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Re: Why is the left not internationalist anymore?
by Tim Jones
02 November 2003 04:14 UTC
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Following is a rough electronic  translation of the  article by Eric
Le Bouger in Le Monde (01nov03) rendered by Mac OS X
Panther's "Sherlock" ...for what it's worth. Took about a second to
translate the whole article.

In one sense the right and the left have experienced a role reversal.
The Western left got most of what it wanted by seeking solutions
within national boundaries while multinational corporations sought
a loosening of trade protectionism seeking greater profits. Thus
republican conservatives where overcome by the neocon free traders
and the left became the anti-globalization movement.

In fact (this is a bit simplistic) the "left" seeks greater social justice and
now environmental protection world wide. GreenPeace...& Cancun 2003
speak volumes.

Anti-globalization is anti-FREE TRADE globalization and anti corporate
world rule. I think we're still trying to globalize economic opportunity.
One reason for a lot of opposition to the WTO is the abrogation of national
sovereignty with regard to environmental and land use, etc local regulation
in the interest of free trade.

The left has been put in the position of defending the (regulatory)
advances it has made within the local context of activity as well as
demanding social justice abroad. Globalization is a noble and worthy
ideal. It's gotten knocked off track by the multi-national corporate free
traders and American neocon imperialists seeking to maintain (at least)
the status quo with regard to the distribution of wealth in the world.

Seems to me the world has seen millions of people hit the streets
in the last year or so to oppose America's wars of aggrandizement
in order to influence the UN not to go along with America's fascist
ambitions. So not all the left is out of the loop.

I agree that the labor movement in America has been become more
protectionist being anti WTO / IMF / World Bank / NAFTA / etc
- but once again that's in part because the corporations have moved the
means of production abroad to exploit cheap labor...and keep it cheap.
It must be hard for labor to push for international equality of opportunity
when that means a drastic reduction in quality of life.

I'd appreciate comment of these thoughts if I haven't got it exactly right.

Tim Jones

November 1, 2003 A the One

            by Eric the Butcher

            Why the left isn't any more internationalist?

            THE WORLD | 01.11.03 | 12H09

There were two universalizations in the history. At the time of
the first, between 1870 and 1914, the capital is exported towards the
colonies, towards Russia, Turkey, Argentina or Peru, in proportions
much more important than at the time of the second
universalization, that ue we have known for twenty years.

For the labour movements of one century ago, the phenomenon is
positive: the opening of the borders to the men, the capital
and with goods is a powerful spring of international solidarity.

Today, it is the reverse. For all the working trade unions, for
the whole of the parties of left (and for a significant part
of started from right-hand side), universalization is a danger to
employment, a threat for the standard of living and, beyond, a
handing-over in question role of the policy, i.e. of the democracy


Why this difference? At the moment when the left era with
search for ideological reference marks and where anti movements
and altermondialisation see their audience growing, a small book
of Suzanne Shepherd, professor in Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, bring invaluable answers (Our first universalization,
collection "the republic of the ideas", with the Threshold).

Suzanne Berger sees a great difference between the two
universalizations. At the time of the first, the movements
migratory are considerable: Ireland and Sweden lose 1%
of their population per annum. The migration is weak during
the second universalization.

But Suzanne Berger sees many resemblances with seventy
years of variation: technological innovations which renovate
the means of transport and communication and lower the costs
of them, of legal inventions (the limited company with limited
responsibility separate the functions from shareholder and manager)
and movements considerable of capital. Imagine one that more
than one quarter of was French national richness, in 1900, placed

The first universalization is the subject already of a vast debate
policy: or not be exported the French should capital? For
right-hand side, these placements stress that the profits became
insufficient in France and too risky. That oversaving goes to
Moscow! It fortunately comes to support the diplomacy
main road. The left could have wished the reverse and have
estimated that this money had been invested better in France
in the factories and in rises of wages. To export its capital,
it is to expose them workmen with a competition by the
importation. However, already, these same workmen suffer
from the arrival in Pole or Italian mass, who offer their arms
for little expensive.

But such is not the case. The left denounces the financial
reinforcement brought to the despotism of the tsar and
repression against the brothers Russian workmen but it
does not worry about the impact on employment in France.


Jean Jaurès explains to the Room: "I am not opposed of party
taken with any placement of French capital abroad "(February
8 1907). the trade unions consider that protectionism injures
them interests of their members, underlines Suzanne Berger:
"Carrying of a design of the wellbeing which made the beautiful
share with the capacity of purchase, they denounced the policy
of the expensive bread". This position left goes further. It enracine
in its heritage republican and his history "during which republicans
had found themselves in the camp of the free-traders by
opposition to the protectionism defended by the reactionaries."

It impregnate yourself, then, of the Marxism and the internationalization
of class struggle: proletarians of all the countries, you link!

Why the left it changed camp and given up international solidarity?
Why it became apprehensive in front of the opening of the borders?
The author gives three answers.

