tjir_v1n4fes01 - War, Globalization, and Reproduction...

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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol.1, No.4, Winter 2002 254 War, Globalization, and Reproduction Silvia Federici* First came the foreign bankers eager to lend at extortionate rates; then the financial controllers to see that the interest was paid; then the thousands of foreign advisors taking their cut. Finally, when the country was bankrupt and helpless, it was time for the foreign troops to 'rescue' the ruler from his 'rebellious' people. One last gulp and the country had gone. (Pakenham 1991: 126) You who hunger, who shall feed you? Come to us, we too are starving. Only hungry ones can feed you. B. Brecht, All or Nothing Introduction As the proliferation of conflicts in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and the zest of the US for military intervention throughout the 1980s and 1990s demonstrate 1 , war is on the global agenda. In what follows I argue that this is because the new phase of capitalist expansionism that we are witnessing requires the destruction of any economic activity not subordinated to the logic of accumulation, and this is necessarily a violent process. Corporate capital cannot extend its reach over the planet's resources -- from the seas to the forests to people's labour, to our very genetic pools-- without generating an intense
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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol.1, No.4, Winter 2002 255 resistance worldwide. Moreover, it is in the nature of the present capitalist crisis that no mediations are possible, and that development planning in the Third World give way to war. 2 That the connection between integration in the global economy and warfare is not generally recognized is due to the fact that globalization today, while in essence continuing the late nineteenth- century colonial project, presents itself primarily as an economic programme. Its first and most visible weapons are structural adjustment programmes, trade liberalization, privatization, and intellectual property rights. All these policies are responsible for an immense transfer of wealth from the Third World to the metropoles, but they do not require territorial conquest, and thus are assumed to work by purely peaceful means. 3 Military intervention too is taking new forms, often appearing under the guise of benevolent initiatives, such as "food aid" and "humanitarian relief", or, in Latin America, the "war against drugs". A further reason why the marriage between war and globalization--the form that imperialism takes today-- is not more evident is that most of the new "globalization wars" have been fought on the African continent, whose current history is systematically distorted by the media, which blame every crisis in it on the Africans' alleged "backwardness", "tribalism", and incapacity to achieve democratic institutions. Africa, War and Structural Adjustment In reality, the situation in Africa shows the coincidence between the implementation of the structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) introduced in the 1980s by the World Bank and the
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course POLS 494 taught by Professor Garymoncrief during the Fall '11 term at Boise State.

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tjir_v1n4fes01 - War, Globalization, and Reproduction...

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