Led by Adjunct Faculty Ruben Solis, the course discussed the the role of the organizer/political activists and how the recent history led to the rise and many of the characteristics of neoliberal globalization.
Present: Ruben, Cita (note-taker), Steph, Paulina, Ashe, Emery, Ash-Lee, Collette, Les, Eli, Becky, Leticia, Laura, Lovette, Mustafa
What characterizes the STATE in the U. S. South? (Ruben)
Organizers/political activists need to define the State, that spot which we cannot reach and cannot scratch. We know it’s there, but we never define it or integrate it into our thinking. We leave it out there, somehow independent of the work that we do, thinking we’ll get to it when we have time to go deep into its meaning. We’re not intimate with who the State is and how it behaves.
What are the behavior patterns of the State? We have to assume it’s in constant motion. The State of today is different from that of fifty years ago. Not tracking the changes creates disjunction when planning strategic actions that call for systemic change. At the end of the day, we don’t have a measure/matrix/chart to tell us how and how much we have impacted the State.
The elections in Jackson involved more than the electoral part, which is like the icing on the cake of the State. We can see the turmoil his win created on the other side. We have to prepare for their backlash, which will not be pretty.
When we talk about class struggle or armed struggle, we tend to put it back to the sixties in a particular formation. The more groups challenged the State, the harder the State came down on them, whether it was the Freedom Fighters in Mississippi or La Raza Unida in the Southwest.
The labor movement sector has to feel the tremble and embrace that power without the fear. We still have a lot of fear about taking over power and holding it responsibly.
Along with the evolution of the State, we now face, as well, the globalization of the economy.
We are going to try to define the State, especially in the South. What is the State? What are its characteristics? What is the trajectory of globalization?
Developments connected to World War II and its aftermath:
What led to the concept of a world war which would re-order the world? Their understanding of World War II was not so much the contradiction with the Nazis as differences about the economic world that needed to be worked out. Toward the end of WWII, national representatives at the Bretton Woods Conference saw a golden opportunity to move a vast amount of money from one currency to another because all the borders had been leveled. They used the rebuilding of Europe as a cornerstone to what would follow.
Since then, globalization policies and systems have included military control with the use of nuclear arms and support of dictatorships; the Cold War, which included and was followed by multiple wars and overthrow of nations; and the destruction of civilizations/societies which did not comply with a globalization controlled by wealthy western powers.
The Bracero/guest worker policy, from 1942 to 1964, was an agreement between the United States and Mexico guaranteeing the ability of ready-made bodies to cross the border whenever U.S. farms and businesses needed them but also the ability to send those workers back when their labor was no longer needed.
In 1944, forty-four nations at the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference in New Hampshire established the Bretton Woods Agreement, which led to the development of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The IMF was established to approve loans and grants. It has affected the structural adjustments of national budgets, banks, contracts, credit, and loans and given the United States and other wealthy nations some hegemonic economic control. Establishing one standardized monetary policy based on the U.S. dollar made multinational capitalist expansion easier.
The World Bank modernized loans and credits, ended the use of poverty as a reason for war, and controlled debt and the exchange of dollars. Developing nations learned that they had to accept this hegemonic control or face war.
The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) led to many years of negotiations concerning trade issues, including what kind of tariffs some nations could impose on other nations. In 1995, it was replaced by the WTO. Nations that needed credit or were unable to pay their debts could either cooperate with the WTO or expect to be bombed. The increasing imposition of free trade led to the one-percent owning everything.
In 1947, the United States created the Marshall Plan to participate in rebuilding Europe separate from the authority of the IMF and, more basically, to facilitate moving money from one country to another without going through a national currency.
Today, world capitalist control relies on what is, in effect, a World State made up of one economic power bloc (the Group of Eight or G8, currently the G7) and the Economic World Forum. The World Social Forum was organized to counter this.
As all of this has developed, seemingly contradictory events have occurred at the same time. As the Civil Rights Movement was about to force passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Brazil’s democratically elected government was replaced by a twenty-one year military dictatorship.
Together, these created some of the outstanding characteristics of neoliberal globalization.