis here) offers a critique of current scholarship on globalization (and hence postcolonial and transnational theory).  Especially in the field of Filipina/o studies where a huge focus has been on ignoring the roles of nation states and class structures under the current flows of global capitalism and American imperialism.

Philippine international migration is emblematic of globalization.  In describing the increasing mobility of labor, it is often Filipina and Filipino migrants that scholars refer to as a primary example of this phenomenon.  To suggest that the Philippine state is crucial to an understanding of Philippine international migration, as I do here, therefore, it to make an important intervention in the scholarship on international migration.  Much of the scholarship on international migration of late has tended to reify capital flows from “above” to undersand global labor flows or, in opposition to this scholarship, has examined globalization, specifically immigrant transnationalism from “below.”  My research shows that the state plays a central role in both these processes, but just as importantly my research shows how the state links and mediates between these two processes through a case study of Philippine migration.  I argue that the state is fundamental to globalization, just as importantly global processes constitute the state (143-4).

Reference

Rodriguez, Robyn Magalit.  2010.  Migrants for Export: How the Philippine State Brokers Labor to the World.  Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press

Neoliberal Globalization and the Bangsamoro Struggle in Mindanao

Soldiers from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front

Dr. Kenneth E. Bauzon writes that while the Moro National Liberation Front created a semi-autonomous region in the Philippines due to peace negotiations they were soon subsumed by the devastating effects of global capital. An effect that they had failed to perceive due to low theoretical grounding in political economy. Much of the programs and investment implemented by the U.S., U.S. affiliated organizations, and the G-7 countries, have been heavily geared toward counter-insurgency operations in order to undercut local autonomy and groups that fight against global capital investments.

Whether the government is determined to fully implement the rules of neoliberalism as in the case of privatization, or is unwilling or unable to enforce existing laws that appear to stand in the way of monopolistic tendencies as in the above-cited laws, the ultimate outcome of either scenario is the emergence of the Philippine state as the final arbiter in behalf of the forces of neoliberal globalization, enacting and enforcing laws that facilitate their penetration into the domestic economy, and easing their control and domination over the country’s valued resources…It is under this set of conditions that makes the Philippine state a distinctly neoliberal state through its active share in the promotion of the market economy on a global scale quite distinct from the prevalent conception of the state over a hundred years ago governed by the principle of laissez fair and seemed quite disinterested in the economic affairs of society or seemed all too happy to get out of the way of business.

Further implications may be discerned concerning the future of the Bangsamoro struggle as represented currently by the [Moro Islamic Liberation Front].  With its history of uttering rhetoric for independence spliced with religious verses, on one hand, and accommodation and negotiations, on the other, it seems that we are bound to experience a similar scenario in which the [Republic of the Philippines], with its greater resources, would simply wear down the MILF both at the negotiating table and the battlefield.  Negotiations have been the government’s way of dangling promises that it knows could not be kept and in pushing the adversary into a corner from which it could not escape.  Thus, the dizzying series of talks, delays, further talks and further delays constitute not much more than a fancy footwork in a dance for pure entertainment but leading to nowhere (Bauzon, 67-69).

Source

Bauzon Kenneth E.  2008.  Ruminations on the Bangsamoro Struggle and Neoliberal Globalization.  In The Moro Reader: History and Contemporary Struggles of the Bangsamoro People, ed. Bobby M Tuazon, 59-71.  Quezon City, Philippines: CenPEG Publications.

Review of “Latin America and Global Capitalism”

Serra Pelada gold mine, Brazil (Photo by Sebastiao Salgado).

Jeffery R. Webber, of University of Regina, reviews the book Latin America and Global Capitalism: A Critical Globalization Perspective by William I. Robinson in the October edition of the Monthly Review:

In chapter two, one of the most powerful and persuasive, Robinson charts the crisis of developmental capitalism, or import-substitution industrialization, in the 1960s and 1970s, and then shifts to neoliberalism, or export-led development, in the 1980s and 1990s across Latin America. Drawing on the historical materialist categories of proletarianization and primitive accumulation, he examines the contours of the new economic model through a focused exploration of nontraditional exports and services. He offers a penetrating look at the cut flowers industry in Ecuador and Colombia, the explosive growth of the fruits and wines sector in Chile, soy production in Argentina and the rest of the Southern Cone, and winter fruits and vegetable production in Central America. He demonstrates how there has been an “accelerated replacement of noncapitalist by capitalist forms of agricultural development” and a “concomitant displacement of the peasantry and its conversion into a rural proletariat. This has occurred along with an increase in rural to urban and transnational migration”; promotion of “flexible…work in the new agro-export platforms”; a move to “predominance of female workers in these platforms”; and “the articulation of local agricultural systems…to global agricultural and industrial food production and distribution chains.”

The main weakness in this otherwise compelling portrait of the political economy of the Latin American countryside today is the one-sided structural power allotted to capital. Opportunities for increases in agricultural workers’ bargaining power under certain conditions, such as those examined by Ben Selwyn in his important study of export grape production in North East Brazil, are elided.

Jose Maria Sison on Globalization

For Democracy and Socialism Against Imperialist Globalization

In October of 1998 founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (MLM) and political consultant to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, Jose Maria Sison, wrote:

In the name of promoting economic growth and preventing inflation, monopoly capitalism has used its imperialist state to trample upon the hard-won rights of the proletariat, bring down the wages and living conditions of the people, provide tax cuts to the monopoly firms but raise taxes on basic consumer goods and services and cut down government spending for social benefits and social services.  It has done so to accelerate the accumulation of capital, maximize profits and counter the general tendency of profit and growth rates to fall in the imperialist countries. (Sison, 138)

Source

Sison, Jose Maria.  Selected Writings of Jose Ma. Sison, 1991-2009, Volume 2: For Democracy and Socialism Against Imperialist Globalization.  Philippines: Aklat ng Bayan, Inc., 2009.

Postcolonialism and Globalization

Postcolonial

Charting the trajectory of postcolonial studies, R. S. Sugirtharajah writes about globalization and colonialism:

The current globalization is not something that happened suddenly.  Its roots go back to colonial history and it is a legacy of European colonialism and modernity…Recently, the flow has been mainly from West to the rest of the world.  Previously it was the other way around.  It was Europe which was assimilating Arabic science and technology and Indian mathematics, and consuming goods from China. Like most of the cultural forces of our time, globalization manifests itself in a variety of ways – economically, politically, and culturally – and all of these evolved over several centuries of European imperialism.  In some ways, what the present globalization does, following the demise of the old colonialism, is to intensify the power relations in a more acute manner.  The crucial difference between the old colonialism and the current globalization is the unrivaled grip of the United States on the world economy through military and foreign policies, its financial and mercantile corporations, and its hold on world culture through its massive media outputs – television, film, and publishing. (Sugirtharajah, 20-21)

Source

Sugirtharajah, R. S., “Charting the Aftermath: A review of Postcolonial Criticism,” in The Postcolonial Biblical Reader, ed. R. S. Sugirtharajah.  Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2006.


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