File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0107, message 42

Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2001 12:41:20 +0100
Subject: Re: [Fwd: Roundtable on the state and globalisation: Peter Gowan,Leo 


apologies - my mailer sometimes shows independence of mind in formatting..
hence the resend.

My notes from the discussion attended yesterday follow – but a couple of
comments, I was concerned by the nature of the questions asked and the
quaintly archaic notions raised from the audience – most deliriously the
issue of Lenin’s writings on imperialism, fundamentally I wasn’t sure that
the different nature of the current world structures was understood or
addressed. I was also alarmed by the speechlessness of the women in the
audience, not one spoke or as far as I could tell from my vantage point,
gestured to speak. I would have also said that there was an absence of
speech from the 3rd world but a man from Thailand addressed the issue of
business and corruption in Thailand.

The positions put forward consisted broadly of discussions of the following:
the relationship between the state and the Superstate tier of international

The following key arguments, points and issues raised.

Position1:  (Peter Gowan) Globalisation is the US response to the threat of
regional hegemony  - most specifically Europe – USA state department paper
from 1992 from Wilfovitel states expressly that the major threat to US
hegemony (read empire)  over the world consists of threats of autonomous
actions from the EC and other advanced capitalist regions. That there is
evidence that the so-called ‘pacific union’ of dominant capitalist states
are increasingly ignoring or working against the international
organisations, weakening them rather than strengthening them as you would
imagine would be required. In this vein institutions such as the world bank
are falling in influence as the major economic decisions and direction are
set by the pacific union states – dominated in turn by the USA. The world
Trade Organisation rulings only followed if in agreement with USA… This
position can be broadly bunderstood as being that Globalisation is a US
fronted myth for the continuation of US global power…

Position 2: (Leo Panitch) Globalisation is still broadly dominated by USA
but with some caveats and a different history – refuses the David Held
liberal democratic approach which emphasizes the success and growth of forms
of liberal democracies. Argues that there is no supporting evidence for this
approach. Also rejected is the social democratic analysis; Paul Hirst was
gestured at as the representative of the “we have seen all this before
approach” social democratic analysis rejected as being a form of
neo-hegelism where the state is regarded as the repositary of community
values. Globalisation is proposed as starting in the liberalisation of the
USA banking regime in the 1960s. Materialist analysis required to understand
the processes of globalisation. Shifted into discussion of the pacific
union, dominated once again by USA as being essentially an ‘imperialist’
regime – borrowed heavily from Negri and Hardt’s analysis of the post-modern
as globalisation – an ‘Empire’ and avoided and denied any purchase on the
present of the pre-second world war imperialist theories.

Position 3:  (Martin Shaw) Occupied a more positive relationship to
globalisation. Worth noting that prior to this point nothing positive had
been raised. Pointed towards the history of globalisation involving the
following elements: Argument around the importance of the inter-governmental
agencies. That it is important to recognise the globalising effect of the
military alliances,  that it completed the process of decolonisation,
depends on the normalisation of the democratic process – by the end of the
20th C all major states in the central economic block had democracy in some
form or other. Establishment of a common world economic framework – western
global conglomerate.  That outside of the pacific union democratic regimes
the forms of state power that predominated are quasi-imperial despotic
regimes, these have been proven to less efficient than the western state

In conclusion there was some tripartite discussion on the importance of the
struggles for democracy ongoing throughout the world – and also the emerging
anti/counter-capitalist movements. The speaker for position three emphasised
the importance of supporting the growth in liberal democracy and argued that
this form of struggle was more important in itself, and was having a greater
impact than the anti-capitalist movements.

Whilst sympathetic to both lines of struggle – it is plainly absurd to
suggest that one line is more important than the other…

End note;
There was discussion of nato and the ec and their relations to USA, Europe
and Bosnia,Kosovo  and so on – but the implications of the events were not
complete and I was not convinced.

Note the complete lack of discussion of Transnational conglomerates,
non-government organisations, migrants, nomads.

> regards
> sdv
> Mary Murphy&Salstrand wrote:
> > steve brockbank wrote:
> > >
> > > Going to this - food for thought:
> > >
> > > What do people think of the agenda?
> > >
> > > sdv
> > >
> > I'm not familiar with the speakers, but it sounds interesting to me. I
> > for one am interested in how this conference impacts you and what
> > comments you might make about it.  Maybe inaugarate another flurry of
> > furious posts during a hot and humid July.


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