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Fences and Windows
Date: December 2002
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the hurry-flurry to and from classroom or work, we must have the courage to ask
ourselves: what values govern this global age? Do we agree with these values?
And if not, what can we do?
Dispatches from the Frontlines of the Globalisation Debate
Naomi Klein, author of No Logo
is back with Fences and Windows a collection of street-level
snapshots that chronicle the birth of anti-globalisation, from riots in Seattle
to the campaign against unfair trade.
One snapshot: a woman left
with tubes hanging from an open wound in her stomach - her operation aborted due
to a shortage of medical supplies. For Klein, this pitiful scene in Buenos Aires
all too graphically illustrates the death of the free market dream. Not only in
Argentina but other countries, from France to the Philippines.
nineties, Argentina flung open its economy to the International Monetary Fund
(IMF). As advised, it sold off many of its services, from trains to phones. It
spent a third of its budget paying off external debt. It hoped for prosperity.
What it got was poverty that degrades millions of men, women and children every
But the attack on democracy doesnt end there. Klein describes the fences
that now enclose, and threaten, our basic human freedoms. In the name of globalisation
the world is being taken away from us. Water is privatised. Ideas, genes, seeds
patented. Trade Related Property Rights (TRIPS) deny knowledge and technology
to the worlds poor.
In the hurry-flurry to and from classroom or
work, we must have the courage to ask ourselves: what values govern this global
age? Do we agree with these values? And if not, what can we do?
There are many windows of possibility. Klein recalls
her first experience of organised protest against corporate corruption as a
blast of fresh air, oxygen rushing to the brain. Amid near anarchy, thousands
of Argentine people have set about forming a citizens congress to demand
justice from the politicians. And in this country, Christian Aid has launched
its Trade for Life campaign to make trade fair for all.
in Indonesia. Police violence in Italy. Inhuman detention of Afghan and Iraqi
refugees in the Australian desert. Kleins dramatic postcards from across
the world remind us that globalisation is not a benign, natural process of nation
embracing nation. It is financial fundamentalism imposed by the west, for the
west. It takes power away from local communities to central government - and then
hands it over to corporations through privatisation. Wheres the accountability?
So-called anti-globalisation, on the other hand, is true
internationalism. Its not about a bunch of bored students smashing up McDonalds.
A profoundly positive movement for global unity, it believes that democracy is
worth defending. Do you?
Too many books on globalisation put you to sleep.
Fences and Windows, however, delivers a series of short, sharp, shocks.
This is our world, so wake up. Read this book and do something about it.
with Naomi Klein