Initially, she writes, because Soviet Communism diverted
internationalism with its profit and thus décrédibilisé. Then,
because, under the influence of catholic associations, the
defense of the proletariat rocked towards that of disadvantaged
France and from abroad. Slip of universal with the parochial
one: without-papers. Lastly, and especially, because was established
belief which the social progress can be carried out only with
the shelter of national borders. At the XIXe century, Ricardo
and Marx were of agreement: the opening causes progress.
It is not any more the case today. "the left does not have a
program for the opening Economic ", Suzanne Berger Regrets.

            NO SACRIFICE

Consequently, the strategy is nothing any more but defensive.
Of disappeared internationalism only remains "that which is
interested mainly with populations and companies which
would not know to be objectively regarded as an economic
threat for interests of the voters of left ". The parties of left do
not ask no major sacrifice when they claim the cancellation
of the debt poor countries or when they militate to institute one
"agricultural sovereignty". The movements antimondialisation
are not not saved by this analysis: "Their objectives for justice
social in the world with policies if not very is articulated
expensive in terms of redistribution which they would hardly
ask of sacrifice on behalf of the rich countries." The solution to
improve really the standard of living in the poor countries is that
the countries rich person give up the agricultural quotas and
subsidies which decimate farmers of the South But neither left
nor antimondialists do not ask it.


However, adds Mrs. Berger, it is false to believe that the
social progress oblige with protectionism: it is during the first
universalization which were created income tax and on
the heritage, and which was installed "the backbone" of
the Welfare state (the 10 hours day goes back to 1900 and
them retirements of 1910). There is no fate, concludes Suzanne
Shepherd, the political margins of manouvre at all did not

One can consider them less broad than Mrs. Berger. But, in any case,
its criticism of the parties of left and the antimondialists
is more constructed than one read.

            Eric the Butcher

            . ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN the EDITION OF The 02.11.03

At 1:32 PM -0500 11/1/03, g kohler wrote:
Why is the left not internationalist anymore?

This article by Eric Le Bouger in Le Monde (01nov03) comments on a booklet

Suzanne Berger, professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Title: Notre première mondialisation [=Our first globalization]
Series: "La république des idées"
Publisher: Seuil

Abstract by GK based on Bouger's article: The book compares the first
globalization 1870-1914 with the second globalization of the recent twenty
years and compares the behaviour of the First World left in both periods. In
contrast to its behaviour in the first period, the strategy of the left has
been merely defensive during the second, present period. The present left is
not truly internationalist. Berger concludes that the parties of the left
demand no major sacrifice when they agitate for a cancellation of the debts
of poor countries or when they agitate for an "agricultural sovereignty".
That applies to the antiglobalization movements as well. [quote from
Berger:] "Their objectives for social justice in the world are expressed in
policies that are so cheap in terms of redistribution that they demand
hardly a sacrifice from the rich countries." [end quote Berger] The solution
for truly improving the standard of living of the poor countries is that the
rich countries must renounce the agricultural quotas and subsidies that
destroy the agricultural producers of the South. But neither the left nor
the antiglobalists demand that.

Also read G. Kohler and A. Tausch, Global Keynesianism: Unequal Exchange and
Global Exploitation (see barnesandnoble.com)

The article from Le Monde:
Le Monde.fr : Pourquoi la gauche n'est-elle plus internationaliste ?
        samedi 1 Novembre 2003 A la Une

            par Eric Le Boucher

            Pourquoi la gauche n'est-elle plus internationaliste ?

            LE MONDE | 01.11.03 | 12h09

Il y a eu deux mondialisations dans l'histoire. Lors de la première,

entre 1870 et 1914, les capitaux s'exportent vers les colonies, vers

la Russie, la Turquie, l'Argentine ou le Pérou, dans des proportions

bien plus importantes que lors de la seconde mondialisation, celle

ue nous connaissons depuis vingt ans.

Pour les mouvements ouvriers d'il y a un siècle, le phénomène est

positif : l'ouverture des frontières aux hommes, aux capitaux et aux

marchandises est un puissant ressort de solidarité internationale.

Aujourd'hui, c'est l'inverse. Pour tous les syndicats ouvriers, pour

l'ensemble des partis de gauche (et pour une part importante des

partis de droite), la mondialisation est un danger pour les emplois,

une menace pour le niveau de vie et, au-delà, une remise en question

du rôle de la politique, c'est-à-dire de la démocratie elle-même.

            UNE DIFFÉRENCE

Pourquoi cette différence ? Au moment où la gauche ère à la

recherche de repères idéologiques et où les mouvements anti et

altermondialisation voient leur audience croître, un petit livre de

Suzanne Berger, professeur au Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

apporte des réponses précieuses (Notre première mondialisation,

collection "La république des idées", au Seuil).

Suzanne Berger voit une grande différence entre les deux

mondialisations. Lors de la première, les mouvements migratoires

sont considérables : Irlande et Suède perdent 1 % de leur population

par an. La migration est faible durant la seconde mondialisation.

Mais Suzanne Berger voit beaucoup de ressemblances à soixante-dix

ans d'écart : des innovations technologiques qui rénovent les moyens

de transport et de communication et en abaissent les coûts, des

inventions juridiques (la société anonyme à responsabilité limitée

sépare les fonctions d'actionnaire et de gérant) et des mouvements

considérables de capitaux. Imagine-t-on que plus d'un quart de la

richesse nationale française était, en 1900, placée à l'étranger ?

La première mondialisation fait déjà l'objet d'un vaste débat

politique : faut-il ou non exporter les capitaux français ? Pour la

droite, ces placements soulignent que les profits sont devenus

insuffisants en France et trop risqués. Que l'épargne excédentaire

aille à Moscou ! Elle vient heureusement soutenir la diplomatie

nationale. La gauche aurait pu souhaiter l'inverse et estimer que

cet argent eût été mieux investi en France dans les usines et dans

des hausses de salaires. Exporter ses capitaux, c'est exposer les

ouvriers à une concurrence par l'importation. Or, déjà, ces mêmes

ouvriers souffrent de l'arrivée en masse d'Italiens ou de Polonais,

qui offrent leurs bras pour peu cher.

Mais tel n'est pas le cas. La gauche dénonce le renfort financier

apporté au despotisme du tsar et à la répression contre les frères

ouvriers russes mais elle ne s'inquiète pas de l'impact sur l'emploi

en France.


Jean Jaurès explique à la Chambre : "Je ne suis pas opposé de parti

pris à tout placement de capital français à l'étranger" (8 février

1907). Les syndicats considèrent que le protectionnisme lèse les

intérêts de leurs adhérents, souligne Suzanne Berger : "Porteurs

d'une conception du bien-être qui faisait la part belle au pouvoir

d'achat, ils dénonçaient la politique du pain cher". Cette position

de la gauche va plus loin. Elle s'enracine dans son héritage

républicain et son histoire "au cours de laquelle les républicains

s'étaient retrouvés dans le camp des libre-échangistes par

opposition au protectionnisme défendu par les réactionnaires". Elle

s'imprègne, ensuite, du marxisme et de l'internationalisation de la

lutte des classes : prolétaires de tous les pays, unissez-vous !

Pourquoi la gauche a-t-elle changé de camp et abandonné la

solidarité internationale ? Pourquoi est-elle devenue craintive

devant l'ouverture des frontières ? L'auteur donne trois réponses.

D'abord, écrit-elle, parce que le communisme soviétique a détourné

l'internationalisme à son profit et l'a ainsi décrédibilisé.

Ensuite, parce que, sous l'influence des associations catholiques,

la défense du prolétariat a basculé vers celle des défavorisés de

France et de l'étranger. Glissement de l'universel au paroissial :

les sans-papiers. Enfin, et surtout, parce que s'est établie la

croyance que le progrès social ne peut se réaliser qu'à l'abri des

frontières nationales. Au XIXe siècle, Ricardo et Marx étaient

d'accord : l'ouverture est source de progrès. Ce n'est plus le cas

aujourd'hui. "La gauche n'a pas de programme pour l'ouverture

économique", déplore Suzanne Berger.


Dès lors, la stratégie n'est plus que défensive. De

l'internationalisme disparu ne subsiste que "celui qui s'intéresse

principalement à des populations et à des sociétés qui ne sauraient

être objectivement considérées comme une menace économique pour les

intérêts des électeurs de gauche". Les partis de gauche ne demandent

aucun sacrifice majeur quand ils réclament l'annulation de la dette

des pays pauvres ou quand ils militent pour instituer une

"souveraineté agricole". Les mouvements antimondialisation ne sont

pas épargnés par cette analyse : "Leurs objectifs pour la justice

sociale dans le monde s'articulent à des politiques si peu coûteuses

en termes de redistribution qu'elles ne demanderaient guère de

sacrifice de la part des pays riches." La solution pour améliorer

vraiment le niveau de vie dans les pays pauvres est que les pays

riches renoncent aux quotas et subventions agricoles qui déciment

les agriculteurs du Sud. Mais ni la gauche ni les antimondialistes

ne le demandent.


Or, ajoute Mme Berger, il est faux de croire que le progrès social

oblige au protectionnisme : c'est au cours de la première

mondialisation que furent créés les impôts sur le revenu et sur

l'héritage, et que fut installée "l'épine dorsale" de

l'Etat-providence (la journée de 10 heures date de 1900 et les

retraites de 1910). Il n'y a pas de fatalité, conclut Suzanne

Berger, les marges de manouvre politiques n'ont aucunement disparu.

On peut les estimer moins larges que Mme Berger. Mais, en tout cas,

sa critique des partis de gauche et des antimondialistes est des

plus charpentées qu'on ait lues.

            Eric le Boucher

            . ARTICLE PARU DANS L'EDITION DU 02.11.03


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